June 2017 Community Investment

The Board of Governors of the Alberta Real Estate Foundation approved $520,000 in community investment projects at their recent meeting.

The Alberta Real Estate Foundation (AREF) supports initiatives that enhance the real estate industry and benefit the communities of Alberta. AREF was established in 1991 under the Alberta Real Estate Act. Since then, it has awarded over 17.5 million dollars in community and industry grants to nearly 550 projects across Alberta.

Projects approved at the June meeting include:

CREB Charitable Foundation Building Affordable Homes in Bowness

Together as funding partners, the Alberta Real Estate Foundation and CREB® Charitable Foundation will help low-income working families build strength, stability and independence through affordable home ownership. This project will create 10 affordable housing units for low-income working families with two units being fully accessible.

Green Energy FuturesGreen Energy Futures Smart Homes Series

Green Energy Futures will produce a four part series of stories called “Smart Homes on greening your home.” It will focus on providing homeowners with current information on energy efficiency in the home and how to produce energy on your own home in this innovative green energy series. These stories will be useful for Alberta homeowners who are both looking to buy an energy efficient home and want to make their home a greener more energy efficient place to live. The stories will be developed to tie to energy efficiency and renewable energy programs being launched in Alberta in April 2017.

University of Alberta – Alberta School of Business WellWiki Alberta

WellWiki.org is a groundbreaking solution to the problem of information access and transparency related to data on oil and gas development. While in many cases some data on wells is publicly available, interested parties face an arcane and obscure process for accessing it which deters many from pursing the information they need. WellWiki.org solves this problem, providing access to information in an easy to use format available to all and has been successful across North America. This project will launch of WellWiki as a comprehensive resource for Alberta stakeholders.

 University of Calgary – Arnie Charbonneau Cancer Institute The Alberta Solution to Reducing Radon Exposure in Homes

Radon gas is a radioactive but invisible danger that poses serious lung cancer risks if homes contain high levels inhaled over the long term. Scientists from the Institute recently published a landmark study indicating that a shocking 1 in 8 Southern Alberta homes exceed Health Canada’s maximum acceptable radon guideline. Surprisingly, they also found that newer homes had significantly higher radon compared to older properties. The gold standard for a radon test takes 90+ days, which is not feasible during the < 1 week typically seen in a real estate transaction involving a home inspection. So how can buyers and sellers accurately determine if a house is ‘radon safe’? The Institute will determine whether short term radon tests can be used to inform home radon levels with sufficient accuracy to ‘stand up in court’.

University of Calgary – Haskayne School of BusinessWestman Centre for Real Estate Studies: Housing Affordability Research

Typically individual social service agencies have addressed housing and affordability issues specific to the population they serve. The missed opportunity is understanding the ways in which housing affordability as a whole could offer a positive collective impact for all Calgarians. To facilitate a more collaborative and effective way to tackle housing affordability, the Westman Centre is an active partner on Calgary’s Community Housing Affordability Collective (CHAC). CHAC is a joint initiative that was formed between the public, private and social sectors to address housing issues in a collaborative manner. The Westman Centre’s role is to provide applied research oversight and leadership for key deliverables outlined in the CHAC strategic plan, thereby enhancing housing affordability along all points of the housing spectrum

University of Calgary – School of Public Policy Urban Policy Program

The School of Public Policy’s Urban Policy Program provides urban policymakers with original, in-depth and impartial research. The Program explores key issues that impact urban Canada as well as the political arenas in which these issues unfold.

Yellowstone to Yukon Conservation Initiative ‘Love Your Headwaters’: Protecting Alberta’s Water Sources and Natural Resources

2017-2018 represents a critical phase in Y2Y’s collaborative ‘Love Your Headwaters’ campaign, with the aim of securing a provincial announcement on permanent protection for the Bighorn, which supplies ~90% of Edmonton’s water, in early 2018. Additional, Y2Y will also start priming the campaign for protection of Calgary’s remaining unprotected headwaters.

