Condos Must Overcome Hurdles To Access Billions in Federal Energy Retrofit Loans
The Canada Infrastructure Bank (CIB) is making $2-billion available for retrofits in commercial buildings to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and stimulate the green-tech economy.
Condominiums are eligible for this federal funding, but they must overcome a few hurdles to gain access to the loans:
- Single condo corporations are practically NOT ELIGIBLE because the minimum CIB loan amount is $25-million
- However - CIB plans to use 3rd party aggregators that could group condo corporations together to meet the $25-million minimum loan amount
- CIB aggregators do not exist yet – an engineering company would be a prime candidate to serve as an aggregator
- CIB provides only 80% of the funds – remaining 20% must come from the building owners
- Low 3% interest rates for 20 year terms require a minimum 25% reduction in GHGs for each building
The specific details on how all of this will work for individual condominium corporations is not yet clear. It is clear that prudent condominium boards can take steps today to prepare for higher prices on Carbon use. Crossbridge’s in-house energy manager has generated an average of $1.3-million per year in energy reductions for Crossbridge clients since 2012, and he is well positioned to outline those steps.
- Reducing GHGs in an Ontario condo means reducing the use of natural gas.
- Using on-site renewable generation and energy storage can play a role.
- However, most condos will have to consider switching from using gas for most of their heating to using electricity - this doesn’t typically have a business case at current natural gas prices.
- 1st step – Benchmark your building each year to understand the opportunity to improve vs other buildings – this step is mandated by provincial regulation.
- 2nd step – Invest into looking at ways to reduce your consumption – incentive programs exist to support this. How you operate & maintain the building can be just as important as doing retrofits.
- 3rd step – Ask your reserve fund planner to identify gas burning equipment that needs to be replaced over the next 20 years - look to convert to electric during replacement.
Crossbridge’s energy manager contributed to an excellent article that provides additional detail on the CIB program.