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Energy Matters: Q3/2017

 

Summer is finally here, and with it, the third edition of our Energy Matters Newsletter! This issue includes a special feature on a “Best-in-Class” performer from our Utility Management Program, an interesting profile of the oldest building in the program and the latest on provincial legislation affecting housing providers. Hope you enjoy!

In this issue of Energy Matters:

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UMP Best-in-Class Performer

HSC’s Utility Management Program (UMP) covers over 800 social housing multi-residential buildings from across the province. Our quarterly reports help participants track their energy usage and see how they stack up to the best performers in our sector.

Greater Sudbury Housing Corporation’s 1052 Belfry location is one of the buildings leading the pack — it uses approximately 55% less energy than the average building and 80% less than the highest user in its class.

So what exactly makes them ‘Best-in-Class’? They make energy conservation a priority. For example, they invested in a K3D Heat Control System, which uses external temperature, wind speed and direction, humidity and individual apartment temperatures to calculate and deliver precise heating to all units. The system also helps to help reduce heat loss caused by tenants who open their windows to cool their units in the winter rather than turning down their thermostats. They’re also planning ahead as old equipment ages; from considering upgrading to more efficient condensing units, to exploring the feasibility of a solar PV roof system. Below are some of the building features and enhancements they’ve already made to conserve energy and achieve real savings.

HSC congratulates Greater Sudbury Housing Corporations’ commitment to energy conservation! Want to learn more about energy saving tips and best practices? Click below to see more articles and tools to assist housing providers in effective energy management.

Energy Saving Tips & Best Practices

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Building Community Gardens Thanks to Energy Savings

In our first issue of Energy Matters, we featured a case study on Housing York’s Pineview Terrace, a senior’s residence in Keswick. With the help of our Community Champion Program, the building reduced electricity consumption by 12% following the workshops. Since then, residents have continued their efforts to lower electricity use with a variety of initiatives. For example, residents voted to introduce Community Potlucks with an energy savings slant similar to Earth Hour; the idea is that residents reduce their in-suite plug load while gathering in the communal area, with the added benefit of community building among the residents.

To acknowledge the residents’ commitment to sustaining energy savings, York Region announced this spring that they will be using some of the savings to construct raised community gardens for the residents’ use – a request the building’s tenants had long advocated for.

Want to learn more about how our Community Champion Program could help you engage your tenants to reduce energy and water consumption? Contact us!

Raised Garden
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Did You Know…?

Did you know that the oldest building in HSC’s Utility Management Program is an industrial warehouse built in 1906?

The building was re-developed in 1995 into Artscape West Queen West — Toronto’s first official affordable housing project where artists could live and work. Located at 900 Queen Street West, the space is in the heart of what is now Toronto’s contemporary art district. It provides 22 live/work apartments and five work studios with a mix of market and rent-geared-to-income tenancies, as well as a gallery and a tenant garden with a community bake oven. Check out Artscape’s case study to learn more about how this building was re-purposed.

 

900 Queen West

Building facts:

  • Year Built: 1906
  • Launch as Social Housing: 1995
  • Floors: 4 (3 + Basement Studios)
  • Building Size: 35,520 square feet
  • Heating Type: Natural Gas (Insuite, Domestic Hot Water, Make-up Air Heating Systems)

 

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Provincial Policy Updates

Next Steps in Provincial Reporting Requirements

benchmarking icon

In a recent letter to HSC, the Ontario Ministry of Energy confirmed plans to convene a working group to support the implementation of its Large Building Energy and Water Benchmarking regulation. The regulation requires building/property owners to report annual energy, water, greenhouse gas emissions. The working group will advise on potential sector partnerships and approaches to help ease the transition to the new reporting requirements. HSC will share more information and opportunities for feedback as details are made available.

 

Potential for More Emission Reduction Funding

On June 6, Ontario held its second cap and trade auction, generating an estimated $504 million to support greenhouse gas emissions reduction programs. Combined with the first auction, cap and trade has generated nearly $1 billion in funds to date.

Proceeds from the auctions will fund emission reduction programs, including programs for social housing. Ontario’s Climate Change Action Plan outlined $380-500 million for social housing retrofits between 2016 and 2020. HSC continues to engage with the Ministry of Housing regarding potential investments for our sector that may be coming down the line.

HSC Submission on the Climate Change Action Plan

 

Fair Hydro Plan & Social Housing

With the passing of the Fair Hydro Act, we received some questions from providers about how the act applies to social housing buildings — particularly bulk-metered apartments where the building owner pays the bill.

According to the Ministry of Energy, electricity customers who are eligible for the 8% rebate under the Ontario Rebate for Electricity Consumers Act, 2016, are eligible for the additional decrease of 17% on average. Social housing buildings are in this group and will see the full rebates reflected on your bills. The Ontario Energy Board has now posted the updated rates, which took effect on July 1st, 2017. We encourage you to contact your electricity company if you do not see the rebates on your bills within the next 2-3 months.

Don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any questions!

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Update for Gas Program Participants

Earlier this year, we asked participants in our Natural Gas Program to select their preferred purchasing option for 2018. Based on feedback from our Stakeholder Advisory Group, we offered five options to match each organization’s risk tolerance and preference for short, intermediate or long term price stability.

Selections are now in and we are in the process of securing the best possible market rates for each option. Participants can expect to hear from us with their final rates by the end of the summer… stay tuned.

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UMP

Utility Management Program Reports

The latest utility benchmarking reports are now available for UMP users! Log in to your account to see how your portfolio is doing.

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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