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Boilers and Heaters - Improving Energy Efficiency

Natural Resources Canada Office of Energy Efficiency

Please note: Some publications may refer to programs and initiatives that are no longer available. For current information please visit the Office of Energy Efficiency or contact us.

This guidebook, provided by Natural Resources Canada's (NRCan's) Office of Energy Efficiency (OEE), is for owners and operators of boilers and heaters who want to save energy, improve their bottom line and reduce greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to climate change. As these readers already know the basics of combustion processes and relevant plant operations, these concepts, as well as the environmental effects of combustion, particularly nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions, are mentioned only briefly. Detailed information can be found elsewhere.

The guidebook focuses on giving practical tips on improving the energy effectiveness of boiler and heater operations. It aims to stimulate thinking about the ways to achieve greater energy efficiency and to lessen the environmental consequences of energy use, in keeping with the Government of Canada's policy on climate change.


Although Canada officially uses the International System of Units (SI) or metric system, its largest trading partner, the U.S., does not. Consequently, a large proportion of industrial equipment steel pipe being a common example – is made to Imperial units. Furthermore, many American codes and standards written in Imperial units, such as the one for determining boiler efficiency, have been adopted as the industrial norm for Canada. Since most steam plants employ equipment in Imperial and metric units, this document provides both, with the metric unit presented first.


This guidebook is based on An Energy Efficiency and Environment Primer for Boilers and Heaters (Primer), jointly published in 2000 by the Environmental Partnerships Branch of the Ontario Ministry of the Environment, Union Gas Limited, Enbridge Gas Distribution (formerly Enbridge Consumers Gas), and the OEE of NRCan. The OEE provided funding under the auspices of the Canadian Industry Program for Energy Conservation (CIPEC). The OEE also funded this condensed version of the Primer, which provides more detailed information, especially on combustion emissions.

The views and ideas expressed in this guidebook are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of the funding organizations. The generic opportunities present herein do not represent recommendations for implementing them at a specific site. Before modifying any equipment or operating procedures, consult qualified professionals and conduct a detailed site evaluation.


Natural Resources Canada
Office of Energy Efficiency
Industrial Energy Efficiency
580 Booth Street, 18th Floor
Ottawa ON K1A 0E4
Fax: (613) 947-4121
Web site:

The Canada Centre for Mineral and Energy Technology (CANMET) produces excellent technical industrial publications, most of them related to energy efficiency. They include industry specific monographs, project reports, fact sheets and the Federal Industrial Boiler Program. To obtain a listing of current publications, contact

Rudy Lubin
Office of Coordination and Technical Information
Natural Resources Canada
CANMET Energy Technology Centre
580 Booth Street, 13th Floor
Ottawa ON K1A 0E4
Tel.: (613) 996-6220
Fax: (613) 947-1016

Relevant manuals in NRCan's Energy Management Series include:

  • Process Insulation (Cat. No. M91-6/001E)
  • Boiler Plant Systems (Cat. No. M91-6/006E)
  • Process Furnaces, Dryers and Kilns (Cat. No. M91-6/007E)
  • Steam and Condensate Systems (Cat. No. M91-6/008E)
  • Waste Heat Recovery (Cat. No. M91-6/020E)]

To receive additional copies of this publication, write to

Industrial, Commercial and Institutional Programs
Office of Energy Efficiency
Natural Resources Canada
580 Booth Street, 18th Floor
Ottawa ON K1A 0E4
Telephone: (613) 995-6950
Fax: (613) 947-4121

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