Greener Neighbourhoods Pilot Program – Market Development Team Applicants’ Guide
Department of Natural Resources, Office of Energy Research and Development
Call for Proposals, February 2023
Table of Contents
- 1. Introduction
- 2. Overview
- 3. Eligible Applicants
- 4. Eligible Projects (Project Scope)
- 5. Eligible Activities
- 6. Funding and support
- 7. Application Process and Timelines
- 8. Contact Information
- Appendix A – Definitions
- Appendix B – GNPP – MDT call Eligibility Conditions and Evaluated Criteria
- Appendix C – GNPP –Demonstration Projects Call
The Government of Canada is investing $35.5 million over five years, starting in 2022–2023, for Natural Resources Canada (NRCan) to implement a Greener Neighbourhoods Pilot Program (GNPP) for aggregated deep retrofits in up to six housing neighbourhoods in Canada.
The GNPP focuses on clusters of low-rise housing and seeks to pilot the Energiesprong aggregated retrofit model in the Canadian market. The GNPP will include two calls for proposals:
- The first will support the establishment and/or activities of “Market Development Teams” (MDT), also known as “retrofit coordinators,” “retrofit accelerators,” or “retrofit transaction enablers.”
- The second will target building owners to support demonstration projects of the Energiesprong model for community housing.
PLEASE NOTE: This guide is specific to the first call. As MDTs are expected to collaborate closely with building owners and because of program regulations designed to prevent conflict of interest, any organization selected for funding after the first call will not be eligible for funding during the second call.
This first call for proposals under the GNPP, referred to as the “GNPP-MDT call,” will support up to six MDTs in developing regional roadmaps to enable aggregated deep energy retrofits in the Canadian market and promoting the development of Energiesprong-inspired deep energy retrofit projects in communities across the country.
The GNPP-MDT call will support a suite of projects that exhibits regional distribution. It has a target of funding at least one project that is Indigenous-led or involves an Indigenous organization or community as a core partner.
In parallel to the launch of this program, NRCan has launched the Deep Retrofit Accelerator Initiative (DRAI). The DRAI is a complementary program that will support retrofit accelerators that focus on providing services to the owners of large buildings, including commercial, institutional, and mid- or high-rise multi-unit residential buildings. Applicants interested in facilitating deep retrofits to those building types should refer to the DRAI’s website.
Buildings are the third-largest source of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in Canada, accounting for approximately 13% of Canada’s emissions. Since 2016, the federal government has dedicated more than $10 billion toward decarbonizing homes and other buildings and incenting energy-efficient retrofits. More than two thirds of buildings that will be standing in Canada in 2050 have already been built today, and many of them need to be retrofitted to make them more sustainable. To achieve Canada’s goal of net-zero emissions by 2050, the scale and pace of retrofitting buildings in Canada must increase.
The Energiesprong model, developed by the Netherlands and adopted by the United Kingdom, France, Germany, and the United States, accelerates the pace and scale of retrofits by aggregating housing with similar building forms in an entire neighbourhood to create mass demand for deep energy retrofits. This scale of project and similarity of built forms can allow leveraging of new retrofit approaches such as the use of prefabricated exterior panels to reduce on-site labour time and overall project costs, while reducing the energy-use intensity and emissions from each retrofitted building. This support for community-level home retrofits aligns with the Net-Zero Advisory Body’s recommendation to seek out opportunities to decarbonize multiple buildings at once.
The success of the Energiesprong model is underpinned by the presence of MDTs. These are third-party organizations that convene and coordinate supply- and demand-side actors to broker aggregated deep energy retrofit projects at pilot- or full-scale, find solutions to regional gaps and barriers, and drive market transformation in their regions. Examples of other industry terms for MDTs and similar concepts include “retrofit coordinators,” “retrofit accelerators,” or “retrofit transaction enablers.”
Combined, these three components of the GNPP are expected to lead to the following outcomes:
- Increased uptake of deep energy retrofits across the residential sector through replication;
- Reduced overall cost, construction time, energy-use intensity and GHG emissions from aggregated deep energy retrofits; and
- Improved comfort, energy efficiency and environmental outcomes for Canadian homes.
