Ernst Fights Climate Change Everyday

“Even prior to retirement I felt strongly about giving back to Canada, my new home country for the more than 25 years it had treated me so well.” says Ernst Braendli, “Shortly after my wife Susanne and I moved to Guelph in 2016, we attended a meeting organized by Evan Ferrari at eMerge. His introductory presentation on energy conservation was truly inspiring and an eye-opener for a newcomer to Guelph. I then decided to support eMerge in any way I could think of.”

“Ernst Braendli is a volunteer that leads by example – fighting climate change every day” says Evan Ferrari, Executive Director at eMERGE Guelph Sustainability. Ernst has shared his skills generously as a volunteer and an advocate who has shown firsthand his climate change actions and by opening his family home to over 400 people to share what their family has done. 

“Imagine cutting your home’s climate change pollution by 85%, energy use by 63% and then cutting your water bill in half. That’s exactly what the Braendli’s did.” says Evan.  “While their home was built in 1913, it’s more efficient than almost all other homes in Guelph. It competes with brand new Net Zero Energy and Passive House built homes.  They have shown that an old home can be comfortable, warm, save you money and of course fight climate change.”

Insulation, air sealing, triple glazed windows and high efficiency doors installed to reduce winter heat loss; significant steps to reducing energy use. “What makes these community minded volunteers even more impressive is that they use less than half the water of the typical Guelphites” shares Evan. “Water saving devices from low-flow toilets, shower heads and aerators, water wise dishwasher and washing machine. Using equipment to achieve water savings is important but behavioural changes have been integral to their success. In fact, the Braendlis are also certified under the city’s Blue Built Home Program – a citywide certification for households that implement proven water saving technologies and strategies.”

“To my eternal surprise” says Ernst, “the Guelph Arts Council decided to add our renovated home to the locations of the ‘Doors Open Guelph 2019’. Evan was on site to elaborate on the energy savings features and the one-year performance data.” Ernst continues “for three full years now, I forwarded data on total energy and water use as well as total household waste production and diversion to eMerge and will continue to do so.”

“Their story is proof positive that changing behaviours and investing in technologies have a profound impact.” says Evan, “we can all learn from the Braendli’s work and their generosity to share it with others.”

Ernst says “for my wife and I, volunteering means not only paying back, but it is keeping us off the couch. We meet wonderful people of all ages, share stories of our lives, and keep our brains active. For retirees like us, volunteering is the very best way to enjoy life in our third career!”

Learn more about the work of eMERGE, visit

Posted on April 1, 2020