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Multi-sectoral Projects to Drive Demand for Energy Efficiency and Conservation in Canada


The “Multi-sectoral Projects to Drive Demand for Energy Efficiency and Conservation in Canada” program offered $2.4 million over two years (2019-2021) to support projects that test innovative, multi-sectoral approaches to help homeowners make informed choices to increase the demand for home energy retrofits, purchase high efficiency homes and adopt new ways to conserve energy.  The program will ultimately result in a reduction of greenhouse gas emissions through the advancement of energy efficiency in residential homes and support Canada’s move to a low-carbon economy.


Through a competitive Request for Proposals process announced in September 2018, Natural Resources Canada (NRCan) chose the following eight innovative, multi-sectoral projects that will span 2019-2021:

Building Energy Modelling Takeoff Automation Tool

Project lead: Volta Research
Partners: Building Knowledge, EQ Building Performance, Ryerson University, Volta Partners and Hero Engineering
NRCan contribution: $201,020
Total project value: $436,870
Location: Ontario

Volta Research and partners will develop an innovative web-based tool that will enhance the efficiency of the EnerGuide evaluation process and simplify the use of building energy modelling. This tool aims to reduce the time required to generate a house file, a critical element for the uptake of NRCan’s tools in supporting residential building code compliance.

This project will support the engagement of industry in developing innovative tools and services that will connect with the EnerGuide process and enhance the value of its offerings to Canadians.

Community Housing Energy Retrofits

Project lead: ʔaq̓am First Nation
Partners: Columbia Basin Trust, BC Hydro
NRCan contribution: $400,000
Total project value: $946,916
Location: Cranbrook, British Columbia

The ʔaq̓am First Nation and partners will retrofit homes in their community to a higher standard of energy efficiency, health, and safety. The project will also help develop sustainable building practices that both meet local cultural requirements and help the community prepare for the implementation of the BC Energy Step Code.   

By training community members to complete home retrofits and operate the improved homes, this project will increase the awareness of new technologies related to energy efficiency and conservation within the community. The project aims to make the homes more affordable to live in and maintain. 

The Columbia Basin Trust will provide funding for the retrofit measures and will provide its expertise to the project.

The approach used for this project will be shared with other First Nations communities facing similar challenges.    

Intelligent Residential Efficiency Supply Chain Pilot

Project lead: Efficiency One
Partners: SimpTek Enterprises, Dalhousie University, Efficiency Nova Scotia
NRCan contribution: $264,198
Total project value: $608,948  
Location: Nova Scotia

Efficiency One and partners aim to achieve large-scale adoption of existing energy efficiency programs in Nova Scotia by using data analytics to help homeowners find the most relevant program offers, estimate potential savings, and access the products and services they need to take action to improve their homes’ energy efficiency.

Sub-meters will be installed in 50 pilot homes to gather detailed data that will be used to develop analytical models that identify appropriate energy efficiency measures and their associated return on investment.

A web portal will provide pilot participants with customized information and a streamlined customer marketplace that makes it easier to purchase energy-efficient products and enrol in energy efficiency programs.

Kivalliq Region Energy Efficiency Worker Housing Program

Project lead: Agnico Eagle Mines
Partners: Land and people Nunavut, Réseau de transformation métallique du Québec, Relay Education, Nunavut Housing, Nunavut Construction, Tapestry Community Capital, RealTerm Energy, Qulliq Energy Corporation, Hamlet of Baker Lake and Kivalliq Mine Training Society
NRCan contribution: $199,940
Total project value: $476,395
Location: Nunavut

Agnico Eagle Mines and partners will facilitate a collaborative process to develop an open source housing design that is energy-efficient and affordable for the residents and mineworkers of Baker Lake. The housing design will include the development of preferred funding and ownership models as well as supply chain logistics analysis.

The new design will be used as a model for 500 new housing units to be built over the next ten years, by either mines, local communities or non-government organizations in the Kivalliq region. The design will aim to alleviate the financial burden, housing shortages, and high energy costs for Inuit households in an area with some of the highest operating costs in Canada.

The housing concept will offer mineworkers private ownership or rental options, support mine recruitment and retention strategies in isolated natural resource based locations in Canada, and reduce the carbon footprint related to mining operations (e.g. fly-ins).

Mode de Vie Branché

Project lead: Écohabitation
Partners: Owens Corning, CAA Québec, Écosolaris, Elmec Inc, Évaluation Écohabitation, Maison du 21e Siècle
NRCan contribution: $269,072
Total project value: $714,412
Location: Mascouche, Québec

Écohabitation and partners aim to promote a low-carbon lifestyle that combines energy-efficient new homes and electric vehicles by building two neighbourhoods in Quebec, totalling 35 new net-zero energy ready homes (using the EnerGuide label) that include electric vehicle charging stations. 

The project will include an information portal for municipalities, consumers, and builders that will use the EnerGuide home energy rating system to compare the recently adopted building code in Québec and the energy efficiency programs available in the province (Novoclimat, LEED, R-2000, Net-Zero). The portal project will also demonstrate the social, environmental, and financial viability of this combined approach.

To further support Quebec builders, the net-zero material developed by Canadian Home Builders Association (currently only available in English) will be translated into French and training on these building practices will also be provided.

Residential Energy Efficiency in Fort Chipewyan, Alberta

Project lead: Athabasca Chipewyan
Partners: ATCO and Athabasca Tribal Council
NRCan contribution: $400,000
Total project value: $823,700
Location: Fort Chipewyan, Alberta

The Athabasca Chipewyan community and partners will design and implement significant energy efficiency retrofits for 12 to 15 Band-owned homes in Fort Chipewyan. A First Nations team will be employed and trained to develop the skills to install and operate the deployed upgrades. This team will in turn train and support homeowners to maintain those upgrades.

An energy manager position will also be created to evaluate their results using an energy tracking system and enable the replication in other First Nations communities.

Saint John Residential Heat Loss

Project lead: Saint John Energy
Partners: MyHeat, University of New Brunswick, Liberated Networks and Revolution Strategy
NRCan contribution: $326,300
Total project value: $757,600
Location: Saint John, New Brunswick

Saint John Energy and partners will provide energy customers with personalized information to encourage them to improve their homes’ energy efficiency and participate in the City of Saint John home retrofit program.

The project will develop an interactive online platform that includes an aerial heat loss map of individual homes and information on potential energy efficiency improvements.  The platform will be featured in social media campaigns and other marketing strategies to encourage the City’s 30,000 energy customers to make improvements and participate in the City’s home retrofit program, “Total Home Energy Savings”. The program provides homeowners with an EnerGuide home energy evaluation with more detailed recommendations as well as incentives.

Transforming Homes TO

Project lead: City of Toronto
Partners: Carrot, Clean Air Partnership, Enbridge Gas, Toronto Hydro, University of Toronto, ecoBee, Roots Collaborative and Humber College
NRCan contribution: $328,500
Total project value: $777,400
Location: Toronto, Ontario

The City of Toronto and partners aim to increase the uptake of EnerGuide home energy evaluations and deep energy retrofits in diverse communities across Toronto by mobilizing residents through a coordinated process that brings together a suite of partners and approaches to encourage energy efficiency.

Through in-person and digital engagement offered in multiple languages, trained individuals and an established network of multi-lingual, green living community volunteers will target specific neighbourhoods in order to improve energy literacy, encourage behaviour change, and drive participation in City and partner retrofit programs.

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