The GNPP builds from foundational innovations pioneered by CanmetENERGY on the Prefabricated Exterior Energy Retrofit (PEER) concept as well as the successful implementation of Energiesprong-inspired deep energy retrofit projects funded under NRCan’s Green Infrastructure Energy Efficiency Buildings (EEB) Program. The EEB Program provided $547,500 in funding to the Ottawa Community Housing Corporation to demonstrate a replicable, prefabricated modular approach for retrofitting a four-unit townhouse, with an emphasis on exploring opportunities for standardization and industrialization, providing a replicable solution that benefits Canadians. The EEB Program also provided $2.7 million in funding to the Sundance Housing Co-operative to demonstrate a first-in-Canada scale-up of the Energiesprong approach to 59 units of a townhouse complex.
The GNPP contributes to Canada’s 2030 Emissions Reduction Plan to meet its 2030 emissions reduction target of 40 to 45% below 2005 levels by 2030, and reach net zero by 2050, by validating and scaling up the Energiesprong aggregated deep energy retrofit approach to up to 150 units in each of six communities across Canada and by informing the business cases of local or regional pathways to reducing emissions in the buildings sector.
2.2 Call Objectives
The GNPP-MDT call aims to:
- Validate in multiple regions across Canada the technical and economic feasibility of the Energiesprong deep energy retrofit approach;
- Facilitate the development of deep retrofit projects in Canada;
- Build capacity by supporting up to six regional MDTs in their work to accelerate the market for aggregated deep energy retrofits; and
- Contribute to meeting Canada's climate targets.
2.3 Expected Outcomes
Projects are expected to achieve the following outcomes:
- Develop the regional market for aggregated deep energy housing retrofits at scale;
- Provide stakeholders with the knowledge, tools and recommendations to enable cost-effective deployment of aggregated deep energy housing retrofits;
- Lead to the publication of a regional roadmap that identifies pathways to implementing/scaling up industrialized deep energy retrofits that include technical, regulatory, and financial considerations;
- Where applicable, build capacity of Indigenous organizations and organizations serving Indigenous communities to deliver aggregated deep energy retrofits at scale in Indigenous communities; and
- Where applicable, develop the market for aggregated deep energy retrofits in Canada’s Indigenous communities.
3. Eligible Applicants
The GNPP-MDT call is open to legal entities validly incorporated or registered in Canada, including:
- For-profit and not-for-profit organizations, including think tanks, endowment-based municipal organizations, and consulting firms
- Indigenous for-profit and not-for-profit organizations and Indigenous governments, Tribal Councils, national and regional Indigenous councils or organizations (The term “Indigenous” is understood to include Inuit, Métis, First Nations, Status Indian and non-Status Indian individuals or any combination thereof.)
Applicants must be able to demonstrate a history of operating in the capacity of an MDTand/or the ability to convene multiple stakeholders, collaborate with partners, and develop reports consistent with the general functions of MDTs. Please refer to Appendix A for the definition of MDT used under the GNPP.
4. Eligible Projects (Project Scope)
This GNPP-MDT call is open to projects focusing on market development work that will facilitate and/or promote the deployment of Energiesprong-style aggregated deep energy retrofits, as defined in Appendix A, in the housing sector.
Eligible project scope
Applicants must describe in their proposal the market development activities they intend to conduct. These activities could include, but are not limited to:
- Developing a regional business case for aggregated deep energy retrofits, including identifying solutions to reach economies of scale while achieving the performance targets defined in Appendix A;
- Identifying and/or developing financing measures and incentives;
- Providing market support to building owners to address technical, financial, and/or regulatory challenges;
- Facilitating or providing training, including developing training materials;
- Facilitating and/or participating in workshops, conferences, events, or conducting other engagement activities with stakeholders, addressing critical barriers, or disseminating related knowledge and building awareness, in support of developing deep energy retrofit projects;
- Building and maintaining peer-to-peer networks;
- Developing and making publicly available knowledge tools such as reports or design guides; and
- Undertaking studies to inform a regional deep energy retrofit roadmap to characterize the market, characterize the local labour capacity and retrofit workforce, identify the cost-effectiveness of potential pathways, identify appropriate technical solutions, and understand local supply chain characteristics and economics.
Applicants must include in their proposal the housing archetypes they intend to address as part of their project. For the purposes of this call for proposals, the market development work must focus on, or be directly applicable to, the following housing archetypes in Canada: detached houses, townhouses, row houses, low-rise multi-unit residential buildings (up to and including four storeys – see the definition in Appendix A) under a variety of ownership models, ranging from community housing to privately owned homes.
Knowledge Dissemination Plan
Applicants must include in their proposal a description of their knowledge dissemination plan to share findings with key stakeholders more broadly to help build market development momentum.
