Canadian Manufacturing

Ontario invests $92M in energy efficiency upgrades for social housing

Many subsidized housing towers to get new lighting, heating, insulation



TORONTO—Ontario is launching a major initiative to update its aging social housing apartment towers.

The province has announced it will funnel $92 million from the $325 million Green Investment Fund toward cleantech retrofits for social housing buildings containing at least 150 units. The project aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 3,600 tonnes and create 1,650 jobs-years of work over a 20 year period.

“This new program will support needed upgrades to older, energy inefficient buildings to reduce their energy costs and better serve their tenants, while simultaneously helping Ontario meet the climate challenges of today and tomorrow,” Ted McMeekin, Ontario’s minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing, said.

The majority of the province’s social housing towers were built in the 1960s and 1970s when efficiency was far less of a priority than it is today, and many of the high-rises use 25 per cent more energy per square-metre than a single family house. In Toronto, for example, social housing towers account for 23 per cent of all residential GHG emissions. To bring the buildings into the 21st century, the program will invest in energy-efficient boilers, better insulation, as well as more energy efficient windows and lighting.

The province estimates the cost for a single high-rise project at $3.5 million to $5.5 million, meaning the $92 million investment will help retrofit between 16 and 23 towers.

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