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Social Housing Services Corporation, GLOBE and Toronto Hydro achieve 2.76 Megawatts in savings in 2008


    TORONTO, Dec. 18 /CNW/ - The Social Housing Services Corporation (SHSC)
and its subsidiary Green Light on a Better Environment (GLOBE), with support
from Toronto Hydro-Electric System Limited (Toronto Hydro), have concluded
their 2008 conservation and education program to train social housing tenants
and community champions in energy conservation. The initiative also included
replacing old, incandescent light bulbs in 12,827 social housing units across
Toronto, with 57,362 energy efficient compact fluorescent bulbs (CFLs).
    The program is expected to reduce electricity demand by 2.766 MW -
equivalent to taking close to 2,000 homes off the grid. It builds on the
success of a similar initiative in 2007 when Toronto Hydro, SHSC and GLOBE
trained social housing tenants and replaced 20,782 incandescent bulbs with
compact fluorescents.
    The program is also an opportunity for Toronto Hydro, SHSC and GLOBE to
take a proactive approach to educating and engaging residents and staff in
activities that help to develop a culture of conservation. With funding from
Toronto Hydro, GLOBE worked with Seneca College to deliver a peer-led resident
education and engagement program called, "The Community Champion Program".
    "We are thrilled with these results. Providing CFLs is a simple
initiative that creates a bigger opportunity for us to engage residents in a
conversation about conservation. When the tenant understands how simple it is
to conserve, it often leads to changes in behaviour that further reduce
electricity use and help our environment. Since beginning our partnership with
SHSC in 2007, we've cut consumption in these social housing units by close to
4 Megawatts," says David O'Brien, President and Chief Executive Officer,
Toronto Hydro Corporation.
    "This is about investing in communities," said Colin Gage, Chair of GLOBE
and Vice-Chair of SHSC. "The Community Champion program gives residents an
opportunity to learn and truly participate in the sustainability of their
community. They get the tools and resources to be part of the solution."
    The Community Champion Program enables residents to become agents of
change in their own communities. Community Champions and housing staff receive
energy conservation training, focused on the importance of resident behaviour.
Resources, such as presentations, posters, communication tools and an online
forum help them promote conservation basics to their fellow social housing
communities.
    Since the program was developed in 2007, 80 social housing organizations
and 20 Community Champions have received training on energy conservation.
Another 13 Community Champions are currently registered in the program.
    Ian Heslop, Housing Administrator with Genesis Place Homes said that the
training gives more than just great information and tips. "I now feel that the
Community Champions know what is involved and are even more enthusiastic about
their role."
    His comments were echoed by Community Champion Lynn Wood, from Richview
Residence for Seniors. "I've learned so much, and even though it is hard work,
I've truly had fun working on this program. I enjoy having the opportunity to
talk to and work with my neighbours. We are all in this together and we have
learnt that every little bit of effort counts and is worthwhile."
    To keep things interesting, Lynn has tried a number of different
activities - green-themed activity days, a screening of Al Gore's film, An
Inconvenient Truth, and contests with prizes from local businesses. She also
thinks that her message has a greater impact on other residents when it comes
from her.
    Jane Kuchma, the Executive Director at Richview Residence agrees. "It is
one thing for us, as a landlord, to ask residents to change their behaviour.
It is quite another when Lynn as a fellow resident, is able to inspire and
motivate other residents to change their behaviour. Lynn has done an
incredible job."

    About SHSC

    The Social Housing Services Corporation (SHSC) is a non-profit
corporation that provides innovative services designed to empower social
housing providers to develop safe, affordable homes and vibrant sustainable
communities. SHSC offers such business-oriented solutions as insurance,
investment, gas purchasing, energy management and research, to address the
needs of the affordable housing community.

    About GLOBE

    Green Light on a Better Environment (GLOBE) is a subsidiary of SHSC. It
provides an integrated program of energy audits, support services, resources
and education to help social housing providers navigate the world of energy
and build a culture of conservation in their communities.

    About Toronto Hydro-Electric System

    A wholly-owned subsidiary of Toronto Hydro Corporation, Toronto
Hydro-Electric System Limited delivers electricity through a complex network
of poles, wires and underground structures to 678,000 customers and
distributes approximately 18 per cent of the electricity in the province of
Ontario. Toronto Hydro Corporation is owned 100 per cent by the City of
Toronto.