A recent infusion of energy retrofit funding is promising substantial benefits for Calgary, Edmonton, and Hamilton.
Sky-high energy bills will soon be a thing of the past for 200 households in Calgary and Edmonton, courtesy of a free retrofit program, reports CBC News.
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In June, the Alberta Ecotrust Foundation and Kambo Energy Group initiated a C$2-million program with a dual goal: combatting climate change and alleviating energy poverty. CBC says the initiative will help people like Vito Rama, a grandmother from Calgary, escape the energy poverty they’ve endured for years. New furnaces and upgraded insulation in their homes will help lower energy bills.
“The furnace was too old, my bill was really high, but I would never have been able to do these major renovations,” said Rama, who emigrated from Albania years ago and raised five children on her own.
“I’m very, very happy,” she told CBC. “I still can’t believe that this is being done for me.”
The cities of Calgary and Edmonton, and private sponsors like the Alberta Real Estate Foundation and the Calgary Foundation, contributed to the $2-million fund.
More than 700 households have already applied for the 200 spots. But only 49 have been approved so far, and Alberta Ecotrust and Kambo are encouraging residents to continue applying at www.homeupgradesprogram.ca to see if they qualify. They say they’re committed to making energy retrofits, typically a privilege of wealthier households, accessible to low-income families, and are seeking additional funding to expand the program across Alberta.
Meanwhile, the federal government is allocating $335,000 through the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) Green Municipal Fund for two feasibility studies aimed at improving energy efficiency and reducing greenhouse gas emissions in Hamilton, Natural Resources Canada says in a release.
The City of Hamilton will spend $160,000 to develop a home retrofit financing program to encourage energy efficiency improvements like fuel switching, air sealing, insulation, and the purchasing of power-saving appliances. Hamilton will also be “developing strategies to maximize uptake of the program once approved.”
Hamilton Community Enterprises will use $175,000 to explore the viability of a district energy system that uses locally-available industrial residual heat as a fuel source for a proposed low-carbon thermal corridor.
If the system proves out, it “could provide enough heat for more than 80 million square feet of building space, the size of almost 1390 football fields, which would decrease Hamilton’s building carbon footprint by about 70% and spur job growth,” the release says.