The residents of Robert Cooke Co-Operative Homes now have a brand new, energy-efficient heating and cooling system in their 13-storey building. Appliances and fixtures – stoves, fridges and toilets – have been upgraded to energy efficient models in the co-op’s 123 apartments, as has the lighting in all the hallways.

Toronto Atmospheric Fund financed the $740,000 retrofit through an Energy Savings Performance Agreement (ESPA) that is specially designed for multi-measure energy-efficient retrofits like this. Building owners don’t need to take on a loan through this arrangement. Instead, we pay the upfront costs and are repaid with a share of the realized savings – the difference between what the utility bills would have been and what they are reduced to after energy efficiency upgrades are installed.

Contractors, supervised by engineering firm Finn Projects, completed the retrofit several months ago.  The results so far have surpassed expectations. Despite this winter’s record cold temperatures, cost savings have been 15% greater over a four-month period than the $22,000 predicted. Ongoing savings in this range can certainly be achieved through regular monitoring and maintenance of the new equipment.

Residents can also help boost savings to even higher levels.  An online dashboard that is easily accessible to the co-op’s residents, Board and property manager will motivate a few small actions – turning down the thermostat, using less water, keeping the equipment in good working order  – to minimize consumption and maximize savings.

Everyone is pleased with the outcome.  Our friends at Robert Cooke Co-operative added 20 years of life to their home despite not having access to capital.  Wasted energy has been virtually eliminated and operating costs have gone down, which is a great way for TAF to get a return on investment.  We’ll be celebrating by hosting a rooftop picnic, overlooking Lake Ontario, toasting an environmentally-friendly, low-carbon future.