The organization

Elora Environment Centre (EEC) is a charitable organization which serves southwestern Ontario by helping communities realize energy saving potentials through education and conservation measures. Through the completion of over 40,000 home energy evaluations, EEC has reduced energy consumption in the area by 80 million kilowatt hours. In addition to home energy evaluations, EEC also performs an annual tree inventory through a program called NeighbourWoods which promotes tree stewardship throughout the Municipality of Centre Wellington.

The challenge

In February 2013 the EEC was contracted to deliver, over two years, 1,046 free energy evaluation audits and energy retrofits to lower income households in several communities in southwestern Ontario. The program, run in partnership with the Ontario Power Authority, and two small electric local distribution companies, includes the installation of Energy Star appliances such as refrigerators, freezers, window air conditioning units and, in some cases, major insulation renovations in households which qualify. The program also involves a Certified Energy Advisor implementing energy efficient upgrades, such as CFL light bulbs, power bars with timers, programmable thermostats, low flow faucets free of charge in lower income housing. EEC was tasked with purchasing the initial inventory of energy efficient products before seeing repayment from the local electric utility which, in the early stages of the program, places a burden on EEC’s cash flow.

How CFF helped

An EEC Board member handed Katelyn McFadyen, Executive Director of EEC, a newspaper article about the Community Forward Fund. Katelyn contacted the Director of Lending at the Community Forward Fund and began the application process. She worked closely with EEC’s bookkeeper to gather the required documents for application to CFF.

“The process from application to disbursement was quick and easy. The Director of Lending was on the other end of the phone every time we had a question.” said Katelyn. The loan from the Community Forward Fund will be used to support the upfront hard costs for energy saving retrofits. “Having to pay for major appliances for many homes would be difficult for a smaller organization likes ours. Now that we have secured the funds from the Community Forward Fund it has allowed us to do many audits and appliance replacements while giving us some extra cash flow.”

Derek Ballantyne, CFF CEO, states, “Our Fund was created to assist organizations like the Elora Environment Centre. It is rewarding to support this organization achieve its goals with a strong emphasis on positive impacts and solid business plan.”