Environmental leaders recognized

On June 6th, environmental leaders from across the province gathered at Edmonton’s Royal Alberta Museum for the 26th Annual Emerald Awards. Presented by the Alberta Emerald Foundation, the Emerald Awards recognize and celebrate outstanding environmental achievements across Alberta.

The awards place a spotlight on all sectors including – not-for-profits, government, business, educational institutions, individuals, and youth, with a total of 12 categories. The finalists are selected by a panel of knowledgeable third-party judges.

And the Emerald Awards go to:

To read about all of the nominees, visit the Alberta Emerald Foundation’s website.

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The Alberta Real Estate Foundation’s community investment program has enabled Albertans to understand and respond to changing land use patterns, growth pressures, and air and water management issues, and enhance the quality of their communities. We believe all have a role to play in taking responsibility for how we use our land and as such we are pleased to be involved in the Emerald Awards as an industry leader celebrating the good stories of land use excellence in Alberta.

Energy Efficiency for Homeowners!

The Alberta Real Estate Association (AREA) has partnered with the Pembina Institute to educate REALTORS® and their clients on the value of energy efficiency.

As a collaboration, the project will leverage AREA’s expertise on the needs of REALTORS® and homeowners and the Pembina Institute’s expertise on clean energy, climate change and energy issues, to transform how Alberta’s REALTORS® understand and serve homeowners on this topic of increasing importance.

The first fact sheet provides current energy efficiency savings opportunities in Alberta, offering more information on how you can take advantage of energy efficiency.  Click here to download the fact sheet!

Look for more of these collaborative resources in the future.

 

 

 

 

Innovating Alberta’s Energy Future Showcase will explore ways Alberta will lead the transition to a low carbon future

CALGARY, April 11, 2017 /CNW/ – A diverse group of innovators and influencers will take the stage April 19 to share their ideas and work to help shape Alberta’s energy future. Presenters will include oil and gas executives working on innovations to dramatically reduce emissions in energy production, a First Nations leader helping bring renewable energy to his community, and an Albertan entrepreneur who is a semi-finalist in the global Carbon XPrize competition to find technologies to turn CO2 emissions into valuable products.

Presented by the The Natural Step Canada’s Energy Futures Lab (EFL), the Innovating Alberta’s Energy Future Showcase celebrates some of the most groundbreaking work of the EFL Fellows, a diverse group of leaders from industry, government, First Nations, civil society, and academia. Join Mayor Naheed Nenshi for his opening remarks, followed by an afternoon of thought-provoking presentations, cultural performances, and a compelling panel exchange.

Immediately prior to the event Andrew Ference, a former Stanley Cup champion who has played with the Calgary Flames and served as captain of the Edmonton Oilers, will try his hand at the Newtonian Shift, an engrossing role playing board game that condenses decades of energy transition into hours of exploration. Ference, who started working on environmental issues after surfing in polluted waters off California, is personally committed to sustainable development.

“There are so many amazing projects in the works that are going to help with the challenge of building the energy system of Alberta’s future,” says Ference. “I’m excited to learn more about this groundbreaking work by the EFL Fellows.”

After the presentations, Ference will be part of the panel along with Melina Laboucan-Massimo from the Lubicon Cree First Nation; Arlene Strom, VP Sustainability & Communications at Suncor Energy Inc.; and Nicholas Parker, co-founder Global Acceleration Partners and a pioneer in cleantech venture capital.

“Energy issues are not as ‘black and white’ as they seem, and Alberta has a very different story to tell,” says Chad Park, Chief Innovation Officer of The Natural Step and Director of the Energy Futures Lab. “With polarized debates about energy as a backdrop, more people are joining us here in the very colourful middle ground and working together to find ways for Alberta to lead in the transition to a low carbon future.”

