Ontario Government to Fund Retrofitting for Community Housing

In Ontario, the provincial government recently announced funding that the City of Toronto would use to retrofit community-housing buildings that are aging, and extremely inefficient in terms of energy consumption. While there’s always a need for more government funding, these efforts are designed to accommodate retrofitting for about fifty buildings. The funding is associated with the Green Investment Fund of Ontario and is therefore earmarked for energy-saving projects.

The actual funding will be administered through a competitive process and will be consequently based on need and priority. Amongst various upgrades, retrofit projects will include installing energy efficient windows and doors, and enhancing insulation where it’s considered to be most effective. As it stands today, many of Toronto’s community housing buildings are at the very least 25% less energy efficient than private residential homes, making retrofitting necessary.

Clearly, energy efficiency will serve to reduce heating and cooling costs. And considering there are well over 100,000 residents in social housing, it will make for big reductions in annual energy expenses. In addition, overall greenhouse gas emissions will be reduced. And while the provincial government will be retrofitting community-housing right across Ontario, a substantial amount of funding is earmarked for the Toronto area – with the most densely populated areas.

Towerwise Retrofit Project

With millions of dollars of financing (and grant money) this effort is targeted at energy efficiency retrofits in various Toronto community housing buildings. Beyond enhanced building operations and necessary capital repairs, the retrofits are designed to reduce overall utility expenses by 20% while reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 30%. This is a win-win scenario for all concerned.

International Energy Agency

International research shows that every $1.00 saved from a whole-building energy retrofit will translate into $3.00 in health/wellness benefits. One of the priorities here is to engage occupants and residents in measuring before and after scenarios. The overriding goal is to improve indoor air quality and comfort, especially with retrofits like better insulation and better ventilation.

Green Investment Fund of Ontario

As an integral part of Ontario’s Climate Change Strategy, the Ontario Green Investment Fund is calculated to help homeowners lessen their seasonal energy bills throughout the year. The idea of the program is to conduct home-energy audits; identify opportunities for saving energy; and then expedite the appropriate retrofits (such as HVAC replacement and insulation upgrades).

Energy consumption and energy savings are a big priority for every one of Toronto’s community housing buildings. The buildings need to be heated – cooled – and ventilated. Appliances must have electricity – elevators need to run – and common areas require lighting. Its all about energy usage and consequently about reducing energy waste and associated costs.

The bottom line is that energy efficiency retrofits save money – whether its with better windows, water-efficient toilets, high-efficiency lighting, or high-performance insulation that will save on natural gas and electricity from one season to the next. Beyond saving taxpayer dollars, its also about laying the groundwork for more responsible use of energy resources.