Posted on June 2, 2015 by HSC
On October 29, 2014, over 90 housing professionals from across the Ontario social housing sector participated in Measuring Matters – 2014 HSC Energy Forum at the Toronto Marriott Hotel. The event provided an opportunity for property managers, maintenance and finance staff, utilities, and municipal representatives to share ideas and strategies to reduce energy consumption in Ontario’s social housing buildings.
The day kicked off with a welcome from HSC’s CEO, Howie Wong, and opening remarks from HSC Chair, Merv Hughes. The first panel, Successes in Energy Conservation, was introduced by moderator Janice Bray (District of Parry Sound Social Services Administration Board). Brad Spiewak (County of Simcoe, Social Housing) started off the panel by outlining Simcoe’s strategy for prioritizing energy efficiency projects within their portfolio. HSC’s Bill Bacon then gave a great account of the Ahmadiyya Abode of Peace’s ONPHA Going Green Award-winning energy efficiency project, with Karim Tahir of Ahmadiyya joining Bill for the Q&A. Following Bill, Jim Steele (Windsor Essex Community Housing Corporation) presented the NOW House Windsor 5 project, another ONPHA Going Green Award winner. In that project, five 1½ storey post-war houses were retrofitted with the goal of achieving net-zero annual energy use.
Next up was HSC’s Myfanwy Parry, presenting on Maximizing Performance through Benchmarking. Myfanwy led the audience through an exercise on benchmarking, its value, and how to read benchmarking reports, such as those provided through HSC’s Utility Management Program.
HSC’s Bill Bacon returned as moderator of the third session, Changes Afoot: Utility Incentives for 2015-2020. Erika Lontoc (Enbridge Gas Distribution, Inc.) and Cara-Lynne Wade (Union Gas Limited) outlined currently available low-income gas program incentives and provided an overview of the timelines and directions for programs to be included in the upcoming 2015-2020 Demand-Side Management Framework. Raegan Bond (PowerStream Inc.) then described how the new electricity Conservation First Framework was expected to roll-out and the anticipated program directions for low-income customers, including social housing providers.
In Building-wide Improvements: Identify, Plan & Save, moderator Brian Marks (Cochrane DSSAB) first welcomed Jim Kroesen (City of Toronto, Social Housing Unit), who spoke about retro-commissioning. Jim introduced attendees to the concept of retro-commissioning and outlined two Toronto examples of successful retro-commissioning projects. Richard Munn (Greater Sudbury Housing Corporation) then discussed the steps taken by GSHC to develop its Energy Management Plan and noted that planning is central to successful energy efficiency project management and financing. Lastly, HSC’s Jennifer McMahon spoke to the importance of resident engagement in helping reduce energy usage and outlined how the HSC Community Champion Program can assist providers in engaging with their residents.
Throughout the day, speakers emphasized the value of establishing informed plans, cataloguing building inventory, and measuring performance as key ways to position oneself to maximize funding opportunities as they arise. The final session of the day, Pushing the Limits: Creative Financing in a Funding-Strapped Age, brought together all these messages through the example of an ambitious Boston-area public housing project. Discussing project steps, challenges, and financing, Dan Helmes from the Boston Housing Authority (BHA) shared the story of BHA’s $65 million Energy Performance Contract for energy and water upgrades at 13 sites. The project is the largest public housing energy efficiency project in U.S. history. HSC’s Mike Parkes drew a parallel between BHA’s project and the new HSC Green Loan Program, which makes loans available through Infrastructure Ontario for energy efficiency and renewable energy projects of $250,000 or more. Howie Wong closed out the day by thanking attendees and sponsors.
HSC thanks everyone who attended the event and made it a great success. In particular, we thank our speakers and moderators for sharing their experiences and best practices for energy conservation, financing projects, and energy efficiency project planning. Thank you also to our sponsors for generously supporting the event: Enbridge Gas Distribution, Inc. – Premium Event Sponsor, Union Gas Limited – Event Partner, ECNG Energy LP – Event Partner, and Demtroys Technology Inc. – Delegate Package Sponsor.
We look forward to presenting the next Energy Forum in 2015 and hope to see you there!
Thank you to our generous sponsors: