Launch Energy Efficiency Retrofit (Residential and ICI) Team

The highest priority action that the task force identified was residential retrofits of homes built prior to 1980; the second highest was retrofits in the ICI sector. A program focused on delivering energy efficiency retrofits would address each of these, beginning with residential and then moving on to ICI.

The Energy Efficiency Retrofit Program (EERP) team would include representation from the following constituencies:

  1. City of Guelph
  2. Delivery agent
  3. Renovation contractors
  4. Suppliers of energy-efficient building products
  5. Energy auditors
  6. Utilities (gas and electric), including the Green and Renewable Energy & Technology Centre (GRE&T) Centre (see below)
  7. Financial institutions (as investors)
  8. Mortgage lenders (as stakeholders in priority lien status)
  9. Realtors

The urgency to proceed with an EERP has increased since the Guelph Energy Efficiency Retrofit Strategy (GEERS) concept was first presented to Council; at that time, an average of 2400 homes would need to be retrofitted per year to meet the program goals of 80% penetration by 2031. Now, the annual average would have to reach 3200 homes to meet the goal. Delaying the program launch will make it less and less realistic that the end goal would be achievable.

There are opportunities to advance an EERP with provincial funding assistance. In March 2018 the Province announced the GreenON Challenge, in which it plans to invest up to $300M in projects “that identify and propose a solution to a market barrier in deploying commercially available low-carbon technologies and/or improving processes in buildings or the production of goods”. An EERP would be a very good fit with this focus.

There are further opportunities to partner with other municipalities should it be decided to implement energy efficiency retrofit programs using Local Improvement Charges (LICs). For example, a total of 22 municipalities participated in the Collaboration on Home Energy Efficiency Retrofits In Ontario (CHEERIO), an advocacy initiative “to facilitate cost sharing and co-operation in creating an LIC pilot-program template and other tools that can be used or adapted by any Ontario municipality”[1]. Enough municipalities are approaching the point of launching a GEERS-like program that there would be substantial benefits in partnering with them on funding applications, knowledge sharing, advocacy efforts, and potentially establishing a program delivery agent.

The pending merger of Guelph Hydro Electric Systems Inc. with Alectra Utilities offers yet more opportunity. The planned GRE&T Centre will have the potential to bring exciting new technological and business model innovations to commercialization. This will position Guelph as an innovator, give community members the first chance to try out these new products and services, and attract investment from the companies that are developing them. One possible way for OEG to collaborate with the GRE&T Centre is using an EERP as a channel to finance the purchase of GRE&T Centre technologies.


[1] Persram , Sonja. LIC Primer: Using Local Improvement Charges to Finance Residential Energy Upgrades. Collaboration on Home Energy Efficiency Retrofits In Ontario. July 25, 2013. 

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