Prototype Energy Savings Performance Agreement : The Atmospheric Fund, TCH & Affecting Change

Rome was not retrofitted in a day. Affecting Change Inc. partnered with Toronto Community Housing and the Toronto Atmospheric Fund on a large-scale cost saving project that took plenty of planning, coordination and cooperation. The result is 1,200 more comfortable, less wasteful homes and a blueprint for creating thousands and thousands more.

Arletta Manor TCH retrofit site exterior

Retrofitting isn’t glamorous work. No one walks past an apartment block, stops, looks up and says, “That building has achieved a 44% reduction in extreme and unhealthy indoor temperatures above 26°C in winter. Check out that 54% reduction in residents reporting their units were too hot. I love what they’ve done with the 39% fewer residents reporting opening their windows in winter right next to the 69% fewer people using portable heaters!”

In a more sensible world an organization that achieved just these results would never have to buy a drink in the City of Toronto ever again and those are just some of benefits that Affecting Change Inc. saw when they alongside the Toronto Atmospheric Fund (TAF) partnered with Toronto Community Housing (TCH) on a project that saw more than 1,200 units in seven TCH buildings retrofitted in order to reduce emissions by reducing energy and water usage while improving indoor environmental quality.

Heat pump installation at Walpole Ave site

Affecting Change Inc. worked to develop a prototype of TAF’s Energy Savings Performance Agreement (ESPA™) that would enable the retrofits to be financed using the savings the project will generate. Results are that over the 25-year project lifetime, TAF calculated $502,000 in annual cost savings, a 22% emissions reduction, a $6.8-million improvement in net present value, and a simple payback of 7.9 years on the money invested in the retrofits.

This new prototype has the potential to inspire and empower anyone who owns an older building that can be retrofitted. That’s a lot of buildings and making headway in housing is a huge step in our fight against climate change

Writing up an RFP that would ensure that the retrofit contractor was able to achieve the objectives of the project was key to Affecting Change Inc.’s success. To help ensure their ambitious goals the team added in both penalties and incentives and made sure that the community would be a stakeholder in the process by adding a stakeholder engagement. Significant job creation was achieved through TAF’s partnership with Building Up, a Toronto organization that connects housing providers with skilled labourers from the local community.

It helped that TAF were able to use graduate students at the University of Toronto who quantified the indoor environmental quality both pre and post-retrofit to prove that there were IEQ benefits.