City of Vancouver’s green scene gets better and better thanks to another great green pilot project to help Vancouver meet its 2020 Greenest City targets.

This time the green spotlight is on the employment program to weatherize or draft-proof neighbourhood homes of inner-city residents, which provides employment opportunities for low-threshold inner-city residents by facilitating community-based business support and training programs coupled with employment services through EMBERS (Eastside Movement for Business & Economic Renewal Society) Green Renovations enterprise (www.embersgreenrenovations.com).

The City’s weatherization project was supported and funded by:

  • The City of Vancouver, and partners:
  • FortisBC (formerly Terasen Gas) – $15,000 contribution,
  • BC Hydro,
  • Vancity (a credit union) – $50,000 mission-based grant contribution,
  • non-profit EMBERS (Eastside Movement for Business & Economic Renewal Society). City and Vancity are providing $150,000 to support the newly created social enterprise, EMBERS Green Renovations, during the first year of operations.

Here are the green and social benefits of the single-family home weatherization project:

  1. supporting green economy:  creating green jobs and producing “social enterprise growth”,
  2. providing training and job opportunities to citizens (4) that face barriers,
  3. providing green home renovations to inner-city residents,
  4. providing services free of charge to 50 homeowners,
  5. helping build sustainable communities,
  6. saving energy and helping the City to meet the 2020 Greenest City targets,
  7. promoting energy conservation and environmental responsibility,
  8. reducing electricity costs for customers,
  9. improving the environment,
  10. reducing air leakage by an average 15 to 20 per cent with the weatherization service,
  11. cost-effective way to improve building performance by preventing heat loss, reducing energy consumption and lowering greenhouse gas emissions,
  12. eliminate more than 775,000 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions, saving a total of 15.5 million gigajoules, which is enough natural gas for close to 155,000 homes for one year,
  13. and thus making important contributions towards achieving British Columbia’s climate action goals.

The City of Vancouver wants to increase demand for weatherization services among Vancouver homeowners via regulatory improvements and financial incentives.

Weatherizing homes and creating green jobs: March 24, 2011, Mayor Gregor Robertson (center) with partners celebrating a program to weatherize neighbourhood homes which provides work to people who face barriers to employment. Photo Credit: City of Vancouver

Weatherizing homes and creating green jobs: March 24, 2011, Mayor Gregor Robertson (center) with partners celebrating a program to weatherize neighbourhood homes which provides work to people who face barriers to employment. Photo Credit: City of Vancouver

City of Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

New Release

Weatherization project supports environment and creates green jobs

March 24, 2011 – The City of Vancouver, and partners FortisBC (formerly Terasen Gas), BC Hydro, Vancity and non-profit EMBERS (Eastside Movement for Business & Economic Renewal Society) today celebrated a program to weatherize, or draft-proof, neighbourhood homes which provides work to people who face barriers to employment.

“This weatherization project is a great example of how the City is supporting the green economy, green jobs and social enterprise growth,” said Mayor Gregor Robertson. “Weatherizing homes saves energy and helps us meet our 2020 Greenest City targets.”

“Energy conservation and environmental responsibility are fundamental values for FortisBC. Through initiatives such as this weatherization project, we are helping Vancouver residents save more money and energy, while making important contributions towards achieving B.C.’s climate action goals,” said Doug Stout, vice president, energy solutions and external relations, FortisBC.

“There are many advantages to energy conservation and efficiency, including reduced electricity costs for customers and, as demonstrated by the creation of the EMBERS green renovation program, there are spin off benefits for community groups and local businesses,” said Lisa Coltart, executive director of Power Smart & Customer Care, BC Hydro. “We are working to meet at least 66 per cent of new demand through conservation and efficiency by 2020 and, in the process, are pleased to be able to foster innovation and economic development.”

