City of Ottawa urged to help homeowners save money, energy

Local businesses, community associations, environmental groups urge Mayor, City Council to follow Toronto's leadership and implement pilot program here

OTTAWA, Oct. 31, 2013 / – Thirty local businesses, community organizations and environmental groups wrote to Mayor Jim Watson and all Ottawa City Councillors today urging them to use Local Improvement Charges (LICs) to help homeowners save money and energy.

Benefits to the City and its taxpayers include: a) access to a voluntary financing program that will provide savings for Ottawa homeowners and businesses through lower energy bills at no cost to the city; b) creating local jobs; c) promoting Ottawa as a leader on green buildings and homes; d) allow financing obligations and benefits to be shared with new owners; and e) be City administered—lower risks and provides credibility.

“We stand ready to assist the City of Ottawa with the design and implementation of a pilot program in Ottawa,” said Trevor Haché of Ecology Ottawa.

Businesses and groups signing the letter include the Social Planning Council of Ottawa, seven community associations, Windmill Development Group, Build Green Solutions, Ecology Ottawa, Homesol Building Solutions Inc., EnviroCentre, Jonathan Ham Energy Consulting Inc, Design HVAC Experts Inc., Reliable Home Environment, Rick Ménard Heating & Cooling Ltd., RB Heating Climate Care, Ottawa Renewable Energy Co-op, iSolara Solar Power, and Ottawa Solar Power.

The City of Ottawa has been doing research on the idea since City Council directed them to conduct a feasibility study as one of the actions resulting from the passage of the 2012 Green Buildings Promotion Program report.

In the past year there have been several new developments that make it much easier for Ottawa to move forward with a pilot program here:

1. The Government of Ontario amended LIC regulations to allow municipalities to use the LIC process to voluntarily finance energy efficiency, water efficiency and renewable energy projects on individual buildings.

2. Collaboration on Home Energy Efficiency Retrofits in Ontario (CHEERIO) – a collaborative of municipalities and other stakeholders across the province and partially funded by governments and utilities has developed an LIC financing pilot program design for small residential properties, as well as other tools, guidelines, model program templates, and monitoring. Ottawa is an observer member of CHEERIO. For more information on these tools, visit http://www.cleanairpartnership.org/cheerio.

3. In July 2013, the City of Toronto approved a $20 million pilot energy and water and efficiency retrofit program for the residential sector that utilizes the LIC financing mechanism. The program is expected to launch late in 2013. See http://www.toronto.ca/teo/residential-energy-retrofit.htm for more information.

The letter can be downloaded from the Ecology Ottawa website.

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For more information, please contact:

Trevor Haché, Policy Coordinator, Ecology Ottawa; cell: 613-789-0604; [email protected]

Graham Saul, Executive Director, Ecology Ottawa; cell: 613-710-2819; [email protected]

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