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Energy Matters: March 2018

Between rolling out the new GreenON Social Housing program and offering an early renewal opportunity for our Natural Gas Program clients, it has been a busy winter for the HSC Energy team! In this issue of Energy Matters, we bring you the latest on both these programs, tips for housing providers on how to tackle applications for energy retrofit funding, and more. Happy spring reading everyone!

In this issue of Energy Matters:

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Next Steps for the GreenON Social Housing Program

Low Rise Building

In early February, the province announced $25 million in new funding under the GreenON Social Housing program, to help Ontario social housing buildings with less than 100 units invest in energy efficient retrofits. The program is being administered by HSC and complements previously announced funding — such as SHARP, SHEEP and SHAIP — that aim to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

The deadline for Service Managers to submit a business case was on March 28, 2018. Over the next few weeks, an independent evaluation committee comprised of industry experts will review the business cases and determine funding allocations. Service Managers can expect to hear from HSC in mid-April on the status of their application. Successful Service Manager applicants can then hold their own competitive selection processes for their local housing providers.

If you are a housing provider interested in the program, we encourage you to contact your Service Manager. You can also check out these top tips to help you hit the ground running on future retrofit funding opportunities.

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Top Tips for Housing Providers Applying for New Program Funding

Ontario has been making multi-year investments in retrofits and repairs that will lead to long term energy savings and greenhouse gas (GHG) reductions. Recent announcements include the GreenON Social Housing program and last August’s SHAIP announcement. These programs are great news for social housing providers, but navigating the various programs and complying with tight timelines can be challenging!

To help providers prepare for future funding opportunities, we’ve gathered some helpful tips on relevant information and supporting documentation to help inform future applications.

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Historically Low Rates Offered to HSC Gas Customers

Gas Flame

Early this year, natural gas pricing decreased significantly and, by February, reached a historic 10-year low. This rate drop is due to various factors, including increased gas production in Canada, production growing faster than demand, transportation constraints and high storage inventories.

While HSC’s regular renewal period tends to fall in the summer months, we recognized an opportunity to help our Natural Gas Program customers take advantage of the low rates. We offered an early renewal option and nearly half of participating providers decided to secure rates for flexible single and multi-year terms between 2019 and 2023.

HSC is now in the process of procuring gas for these providers and will communicate final secured rates later this spring.

If you’re a provider whose term expires at the end of 2018 and you chose not to lock-in prices at this time, you can expect to hear from us later this year when we conduct our regular renewal process.

Questions? Please contact energyservices@hscorp.ca.

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Did You Know?

Using data on over 800 social housing buildings in our Utility Management Program (UMP), HSC compared the “energy usage intensity”, or annual energy use per square foot of floor area, for Ontario social housing buildings of various ages. We found that buildings built before 1947 have lower average energy use intensity than more recent buildings, while the buildings built after the year 2000 have the highest.

These findings may surprise some within our sector, since we tend to think of housing built after 2000 as relatively new, given most of our stock was built in the 1960s and 1970s. However, most “new” buildings are now nearly 20 years old and their major equipment is approaching end of life.

Other factors that contribute to these findings include the fact that newer buildings tend to have smaller suites and, as a result, can have more units overall. This often results in additional electronic equipment, such as televisions and kitchen appliances that greatly contribute to a building’s electricity load. New buildings also have more and larger windows, which can result in greater heat loss and air movement since glass does not insulate as well as wall materials. Increased ventilation requirements for newer buildings also results in more outdoor air being heated as it is brought inside. Lastly, they are more likely to have central air conditioning, which contributes to the larger total energy load.

By contrast, buildings over 80 years old tend to have fewer and smaller windows, large suite sizes and lower ventilation requirements, having been built when building codes were less strict. Many are low-rise buildings without elevators, central air, or even make-up air units— all of which contributes to their lower average energy use intensity.

Chart of Findings

Despite these trends, there are many ways providers can lower energy use in their buildings, regardless of their size and age. Improving efficiency can include taking a whole building approach, leveraging government funding and utility incentives, and undertaking energy management and capital plans. These plans target initiatives that improve air tightness through an improved building envelope — for example installing new windows to replace drafty ones — which can help to reduce the size of heating systems for lower overall energy demand. Engaging residents and staff on benefits of energy conservation can also go a long way to impact a building’s overall usage.

It’s encouraging to see an increased focus on energy efficiency in many new developments in our sector, with Passive House and Net Zero being key approaches. Whether in new or existing buildings, housing providers can benefit greatly from a strategic approach that optimizes energy saving opportunities across the whole building.

Stay tuned to Energy Matters for more social housing energy trends!

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Are You Required to Report Energy Data to Government?

Large buildings account for 19% of Ontario’s total greenhouse gas emissions, and buildings can reduce this impact by improving their overall energy efficiency. A key step in improving energy efficiency is to measure how much energy a building is using over time, as compared to similar buildings. With this in mind, the province is now requiring large buildings, including multi-unit residential buildings, to report their energy and water year once a year under Ontario Regulation 20/17.

Social housing providers with buildings 50,000 square feet or larger, excluding municipal housing, are required to submit their energy and water use each year to the Ministry of Energy. The ministry is phasing in deadlines according to your property’s size:

100,000 square feet or more: your 2018 water and energy use report is due on July 1, 2019
50,000 square feet or more: your 2019 water and energy use report is due on July 1, 2020

HSC can help you to comply with this new requirement through our Utility Management Program (UMP). The program compiles data and produces comprehensive reports on your quarterly water and energy usage. HSC is currently transitioning our UMP program to an online platform that will provide an enhanced, flexible experience for users and make data more accessible for compliance purposes. Stay tuned to Energy Matters in the coming months for more details!

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Save the Date for HSC’s 2019 Regeneration Forum!

Regen 2019 Save the Date

HSC’s next Regeneration Forum will take place March 25-26, 2019 at the Marriott Eaton Centre Hotel in downtown Toronto.

Given today’s fast changing political, regulatory and operating landscape, there has never been a more important time for the sector to engage in candid conversations about the future of community housing across the country.

We’re keen to integrate content on energy efficiency and conservation as we bring the sector together to think strategically about asset management and the future of affordable housing. If you have a case study on regeneration to share or if there is any specific content you’d like to see, we would love to hear from you!

Contact us about your regeneration initiative Suggest a session topic Subscribe for Regen 2019 updates

Join the conversation now using #HSCRegen2019

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Utility Management Program Reports

UMP

HSC is currently transitioning our UMP program to an online platform that will provide an enhanced, flexible experience for users and make data more accessible for compliance purposes. Stay tuned to Energy Matters in the coming months for more details! In the meantime, you can access your latest UMP report by logging in below.

Login to UMP

Lost your UMP log-in information? We can help. Just send us an email specifying the building to receive your UMP login.

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We Want to Hear from You!

Got any comments, suggestions or article ideas? We’d love to hear from you! Email us at energyservices@hscorp.ca

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