Affordable Homes Are Now More Energy Efficient

(Columbia Basin) – Hundreds of residents will find their homes more energy efficient as organizations throughout the Columbia Basin perform energy retrofits on affordable rental housing. These projects—taking place in 23 buildings in 11 communities and benefiting 371 individual units—are being supported by Columbia Basin Trust.

“There are so many reasons this work is important, including helping affordable housing operators keep their energy costs down, and help keep rents affordable,” said Ulli Mueller, Senior Manager, Delivery of Benefits, Columbia Basin Trust. “Add to that reducing greenhouse gas emissions, contributing less to climate change and simply keeping tenants comfortable, and you can see how steps like these have broad positive benefits.”

Altogether, these projects—which may include upgrading windows or boilers or installing LED lighting—will lead to energy savings of approximately 1.49 million equivalent kilowatt hours per year. This translates to a savings of approximately $160,000 in annual operating costs and a sizeable reduction in greenhouse gas emissions.

The program is being delivered in partnership with BC Housing and the BC Non-profit Housing Association.

To see the current recipients, click here.

Here are a few examples:

Cranbrook

In Cranbrook, the ʔAqantⱠanam Housing Society offers a wide range of affordable housing options, primarily to people of Indigenous ancestry. It is doing energy retrofits on its 12-unit Hillcrest Heights apartment block, plus three individual rental homes. This includes activities like upgrading a boiler and hot water tank and installing heat pumps.

“The ʔAqantⱠanam Housing Society’s main priority is to maintain or improve the quality of life of our tenants,” said Cecilia Teneese, Executive Director. “We achieve this by providing a high level of service for housing that includes climate adaptation—designing building systems that can adapt to climate changes; affordability—using energy-efficient systems to lower energy costs; and reliability—ensuring that all essential needs for a safe and comfortable home are met. Altogether, the current upgrades will reduce utility costs and maintenance, increase energy efficiency, lower greenhouse gas emissions and provide cooling for tenants in summer.”

Nakusp / New Denver / Revelstoke

People in Nakusp, New Denver and Revelstoke who need assisted-living, independent-living and affordable-rental homes for seniors can turn to the Halcyon Assisted Living Society. It is upgrading items like hot water tanks, insulation, heat pumps and lighting at Halcyon House (Nakusp), Dr. Brouse Lodge (New Denver) and Moberly Manor (Revelstoke).

“These effects will have an everlasting impact on the overall quality of the environment of these facilities,” said Tim Payne, Executive Director. “The money saved through the implementation of this grant will make it more affordable for non-profits like us to operate and stay viable. We feel extremely lucky to be able to access these initiatives, which will enable us to continue to provide efficient and quality services to the population we serve.”

Salmo

Twenty units for seniors at Salmo Valley Estates will benefit from an upgraded heating, ventilation and air conditioning system. The Salmo & Area Supportive Housing Society runs these estates, which enable seniors to enjoy independent, active lifestyles.

“This upgrade will help reduce carbon fuel consumption and reduce amperage draws, as well as provide better performance and comfort to our residents year-round,” said Melanie Cox, Manager. “This is a fantastic opportunity to actualize cost savings and use solutions that reduce the impact on climate while increasing comfort for our tenants.”

Learn more about the Energy Retrofit Program at ourtrust.org/energyretrofit.

Learn more about the Trust’s Housing Initiative as ourtrust.org/housing.

Since 2016, the Trust has committed over $76.8 million toward initiatives that help create new affordable rental housing, conserve energy, and generate renewable and alternative energy. These initiatives have helped create over 1,100 affordable rental homes in the Basin and upgraded another 1,670, are creating energy savings of approximately 7 million equivalent kilowatt hours per year and help save $778,000 in annual operating costs for non-profit affordable housing societies. 

Columbia Basin Trust supports the efforts of the people in the Columbia Basin. To learn more about the Trust’s programs and initiatives, and how it helps deliver social, economic and environmental benefits to the Basin, visit ourtrust.org or call 1.800.505.8998.