OHSWEKEN – Representatives from First Nations Engineering Services Limited (FNESL) are in the beginning phases of the First Nations Conservation Program and came to elected council last week to give an update.
“The program is designed to help homeowners in First Nation communities conserve energy and manage their energy costs to build a culture of conservation and improve home comfort,” said Steve Martin, corporate director for FNESL. “By applying and being accepted into the program, we will come and install new, energy saving products in your homes.”
FNESL has been retained by Hydro One Networks Inc. to be the delivery agent of the conservation program. The program is to be delivered to 47 communities over the next few years and is available to Six Nations members who own, rent, or lease their residence on reserve and are the primary or secondary Hydro One account holders.
“People that apply and are accepted can receive up to $13,750 in energy saving products and services free of charge, for their homes,” said Martin.
The goal is to reduce electricity consumption, teach homeowners how to use electricity less and how to lower the impact individuals have on the environment.
“This is not a general renovation budget,” he said. “It does not cover repair for roofing, windows, doors, structure and HVAC systems.”
Depending on what applications qualify for after a Home Energy Audit is performed at the residence, applicants would receive new things like: LED light bulbs, smart power bars, block heater timers, efficient showerheads and faucet aerators, energy star appliances.
Some homeowners would also qualify for retrofits such as: attic and wall insulations, basement insulation, draft proofing and programmable thermostats.
“Like we said, it’s not just a free renovation,” said one of the FNESL representatives. “Applicants must qualify for each individual upgrade.”
Homeowners can expect to have around six to seven visits from the organization behind the program and they said they will try to be as uninvasive as possible.
“Doing these upgrades means we do actually have to be in the home sometimes, but we will always come in groups of at least two, said the representative.
There are three phases: Phase one is the application process. Phase two is the audits and basic measures installation and Phase three is the extended measures installation.
Before home visits and any installations can begin, the team has decided to partake in several community engagement strategies to let the community know what is taking place and what your options are as a qualifying homeowner. The team is going to do things like: host a launch event, hire community canvassers, prepare a website, advertise on the radio and through mail outs, and also plans on using social media to get the word out.
“Our next step is to organize a community launch and have some meetings before we continue moving forward,” said Martin.
Several elected councillors said that the program sounds like it would be very successful here on Six Nations and are looking forward to learning more about the entire process in the near future.