Cool Shops offers cost-effective energy conservation advice for small businessesIn downtown Toronto last week, the Clean Air Foundation launched its Cool Shops energy saving program for small businesses at the World Hair Salon whose owner, Brian Phillips, was recognized for his energy conservation and renewable energy efforts. Building on previous initiatives, the World Hair Salon is further reducing its energy use by installing solar thermal technology this summer.
Cool Shops is a market transformation program targeting street-facing retailers in neighbourhoods across Ontario, including the 15,000 small businesses in the Greater Toronto Area. The program provides site-specific energy audits to small businesses, including recommendations for saving money in the short-, medium- and long-term, immediate installation of quick initiatives, and direct access to implementation partners who can provide the tools and financing to encourage a shift to more energy-efficient buildings.
The Cool Shops program is supported by the Ontario Ministry of Environment, Natural Resources Canada, Enbridge Gas Distribution and Toronto Hydro.
In Toronto, Green$aver (www.greensaver.org) performs the audits and provides the feedback and continuing consultations where required. All official "Cool Shops" receive a window sticker to promote their store as energy-efficient and to let the community know they are taking a positive step towards clean air. Since 2000, more than 200 energy audits have been carried out on small businesses in Toronto under the Cool Shops program. This year, the Clean Air Foundation intends to expand the program across Canada.
Since it opened in October 1989, World Salon (www.world.ca) has made a focused effort to cut energy consumption and use environmentally friendly products and services. Acting on recommendations from the Cool Shops program, the World Salon installed an energy efficient washer and dryer and switched to compact fluorescent lights. This has reduced the salon's energy costs by approximately 22% so far. More dramatic results are expected following this summer's installation of a solar hot water heating system.
"With last year's blackout, people are realizing that energy conservation is imperative," said Cool Shops program manager Corey Diamond. "Most small businesses aren't aware of some of the simple things they can do to reduce operating costs. Once small businesses understand the substantial savings realized with even the smallest of efforts, the better the health of the city will be. The Cool Shops program helps them do just that."
The Clean Air Foundation is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to developing, implementing and managing public engagement programs and strategic initiatives that lead to a measurable improvement in air quality. The Foundation manages six programs dedicated to improving air quality. In addition to Cool Shops, they include Car Heaven, Keep Cool, Mow Down Pollution, Energy Wise and Switch Out. More information is available on the Foundation's Web site, www.cleanairfoundation.org.