Innovating Alberta’s Energy Future Showcase Wednesday, April 19, Jack Singer Concert Hall

12:30 pm Media availability with Mayor Naheed Nenshi, Andrew Ference, Nicholas Parker, and the EFL Fellows plus brief demonstration of role playing board game, the Newtonian Shift.
1:00 Showcase begins
~1:15 Mayor Nenshi opening remarks
1:20 Round 1 EFL Fellows presentations
2:05 BREAK
2:45 Round 2 EFL Fellows presentations
3:25 BREAK
4:00 Panel with Andrew Ference, Nicholas Parker, Melina Laboucan-Massimo, Arlene Strom

The Energy Futures Lab is an Alberta-based, multi-interest collaboration designed to accelerate the development of a “fit for the future” energy system.

Alberta’s energy system is at the centre of the most complex, fragmented and divisive debates. From disputes about market access for Alberta’s oil, to disagreements about the most strategic approaches to address climate change, to controversies about the health and wellbeing of affected communities, energy system pressures are impacting all stakeholders. In response, the Energy Futures Lab has brought together a diverse group of innovators and influencers shaping the energy system to discuss, experiment and innovate.

The lab is powered by The Natural Step Canada and supported by the Suncor Energy Foundation, the Government of Alberta, the Alberta Real Estate Foundation, Landmark Group of Builders, ATB Financial, Shell, and the Jarislowsky Foundation. Additional partners include the Pembina Institute, and the Banff Centre.

The Natural Step Canada is a national charity whose mission is to accelerate the transition to a TRULY sustainable society that thrives within nature’s limits. Through our academy, advisory services and Sustainability Transition Labs we use best-in-class science, systems-thinking and facilitation to help individuals and organizations collaborate, solve complex problems, foster innovation, optimize performance and drive systems change.

To learn more go to www.naturalstep.ca and check out our current Sustainability Transition Labs at www.energyfutureslab.com, www.circulareconomylab.com and www.naturalcapitallab.com.

For further information: contact Tyler Seed at tseed@naturalstep.ca – 647.707.4735

Scanning the Landscape – Celebrating 25 years

In the fall of 2016, the Alberta Real Estate Foundation celebrated 25 years of making a difference for the industry and Albertans. Since 1991, we have awarded grants to over 537 worthwhile industry and community causes—that’s more than $17.5 million dollars of support across the province.

Given the economic times in Alberta, the Foundation decided it was a good time to check in with our stakeholders to see how they think we’re doing and engage in a conversation about the state of our province. As such, we chose “Scanning The Landscape” to be the theme of the year’s strategy as we reflected on our current situation while looking forward to future opportunities to ensure the Foundation remains true to its mandate of funding initiatives and research that make Alberta great.

In the spirit of “Scanning The Landscape”, we held two World Café styled luncheons, one in Calgary and another in Edmonton. More than 100 stakeholders, including government, industry, and grantees, attended the events where they were able to network and provide input.

Following the luncheons, 65 former and current grantees were invited to participate in an on-line survey to give input on the Foundation’s strategy and values, grant process and evaluation process as well as communications. The findings from this survey, along with the notes from the World Café luncheons, will help inform the Foundation’s strategy and help it become a more effective funder.

The following report pulls primarily from data collected from the survey:

 

 

March 2017 Community Investment

The Board of Governors of the Alberta Real Estate Foundation approved $348,000 in community investment projects at their recent meeting.

The Alberta Real Estate Foundation (AREF) supports initiatives that enhance the real estate industry and benefit the communities of Alberta. AREF was established in 1991 under the Alberta Real Estate Act. Since then, it has awarded over 17.5 million dollars in community and industry grants to nearly 550 projects across Alberta.

Projects approved at the March meeting include:

Alberta Emerald FoundationEmerald Awards

The Emerald Awards are uniquely Canadian and allow Albertans to be recognized and celebrated for their outstanding environmental achievements in over 12 categories annually. Since 1992 the Emerald Awards have recognized nearly 300 recipients for their innovative and thoughtful projects, resulting in a healthier and cleaner environment for us all. The Shared Footprints Award is one of 12 categories that allow groups to showcase projects that create environmentally ethical plans aimed at managing the impact of human use of land and resources. It is a form of stewardship that changes the way we do business, ensuring that we share the land and work together to reduce the impact on that land.

