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Canadian Energy Efficiency Action Monitor 2019

Canadian Energy Efficiency Action Monitor 2019

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This summary report was prepared by Indigenous Clean Energy and profiles key updates in the Energy Efficiency space over the past year from coast to coast. It features work being undertaken and achieved by Indigenous communities, organizations, ENGOs, and associated parties which are all working towards a just energy transition.

Bringing it Home is an Indigenous-led initiative to enable and implement healthy, energy efficient homes and facilities in First Nations, Métis, and Inuit communities. In 2019 the program was in its conceptual stage and the framework was developed for six guide communities to embark on projects which would be ground-breaking demonstrations of the program goals. Some of the key points about BIH’s program achievements in 2019 include:  

  • BIH was accepted into the Indigenous Homes and Innovation Initiative;
  • BIH was granted funding from McConnell Foundation and the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation;
  • The BIH team identified and formed project roadmaps with six guide communities, which will implement energy efficiency projects on community dwellings in 2020. Each Guide Community has a Community Energy Champions which has completed the 20/20 Catalysts Program; and
  • Two of the guide communities have Community Energy Champions which are also part of the Indigenous Off-Diesel Initiative, an NRCan Program.

CleanTech Community Gateway and T’Sou-ke First Nation are partnering to develop innovative housing solutions for Indigenous communities in BC. The project will be led by T’Sou-ke First Nation with all activities directed through the T’Sou-ke Centre for Sustainability. The purpose of this project is two-fold: First, to function as an incubator for capacity building within participating communities, and second to test various technologies for energy efficient housing. The goal is to place an emphasis on both social and technical innovation. The first phase of the project will involve engaging a diverse range of stakeholders, subject matter experts and Indigenous communities to investigate the challenges and opportunities for housing on reserve. The second phase will involve mentorship with T’Sou-ke First Nation for Comprehensive Community Planning, housing strategy development, skills training and organizational planning. The final phase of the project will involve prospecting and implementing clean technology solutions for affordable, energy efficient and culturally appropriate housing.

Starting in 2018, the Nova Scotia Department of Energy and Mines partnered with Efficiency Nova Scotia on a pilot program that saw 100 households on all 13 Mi’kmaw communities across the province of Nova Scotia receive home efficiency upgrades. Homeowners are now saving an average of $900 per year on their energy bills. The Mi’kmaw Home Energy Efficiency Project, expected to start in 2020, will follow the pilot project. This project will see all band-owned homes on reserves qualify for upgrades like new insulation, heat pumps and draft-proofing. The initiative will lower heating and power bills, cut greenhouse gas emissions and create green jobs in Mi’kmaw communities across the province. The goal is to provide upgrades to 80 percent of the 2,400 band-owned homes on the reserves over 10 years, with 900 homes in the first four years. Thirty-six community members completed training to install energy efficient lighting, electric hot water tanks and pipe wrap, low-flow showerheads and other upgrades. The installers also provided residents with information and advice to help them save. The provincial and federal governments are investing a total of $14 million in the Mi’kmaw Home Energy Efficiency Project − the most comprehensive project of its kind in the country.

The Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) published a new online tool in 2019 for Indigenous communities to find funding opportunities for housing construction and renovations based on region, support type and program. The tool is free and available for download here: https://www.cmhc-schl.gc.ca/en/developing-and-renovating/funding-opportunities/funding-first-nations-development/funding-opportunities-tool-for-indigenous-housing

K'asho Got'ine Housing Society in Fort Good Hope, Northwest Territories, was granted funding to support an energy retrofit of a men's transitional home. The Energy Retrofit for Men's Transitional Home was supported by the Northern REACHE program in the amount of $84,450.

The Yukon Government was awarded funding through Northern REACHE for the Old Crow/Watson Lake Community Green Energy Initiative, to support integrated asset management plans to prioritize retrofits for commercial buildings.

The Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) is launching the Remote First Nations Energy Efficiency Pilot Program to make electricity more affordable for remote Indigenous communities that will soon be connected to Ontario’s electricity grid. The program will serve four communities to be connected by the Wataynikaneyap transmission project in northwest Ontario: Kasabonika Lake First Nation, Wunnumin Lake First Nation, North Caribou Lake First Nation, and Sachigo Lake First Nation. Nishnawbe-Aski Nation will assist the IESO in delivering the program. Participating customers will receive a home energy audit and installation of energy-efficient products such as lighting, insulation and pipe wrapping. Energy-efficiency measures will also be available to non-residential facilities, including small businesses, recreational facilities, and band-owned buildings.

ʔaq̓am First Nations received a funding investment of $400,000 to retrofit homes to meet a higher standard of energy efficiency, making homes more affordable to live in and maintain. Through this funding, the community's energy advisor will provide recommendations on appropriate upgrades and technologies to retrofit homes in the community. This approach will be shared with other Indigenous communities facing similar challenges to improve the energy performance of their houses and make life more affordable. This project — funded through Natural Resources Canada's Energy Efficiency Program — will also help the First Nations community develop sustainable building practices that meet local cultural requirements and support the community in adopting increasingly energy-efficient buildings.

"This project complements our community strategic plan ka kniⱡwi·tiyaⱡa, our thinking and our goal to live in ways that conserve energy and maintain high-quality infrastructure within our community. We look forward to seeing the energy improvements that this funding will support, as well as how this funding complements work already being completed within our community housing strategy."

Joe Pierre Jr., Nasuʔkin (Chief)
ʔaq̓am Community

The Métis Nation of Alberta hosted workshops in October 2019 on home energy efficiency in three locations. “Indigenous knowledge meets western science” is the tagline of the event series. This MNA workshop is put on in partnership with Newo Global Energy. Newo’s motto is “local energy for a global community.” Topics include sustainable living, increasing home energy efficient, and environmental stewardship.

In October, the Slave Lake Native Friendship Centre hosted the “Indigenous Energy Efficiency Champions” which featured keynote speaker, David Suzuki. Panels included local experts, of which two are from Keepers of the Athabasca: Jule Asterisk, project manager and Paul Belanger, co-chair, both of whom have experience with solar installations. Also joining the panel was Walter Andreeff, MNA Region 5 Consultant and Climate Leadership Coordinator. The conference was open to anyone interested and included “how to use efficient technology” and “jobs and training opportunities”.

Blower, M., Fischer, F., Garnett, A., Matous-Gibbs, I., & Rogger, J. (2020). Indigenous Innovative Housing Compendium: Leadership from across Canada.








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