Energy Efficiency Retrofit Saves $93,000, Exceeds Efficiency Targets by 169 per cent
Using an innovative financing instrument called the Energy Savings Performance Agreement (ESPATM), TAF helped the Robert Cooke Co-operative in Toronto reduce its greenhouse gas emissions 30 per cent and its annual utility costs 20 per cent, delivering $93,000 in savings over the first year of a 10-year program.
Annual savings exceeded TAF’s original projections by 169 per cent for water, 93 per cent for gas, and 82 per cent for electricity. The energy efficiency retrofit cut the co-op’s carbon emissions by an average 209 tonnes a year.
The project was one of the first to make use of the ESPA, a unique tool that enabled Robert Cooke to repay the cost of the retrofits out of the energy and water savings they achieved, without having to incur any conventional debt to get the work done. TAF covered the entire capital cost of the retrofit in exchange for a share of the savings over a 10-year period. After that, the co-op will get to keep all the retrofit equipment and retain 100 per cent of the cost savings that result.
The project at the Robert Cooke Co-op included:
- Installing low-flow showerheads, tap aerators, and 3L toilets to cut water use
- Replacing older fridges and stoves with higher-efficiency models
- Installing lower-wattage T8 fluorescent tubes in corridors and adding motion sensors in some common spaces
- Installing two new high-efficiency boilers for domestic hot water and one condensing boiler for space heating
- Replacing cold water booster pumps with more modern, efficient models
- Installing motors with variable-speed drives to increase the efficiency of two make-up air units
- Weatherstripping exterior doors to reduce drafts
The project was a success: After all the retrofits were done, sub-metering showed a 60 per cent reduction in electricity consumed by cold water pumps and air make-up units, 21 per cent less gas used for hot water heating, and a 30 per cent reduction in water use, thanks largely to low-flow water fixtures with flapperless technology. Robert Cooke’s energy, water, and cost savings were so much higher than expected that TAF took away an important lesson: while it’s important to calculate conservatively when a project is under development, overly cautious estimates can close the door on some available savings if they lead decision-makers to under-invest in a retrofit.