Canadian Family wins life-changing $50,000 prize by reducing household carbon emissions

Can Canadians really make a difference by cutting their household carbon emissions? Five families were challenged to cut their carbon and share their experiences, with one family taking home a grand prize of $50,000 to continue their quest to live net zero.

OTTAWA, ON, Feb. 27, 2023 /CNW/ – Canadian Geographic completed its first annual national challenge aimed at helping Canadians reduce their household carbon emissions and inspiring them to strive for a net-zero lifestyle. Live Net Zero followed five participating households from across the country as they competed in a series of six challenges to drastically reduce carbon emissions. The Loewen-Nair family of London, Ontario earned the lowest score among participating households, and will take home a prize of $50,000.

Canada has set an aggressive climate target. With more than 25 per cent of the country’s carbon emissions coming from household energy use, achieving a national target means Canadians must start making carbon reductions at the household level. While most Canadians understand the need to reduce their household’s carbon footprint, they have a hard time knowing where to start.

Canadian Geographic created Live Net Zero to inspire and support Canadians to de-carbonize their lifestyles.

Between September and December 2022, Live Net Zero tasked five participating households to find ways to cut their commuting carbon, learning how to make their homes as energy efficient as possible, and making changes to their daily habits in an effort to be named the first Live Net Zero Challenge winner.

Participating households included:

"Our challengers’ hard work and passion for reducing emissions was inspiring. They retrofitted their homes, reimagined their commuting, changed what they bought and how they lived," said Aran O’Carroll, Canadian Geographic’s National Director, Environment. "As they competed against one another, each family received guidance from a team of specialists, and a panel of experts measured the positive impacts made across all the challenges. Their efforts to decarbonize – from changing small habits to substantial home retrofits – serve as an important example to us all."

The series of Live Net Zero challenges concluded in late 2022, and after a judging process in January 2023, the Loewen-Nair family was chosen as the winner and will take home the $50,000 prize.

Says Andrea Loewen-Nair, from the winning family, "While we always felt we were being mindful of our environmental impact, the Live Net Zero Challenge really forced us to rethink what we were doing. The challenge gave us structure by targeting specific aspects of our household carbon footprint and educating us on how to measure and reduce our emissions in areas that can have the biggest impact or sometimes in ways that that we wouldn’t even miss.  Overall, we are so grateful for this opportunity to participate and to be supported in ways to reduce our carbon footprint. Hopefully other families will feel motivated and better equipped to include the environmental cost when making decisions for their household."

The six Live Net Zero challenges helped participating families identify their greatest sources of carbon emissions, prioritize retrofits and educate themselves on simple behavioural changes that can reduce emissions. Each participating household was provided with $10,000 to help them reduce their carbon footprint during six themed bi-weekly challenges between September and December of 2022.

Live Net Zero challenges included:

Participating households documented their efforts along the way and used social media to share their journeys to inspire and teach fellow Canadians about what they can do within their own households to reduce energy consumption, shrink their carbon footprint, and lower their spending on energy.

The Live Net Zero program was made possible by the support of partners like Shell, Lightspark, Scotiabank, and Hydro One.

"Live Net Zero helps Canadian families – including my own – by providing information and inspiration about how to reduce your carbon footprint through improvements in energy efficiency at home, how we commute and travel, what we eat, and what we buy," said Susannah Pierce, Shell Canada President and Country Chair. "While real solutions to climate change require action on a global scale, the Live Net Zero program teaches us that small choices in our own day-to-day lives can make a real difference to lessen our personal impact on the environment."

Additional information about the Live Net Zero program and participating households can be found at

Is your household ready to take the challenge in 2023?

Canadian Geographic will be recruiting participants for the Live Net Zero challenge this fall. Applications open on April 15, 2023. Sign up to get notified of any updates and reminders at:

About Canadian Geographic

Canadian Geographic is a 93-year old Canadian charity, with a monthly audience of 4.2 million Canadians, with the second-most widely-read magazine, Canadian Geographic, the largest educational network in the non-profit sector at 26,000+ educators, with over 10-years of dedicated programming helping Canadians reduce energy usage, and with a strategic commitment to advancing an Healthier Planet, is pleased to be presenting Live Net Zero. 

SOURCE Canadian Geographic

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