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Selkirk
Saturday, September 18, 2021

Use less energy, save more money – Selkirk’s efficiency advocate will help

The City of Selkirk has become the first municipality in the province to receive funding for an Energy Efficiency Advocate who will work with residents, businesses and the city itself to help them become more energy efficient, a win for the environment and your bank account.

The funding from Efficiency Manitoba under its Community Energy Efficiency Program provides up to $80,000 over two years towards the position.

“The City of Selkirk is proud  to be part of a program that helps people conserve energy and save money. We thank Efficiency Manitoba for partnering with us as we continue to be a Manitoba leader in environmental stewardship.,” said Mayor Larry Johannson.

“The Community Energy Efficiency Program aligns with the city’s Strategic Plan that makes environmental stewardship a priority, encouraging more environmentally responsible development and helping citizens make good environmental choices.”

The Community Energy Efficiency Program, set out in the new Crown corporation’s approved 2020-23 Efficiency Plan, offers financial and technical support for municipalities to hire and train an Energy Efficiency Advocate.

The role of the Advocate is to identify energy-saving opportunities in their community and encourage participation in Efficiency Manitoba’s energy efficiency programs, ultimately leading to reduced energy consumption and lower energy bills. The program supports local economic development as it relates to energy efficiency.

”We’re excited to partner with the City of Selkirk on this initiative,” said Colleen Kuruluk, CEO of Efficiency Manitoba.

“By giving communities the tools and resources to take on energy efficiency projects, they’re empowered to take ownership of their projects and create a culture of sustainability.”

Selkirk CAO Duane Nicol says along with the environmental benefits, there’s an economic upside the program can trigger.

“When you use less energy you save on your  Hydro and gas bills, so there’s a net economic return to the community by keeping more dollars in the community,” Nicol said.

“Programs like this  generate jobs and receipts for local business when people do things like retro fits  and re-insulation of homes.. There’s work generated here and improving  local buildings adds value to them. These are real investments in local properties often supported by grant dollars.”

Nicol said the city is committed to Greenhouse Gas mitigation and this program fits in with that effort.

“This program aligns very well with our commitment to reduce our climate change impact. Making homes and businesses more energy efficient means less fossil fuels are used, particularly when homes and businesses reduce heat loss. Through this program we hope to reduce the amount of GHGs generated in Selkirk,” Nicol said.

The city adopted a GHG reduction plan in 2016 and pledged to reduce corporate emissions by 20 per cent in 10 years.

In 2019, Selkirk teamed with the Prairie Climate Centre to help staff understand the specific impacts climate change has on the city and develop its Climate Change Adaptation Strategy to deal with those impacts. The strategy integrates climate change into the city’s day to day business planning and its asset management.

The city has purchased hybrid buses, two Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles and the new wastewater treatment plant won’t use any fossil fuels to heat the building. It’s also been constructed in a way that will allow for easy integration of solar power in the future. The building will also make use of heat from the wastewater it’s treating. In 2019, the water treatment plant was retrofitted and replaced an old natural gas heating system with an innovative geothermal heating system that uses raw water coming into the plant to heat and cool the facility. 2019/2020 also saw the installation of solar powered crosswalks at four separate intersections and one of, if not the, largest rooftop solar panel installation in the province at the Rec. Complex.

“Selkirk has shown they’re committed to making our province more energy efficient,” Kuruluk said.

“Partnering with them through the Community Energy Efficiency Program will allow us to help them build upon their solid foundation.”

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