Report from Future Energy: A workshop about incentives and other possibilities

energy_efficiencyOn October 19, 2018, Windmill Line Co-op hosted a full-day workshop organized in collaboration with CoAction, CHF Canada, and the Agency for Co-operative Housing on the topic of Energy Funding. It turned out to be a great success with the room full of representatives from Toronto co-ops. Jane Davidson-Neville from The Agency and Ofelia Guanlao who recently joined the Asset Management Department of CHF Canada led the event and were instrumental in organizing it.

Presentation PDF’s
Courtesy of CHF Canada

In the morning, representatives from Toronto Hydro, Enbridge, Water Matrix, Novitherm and Project Neutral made presentations on products and services that can help our co-ops conserve energy and water, protecting the environment and saving our co-ops money. We were introduced to several government funded programs that provide incentives to co-ops that are replacing mechanical and building envelope components, as well as programs such as SuiteSaver, AffordAbility Fund Trust (AFT), and Home Assistance Program (HAP), that provide residents with LED light bulbs, power bars, insulation and draft proofing, thermostats and appliances. Enbridge offers to reimburse 50% of the cost of energy audits, Water Matrix offers free water audits and installs 3 litre toilets as well as aerators and shower heads, and Novitherm installs reflective panels behind convection baseboards, providing member comfort and lower heating bills.

Tracy Barber from Project Neutral introduced us to a website that measures the carbon footprint of individuals for free. She explained to us how simple changes in our day-to-day lives could have an effect on our carbon footprint.

In the afternoon David Spackman from CHF Canada provided information on the benefits of refinancing and informed us about Preservation Funding. This new program offers government funding to federal co-ops to conduct BCAs or respective updates, energy audits, operating viability analyses, age-friendly conversion assessments, etc. CMHC has sent out information letters to all affected co-ops. Applications can be submitted now and will be processed on an ongoing basis with no deadline until further notice

We were also informed that the government will start requiring housing providers to enter data on their power and water consumption starting next summer with the goal of bench marking and to motivate decrease in consumption. We hope that more details and possible training will be provided in the new year.

Jane informed us about a sample Sustainability Bylaw that can be used by co-ops to make environmental responsibility a community goal.

In between presentations we enjoyed refreshments while getting to know staff and members from other co-ops and asking questions of contractors and federation representatives.

For anyone who missed this great workshop, the presentation slides can be found above, as well as on the CHF Canada website.

I recommend all co-ops look into these programs without delay. Within two weeks of the workshop, Oak Street submitted a Preservation Fund application, had a water audit done, received information pamphlets for members on the HAP and AFT programs, and had a Toronto Hydro representative on site to evaluate what incentives we are eligible for. Resources and information are available; we just need to take action.

Lana Nwaokoro, Manager, Oak Street Co-op
Director, CoAction Staff Association

November 2018