Be sure to get financing for long-deferred energy retrofits, not only in the US but now also in Canada

by Brianna Crandall — November 1, 2017 — The Canada Green Building Council (CaGBC), Green Business Certification Inc. (GBCI), and the Advanced Energy Centre at MaRS Discovery District (MaRS) recently announced that they are working together to bring the Investor Confidence (ICP) Project and its Investor Ready Energy Efficiency (IREE) certification to Canada.

ICP is a global underwriting standard for developing and measuring energy efficiency retrofits and is administered by GBCI. Its IREE certification signals to investors that a project has adopted best practices that can help reduce transaction costs and increase savings. The protocols offer investors a consistent roadmap for assessing risk, and expected outcomes from deep retrofits.

The IREE certification is currently being used by project owners, investors, engineers and insurance companies in North America and Europe. Energy efficiency programs such as Pacific Gas and Electric’s On-Bill Financing Program, the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities Pay4Performance Program, the Connecticut Green Banks Commercial Property Assessed Clean Energy program, the UK’s Carbon and Energy Fund and others are also applying the IREE certification.

In the Pan-Canadian Framework, the Canadian federal government recognized the role that retrofitting buildings will play in reaching Canada’s targeted emissions reductions. CaGBC and GBCI are bringing ICP to Canada to facilitate the mass retrofits required to achieve these goals. The groups say IREE-certified projects will provide clarity on the long-term performance of energy efficiency technologies and provide the necessary assurance required to create greater access to competitive financing, which will be necessary to achieve retrofits on a large scale.

Thomas Mueller, president and CEO of CaGBC and GBCI Canada, stated:

As our recent A Roadmap for Retrofits in Canada report found, Canada’s existing building stock has the potential to reduce overall building emissions by up to 51 percent by 2030. The biggest barrier for the industry and ownership is access to financing. We believe that the ICP can play a critical role in the acceleration of Canada’s retrofit economy by instilling investor confidence in green retrofits and by providing a tested, ready-made tool that government and industry can leverage to accelerate uptake across the country.

Supported by the Ministry of Energy in Ontario, the Advanced Energy Centre at MaRS is partnering with CaGBC and GBCI to pilot the ICP methodology for the Canadian market. The pilot will bring together a multi-sectoral group that includes owners, government, engineering firms, utilities and financial institutions with the goal of determining how ICP can help facilitate more retrofits in Canada. The pilots will also help inform the accreditation and certification services for Investor Ready Energy Efficiency projects, which will be delivered by GBCI Canada.

Shawn Peterson, senior associate of the Advanced Energy Centre at MaRS, remarked:

The Advanced Energy Centre is pleased to play a role in introducing the Investor Confidence Project and supporting the IREE Certification’s launch in Canada. Our cities need innovative financing mechanisms for improving building performance at scale. Ontario’s large concentration of institutional real estate, financial capital and support to invest in low-carbon building solutions makes it an ideal market for investors.

The next steps for the ICP program in Canada will be the recruitment of Canadian projects for IREE certification in February 2018, and then the initiation of a pilot in summer 2018. For more information on ICP in Canada , visit the MaRS Discovery District Investor Confidence Project Canada Pilot Program Web site.