“Vancity has a strong commitment to lending and investing in ways that improve the environment and create livable jobs. We are proud to support energy-efficiency initiatives such as this partnership between the City of Vancouver and Embers for their home weatherization project,” said David Berge, Sr. VP Community Investment at Vancity. “This is a great example of a non-profit, a City and a financial institution making a difference one house at a time and one job at a time. It’s the best way a credit union can make an impact in the communities it serves.”

“We are delighted that the City of Vancouver and stakeholders are committed to helping build sustainable communities by providing energy efficient solutions and green home renovations to inner-city residents,” said Marcia Nozick, Executive Director of EMBERS. “EMBERS is the only company in the Lower Mainland that specializes in weatherization and draft-proofing, while creating green jobs to support the green economy coupled with providing training and job opportunities to citizens that face barriers.”

In the project’s first phase, the City, FortisBC and BC Hydro supported EMBERS to hire and train four people to weatherize neighbourhood homes as part of a pilot project. Services were provided free of charge to 50 homeowners. The pilot found an average 15 to 20 per cent reduction in air leakage with the weatherization service.

During the project’s current phase, the City and Vancity are providing $150,000 to support the newly created social enterprise, EMBERS Green Renovations, during the first year of operations.

Research shows that weatherization is a cost-effective way to improve building performance by preventing heat loss, reducing energy consumption and lowering greenhouse gas emissions.

The City and partners are considering regulatory improvements and financial incentives to boost demand for weatherization services among Vancouver homeowners.

Backgrounder

FortisBC
FortisBC is committed to helping customers conserve energy and get the most out of their energy dollar by providing both financial incentives and advice on energy efficient technologies and practices. In addition to their $15,000 contribution to the City of Vancouver weatherization pilot project, FortisBC is also enhancing the energy efficiency tools and incentives available to residential customers, businesses and community facilities. As a result, British Columbians are able to make important improvements in the way they use energy.

Over the life of the program, FortisBC’s Energy Efficiency and Conservation initiative will help gas customers eliminate more than 775,000 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions, saving a total of 15.5 million gigajoules, which is enough natural gas for close to 155,000 homes for one year.

Vancity
Vancity provided a $50,000 mission-based grant to the City of Vancouver’s Green Capital Fund to support the launch of the City’s Weatherization Program – a partnership between the City and EMBERS. Vancity is committed to providing services and products that benefit people, the community and the environment. It’s the best way a credit union can make an impact in the communities it serves.

Saving energy helps reduce green house gas (GHG) emissions. Vancity has a strong commitment to addressing the issue of climate change and to reducing GHG emissions. Thus, we support energy-efficiency initiatives, including this partnership.

EMBERS (www.embersvancouver.com)
Founded in 2001, and located in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside, EMBERS (Eastside Movement for Business & Economic Renewal Society) is a non-profit community economic development organization that provides employment opportunities for low-threshold inner-city residents by facilitating community-based business support and training programs coupled with employment services. EMBERS employment services, green building solutions and small business training programs are facilitated through EMBERS Staffing Solutions, EMBERS Green Renovations and EMBERS Small Business Solutions.

EMBERS Green Renovations (www.embersgreenrenovations.com)
EMBERS Green Renovations is a non-profit social enterprise that began as a pilot program developed in conjunction with the City of Vancouver, FortisBC and BC Hydro in September 2010. EMBERS Green Renovations trains inner-city residents in weatherization for Vancouver’s single-family home renovation market. This contribution helps achieve greenhouse gas reductions, creates new green jobs, and provides employment opportunities in the green economy to Vancouver citizens who may not have access to such opportunities.

During the project’s current phase, the City and Vancity are providing $150,000 to support the newly created social enterprise, EMBERS Green Renovations, during the first year of operations.

Research shows that weatherization is a cost-effective way to improve building performance by preventing heat loss, reducing energy consumption and lowering greenhouse gas emissions.

The City and partners are considering regulatory improvements and financial incentives to boost demand for weatherization services among Vancouver homeowners.

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