Energy efficiency kits for remote Canadian First Nation communities

Thousands of energy conservation kits (ECKs) are being rolled out to hard-to-reach First Nation Communities around the Canadian province of Ontario.

Conserving the light is crucial in isolated communities that are off the grid

Conserving the light is crucial in isolated communities that are off the grid

Launched late last week, the new project - Mana-cha-toon Wash-ti-ni-gun,
or Conserve the Light, specifically targets First Nation communities and the education of "immediate reductions in energy use."

Each ECK - which is subsidised at a cost of approximately $40 each - includes compact fluorescent light bulbs, window and pipe wrapping, low-flow showerheads, timers for outside lights, and refrigerator thermometres. About 25,000 kits are expected to be distributed across the province.

The project, which is funded by the Ontario Power Authority, (OPA) is part of the Provincial Energy Efficiency & Conservation Measures for Aboriginal Communities (EEMAC) programme.

Charles Fox, programme manager for the EEMAC, said: "Electricity conservation is critical for many remote communities with power often provided by diesel generators that require fuel delivered by aircraft or winter roads, both expensive procedures."

The ECKs are transported on a regular 'Hydro One' flight used to transport service technicians into remote locations.

An estimated 85,000 people will benefit from this project. The OPA says that the work specifically targets First Nation communities to match ongoing programmes around the province, which already support recycling and energy-conserving practice.

Mr Fox said to edie: "It's going to be a slow process, and there have been some mixed reactions. It's definitely a good idea - you're looking at 10 to 15% savings in addition to the environmental benefits."

Although the programme is not yet viewed as a template for additional projects in Canada, there has been interest in the OPA's project.

John Jeza, director of channel development at the OPA, told edie: "We've been sharing ideas with the federal government and coordinating a consistent message. This project was initiated in 2005, and [we want] this to work alongside similar projects that reach other people around the province."

Dana Gornitzki



Waste & resource management
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