Innovative Charlottetown, Stratford, and Wolfville Switch Programs Announced Winners of a National Climate Action Award
Switch Charlottetown Award – City of Charlottetown
The City of Charlottetown and Town of Stratford are being recognized nationally for their green energy financing programs, Switch Charlottetown and Switch Stratford. They have won a national Climate Change Action Award along with Wolfville, Nova Scotia and the program administrator PACE Atlantic Community Interest Corporation. The award will be presented by the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) at their Sustainable Communities Conference in early February of 2023.
“Empowering residents to take action on climate change has been a real win for our communities. I think it’s important that all levels of government are working together to make it easy for our residents and businesses to become more energy efficient,” says Mayor Philip Brown of Charlottetown. “Programs like Switch Charlottetown will help us further reduce our carbon footprint and reach our net zero targets more efficiently.”
Since the launch of both municipal programs in July of 2021, over 1200 participants have called in to participate. With over 400 projects completed and over 150 in progress as of January 2023, the environmental impact of the Switch program has been significant. The PEI Switch projects have helped homeowners invest a total of $8.5 million in green energy projects like solar, heat pumps and insulation, and have reduced greenhouse gas emissions of these properties by over 40% on average.
“I think it’s such a wonderful idea,” says Brent Taylor, a Switch participant in Stratford. “I drive around the neighbourhood now and see solar panels and work vehicles in driveways doing energy conservation installations. I’m sure a lot of that is a result of the program, so I’d thank the mayors and councils for having the leap of faith they needed to make this happen.”
With more than 50 island contractors engaged in the program, almost 200 jobs have been created through the Switch programs. Julian Boyle, President of the program administrator, PACE Atlantic CIC says, “We’ve never seen communities uptake programming like in Charlottetown and Stratford. With 3-5% of the housing stock being retrofitted annually they are setting the bar for the rest of Canada in the energy transition and race to net-zero.”
Mayor Steve Ogden of Stratford added, “Our residents make it clear annually through our Annual Resident Survey that programs like this are important to them, and to our overall energy and environmental goals. The Switch Stratford program has been a win/win for the community and the environment. It is saving homeowners on energy costs while also helping our local community and our planet.”
A key element to the success of the Switch Charlottetown and Switch Stratford programs is the Energy Concierge service, which is designed to make the transition to greener energy easy for homeowners. Access to free home energy assessments, low-cost financing, and stackable Federal and Provincial rebates make the Switch programs highly accessible to homeowners.
The award will be presented at an award’s ceremony at FCM’s 2023 Sustainable Communities Conference, hosted in Ottawa from February 8-10, 2023. During this ceremony, The Town of Stratford and the City of Charlottetown will be presenting a showcase on their programs together with the Town of Wolfville and PACE Atlantic CIC.