The Save on Energy First Nations Community Building Retrofit Program helps First Nations communities improve the energy efficiency of their band-owned commercial and industrial facilities, and manage their energy use more effectively.
The program offers up to $100,000 in funding for communities to implement energy-efficiency projects to reduce electricity consumption in band-owned facilities, such as arenas, wastewater treatment facilities, schools and Band Council offices. Eligible upgrades include a variety of measures, such as lighting, lighting controls, smart thermostats and window air conditioners, as well as more complex retrofits.
Communities can choose to implement energy-efficiency improvements through either:
All on-reserve, grid connected First Nations communities in Ontario are eligible to participate in the First Nations Community Building Retrofit Program. Please see the list of communities to see if your community is eligible to participate in Appendix 2 of the program requirements.
This program is delivered through either a direct install or a community install approach, to best suit community needs and preferences. More details on each approach are provided below.
More information on each approach can be found in the program requirements.
The following measures are not considered to be eligible for the program:
There is no cost to participate in the program. Eligible communities can receive up to $100,000 per community in free energy-efficiency upgrades.
The following services and upgrades are covered by the $100,000 in funding available per eligible community:
Communities that participate in the community install approach are required to pay for an engineering study, but will be reimbursed for the full cost of the study once the project is completed.
Communities may request to receive 50 percent of the funding once 50 percent of the project costs have been incurred. If the IESO approves this request, the remaining 50 percent will be reimbursed upon project completion.
An engineering study is required for any projects implemented under the community install approach. Up to $10,000 of the total $100,000 available in funding can be used for an engineering study. The community must pay for the study, but will be reimbursed for up to $10,000 once the project is completed.
The engineering study will be completed by a third-party contractor chosen by the community. It will outline the technical aspects of a project (including measures, energy savings, costs and project schedule) based on detailed system drawing measurements (e.g., temperature, pressure, operating hours, etc.) and equipment specifications (e.g., thermal rating, operating hours, etc.).
Communities will receive a benchmark report that will compare the energy use of its buildings with other similar buildings to help prioritize which four facilities will be selected for an in-person energy assessment.
An energy auditor will be on-site to assess opportunities for energy-efficiency upgrades in up to four facilities identified through the benchmark report.
All existing equipment that is replaced and any waste products that result from the installation will be removed, decommissioned and disposed of in accordance with local laws, regulations and environmental best practices.
Upgrades for facilities will be determined through an on-site energy assessment completed by Save on Energy’s program delivery partner. The energy assessment will identify opportunities for energy-efficiency upgrades in your facilities for both the direct install and community install approach.
Following the assessment, a community will receive a site visit report outlining project opportunities and recommendations for upgrades for each eligible facility. The community will then select which upgrades it wishes to receive for each eligible facility.
For both the direct install approach and the community install approach, an eligible facility must meet the following criteria:
For the community install approach, facilities are limited to street lighting, wastewater treatment facilities and arenas.
More information on program eligibility is available in the program requirements.
For the direct install approach, please see list of eligible measures provided in Appendix 1 of the program requirements.
For the community install approach, there is no set measures list, but the energy savings need to meet the following criteria:
An application is considered complete once:
The Community Coordinator acts as the primary point of contact between the community and program delivery partner. The community coordinator will assist in the collection of benchmark data, coordination of program logistics in the community, and will support communities in key program decision processes (e.g., selection of facilities for energy assessments).
The community coordinator may be a Community Energy Champion (CEC) in the community or another individual with capacity to support the program.
Yes, facilities are eligible for other Save on Energy programs, but individual measures themselves cannot receive funding from multiple Save on Energy programs.
Assessments can be scheduled as soon as the facility benchmark report has been completed and participants have chosen the facilities for the energy-efficiency upgrades.
Once energy assessments are completed, participants will receive a site visit report outlining various opportunities for energy-efficiency upgrades. Participants will select which projects they wish to pursue and sign off on a project plan provided by the program delivery partner. Once the project plan has been approved by a community, installations can be scheduled.
Measures will be installed within approximately one month from when a participant approves the project plan supplied by the program delivery partner. Timing may vary based on participant and contractor schedules.
Projects under the community install track must be completed no later than 12 months after the project plan is approved.
Applications will be accepted until December 31, 2024. Save on Energy encourages communities to submit their applications as early as possible.