GREEN COMMUNITIES are leaders in the design and delivery of low-income energy efficiency programs, including social housing, owner occupied, private rental housing, and First Nations. It’s a diverse sector with multiple barriers to success, not the least of which is lack of money by households to invest in upgrades like insulation and new heating systems with high upfront costs.
In 2006-07, based on a successful submission to a competitive RFP process, we were awarded a contract to design and pilot a low-income electricity-saving program for the Ontario Power Authority (OPA). The subsequent province-wide Home Assistance Program coordinated by the OPA was largely based on our program design, including eligibility and screening criteria, measure characterization, audit procedures, product and services procurement, software tools, and retrofit management.
The program was successfully piloted in 15 communities.
Home Assistance Program
In 2010, Green Communities Canada won a follow-up bid to design tools, materials, and training for the Home Assistance Program. We subsequently provided training for HAP delivery.
Green Communities Canada and member organizations have also been engaged for on-the-ground delivery of HAP in a number of Ontario jurisdictions. As of July 2012, communities we are serving include: Kingston, Peterborough, Midland, Collingwood, Elora, Stratford, Goderich, Oshawa, Whitby.
Meanwhile, Green Communities are also delivering the low-income weatherization program for Enbridge Gas – in the Niagara region since 2009, in the Peterborough area starting in 2011, and in the Simcoe area starting in 2012. Eligible homes receive insulation and draftproofing.
Windfall Ecology Centre (Aurora, ON) delivered a community-wide retrofit program for Georgina Island First Nation.
Two member organizations in Manitoba, Brandon Neighbourhood Renewal and BUILD (Warm-up Winnipeg) deliver popular programs in which marginalized populations (mostly urban aboriginals) receive training and lifeskills support, and deliver retrofits in social housing and other low-income homes.
City Green Solutions (Victoria, BC) participates in low-income and First Nations programs in British Columbia.
For more on the role of Green Communities as champions of affordable energy retrofits, including high quality design and delivery, see Affordable Energy.