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Social and Assisted Housing Provider Incentives

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Making Social and Assisted Housing More Energy-Efficient

Ontario has long been recognized for its leadership and commitment to providing assisted and social housing. The Province has a proven track record of developing innovative solutions for improving the quality of life of residents in assisted and social housing. These solutions include an increased focus on achieving energy efficiency in this sector, and providing financial support to do so.

Substantial financial incentives continue to be available to make assisted and social housing buildings more energy-efficient. These incentives can help assisted and social housing providers undertake energy audits to identify potential energy savings opportunities, and make upgrades to equipment, such as HVAC systems, in-suite appliances and lighting fixtures, as well as to the building envelope. A wide variety of energy-efficiency upgrades are now eligible for savings of as much as 50 per cent. 

Making life more comfortable and affordable for people living in assisted and social housing remains a priority. So does helping building owners and managers enjoy lower utility costs, better tenant comfort and even increased property values. Why not take a moment to explore the financial and other supports that are available? 

The Benefits

o       Recouped costs for energy-saving projects

o       Reduced operating/utility costs

o       Enhanced building condition

o       Improved resident comfort

o       Expanded resident awareness of energy conservation

o       Reduced impact on the environment

Funding Details

o       As much as 50 per cent of project costs are covered through various incentives.

o       Assisted and social housing buildings are eligible for advanced funding of as much as 50 percent of the estimated participant incentives for equipment replacement projects.

o       Incentives apply to a wide variety of equipment upgrades.

o       Incentives also apply to a variety of building envelope improvement measures.

o       You are encouraged to approach other agencies to help fund your project. However, the total funding from all sources cannot exceed 100 per cent of your total project cost. We require you to indicate in your application all programs and initiatives to which you intend to apply. Natural Resources Canada (ecoEnergy), the Province of Ontario or your local gas utility may offer additional incentives or rebates.

o       This initiative is funded by the Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) and delivered through participating local hydro companies. Your project can receive financial incentives from only ONE program funded by the IESO. The IESO- funded portion of projects cannot be included in any rent increase application.


Eligible building types

o       Public and municipal housing located in the Province of Ontario

o       Supportive housing and shelters

o       Non-profits

o       Cooperatives and affordable housing

o       Buildings containing six or more Residential Dwelling Units, defined as self-contained living spaces for one household with private kitchen, bathroom and bedroom(s)

o       Receives electricity from a licensed Ontario local hydro company supplied by the Ontario electricity system.

You are eligible to apply if you are the owner (or authorized representative) of an existing Ontario multi-family residential building. Buildings zoned as mixed-use (multi-residential and commercial space) are also eligible.


Energy Savings

A variety of upgrades to your building are eligible for financial incentives. A comprehensive building audit under the Audit Funding program will help you determine the best energy-saving opportunities, including less-than-efficient equipment. Many energy consulting firms are qualified to complete an energy audit of your building. The audit report will identify the equipment upgrades that can save energy, and estimate the energy-savings potential and budget cost.

Common retrofit projects that save electricity include replacing lighting (re-lamping, fixture changes, compact fluorescent installation), motors, drives, HVAC upgrades, controls, in-suite appliances, even ground-source cooling systems and solar thermal installations. Each of these retrofits is eligible for incentive dollars based on the number of each equipment type or “measure” that is to be replaced, and the amount of electricity that will be saved.

There are three types of “tracks” for which you can apply — Prescriptive and Custom.

Prescriptive  Measures

In the Prescriptove Measures track, the incentive is already defined in incentive dollars-per-item installed. Examples include: replacing old light bulbs with energy-efficient compact fluorescents, and installing ENERGY STAR® appliances, ground source heat pumps, programmable thermostats and occupancy sensors. The value of the Prescriptive incentive is easily calculated on a dollars-per-item basis.

Eligible Prescriptive measures include:

o       Interior and exterior lighting in common areas

o       Exit signs

o       Occupancy sensors

o       Hot water systems (including solar)

o       Ground source heat pumps

o       Non-electric chillers

o       ENERGY STAR® appliances


and more

Custom Tracks

Incentives for Custom measures incentives are calculated based on the actual energy savings in kilowatt-hours (kWh) that will result from installing a particular measure. To access these tracks, you are likely to have first completed an energy audit of your building, allowing your project to be tailored to your needs. The application form includes worksheets to calculate the savings and the eligible Incentives. The amount of your incentive is calculated based on improved energy performance. Examples include: HVAC upgrades, building automation/controls and building envelope upgrades. The incentive for projects in the Custom tracks is 5 cents per kWh and/or $400 per kW peak reduction for lighting measures; and 10 cents per kWh and/or $800 per kW peak demand reduction for all other measures. You may also be eligible for additional incentives to take you to a maximum of 50 per cent of the total cost of your retrofit project.

Eligible Custom measures include:

o       Lighting redesigns in common areas

o       HVAC retrofits or overhauls (chillers)

o       Building envelope upgrades

o       Building automation controls

o       Variable speed drives and more


Building Operator training to support improved operation of your heating, mechanical and electrical systems will be available to building operators, managers and maintenance staff. This training will provide your staff with an in-depth look at the best ways to manage your facility, from information on the latest technologies, to tips, techniques, and best practices in energy efficiency and conservation opportunities.

Getting Started

1.      Know your building equipment and systems, and where the best opportunities are for energy savings.
Financial assistance is available to offset the cost of a pre-project energy audit through the Audit Funding program. Your local hydro company can provide you with further information on the incentives available, and how to apply.

2.      With the help of your energy auditor, develop a multi-measure Retrofit project proposal that presents an acceptable payback period.
Your local hydro company can help you with calculation tools and other necessary information to create a solid business case with reasonable expectations for return on your investment.

3.      Identify other incentives and funding instruments that may significantly reduce the payback period of your project.
For social and non-profit housing, we offer advanced funding of as much as 50 per cent of the estimated participant incentives for the project, following the approval of the application by your utility and before the project starts. Your utility can also advise you on other incentives that may be available, such as natural gas and water savings programs.

4.      Prepare and submit your application(s) online by registering and logging in above.

5.      Proceed with your approved Retrofit project.
Your utility is here for you throughout your project. Contact your local hydro company when you have a question or concern about your contract.

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