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Energy Matters: Q4/2017


It was a busy summer for us at HSC! Our latest edition of the Energy Matters Newsletter offers a sneak peek at Ottawa Community Housing’s latest innovative project, an opportunity to have your say on customer service standards for utility companies and the latest funding announcement from the province. Happy reading!

In this issue of Energy Matters:

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The Carlington Community Health Hub Project

Earlier this month, Ottawa Community Housing (OCH) hosted a site tour of its latest social housing development for members of HSC’s Energy Services Stakeholder Advisory Group. The building, which is in construction at 900 Merivale Road, is part of the Carlington Community Health Hub project.

This project is an innovative venture between the Ontario Ministry of Housing and the Ministry of Health. The Carlington Community Health Centre (CCHC) was in need of more space for their programming, and OCH is always looking to increase the amount of social housing it offers in Ottawa, specifically to the growing seniors population. Using vacant land owned by CCHC, OCH is constructing a four-storey addition that will house a health clinic on the ground floor and 3 storeys of seniors housing above.

The addition is being built to meet the Passive House certification criteria — the world’s leading standard in energy efficient construction. The building is also targeting to be WELL certified, a standard that focuses on the health and well-being of everyone who visits, lives or works in the building. These two standards complement each other by guaranteeing a high-performing building on the energy front, with exceptional comfort and occupant well-being at the forefront of the design. This project will be a flagship of innovative design and energy performance, as well as an important example of inter-ministerial partnership in Ontario.

Thank you to Dan Dicaire and OCH for an inspiring tour!

OCH Passive House Tour

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Have Your Say! Customer Service Rules for Utility Companies

  • Are there instances in which energy utilities shouldn’t be allowed to disconnect customers?
  • How much time should customers be given to pay?
  • Should they be allowed to use credit cards?
  • Should energy utilities be allowed to ask for security deposits?


These are just a few of the thought-provoking questions the Ontario Energy Board (OEB) is seeking input on, as part of a comprehensive review of customer service rules for energy utilities. The online survey for residential and commercial consumers is open until early November.

Have your say on these and other important questions — take the survey today!

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New Energy Retrofit Funding for Social Housing

Last month, the Ontario government announced it is providing new funding for energy-efficient repairs and retrofits to social housing apartment buildings across the province. Up to $657 million has been committed over five years, contingent on carbon market proceeds. Retrofits would focus on reducing greenhouse gas emissions and could include:

  • High-efficiency heating systems, such as boilers, make-up air units, and subcomponents
  • Energy-efficient cooling systems
  • Improved insulation
  • Energy efficient windows

Further details and instructions on how to apply are expected to be released in the next few weeks. Stay tuned!
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Out and About

Energy Services Stakeholder Advisory Group Meeting

This month, we held a successful Energy Services Stakeholder Advisory Group meeting in Ottawa. Our host, Ottawa Community Housing, led a tour of the Carlington Community Health Hub Project and gave the group an inside look at the construction of this new tenant-centered, energy efficient building.

Gas and Electricity Incentive Program Reviews

On the utility front, HSC Manager of Energy Services, Myfanwy Parry, has been providing input to the Ontario Energy Board’s Mid-Term Review of both gas and electricity incentive programs, on behalf of the social housing sector. Her recommendations are based on feedback gathered from the Energy Services Stakeholder Advisory Group and other HSC clients. You can read HSC’s September submission to the Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) on current conservation initiatives below.

HSC Submission to IESO on Conservation Initiatives


Community Champions

HSC Operations Manager, Energy & Technical Services, Jen McMahon has been on the road leading tenant engagement workshops in communities across Ontario including, Thunder Bay, Sault Ste. Marie, Hamilton, Toronto, York, Simcoe and Dufferin.

Community Champion Workshops are designed to educate and inspire residents to help conserve energy so that the savings can be re-invested back into their building. At each site, building staff and tenants are led through a series of workshops that start by making the case for conserving energy; tenants are then guided in the creation of an easy-to-follow plan to help limit electricity, gas and water usage among building residents. Plans can include posting energy saving tips around their buildings or holding community events like potlucks that help spread the message. Tenants also get to track their progress with follow-up presentations on any savings they were able to achieve. Many of the buildings in the program are able to see decreases in energy usage in as little as two months after holding a workshop! If you’re interested in learning more about the program, contact us.


Technical Services

Jen has also been working with HSC’s Technical Services team to execute the Social Housing Apartment Retrofit Program (SHARP) for the City of Toronto’s Co-Op and Non-Profit housing providers. There are currently over 100 distinct energy conservation measures being managed by HSC. Work includes procurement and construction oversight, as well as securing financial incentives for participating providers through various utility conservation programs. Click here to learn more about Technical Services offered by HSC!

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Did You Know?

Low-rise social housing buildings (1-3 storeys) use less energy on average per square foot than their high-rise counterparts, according to data on 800 Ontario social housing buildings in HSC’s Utility Management Program. HSC’s findings align with research done by BC Housing, whose recent report analyzed energy consumption in 23 low-rise multi-residential buildings in the southern BC.

Chart of Findings

Why the difference?

Mid- and high-rise buildings tend to have:

  • Higher window-to-wall ratios
  • More common space
  • Greater make-up air heating needs (units that replenish air that is lost through ventilation)
  • Concrete or steel frames, which conducts more heat, as opposed to wood frames that allow for better insulation to prevent air from flowing in and out of the building

Mid- and high-rise buildings can boost their energy efficiency by replacing old, oversized heating and cooling equipment with appropriately sized, high-efficiency systems. High-performance windows, air sealing measures, and improved insulation can also increase a building’s energy performance while improving tenant comfort. Providers can access incentives from:

In addition, the recently announced Ministry of Housing funding, will be available in the coming weeks for energy-efficiency upgrades in buildings of 150 units or more.

For more information on which incentives apply for your portfolio, contact us. And stay tuned to Energy Matters for more social housing energy trends!

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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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Call Me Maybe
One Life
Turn Me On
Glad You Came
Rack City
Stand Behind The Music
Ninjas in Paris
What Makes You Beautiful
The Motto
Wild Ones
Turn Up The Music
Middle Finger
Sorry For Party Rocking
Is Anybody Out There?
Safe and Sound