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Spreading the word about saving energy, saving cash

North End Renewal Corp.’s latest addition ready to inform neighbourhood

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After weeks of training and studying, James Favel is ready to hit the street.

Favel is the newest addition to the North End Community Renewal Corp. as its full-time energy advocate. Following the provincial government’s announcement last month that it is offering energy-smart upgrades to William Whyte residents, the NERC created the position to make sure residents are informed about how they can make use of the programs.

Favel’s position is part of a three-year pilot project the NERC is undertaking to inform the public about what kind of energy efficiency programs are available to them.

"My job is to help facilitate access to programs already available in the neighbourhood, focusing mainly on the Hydro programs," he said.

"But not to the exclusion of the other programs, like TLC (Tenant Landlord Co-operation) and the other programs offered through this office.

"Any issues I come across when I go to people’s homes, I have the power to address."

Favel was hired Nov. 8 and spent the rest of the month training for his new role and studying up on the program, dubbed the Power Smart Neighbourhood project.

"I did a lot of training, learning how to fill out the forms and things like that. Basically learning all the programs, because it’s all fairly new to me as well," Favel said.

It was a serendipitous turn for Favel, who is also chair of the Dufferin Residents Association and had been looking to work with the NERC for some time. The residents association is housed in the same building as the NERC, and its community development worker is paid through the renewal corporation, so Favel has had an up-close look at the NERC’s work.

"I’ve wanted to work with (the NERC) for a while now, and this was the first opportunity and I jumped at it," Favel said.

"I’m also the chairman of the Dufferin Residents Association, and through my activities with the association I got to be more familiar with what goes on around here, and I wanted to be part of it."

Favel had his first client interview on Dec. 10 and said things are off to a bit of a slow start so far. Favel will have a lot of pavement to pound in the coming weeks to meet the NERC’s goals.

"The first year is 100 (homes), the second year is 1,000, and the third year is the rest of the 1,300 homes that would be left over. We have 2,400 homes in the catchment," he said.

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