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Apr 22nd, 2016

Energy Retrofits Coming to Social Housing in Ottawa – Ontario Invests $12 Million in Retrofits to Fight Climate Change

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Ontario continues to put its new Climate Change Strategy into action by investing $12,224,483 in social housing retrofits in Ottawa.

As part of the Green Investment Fund, the province is investing $82 million across the province into social housing apartment retrofits to take advantage of the economic opportunities in clean technologies, improve energy efficiency and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Many of Ontario’s social housing towers were built in the 1960s and 1970s and can use up to 25 per cent more energy per square metre than a house. To help ensure they can better meet the challenges of climate change, the province is funding energy retrofits for high-rise social housing towers of 150 units or more. The retrofits will include installing energy-efficient boilers, insulation and windows. It’s expected 35 to 50 of Ontario’s social housing apartment towers can be retrofitted through this program.

In Ottawa, the City of Ottawa has been selected to distribute $12,224,483 of these funds. The City of Ottawa is working with Ottawa Community Housing to select local projects fitting for this process.

Ontario’s $325-million Green Investment Fund, a down payment on the province’s cap and trade program, is already strengthening the economy, creating good jobs and driving innovation while fighting climate change — a strong signal of what Ontarians can expect from proceeds of the province’s cap and trade program. These investments will help secure a healthy, clean and prosperous low-carbon future and transform the way we live, move, work and adapt to our environment while ensuring strong, sustainable communities. Green Investment Fund projects include: more electric vehicle fast-charging stations; energy retrofits for single-family homes and affordable housing; support for Indigenous communities, industry and small and medium-sized businesses, and helping local organizations fight climate change.


“This initiative brings needed upgrades to older, energy inefficient buildings to reduce energy costs and better serve tenants, while helping Ontario meet the climate challenges of today and tomorrow.”

—Ted McMeekin Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing.

“Our government is committed to responding to the impacts of climate change. This investment will help Ottawa reduce greenhouse gas emissions while enhancing the quality of life for low-income Ontarians. We are proud of the work being done in Ottawa for those in need of subsidized housing, and further, our mutual commitment to the climate and the greater well-being of our environment.”
—Yasir Naqvi, MPP Ottawa Centre

“I’m proud to live in a City that is dedicated to environmentally friendly initiatives such as this while assisting Ottawa’s most vulnerable citizens. These much needed retrofits will improve the comfort and liveability of Ottawa Community Housing buildings as well as help lower greenhouse gas emissions. Every action counts!”
— Diane Deans, City of Ottawa Councillor and Chair of Community and Protective Services Committee

“As Chair of Ottawa Community Housing and Councillor for Rideau-Vanier ward in the City of Ottawa, I am excited about the green improvements this generous grant creates.  It will allow us to update our buildings with the most units and increase the efficiency of an aging public housing stock.  This opportunity for enhancement means, as a City, we will be able to contribute to emissions reduction goals while creating energy savings opportunities for our residents living in OCH; livability, affordability and quality of life are key strategies that we strive to continually improve upon.

I wish to personally thank the Government of Ontario and our local MPP’s for their ongoing support and commitments to renewing our public housing stock with innovative and meaningful investments.”
— Mathieu Fleury, City of Ottawa Councillor and Chair of Ottawa Community Housing

Quick Facts

  • Direct emissions from residential buildings in 2013 were estimated to be 12 per cent of Ontario’s total greenhouse gas emissions.
  • A 2012 Deutsche Bank study found that every $1 million invested in energy efficiency-related retrofits in multi-family affordable housing buildings generated between $1.3 million and $3.9 million in energy savings and increased Gross Domestic Product.
  • The province’s new $325 million Green Investment Fund was announced in the 2015 Ontario Economic Outlook and Fiscal Review.
  • In May 2015, Ontario became the first province in Canada to set a mid-term greenhouse gas pollution reduction target of 37 per cent below the 1990 level by 2030.
  • About 20 per cent of Ontario’s renters live in social housing.
  • From 2011 to 2012, OCH used $3.5 million from the REI program to install 30 Solar Photovoltaic Installations, 2 Solar Thermal Domestic Hot Water Systems and 1 Solar Air Preheating system (Solar Wall). Together, these installations represent over $300,000 of clean electricity or energy conservation.
  • From 2014 – 2015, OCH retrofitted all interior common spaces lighting with LED technology. The existing fixtures were left intact to minimize waste; the fluorescent tubes and ballasts were removed and recycled.  As of 2016, there are no fluorescent tubes left in the interior common space of OCH buildings saving OCH 2.5M kWh in electricity.

Learn More

Ontario’s Climate Change Strategy

Green Investment Fund

Ontario’s 2013 Long-Term Energy Plan

Support for: Ontario Investing $92 Million to Retrofit Social Housing

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Mai Habib in the office of Yasir Naqvi, MPP Ottawa Centre