Center for Public Legal Education Alberta (CPLEA)Residential Tenancies Legal Information Project

CPLEA’s highly regarded Residential Tenancies Legal Information Program is the best source of easy to understand, accessible and accurate legal information about landlord and tenant matters in Alberta. The program provides vital information to Albertans online, in print and in person.

Center for Public Legal Education Alberta (CPLEA) Condo Law for Albertans – Phase 3

In Phase 3 CPLEA will update the resources created in the first two phases, including the well-received Condo Law for Albertans website, to incorporate changes to the law as a results of the impending proclamation into force of the Condominium Property Amendment Act and it Regulations. Additionally, CPLEA will make further updates in consideration of suggestions made by various stakeholders.

Ducks Unlimited Canada“Decision-Making for Wetland Management” Real Estate Professional Workshop

Ducks Unlimited Canada will offer a workshop to real estate professionals which will inform them of the Alberta Wetland Policy and its implications to landowners and the industry, increase their understanding of the various natural benefits that wetlands provide to future and existing landowners, and help industry members market properties with new resources and information tools. Materials from this workshop will be available online.

Legacy Land Trust SocietyStewardship in the Red Deer River Watershed — Water Quality and You

“Water Quality and You” will engage people in voluntary conservation practices resulting in land that maintains/improves water quality along in the Red Deer River. Around 100 landowners along the river will be provided stewardship and conservation information through in-person meetings.

NGOs Supporting Uninsured And Underinsured Residents (NSUUR)NSUUR Volunteer Village’s Common’s Building

A significant number of volunteers are coming to Fort McMurray in the spring of 2017 to help with the rebuild after the wildfire. NSUUR has set up a “Volunteer Village” to accommodate these volunteers.

Pembina Institute for Appropriate Development (in partnership with the Alberta Real Estate Association)Enabling Alberta’s REALTORS® as clean energy leaders

This project will enable Alberta’s REALTORS® to play an important leadership role in leveraging the opportunities that present themselves to homeowners in the transition to a clean economy. This project will educate REALTORS® and provide them with tools customized to their needs that they can share directly with homeowners. As a collaboration, the project will leverage AREA’s expertise on the needs of REALTORS® and homeowners with the Pembina Institute’s expertise on clean energy, including energy efficiency and microgeneration, to transform how Alberta’s REALTORS® understand and serve homeowners on this topic of increasing importance.

Foundation introduces Governor Tash Taylor

The Alberta Real Estate Foundation (AREF) is pleased to formally announce Tash Taylor has joined our Board of Governors for a three-year term.

“AREF is a unique funder with a broad and important mandate to support many unique and innovative community initiatives,” she says. “The range of potential impact is great because AREF is open-minded in how it can be an enabler for community benefit.”

Tash is one of the three Public Appointments sitting on the Board of Governors and hopes to contribute her technical and governance skills along with her in-depth understanding of the non-profit sector and community systems. “My career path has allowed me to work in many sectors and gain a perspective about community issues and opportunities.” Tash says. She has a strong background in education, health, affordable housing and indigenous matters.

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Tash is the Executive Director of the Alberta Network of Public Housing Agencies (ANPHA), the industry association for non-profit housing in Alberta. Her leadership experience spans multiple sectors including senior roles with the Edmonton Public School District, St. Albert Housing Society, Alzheimer’s Society of Alberta and NWT, Imperial Oil, and Alberta Women Entrepreneurs.

She was the founding Executive Director of Alberta’s Youth Volunteer Society, a charity dedicated to building youth volunteerism in Alberta in collaboration with the province. Early in her career, Tash led a social enterprise in rural Alberta to support the local women’s emergency shelter and won awards for her results.

Tash studied at the University of Ottawa and completed a Masters of Business Administration specializing in Executive Management at Royal Roads University. She holds Certified Executive Coach and Certified Risk Manager designations and has completed the Queen’s Strategy and Strategic Analytics programs. Tash is also trained in evaluating Social Return on Investment (SROI) using international methodologies. She serves on the Board of Directors with the Canadian Housing and Renewal Association, several community boards and civic agencies.

