May 17, 2004

Demand prompts three-month extension of Climate Change Central grant program

Climate Change Central, in Calgary, has extended the Alberta Plus Initiative, a municipal grants program which is reaping big energy savings from efficient building construction. Originally scheduled to end March 31, the program has been extended to June 30, 2004 to meet a request from Alberta municipalities for a longer-term program.

In three months, more than $480,000 in grants has been awarded to municipal projects, which are expected to generate more than $1.7 million in energy savings and reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 18,000 tonnes over ten years. To date, projects given funding have included schools in Calgary and Banff, an Edmonton police station and a seniors' centre in Vegreville.

"The Alberta Plus Initiative has spurred innovation in Alberta's building industry," said Allan Amey, Climate Change Central president and CEO. "When people hear how much a school district or a seniors' centre are saving each year, they are going to want these better designs and technologies, too. That's why we're extending the program until the end of June."

The Alberta Plus Initiative has earned an Energy Efficiency Recognition Award from Natural Resources Canada's (NRCan) Office of Energy Efficiency. The award honours Climate Change Central for promoting NRCan's Commercial Building Incentive Program (CBIP), which provides up to $60,000 for energy-efficient building projects. The Alberta Plus grant adds a maximum $40,000 grant, providing total funding of up to $100,000 for commercial building designs whose energy efficiency surpasses by at least 25% criteria set out in the Model National Energy Code for Buildings in Canada.

Climate Change Central is a public-private partnership established as a catalyst for, and co-ordinator of, activities by individuals, businesses, institutions and governments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in Alberta. Energy Solutions Alberta (ESA), Climate Change Central's office of energy efficiency was developed to provide Albertans with a one-stop source of reliable and unbiased information regarding energy efficiency opportunities. ESA funds and administers the Alberta Plus Initiative and co-ordinates the program's activities.

In related events, the Alberta Chapter of the Canada Green Building Council was launched on May 5 in Edmonton at the Sustainable Building Symposium. It will be a leading advocate and training co-ordinator for the design and construction of green buildings in the province. The year-old Council represents a broad spectrum of the design and building industry.

"Many people are not aware of the benefits of investing in sustainable building design," said Simon Knight, head of the Alberta chapter's organizing committee and a director of Climate Change Central. "We hope the Alberta chapter will encourage all stakeholders to take part in the next generation of building construction."

A key Canada Green Building Council initiative is Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED(tm)). LEED(tm) seeks to develop and promote Canadian products, policies and educational and marketing tools that support sustainable construction practices.

"It makes sense to invest in developments that will generate significant operating savings along with environmental sustainability," said Allan Amey. "Finding ways to co-exist with the environment around us is essential as communities continue to grow in Alberta and increase demands on this province's diverse ecosystems."

More information is available from Helen Corbett, director of communications for Climate Change Central, 403/517-2717, Web sites www.abcagbc.org or www.climatechangecentral.com.

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