New Home Upgrades Program now offered in Calgary to help homeowners struggling with their energy bills

Read the Calgary news release on www.albertaecotrust.com

June 19, 2023

Alberta Ecotrust Foundation and Kambo Energy Group launch Alberta’s only program to provide lower income homeowners with education and home upgrades to help reduce their energy costs.

Alberta Ecotrust Foundation, a charity that leads urban climate change action through their Climate Innovation Fund, is partnering with Kambo Energy Group to launch a scalable, proven solution to reduce both energy poverty and emissions. The Home Upgrades Program helps homeowners reduce their energy consumption by offering deep energy retrofits and providing energy education and mentorship free of charge to eligible families in Calgary and Edmonton.

In Calgary, the program will provide education and home upgrades to ~100 households with support from Alberta Ecotrust through the Climate Innovation Fund, Alberta Real Estate Foundation, Calgary Foundation, City of Calgary, ENMAX, McConnell Foundation and Suncor Energy Foundation. The program is also available in Edmonton with an official launch soon to be announced.

“By taking a community focused approach, we’re providing households with impactful upgrades to reduce consumption, while also empowering residents with the tools and education they need to make conscious decisions about their energy use,” explains Yasmin Abraham, President and Co-Founder of Kambo Energy Group. “Some families have never even touched their thermostat, so while upgrades are a powerful tool to reduce energy consumption, ensuring participants feel comfortable and confident in their homes is equally important to the success of this program.”

Until now, Alberta has been Canada’s only province without a home energy efficiency program to support households who cannot afford to adequately heat or cool their homes. Despite the province’s abundance of energy resources, one in five Alberta households currently experience high home energy cost burden (CUSP, 2019). In addition, the residential building sector represents a significant portion of the greenhouse gas emissions in Alberta’s urban environments; upwards of 30 per cent.

This program will be invaluable in filling a gap in Alberta, beginning with our two largest cities, Calgary and Edmonton, proving how we can tackle energy affordability while concurrently reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Alberta Ecotrust is interested in scaling up and accelerating emissions reductions in the building sector and these goals can’t be met unless we ensure more people can benefit from energy efficiency programming. Alberta Ecotrust will demonstrate, with its partner Kambo Energy Group, what a long-term solution in Alberta looks like to address energy poverty while also assisting in mitigating climate change. – Mike Mellross, Program Director at Alberta Ecotrust Foundation.

The learnings and insights from this program will be shared with communities in Alberta and across Canada.

To apply or learn more, please visit www.homeupgradesprogram.ca.

Please direct media inquiries to
Andrea Soler
Communications Director
Alberta Ecotrust Foundation
a.soler@albertaecotrust.com
403.209.2245 x 216

Emma Gammans
Communications Manager
Kambo Energy Group
emma@kambo.com
403.478.4543

Quotes

Government of Canada

“By investing in low-carbon solutions in cities across Canada, we’re finding innovative ways to fight climate change. Our actions are inspiring communities to follow in our footsteps and join the movement to protect the environment. Opportunities for households to reduce energy consumption provides pathways for Canadian cities to follow for a net-zero emissions future.” – The Honourable Steven Guilbeault, Minister of Environment and Climate Change

“The Government of Canada is investing in initiatives that help improve household affordability and efficiency at the same time. We are pleased to work with Low Carbon Cities Canada and the Alberta Ecotrust Foundation to continue this important work to the benefit of Canadians in Calgary and across the country. On behalf of Minister Wilkinson and the Government of Canada, I congratulate all involved in this community-focused initiative.”
– George Chahal, Federal Member of Parliament For Calgary Skyview

City of Calgary 

“Supporting Calgarians impacted by energy poverty is a key action identified in our Climate Implementation Plan,” says Carolyn Bowen, Director, Climate & Environment, City of Calgary. “The Home Upgrades Program will make a tangible difference in the lives of underserved Calgarians while supporting Calgary as a growing city with sustainable and equitable communities.”

Calgary Foundation

“Calgary Foundation is proud to support the Home Upgrades Program which aligns with the Foundation’s priorities of developing innovative collaborations that increase the impact of our collective work.” – Eva Friesen, President & CEO, Calgary Foundation

ENMAX

“ENMAX is proud to partner with Alberta Ecotrust Foundation and Kambo Energy Group to invest in the Home Upgrades program which helps our customers, neighbours and our environment. The program gives more Albertans access to home upgrades, to make their homes safer, more comfortable and more energy efficient.” – Corry Poole, VP, Retail Mass Market and Customer Experience, ENMAX Energy.

About Alberta Ecotrust Foundation and the Climate Innovation Fund
Alberta Ecotrust Foundation is a founding member of the Low Carbon Cities Canada (LC3) network. LC3 supports cities and communities in reaching their carbon emissions reduction potential. This initiative is implemented in partnership among seven local centres and the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM). Funded by a Government of Canada endowment through FCM, LC3 is part of a national investment in municipal climate action to accelerate urban climate solutions and to help achieve Canada’s climate goal of net-zero by 2050.

As an LC3 centre, Alberta Ecotrust received a $43.4 million endowment from the Government of Canada to create the Climate Innovation Fund. The Fund provides programming in Calgary and Edmonton, taking on a nimble, accelerator role, complementing and advancing the leadership work undertaken by the municipalities. For more information, visit albertaecotrust.com.

About Kambo Energy Group
Kambo Energy Group is an equity-based social enterprise that designs and delivers solutions to reduce energy poverty and improve housing to communities often missed. We work with Indigenous Nations, lower income households, immigrants, and new Canadians.

Additional Home Energy Upgrade Program Information
The Home Energy Upgrade Program is designed to reduce energy costs and improve the comfort, safety and efficiency of the homes of Albertans.

Rather than leveraging a one-size-fits-all approach where every household receives the same upgrades, the Home Upgrades Program takes a “diagnostic approach” to improving energy inefficient homes. Homes are assessed by trained professionals who assess which upgrades, such as high-efficiency furnaces, windows or insulation, are likely to result in the greatest energy savings.

Program eligibility is determined by a combination of factors: the degree to which a household is struggling to pay its energy bills, and the extent to which energy efficiency measures can make a difference within the applicant’s home. While many people experience energy poverty (meaning they currently allocate a disproportionate amount of their earnings towards energy bills), this program targets households where upgrades can make an impact on comfort and affordability.

Since it can be difficult for participants to welcome strangers into their homes, building trust is foundational to the program’s success. To support trust-building, Kambo, through their Empower Me program, trains members of Alberta’s diverse communities to act as Mentors in delivering energy education. Empower Me’s Alberta-based Mentors speak a total of 11 languages, helping to ensure their programs and services are accessible to a broader range of Albertans.