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Energy Matters: June 2023

Energy Matters: June 2023

The HSC Energy Services team had a busy spring managing the regular renewal for our Natural Gas Purchasing Program, which this year included conducting an advance bulk gas purchase, as well as assisting non-profit housing providers with completing provincial energy data submissions. In our summer issue of Energy Matters, we invite you to share feedback on a no-cost heat pump installation program, bring you a guest article from Enbridge Gas, and map out how to integrate energy saving and emissions reduction into your capital planning.

We hope you enjoy and have a safe summer!

In this issue:

Have Your Say in a Direct-Install Heat Pump Opportunity

At our May 15, 2023, Energy Services Stakeholder Advisory Group meeting, the Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) outlined its plan for a new air-source heat pump (ASHP) program offering. The offering will provide direct installation of an ASHP, along with two-years of annual equipment maintenance and budget for a supplemental electrical panel, at no-cost to participants.

A heat pump captures heat from outside and moves it into your home, using electricity to do so. Here’s how it works:

  1. Outside air is drawn in over a network of tubes filled with refrigerant gas, which circulates to extract heat energy from the air outside.
  2. The refrigerant gas passes through a compressor which increases the pressure and temperature causing it to change from a cold gas to a hot liquid.
  3. The compressed hot liquid passes into a heat exchanger that heats water for both your radiator heating circuit and your taps. The refrigerant then turns back into a cold gas and starts the cycle all over again.

There are many benefits to an air-source heat pump, including the fact that they can be more efficient than gas boilers.

Drawing of air-source heat pump describing its different components.
Source: CleanBC

The initial audience for the program will be electrically heated single-family homes, including detached, semi-detached, duplex, triplex, and townhouses, with potential for low-rise multi-unit residential buildings to be considered at a later time.

The program is in its early stages, with a modest budget for the 2024 year; however it’s important to note that the IESO is already looking beyond 2024 and inviting input to inform future program budgets and design. If you’re an Ontario social housing provider, please take this short survey to quantify the need for ASHPs, identify potential barriers, and suggest the best roll-out methods for this program to our sector.

HSC will continue to engage the IESO on program offerings and incentives to support Ontario’s community housing sector.

Enbridge Gas – Working Together to Help You

The following guest article is sponsored content provided by Enbridge Gas, Inc.

At Enbridge Gas our Affordable Housing Multi-Family Program offers financial incentives to help identify and implement energy efficiency initiatives and is designed to help participants save energy, lower operating costs, and reduce carbon emissions. Here’s how we add value for our customers:

We know that affordable housing providers operate within limited annual budgets, so every decision comes down to dollars. Our Affordable Multi-Family Housing Program provides generous incentives that go straight to the bottom line. We work with customers to identify the right technology and apply an incentive to help build a better business case for approvals.

Budgets can make it difficult to move ahead with certain building improvements. Incentives not only lower the upfront cost of energy efficiency equipment, but the continuous savings through installation of high efficiency equipment help reduce the energy and operating costs year over year. Installation of high efficiency equipment not only helps reduce costs but improves resident comfort – benefiting the residents and property managers in providing better homes.

Man in orange vest and white hard hat looks at tubes in a control room.
Source: Enbridge Gas, Inc.

Whether replacing end-of-life equipment, or immediate need to replace equipment that’s broken down, we’re determined to better understand our customer’s goals to provide a comprehensive solution. We will work with you to understand your needs and suggest the high efficiency equipment which can meet your objectives. We will provide technical support and help connect you with service agents/contractors who can help you with -with your equipment upgrades. Our advice will allow you to make informed decisions on how best to move forward.

Bring us in early, and we’ll take care of everything. We’ve simplified the process, making it as easy as possible for customers to get incentives. Our team does all the heavy lifting, from design assistance to verifying savings; we even take care of the paperwork. Our goal is simple – help affordable housing providers reduce costs and improve the quality of the homes they provide.

Enbridge Gas has helped hundreds of affordable housing providers, building managers and residents across Ontario find ways to become more energy-efficient, cost effective and comfortable.

We’ll work with you to:

  • Understand your business needs and provide expert advice at no additional cost.
  • Identify and prioritize energy-saving projects across your business.
  • Calculate estimated savings to help build your business case.
  • Provide technical support and connect you with service agents/ contractors to perform the work.
  • Apply for incentives to speed up project payback.

