The results are in for WoodGreen Community Services! An entire year has passed since the last water and energy systems upgrades were installed at eight of WoodGreen’s social housing buildings in Toronto for this innovative energy efficiency and water retrofit project. It’s the first project of its kind in Canada to achieve the internationally recognized Investor Ready Energy Efficiency (IREE) certification, awarded by Green Business Certification Inc. Canada. As the loans funding the project will be paid back through the water and energy savings created by the more efficient infrastructure. The results show that water and energy utilities are being saved even better than predicted!
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Who is WoodGreen Community Services?
WoodGreen is one of Toronto’s largest social service agencies, providing affordable housing to the members of the community who need it most. Serving over 35 000 people each year, WoodGreen employees work tirelessly to reduce poverty and improve Toronto’s community health. An invaluable asset to the city, it is key that WoodGreen operates as efficiently as possible to ensure continued success in the long run.
What was done?
The project was implemented in eight of WoodGreen’s community housing buildings that were in need of upgraded HVAC equipment and improved water efficiency. The old equipment was causing tenant comfort problems and required costly maintenance and repairs.
Funded and structured by Efficiency Capital, engineering firm Finn Projects and controls firm SensorSuite were brought on to develop and implement this unique project. The plan was created to replace, retrofit and improve the current HVAC infrastructure with new integrated energy-efficient systems along with water efficiency retrofit measures. This would result in energy and water savings that would then be used to pay off the initial loans. This plan would also improve the comfort of tenants, increase the value of the aging buildings and decrease the building’s carbon footprint.
SensorSuite facilitated the integration of all the HVAC systems using their cutting-edge Energy Efficiency & Demand Response (DR) algorithms, platform and controls – this ensures all systems support each other and never work at cross-purposes. This unique wireless technology building automation system (BAS) is also able to respond to grid signals flexibly which automatically results in energy savings without sacrificing HVAC performance. Additionally, all these systems can be monitored by building operators in real-time through SensorSuite’s dashboard available on their cell phones, computers or tablets. Below, you can see what this dashboard looks like for one of WoodGreen’s buildings.
As a state-of-the-art energy management platform, the SensorSuite Cloud brings together each building’s utility data. SensorSuite creates a command centre for managing and optimizing each building’s energy use and addresses problems before they become emergencies. The cloud delivers more than energy savings; it provides peace of mind with real-time building automation controls and alerts. To learn more about SensorSuite and how it could be implemented in your building check out our video overview:
What are the results?
The equipment installations were carried out and completed between July 2020 and June 2021 and first year results were measured from July 2021 to June 2022. The project was created with long-term savings in mind but even after only one year, strong results are already being seen.
Not only were the projected savings achieved but they were surpassed! The project aimed to save 18% in electricity usage and achieved 19%. Similarly, 20% savings in water usage were projected and 21% were achieved. However, the big win was with gas consumption where 15% savings were projected and 27% were achieved – almost double the projected value! All this translated to a total of $201,934 worth of savings across electricity, water and gas in the first year.
These savings allowed WoodGreen to achieve its financial goals, as well as supporting its environmental targets. It was originally projected that this project would reduce Woodgreen’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 250 tonnes of carbon dioxide per year, but first-year results achieved 180% of this projection with 450 tonnes. This supports the City of Toronto’s TransformTO climate action strategy to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 65% of 1990 levels by 2033. Helping to combat climate change and having a positive impact on the local environment.
Looking to the Future
This project implemented by Finn Projects, as the building energy and water efficiency performance company, and SensorSuite, as the controls company, proves the effectiveness of the unique funding model created and structured by Efficiency Capital. It is possible for building owners to improve the standard of living of their tenants, decrease their carbon footprint, and pay back financial loans with energy and water savings, all without increasing rent – with guaranteed results and no performance risk!