Green projects in Rossland and Trail are part of a $1.6-million energy retrofit program Columbia Basin Trust (Trust) announced at the end of July.
The funding is being directed into non-profit housing organizations in 14 communities across the Basin to help ensure existing affordable living units are maintained, cost-effective and energy efficient for residents.
The broadest scope project is slated for Esling Park Lodge, located at the bottom of Spokane Street in Rossland. The Trust granted $278,300 to the Rossland Seniors Housing Society for heat pumps and make-up air units in 23 apartments.
Two affordable housing advocates in Trail – 45 housing units collectively – will be outfitted for better energy efficiency with funds now in hand.
Trail FAIR (Family and Individual Resource Centre Society) will direct $43,300 into second-stage upgrades in six housing units. Specifically, the PTAC (self-contained heating and air systems commonly found in hotels, and senior housing facilities) will be replaced with air source heat pumps.
The society will also direct $27,500 to the WINS Transition House for air conditioning upgrades in five living spaces.
Silver City Gardens was approved $4,500 to outfit 34 units. This is in addition to a $31,500 grant the complex operators, the Canadian Mental Health Association for the Kootenays, received through the Trust’s 2017 retro-fit program.
In all, 32 buildings and 600+ affordable housing units were included in this grant cycle.
“We announced the Energy Retrofit Program last year with the goal of helping to upgrade as many affordable housing units as possible to save energy and reduce operating costs for non-profit housing groups,” said Aimee Ambrosone, Columbia Basin Trust Director, Delivery of Benefits, in a July 26 release.
“Thanks to the hard work of all these non-profit housing organizations and the many quality applications we received, we are increasing our overall commitment to $2.5 million.”
Delivered in partnership with the BC Non-Profit Housing Association and BC Housing, the program supports projects that range from installing new boilers to insulating attics. This is in addition to the $900,000 allocated in the first intake, which committed to upgrading 500 units in 25 buildings in 13 communities.
When the Trust embarked on a new management plan for 2016 to 2020, renewable and alternative energy as well as affordable housing were strategic priorities identified through numerous community consultations.
“Residents told the Trust that affordable housing, energy conservation and non-profit support were priorities for them,” the release read. “The Energy Retrofit Program addresses all three.”
The Trust is also developing an energy sustainability program for community purpose buildings. The program is expected to be launched later in 2018 and aims to lower energy consumption and costs by supporting energy retrofits and generation measures to enhance the building’s sustainability.