Energy Efficiency

08 Dec 2020

Efficiency Capital's WoodGreen Retrofit Project Achieves Canada's First IREE Certification

08 Dec 2020  by   

Efficiency Capital's comprehensive efficiency retrofit project at multiple WoodGreen Community Housing buildings is the first project in Canada to achieve the internationally recognized Investor Ready Energy Efficiency (IREE) certification, awarded by Green Business Certification Inc. (GBCI Canada).

Efficiency Capital funds, develops and manages efficiency retrofit projects, offering performance-based investment solutions to improve building energy efficiency with no upfront cost to the owner. Multi-residential, social housing, commercial, industrial and institutional building owners turn to Efficiency Capital for sustainable upgrades. Efficiency Capital worked with WoodGreen, a social non-profit housing provider, lead engineer Finn Projects, and contractor Baldwin & McCall, to successfully address a backlog of deferred maintenance and asset renewals. Their efforts resulted in improvements to occupant safety and comfort and ensured Woodgreen's financial health.

"GBCI Canada and Canada Green Building Council congratulate Efficiency Capital on achieving Canada's first Investor Ready Energy Efficiency (IREE) certification. Through a certification like IREE, projects can more easily unlock the financing needed to accelerate the implementation of high-quality retrofits," said Thomas Mueller, President and CEO of GBCI Canada and CaGBC. "This project shows that energy-efficient retrofits in residential buildings, including non-profit housing, can play a key role in helping Canada achieve its climate mitigation goals."

Securing funds for safe investments

IREE certification is based on the Investor Confidence Project (ICP) framework, which gives funders the confidence that retrofit projects have undergone a standardized method of analysis that is certified by an independent third-party. Developers like Efficiency Capital support building owners by developing, investing in, and managing building infrastructure renewals to maximize energy and water savings over time. Through completing detailed assessments and thorough stakeholder consultations, Efficiency Capital supports the development of holistic efficiency measure upgrade projects that incorporate other important consideration, such as improved occupant comfort.

Providing investors with additional confidence by completing independent certification ensures that developed retrofit projects are well positioned to achieve their expected savings, allowing building owners and operators to focus on their core operational needs.

ICP framework, boosting confidence in retrofits for non-profit housing providers

Non-profit affordable housing providers play an important role in keeping housing and rents affordable but often have limited access to financial resources. WoodGreen is one of the largest non-municipal providers of affordable housing in Toronto with 12 housing sites, many of which required retrofits to improve efficiency, as well as tenant safety and comfort.

"We follow a very high project development and verification standard in order to satisfy our funders," said Matt Zipchen, President of Efficiency Capital. "New sources of capital must enter the sector if we are to achieve our climate goal. With IREE certification, we're providing a standardized mechanism for more mainstream investors to come to the table. Such certification tools are critical for reducing both the risk and the due diligence required for pooling and funding efficiency retrofits at scale."

To develop the business case to retrofit WoodGreen's building portfolio, Efficiency Capital combined detailed technical energy analysis with occupant health and comfort considerations, as well as asset management and reserve fund options. Efficiency Capital's unique investment and funding strategy helped WoodGreen leverage $1.3 million in reserve funds into a $3.4 million retrofit project projected to achieve over $5.7 million in utility savings over the useful life of the equipment, which will be used to finance the project over that time.

The WoodGreen Retrofit project met or exceeded all ICP framework requirements. This outstanding result exemplifies Efficiency Capital's leadership in supporting the standardization of building efficiency upgrades and accelerating the development of Canada's retrofit economy.

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