Eligible incentives:

  • Energy assessments – up to $8,000
  • Boilers: get an average incentive of $22,000
  • Water heaters: get incentives up to $2,000
  • Make-up air units: get incentives up to $14,000
  • Energy and heat recovery ventilators: get incentives up to $4.00 per CFM

Credibility from a trusted brand

Enbridge Gas has been delivering incentive programs to affordable housing customers since 2012. We can verify and confirm the estimated savings and predicted payback periods and put together an incentive to strengthen the business case.

Let us guide you through the process and help get your savings underway. Take the first step and apply today.

phone icon 1-866-844-9994

Connect the Dots: Capital Planning, Energy Savings, and GHG Reductions

Building condition assessments (BCAs) and energy audits can be very useful to housing providers when planning capital repair, renewal, and operations and maintenance activities. However, BCAs and energy audits tend to stand alone from each other, which can complicate the capital planning process and result in missed opportunities for utility savings and greenhouse gas (GHG) emission reductions.

The two main reasons this can happen are:

  1. A BCA typically provides the basic information for a capital plan, yet BCAs typically assume like-for-like replacement of components or systems already in the buildings; and
  2. An energy audit lists all potential utility saving measures for a building, but you must then decide which measures you want to undertake.

Users of our AssetPlanner capital forecasting software often ask how to combine the information from both an energy audit and a BCA into a capital plan. The simple answer is that you can treat the BCA data as a basis for the capital plan, decide which energy audit recommendations you plan to do, and then update the BCA data to reflect the audit recommendations you plan to undertake. The full steps are:

1. Ensure your building data reflects the current conditions of your components. If your BCA is a few years old, you should update the information to reflect recent capital work you’ve done in the building, including any major replacements and repairs. Updates should reflect the new condition of the component, the next time it needs to be replaced, and the hard cost of the work done.

  • It’s helpful to use a capital planning software or Excel sheet to capture your initial BCA information and updates since it was done, so you have a “living” BCA with accurate information to support a capital plan.

2. Now review the building data to see which components are coming up for replacement or repair during your planning period.

  • Remember to look for opportunities to group similar components together to save money and reduce impacts on tenants. For example, windows slated for replacement in 2025 and patio doors in 2027 can be done at the same time. Selecting high-performance products will lead to energy savings and emissions reductions.

3. Review the energy audit to see which recommendations overlap with the building components coming up for renewal.

4. Determine which recommendations from the energy audit you intend to undertake.

  • If your organization or municipality has emissions reduction targets, you will also want to look for opportunities to move away from gas-fired systems, even if such opportunities are not identified in your energy audit. For example, you may need to include a study in your capital plan to investigate electrifying your heating system instead of replacing a low-efficiency gas boiler with a higher-efficiency model since that would lock you in to gas equipment for another twenty years.
Example of excel workbook listing various components such as foundation, exterior walls, with corresponding columns for work that needs to be undertaken, year and estimate.

5. Update the BCA data to reflect the actions from the energy audit actions you plan to undertake. Be sure to update the action cost, lifecycle, and description to reflect the energy audit recommendation. If you use a capital planning software, you can make these changes directly within the software. Otherwise, you can do this in Excel.

Excel sheet showing update to BCA data
Excel sheet showing updated BCA data, reflecting energy audit measure.

6. Develop your formal capital plan now that your BCA data is updated with the energy audit recommendations you plan to undertake. If your data is in a capital planning software, export it to Excel; users of AssetPlanner software may wish to run the Reserve Fund Study report for this purpose. Otherwise, save your existing Excel sheet to a different name.

7. Decide what work you will do with the budget you have. You may not have enough funds to do all the capital work that is listed in your capital plan. You therefore need to prioritize projects and reflect decisions to defer others in your capital plan:

8. After you complete the work in your building, update your building information to reflect the new condition and actual cost of the component. Whether you use a software like AssetPlanner or an Excel sheet, it is important to always update your BCA data as work is done to ensure a good basis for a capital plan.

Service Managers and housing providers using HSC AssetPlanner can contact us for questions in this area. Or, if you’re looking for more in-depth assistance on capital plan development and project management, contact HSC Technical Services

Log-in for your Q1 2022 UMP Report

Reviewing your buildings’ utility performance is an important part of ensuring your equipment is operating efficiently. It also helps you identify opportunities to reduce consumption and emissions across your portfolio.

Log in to UMP to view your latest UMP dashboards and Gas, Electricity, and Water reports. If you’re not sure how to interpret your data, contact us.

Other Topics? If you’d like to suggest a topic or want a one-on-one review with HSC staff, please contact us!

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