Tobi Nussbaum's op-ed published in the Ottawa Citizen's online edition on Sunday argues that Ottawa should follow Toronto's lead in using local improvement charges (LICs) to fund energy retrofits on private property within the city of Ottawa.
Thanks to recent changes in provincial law that now permit municipalities to do so, Toronto plans to provide $20 million in loans to 1,000 home and business owners to finance energy and water efficiency upgrades. The pilot is expected to reduce 5,000 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions annually while generating 300 new jobs and saving participating owners as much as $1 million. The upgrades could include anything from higher efficiency windows to better insulation to hot-water solar panels.
In 2007, buildings accounted for 17% [pdf link] of Ontario's carbon emissions. LICs are a great way to support property owners in reducing their energy use and our city's GHG emissions.
Ecology Ottawa, along with 30 other organisations sent a letter to Mayor Jim Watson on October 31st urging the City to adopt a similar plan.