Tash is passionate about advancing social and economic capacity. “If we all do a small part in advancing the way we live today, we can enable the attainment of individual and collective potential, which ultimately leads to stronger communities, and a more resilient nation overall.”

Foundation introduces Governor Scott Bollinger

The Alberta Real Estate Foundation (AREF) is pleased to formally announce Scott Bollinger has joined our Board of Governors for a three-year term.

A life-long Albertan, Scott has a strong desire to help make this province even better and was pleased to be appointed to AREF’s Board of Governors. “I appreciate AREF’s mandate is not to promote the real estate industry but to serve the community,” he says. “I’m looking forward to being a part of the many good things AREF stands for and will accomplish in the years ahead.”

Scott is one of the two appointments to the Board of Governors from the Real Estate Council of Alberta. He’s a strong advocate of industry education and interested in the application of legislative and administrative law to the industry. As a leader of innovation and change in residential real estate, along with his ongoing legal training, Scott will bring a unique and valuable perspective to how AREF approaches and executes its mandate.

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Scott is Broker for ComFree Commonsense Network in Alberta, a non-traditional residential real estate brokerage and leader of innovation and change within the residential real estate industry.

Scott earned a BA in history from the University of Calgary in 2003 and is a candidate for Juris Doctor (JD) degree from the Faculty of Law in 2017. He began his real estate career in commercial real estate, working with CB Richard Ellis and Westcorp Properties before moving to residential real estate.

He opened his own residential real estate brokerage in 2010 which encouraged enhanced seller participation through its website, consumer education and service options. It was acquired by ComFree in 2012. Since that time, Scott has worked as the managing broker for ComFree Commonsense Network with key responsibilities in regulatory compliance and corporate and business development.

AREF Helps Alberta NGO Spread a Vital Message: Safe Water Shouldn’t Be Taken For Granted

By the Centre for Affordable Water and Sanitation Technology (CAWST)

Water is something few of us give much thought to in Alberta, unless of course it involves flooding. But how often do any of us think about where our next glass of clean, safe water will come from? The truth is, likely never. That’s because water is readily available with the twist of a tap, the flush of a toilet, or the push of a button from our fridge dispenser.

The truth is water is something none of us can afford to take for granted because it is a necessity of life, a human right, and it can be here today and gone tomorrow. All it would take is an issue with water safety or the effects of climate change and H2O would be at the forefront of our thinking. While that may be less likely in Canada, it’s a reality for millions around the world: lack of safe water and sanitation.

CAWST is a Calgary-based NGO which helps people in developing countries to access safe water. So far, it’s helped 13.1 million people in 82 countries. But raising awareness about conserving and protecting this important resource is also something it champions here in Alberta.

Last June, the Alberta Real Estate Foundation (AREF) helped CAWST to educate Albertans through a grant that supported several workshops at CAWST’s Beyond the Tap: Water Workshops and Networking event. People learned how to spot water waste in their own homes and how to correct the issue. They also learned about water contamination, rainwater harvesting and global water issues.

Four workshops were offered which drew dozens of people. The Handy Home Water Solutions workshop, hosted by the City of Calgary, taught Calgarians how to identify and repair leaks in their homes and to reduce household water consumption with simple solutions.

The Protecting the Source workshop, offered information about what can be done at the grassroots level to combat water contamination.

Rainwater Harvesting touched on harvesting what falls naturally from the sky, both locally and globally, and the different ways precipitation can be used around the world.

Finally, the Approaches to Development workshop enlightened people on how best to help communities in developing countries with issues such as access to water.

The grant by AREF to CAWST made the workshops possible, ensuring more thought is put into our most important resource, and into ensuring it’s there for years to come and accessible to humans everywhere.

