Mayor, Town of High Prairie
Following is Town of High Prairie Mayor Linda Cox’s report for March 22 to April 4:
ASCHA convention in Edmonton
March 22-23, board members of Heart River Housing attended the annual Alberta Seniors Communities and Housing Association convention in Edmonton.
ASCHA represents the seniors’ housing industry in Alberta. There are over 500 seniors’ buildings in Alberta with 27,600 suites serving 30,360 seniors. Over 15,000 front line staff are employed in seniors’ housing.
The convention program was diverse with presentations on new initiatives in continuing care, educational sessions on climate change and energy efficiency, as well as technology and innovation being used to improve quality-of-life for seniors, both at home and in seniors’ communities.
The theme of the convention was ‘Create the Movement’, looking at shared housing issues and solutions and opportunities to grow organizational capacities. One of our longest educational break-outs was a facilitated brainstorming session on improving collaboration and engagement in our communities. We were specifically looking at different mechanisms of engagement.
My assigned group worked on Strategies for Conducting Community Needs Assessments. At the end our message was that without a Community Needs Assessment the identified project would not have community support or documentation to support any funding request.
David Dodge, chair of Energy Efficiency Alberta, presented on EEA’s vision and mandate. He gave a host of renewable energy facts: solar is leading clean tech technology, 12 per cent growth in 2014 compared to wind at nine per cent; biogas and biomass projects makes economic sense; green buildings will become the norm in the future; the price of solar panels is 100 per cent cheaper that in 1977; solar panels will cost $1.00/watt by 2020; there is six times more wind potential than demand in Alberta; the low-hanging fruit for energy efficiency is changing out boilers, heaters and lights; heating and water heating constitute 75 per cent of the energy bill.
He then spoke on the challenges of attaining energy efficiency in social housing. A study in British Columbia found that social housing units used 52 per cent more energy per unit than standard rental accommodation. If residents don’t pay utilities, that rises to 133 per cent more energy used.
There is a lack of capacity and resources to achieve results. It is estimated that $1 million invested in energy related retrofits could result in saving of $1.3-3.9 million.
As a result of funding from the Carbon Levy, look for more energy efficiency programs for consumers coming in the future.