Project output – path to scale up deep retrofits
In addition, projects must include, at a minimum, the development and publication of a roadmap defining the short-, medium-, and long-term scope, scale, pace and sequencing of the deployment of Energiesprong-style aggregated deep energy retrofits in a given region. This information should be nuanced by housing archetype and targeted vintage. The roadmap will identify regionally appropriate technical, financial, economic, and regulatory barriers and potential solutions that could allow the Energiesprong approach to scale up and be deployed more broadly.
Complementary federal resources
NRCan’s Local Energy Efficiency Partnership (LEEP) team offers a suite of complementary resources and activities including workshops, forums and technology publications. LEEP is delivered on a regional basis. More information is available on the LEEP’s website, including how LEEP works, as well as a list of upcoming LEEP events.
5. Eligible Activities
Program funds may be directed to the following types of eligible activities:
- Related science activities including modelling, analysis, studies, assessments, protocols, and work supporting standards development (e.g. standardized approaches or tools to implement aggregated deep energy retrofits);
- Convening activities focused on promoting knowledge spillovers and technology transfer between organizations, including establishing and participating in forums, industry or technology seminars, workshops, and conferences;
- Coordination of activities that support the development of partnerships that could contribute to the objectives of the call (i.e. through convening stakeholders or matchmaking);
- Capacity building and training.
Other activities may be considered for eligibility by NRCan based on their alignment with the call objectives and eligible projects outlined above.
Refer to Section 4 for examples of market development activities in scope under this call.
5.1 Eligible Expenses
Funding under the GNPP will be available to support MDT operations to carry out the proposed activities. The following expenses are eligible:
- Salary and benefits costs for direct employees for time spent on the proposed activities;
- Consulting or professional services costs for subcontractors or external staff working on the proposed activities;
- Overhead costs related to delivering the proposed activities;
- Travel costs and fees to attend GNPP-related events such as workshops, conferences, and training;
- Equipment or products* required to deliver the proposed activities; and
- Other expenses may be considered for eligibility by NRCan, based on their alignment with the call objectives.
*Capital expenditures for equipment are limited to a maximum of $10,000. Major capital expenditures are not eligible under this call.
NRCan will work with MDTs selected for funding to provide further guidance on eligible expenditures as part of the due diligence process.
5.2 Ineligible Activities
The following activities are ineligible under the GNPP-MDT call:
- Applied research and technology development (more specifically, development, assessment, or testing of a building system, product, or pre-demonstration field trials of the above are ineligible activities);
- Demonstration projects (i.e. building construction or retrofits or directly associated design or engineering costs);
- Design and management of external prize competitions;
- Capital projects.
6. Funding and support
Applicants are eligible to request between $200,000 and $1 million (comprising up to 100% of total eligible project costs) for projects starting at any time on or after April 1, 2023, and ending no later than March 31, 2027, to enable organizations to operate as MDTs for the duration of the full GNPP. Note that projects must start no later than June 30, 2024.
|Minimum Program Contributions||Maximum Program Contributions||Project Life|
(up to 100% of total eligible expenditures)
|Ending on or before March 31, 2027|
Eligible project expenditures can begin once the applicant has been notified in writing by NRCan that the project has been selected for funding under the GNPP.
6.2 Stacking Limit
Prior to signing contribution agreements, on an annual basis, and upon project completion, applicants will be required to disclose all sources of funding on individual projects, including contributions from other federal, provincial/territorial, and municipal governments and industry sources.
Collaboration and leveraging partner contributions or other sources of funding are encouraged.
Stacking of public funding (i.e. total government support for a project) will be supported to a maximum of 100% of total eligible expenditures.
7. Application Process and Timelines
The GNPP – MDT has one intake period.
7.1 Proposal Phase
To apply, applicants must complete and submit their proposal via email to NRCan (email@example.com) by 11:59 p.m. PT on April 5, 2023. The proposal form (fillable PDF format) can be downloaded from NRCan’s website. The eligibility criteria and the evaluated proposal questions are included in Appendix B of this applicant’s guide as reference. Proposals will be evaluated against these criteria.
The GNPP-MDT call will support a suite of projects that exhibits regional distribution. It has a target of funding at least one project that is Indigenous-led or involves an Indigenous organization or community as a core partner.
Applicants are responsible for ensuring that they meet the eligibility criteria and that their proposal is fully completed and successfully submitted by the deadline.
