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Posted: March 31, 2019

Community buildings get energized

16 energy-wise projects are supported with over $650,000 from Columbia Basin Trust

Renewable energy upgrades in 16 community buildings will generate energy, increase energy efficiency and sustainability, and reduce energy costs. These projects are being realized with over $650,000 in support from Columbia Basin Trust’s Energy Sustainability Grants.

The buildings range from community halls to aquatic centres, and activities vary from installing solar panels to adding heat pumps. Projects may also include improvements like adding insulation and replacing furnaces and lighting to help the benefits from the projects go further.

“People regularly use and appreciate these buildings, and many have told us they want to explore ways to use energy efficiently and sustainably, which is why we’ve made renewable and alternative energy one of our strategic priorities,” said Mark Brunton, Columbia Basin Trust Senior Manager, Delivery of Benefits. “Through these grants, these important community assets will now be equipped to generate and conserve energy, while moving into the future as inviting, comfortable spaces.”

The community of ʔaq̓am is one of the recipients. It will be adding solar panels to its new health and wellness facility, which is just starting construction.

“The community has been putting a focus on sustainable energy usage, and we realize that sustainable high-quality buildings are essential for a healthy community and ecosystem,” said Nasuʔkin Joe Pierre. “This building is a great opportunity to implement the technology, with results to be considered during future ʔaq̓am projects and shared with other interested communities.”

The Burton Community Association is installing solar panels at its community hall, along with doing other energy-saving improvements, with support from Columbia Basin Trust’s Energy Sustainability Grants.

The Burton Community Association will be adding solar panels to its community hall, reducing power usage by switching to LED lights and adding a Level 2 electric vehicle charging station.

“Having solar power at the community hall will cut our electricity bill, plus be an opportunity for locals to see the benefits of solar and how it works,” said Board member Barbara Ross. “Adding the electric vehicle charging stations will encourage community uptake on electric vehicles and enable travellers with electric vehicles to come to the area and explore our community.”

This is one of the ways the Trust is helping communities conserve energy and generate renewable and alternative energy. The Trust has supported an electric vehicle charging network across the Basin, and the Trust has helped improve energy efficiency and sustainability in 935 units in 47 affordable housing buildings in the Basin.

East Kootenay area projects being funded

  • ʔaq̓ am – $100,000 for Solar panel installation.
  • Cranbrook: Community Connections Society of Southeast BC is getting $47,650 and the City of Cranbrook $47,250 for solar panel installations.
  • District of Elkford – $18,750 for solar panel installation on the municipal hall.
  • Grasmere – The Triangle Women’s Institute is receiving $43,000 for solar panel installation to the Pioneer Hall.
  • City of Kimberley – $43,200 for solar panel installation at the Aquatic Centre.
  • Kimberley’ Elks Lodge 90 is getting $37,600 for solar panel installation, LED lighting, and thermostats.
  • Regional District of East Kootenay is getting $63,750 for solar panel installation for the multi-use outdoor arena at Wycliffe.

See full list of grant recipients

Columbia Basin Trust supports the ideas and efforts of the people in the Columbia Basin. To learn more about the Trust’s programs and initiatives, and how it helps deliver social, economic and environmental benefits to the Basin, visit or call 1-800-505-8998.

Lead image: The community of ʔaq̓am is installing solar panels on its new health and wellness facility with support from Columbia Basin Trust’s Energy Sustainability Grants. Photos submitted by Columbia Basin Trust

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