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Energy-efficiency upgrades to make affordable housing more sustainable in Basin communities

September 20th, 2022

From upgraded insulation to new heat pumps, 41 buildings with affordable rental housing will see their energy efficiency improve with nearly $6.1 million from Columbia Basin Trust’s Energy Retrofit Program.

This will benefit 659 units in 18 communities in the region, making the units more energy efficient, sustainable and comfortable for tenants while helping to create a region that is more resilient to climate change.

These upgrades will lead to energy savings of approximately 2 million equivalent kilowatt hours per year, translating to approximately $186,000 annual operating cost savings. 

“Projects like these address many of the priorities that people in the Columbia Basin have told us are important, such as enhancing community well-being, maintaining existing affordable housing and reducing energy use in favour of promoting a more climate-resilient region,” said Johnny Strilaeff, President and CEO, Columbia Basin Trust.

“These projects create a win for the tenants, the non-profit organizations that provide the housing and the communities in general.”

In partnership with BC Housing and BC Non-profit Housing Association (BCNPHA), the Trust is helping non-profit organizations make energy conservation upgrades in affordable housing buildings in the Basin.

“This investment is a major step forward in addressing the challenges we face through a changing climate. Keeping people cool in the summer and warm in the winter while reducing carbon pollution through expanding the use of clean electricity contributes significantly to meeting our CleanBC goals,” said Katrine Conroy, Minister of Forests, Minister Responsible for Columbia Basin Trust, Columbia Power Corporation and the Columbia River Treaty, and MLA for Kootenay West.

“People in the Kootenays will continue to benefit from the technology upgrades for affordable housing for years to come.”

“These retrofits are an important step in reducing the non-profit housing sector’s energy use,” said Ian Cullis, Director of Asset Management at BCNPHA.

“We are proud to partner with Columbia Basin Trust in supporting non-profit housing societies on the path to making their buildings and operations more affordable, with benefits for the environment, the organizations operating these buildings and, most importantly, the tenants.”

One of the recipients is the Kootenay Region Association for Community Living (KRACL), which provides low-income rental housing for people with disabilities, promoting independence and the social skills needed to live a satisfying life.

It is improving the hot water system in its four-unit Archibald House and upgrading its one-unit Cottage with attic insulation, LED lighting, a new door and a heat pump.

“The energy improvements to the Cottage will increase comfort, keeping the home warm in the winter and cool in the summer,” said Michelle Whiteaway, Treasurer.

“Along with upgrading the hot water system in Archibald House, overall energy consumption will be reduced, helping ease the cost of utilities for many years to come. This will help KRACL to keep rents very reasonable for our low-income tenants with disabilities.”

View the most recent projects here.

Learn more about the Energy Retrofit Program at

Learn more about the Trust’s Housing Initiative at

Since 2016, the Trust has committed $51 million toward initiatives that help create new housing, conserve energy and generate renewable and alternative energy. These initiatives have helped create over 1,000 affordable rental housing units in the Basin, have upgraded over 1,300 units and are creating energy savings of approximately 4.5 million kilowatt hours per year.




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