7.2 Due Diligence Assessment
All applicants selected for funding will undergo a due diligence assessment, which will include an evaluation of the project’s finances, technical risk, and team strengths as well as legal and regulatory considerations. NRCan may request additional information to support the due diligence assessment.
Applicants will be notified whether their project passes the due diligence assessment. Applicants whose projects pass the due diligence assessment will be invited to work with NRCan to draft, sign, and execute a contribution agreement.
7.3 Contribution Agreement
Any funding under the GNPP-MDT call will be contingent upon the execution of a contribution agreement. Until a written contribution agreement is signed by both parties, no commitment or obligation exists on the part of NRCan to make a financial contribution to any project, including any expenditure incurred or paid prior to the signing of such contribution agreement.
More information on NRCan contribution agreements will be made available to successful applicants following notification of the proposal results.
The following timelines are anticipated for the GNPP-MDT call. NRCan, at its sole discretion, reserves the right to modify these anticipated timelines.
|Open for Proposals||February 9, 2023|
|Deadline for Proposals||April 5, 2023
11:59 p.m. PT
|Project Selection/Notification||Spring/Summer 2023 (TBD)|
|Due Diligence Process||Summer 2023 (TBD)|
|Negotiating and Signing of Contribution Agreements||Fall 2023/Winter 2024 (TBD)|
7.5 Regulatory, Reporting, and Other Requirements
7.5.1 Inclusion, diversity, equity, and accessibility (IDEA)
NRCan recognizes the importance of a diverse and inclusive workforce for the resilience of Canada’s economy and the benefit of Canadian society. To better understand applicants’ approaches to creating more equitable and inclusive workplaces and policies, NRCan is collecting voluntary and anonymous information that will be aggregated and anonymous. This information will be used to inform future outreach, program development, and efforts to promote equity, diversity and inclusion in the clean energy sector.
As the sections on IDEA are voluntary, responses will not be evaluated or scored as part of the application.
7.5.2 Duty to consult
NRCan has a legal duty to consult with Indigenous groups when a contemplated Crown conduct, such as the provision of funding, may have adverse impacts on existing or potential Aboriginal or Treaty rights. Federal departments and agencies are responsible for understanding how and when an activity could have an adverse impact on Aboriginal or treaty rights, and consultation should occur prior to the federal government taking any action.
Applicants will be required to report if they have already conducted consultation or engagement activities in relation to the project proposal or as part of their ongoing operations or corporate commitments.
7.5.3 Impact Assessment Act
As per the Impact Assessment Act, NRCan is required to assess whether projects carried out, in whole or in part, on federal lands are likely to cause significant adverse environmental effects. Applicants will be asked to identify if the project will be carried out in whole or in part on federal lands. If so, an impact assessment may be required during due diligence for successful applicants.
7.5.4 Outcome reporting
After entering into a contribution agreement with NRCan, proponents of successfully funded projects will be required to report on a quarterly and yearly basis to ensure that targets and objectives are being met.
As some outcomes may only be realized after funding has ended, ongoing data collection and assessment will be required for a period of five years following the project’s completion date.
7.6 Information Sharing Permissions
In the proposal form, applicants will be asked whether they provide permission for NRCan to share their application with other relevant funding organizations. For projects that may not obtain funding under the program, this will allow the program to provide the opportunity for maximum exposure and guidance across other funding programs or providers.
7.6.1 The Clean Growth Hub
The Clean Growth Hub is a whole-of-government focal point for clean technology focused on supporting companies and projects, coordinating programs and tracking results. The Hub is an interdepartmental organization with member departments and agencies including Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada; Natural Resources Canada; Environment and Climate Change Canada; Transport Canada; Fisheries and Oceans Canada; Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada; Global Affairs Canada; the Treasury Board Secretariat of Canada; the National Research Council; Business Development Bank of Canada; Export Development Canada; Sustainable Development Technology Canada; and the Canadian Commercial Corporation.
Should you consent, the information you provide may be shared across federal departments/agencies, including but not limited to the departments and agencies represented in the Clean Growth Hub, with a view to assisting you in determining the federal programs/supports best suited to your needs. Pursuant to Paragraph 20(1) of the Access to Information Act, the Clean Growth Hub will not publicly disclose any information without permission.
