Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Program to green up William Whyte homes

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Got a house in the North End?

Then Manitoba Hydro wants to speak to you.

The Crown power utility and the North End Community Renewal Corporation (NECRC) launched a new program to make many of the 2,000 eligible homes in the William Whyte neighbourhood more energy-efficient.

The Power Smart Neighbourhood Project is open to owners and renters to replace old furnaces, upgrade insulation and improve water efficiency.

Hydro's incentive programs have been around for several years and are available to all eligible Manitobans, but this is the first time a community agency has been recruited to do the legwork to find homes that need work. One reason the William Whyte area was picked is because it has got some of the oldest homes in the city, many more than 100 years old.

Premier Greg Selinger said renovation work done under the project will be contracted to Manitoba Green Retrofits and Inner City Renovations, two non-profit organizations that train and employ local people.

"There's a lot of good outcomes that come here," Selinger said at the program's launch at a house on Alfred Avenue on Tuesday. "Jobs for people in the neighbourhood and lower bills for people because they'll pay less for water and energy."

The new project gives eligible William Whyte residents access to two existing programs: The first is Manitoba Hydro's Low Income Energy Efficiency Program, which allows for no-cost insulation and low-cost furnaces. The second is the Power Smart Pay-As-You-Save financing program. It pays the upfront capital costs of eligible energy-saving measures and uses monthly bill savings as payment.

"The residents of William Whyte will see their utility bills reduced while the quality of their housing is increased," NECRC president Gary Swanson said. "With the creation of employment, the reduction of utility bills and fewer residents struggling with insufficient heat, we aim to see a rise in human dignity."

NECRC will promote the project through a campaign that will include community events and door-to-door canvassing. Manitoba Hydro will pay the promotion expenses and provide technical and marketing support.

Other measures to be considered under the program include free in-home energy reviews, improvements to sealing, caulking and weatherstripping and installing pipe wrapping.

bruce.owen@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition November 29, 2012 A14

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