CAWST is a huge Alberta success story. It was founded after a U. of C. engineer, Dr. David Manz, invented the household biosand filter, which revolutionized the ability of families to access their own safe water. A woman named Camille Dow Baker saw this invention and, knowing it could change the world, she started CAWST. CAWST doesn’t build solutions for people, it teaches people how to build solutions themselves using local materials. The household biosand filter was just the beginning of empowering people through knowledge.

Now, 15 years since it began, CAWST is a leader in solving world water issues. March 22nd is World Water Day, a day designated by the United Nations to draw attention to water issues. And this year, it’s being marked by CAWST’s “Paint the Town Blue for World Water Day”. Landmarks across the country will light up in blue, including Niagara Falls, BC Place, Edmonton’s High Level Bridge, the Calgary Tower, and Calgary’s Reconciliation Bridge, Telus Spark and Galleria of Trees.

In addition to the illumination of landmarks, Albertans are urged to:

  1. Snap a photo of a landmark lit in blue on March 22nd, and to share it on Twitter @cawst #paintitblue.
  2. Pick up a special “CAWST Paints the Town Blue for World Water Day” button, outside of Blink restaurant in Calgary on March 21st.
  3. Attend the World Water Day celebration at the Telus Spark in Calgary on March 22nd, 4:30 to 7pm. To register, check out: http://www.cawst.org/worldwaterday

AREF helped CAWST get the message out about why we should all think twice about water. Now, we can all help CAWST spread the word so that every human being has access to safe water.

New Energy Efficiency Programs Coming to Alberta

By Jesse Row

Back in 2014, Alberta was the only jurisdiction in Canada or the U.S. without energy efficiency programs for the public. This is changing now that the Provincial Government has announced three new programs coming to Alberta this year.

The first program is open to single family and multi-family homes, both owners and renters. It’s called the Residential No-Cost Energy Savings Program and will bring high efficiency lightbulbs and other basic energy saving products to homes across the province at no-cost. The program will also give energy saving tips and let consumers know about other programs they can participate in.

The second program for homes is a Residential Retail Products Program that will offer rebates on high efficiency appliances, insulation and lighting. Other products like consumer electronics and water heaters are expected to be added over time.

The third program is a Business, Non-Profit and Institutional Energy Savings Program that will offer incentives for high efficiency lighting, heating and cooling systems, and hot water heating.

The exact launch dates of these programs have not been set, but many are expecting them in the April-May timeframe. You can receive updates on these programs, and other energy efficiency initiatives in the province, by signing up to the Alberta Energy Efficiency Alliance LinkedIn Group at https://www.linkedin.com/groups/4836089.

These programs are just the start for Energy Efficiency Alberta – a new agency tasked with increasing the uptake of energy efficiency and community energy systems in the province.

Last year, an Energy Efficiency Advisory Panel was established to provide advice to this new agency while it was being created. The results of that advice can be found in the panel’s final report at https://www.alberta.ca/documents/climate/EEAP-Report-Getting-It-Right-Complete.pdf. The Panel’s report contains 39 recommendations for Energy Efficiency Alberta that includes a long-term vision, suggestions for initial programming and opportunities for engaging Albertans.

The overall message from the Panel focuses on the opportunities that exist to help save money, create jobs and reduce emissions all at the same time through energy efficiency and community energy systems. Considerable pent-up demand and interest was also identified throughout the province as a key opportunity for the new agency.

The opportunity for energy efficiency in Alberta is significant and will lead to many different benefits. Energy efficiency upgrades improve the quality of buildings and enhance property values; households and businesses save money; jobs are created; emissions are reduced; and real estate professionals and other service providers are able to provide value-added services to their clients. Energy efficiency programs are a win-win opportunity for many different sectors and that’s why they are so widely used around the world.

It’s good to see Alberta re-entering the energy efficiency space with this initial offering of programs. We certainly want to see this continue so Albertans can take advantage of all the benefits energy efficiency has to offer.

 

Jesse Row is the Executive Director of the Alberta Energy Efficiency Alliance and was a member of the Provincial Government’s Energy Efficiency Advisory Panel.