7.6.2 “Trusted Partners”
To facilitate co-funding with provincial/territorial and industry funders, NRCan is working in collaboration with a network of other funding organizations across Canada. By giving NRCan the authority to share your proposal with our “Trusted Partners” (TP), you allow NRCan to explore possible co-funding opportunities, referrals, or follow-on funding opportunities. Please note that NRCan will only share these applications with TPs where NRCan has a non-disclosure agreement in place and for the purposes of referring proposals for funding consideration or exploring the possibility of co-funding.
For more information and a list of the program’s current Trusted Partners, contact the program at firstname.lastname@example.org.
8. Contact Information
For any questions regarding the GNPP-MDT call or the GNPP more broadly, please contact NRCan at email@example.com. During regular operations, NRCan will strive to respond within two business days.
Appendix A – Definitions
Deep Energy Retrofit
Under the Greener Neighbourhoods Pilot Program, a deep energy retrofit is defined as a major building renovation project in which the project will target at least 50% annual energy use reduction (70% energy use reduction preferred), while targeting 80 to 100% GHG emissions reduction. The targeted post-retrofit performance of the project is anticipated to be at least net-zero energy ready.
A deep energy retrofit requires a whole-building analysis approach along with an integrative design process. A “whole-building analysis” means that the building is considered as a single, integrated system rather than as a collection of standalone systems, such as the building envelope, the heating, ventilation, and air conditioning system, the renewable energy system and building operations. The whole-building analysis approach facilitates the identification of synergistic relationships between the component systems. The key to whole-building analysis is the use of an integrated design process that brings all relevant disciplines together for an initial charrette-based study of the problem as a whole, based on collaboration and shared information.
NRCan will consider less stringent performance requirements in the case of a project that is Indigenous-led or that works in partnership with an Indigenous community.
Market Development Team
Under the Greener Neighbourhoods Pilot Program, a Market Development Team is a third-party organization that convenes and coordinates supply- and demand-side actors to broker aggregated deep energy retrofit projects at pilot- or full-scale, finds solutions to regional gaps and barriers, and drives market transformation in its region. Examples of other industry terms for Market Development Teams or similar concepts include “retrofit coordinators,” “retrofit accelerators,” or “retrofit transaction enablers.”
Low-rise multi-unit residential building (low-rise MURB)
A low-rise MURB is a building of purely residential occupancy that consists of a set of separate stacked residential units, with each residential unit having a private entrance either outside the building or from a common hall, lobby, vestibule or stairway inside the building. A low-rise MURB incorporates a minimum of two vertically stacked residential units, is a minimum of two storeys above finished grade, and does not exceed three storeys in height. In the context of GNPP and the applicability of the Energiesprong approach, four-storey MURBs are considered as an eligible housing archetype.
Appendix B – GNPP – MDT call Eligibility Conditions and Evaluated Criteria
|Eligible Applicants||The GNPP-MDT call is open to legal entities validly incorporated or registered in Canada, including:
The GNPP-MDT call is open to projects focusing on market development work that will facilitate and/or promote the deployment of Energiesprong-style aggregated deep energy retrofits, as defined in Appendix A, in the housing sector. Applicants must describe in their proposal the market development activities they intend to conduct. Refer to Section 4 for examples of market development activities in scope under this call.
|Eligible Funding||Applicants are eligible to request between $200,000 and $1 million (comprising up to 100% of total eligible project costs) for projects starting at any time on or after April 1, 2023, and ending no later than March 31, 2027, to enable organizations to operate as MDTs for the duration of the full GNPP. Note that projects must start no later than June 30, 2024.|
|Stacking Limit||Stacking of public funding (i.e. total government support for a project) will be supported to a maximum of 100% of total eligible expenditures.|
|Team and Partners
|Implementation and Risk
Appendix C – GNPP – Demonstration Projects Call
The second call of the GNPP, the Demonstration Projects call, is planned to launch later during the 2023 calendar year. While the current MDT call aims to support market development teams, the Demonstration Projects call will aim to support deep energy retrofit demonstration projects in community housing buildings in up to six communities (100 to 150 units per demonstration site). As MDTs are expected to collaborate closely with building owners and because of program regulations designed to prevent conflict of interest, any organization selected for funding after the first call will not be eligible for funding during the second call.
Preference will be given to projects demonstrating new approaches to aggregated deep energy retrofits that leverage similar building types to reduce costs, such as the use of prefabricated exterior panels. Under this second call, funding will be available for up to 50% of total project costs, including design and construction costs. (Note that this funding limit may be waived in the case of projects that are Indigenous-led or involve an Indigenous organization or community as a core partner.)
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