Reach your climate-resiliency and building-cooling goals

In the face of the climate emergency, retrofits can create sustainable non-profit housing that provides safety and comfort for tenants. But the complexity and cost of these projects are major challenges. In 2023, a $2.2-million pilot program was launched to address overheating and improve the non-profit building stock in the City of Vancouver. Offered by the BC Non-Profit Housing Association, the City of Vancouver and BC Hydro, the Non-Profit Resilient Retrofit Grant program will support work on up to 20 buildings located in Vancouver. Through the program, participants are able to:

  • Reduce greenhouse-gas emissions from buildings
  • Save on upgrades to aging building systems
  • Receive expert support throughout the retrofit process
  • Provide tenants with cooler, healthier and more comfortable homes
  • Get detailed data on energy savings

This program is fully subscribed.

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What is the program all about?

The program is a City of Vancouver initiative and is administered in partnership with the BC Non-Profit Housing Association (BCNPHA). It is designed to effectively accelerate deep emissions reductions while also supporting the introduction of cooling measures and the implementation of heat pump retrofit projects.

  • Reduce emissions and increase resilience with cooling: identify opportunities to replace aging gas heating and domestic hot water systems with new electric heat pumps
  • Consider a holistic retrofit package where possible: identify through energy audits, if non-mechanical upgrades can make a strong business case, with minimal tenant disruption
  • Provide capital incentives to cover incremental costs
  • Coach housing societies through the retrofits from start-to-finish
  • Provide post-retrofit support to ensure the new systems are operating and performing as designed and to measure the energy and emissions savings
  • Complete measurement & verification of post-retrofit to confirm energy and emission savings
  • Develop operator training resources for heat pump technologies to maintain optimal performance throughout the lifetime of the equipment, and
  • Develop and disseminate lessons learned through case studies of the buildings that undertake retrofits.

Who can apply?

Registered non-profit organizations who are operating affordable housing in Vancouver and are in good standing with the BC Registry Services can submit their Expression of Interest to BCNPHA. Buildings will be selected based on:

  • A diversity of building archetypes that are eligible for the relevant upgrades. The program seeks to achieve a representative sample of Vancouver non-profit housing stock.
  • Buildings that have space heating and/or domestic hot water equipment/systems that are reaching the end of their useful lifetime and need replacement
  • Providers that are interested in the opportunity for heat pump and/or envelope retrofits and motivated to reduce the GHG emissions from their building(s)
  • Providers with capacity and/or previous experience undertaking building renovations with tenants in place
  • Only one application will be allowed per individual property, max. three per society

What are the capital incentives and payment schedule?

This program’s capital incentives will top up to cover up to 100% of the incremental consultant, capital and replacement costs after grants/funds from others have been applied. Incremental capital cost will be calculated using the current code minimum efficiency system that can be installed in Vancouver.

The number of projects receiving funding from this program will depend on a variety of factors, including the types of measures chosen and the size of participating buildings. Additional capital funding streams can be used to leverage the project budget for each participant.

Grants will be paid in the form of a rebate upon completion and verification of the retrofit work phase and the required documentation. Exceptions to this may be requested subject to organizational need.

What are the relevant upgrades?

The following upgrades will be considered:

  • Domestic Hot Water system replacements with Heat Pump solutions
  • Makeup Air (MUA) system replacements with Heat Pump & Hybrid solutions
  • In-suite heat pump additions
  • Central heat pump replacements
  • Electric panel upgrades, minor envelope improvements, structural reviews etc. to support the above measures
  • Complimentary upgrades (e.g. new windows, air sealing, insulation)

What work is not eligible?

The Program does not financially support:

  • energy upgrades and/or capital repairs with committed funding that are already planned or under way;
  • additions or new construction;
  • general interior or exterior work or construction;
  • other work deemed inappropriate at the discretion of BCNPHA and/or City of Vancouver;
  • or project costs incurred prior to notification of funding approval

What is the program’s timeline?

Expression of Interest: April 15 2023
Energy Audits: Spring 2023
Detailed Energy Studies for selected buildings: Fall 2023 – Winter 2024
Retrofits completed: Summer/Fall 2025
M&V and commissioning: Summer/Fall 2026

How does the program work?

Expression of interest

Building energy benchmarking
Shortlisted non-profits will get set up for benchmarking, including energy and GHG emissions analysis and reporting.

Energy audits
Walk-through audits will identify potential low carbon retrofits in buildings and determine eligibility for upgrades. If sufficient opportunity exists, BCNPHA will help provide advice on rebates from this program and other funding sources.

Detailed energy studies
Once a building is accepted into the Program, a detailed energy study will be conducted.

Retrofit implementation and mechanical design
The selected program participants will receive implementation support including detailed design, support with the Request for Proposal (RFP) and bidding process and construction management.

Retrofit installation
The contractors, hired by the non-profit societies complete the retrofits as detailed.

Commissioning and Measurement and Verification (M&V)
1-year of post-retrofit commissioning will be provided to ensure that the building systems are functioning and operating as designed.

Retrofit coaching and ongoing support
BCNPHA will provide start-to-finish assistance to identify and prioritize fuel-switching opportunities, ‘translate’ technical language from engineering, evaluate quotes and equipment options, coordinate site visits, and provide expertise for successful retrofit implementation and ongoing operation. Assistance will also include applying for all utility and non-utility incentives by collecting appropriate information on project energy savings and a detailed breakdown of project costs.

Capacity building and operator training
To assist non-profits in developing and delivering high quality affordable housing to British Columbians, BCNPHA will take learnings from the energy retrofit projects and develop case studies that highlight the opportunities and challenges of low carbon technologies in the non-market housing sector, develop an operator training module for heat pump technologies, and support operators on an ongoing basis to address technical challenges

Related Links

Helpful info you need to support your work in BC’s non-profit housing sector.

Green Asset Management Course

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Rebates & Incentives

Access a wide range of rebates and incentives from our partners and housing stakeholders to help fund your retrofit project.

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Energy Audits

Start saving energy with a detailed energy audit.

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