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This newsletter provides information about CEA projects, events, and the networks it supports – all aimed at accelerating bold action from local governments and Indigenous communities related to climate and energy.

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This month:

  • 2023 Climate & Energy Action Award Winners

  • Other Highlights from UBCM

  • Coaching Program for Local Elected Officials

  • Come Together in Kamloops

  • Building a Legacy in Northern BC

  • Community Bioenergy Systems - A Summit in Revelstoke

  • Opening Doors to Climate-Friendly Homes

  • Retrofit Assist's First Success Story

  • Fully Charged - CEA Participants

  • New Staff at CEA

  • Inspiration from Elsewhere

Celebrating the Leaders

These are the happy faces of people from various communities across BC who won 2023 Climate & Energy Action Awards from CEA. The winners were announced at the Union of BC Municipalities (UBCM) convention in Vancouver in September. Winners include a solar project in Summerland, a FireSmart project in Kelowna, on-demand transit in Powell River, a community-wide retrofit program in Musqueam, e-bike incentives in Saanich, natural asset management in Gibsons, and a multi-government effort in the Capital Regional District leading to the adoption of the Zero Carbon Step Code.

Congratulations to the winners who soundly impressed the judges for this year’s awards!

Maybe equally impressive was the sheer number of nominations in 2023, involving municipalities, regional districts, and Indigenous communities in every region of BC. Check out the list of all 25 nominations in a recent CEA newsletter if you’re ever in need of some inspiration or a good idea that could be adapted to your community.

Also at UBCM

CEA staff joined with members of the BC Municipal Climate Leadership Council (BCMCLC) in a conversation with the Provincial Government that included ministers and parliamentary secretaries, MLAs from three parties, and senior staff.

The discussion was all about how local governments and the Province can collaborate on shared priorities for climate action. The conversation ranged from impacts of wildfires to the need for rapid decarbonization across all sectors, and while the topics were often large and complex, the participants in the meeting felt that the answers could be found through better collaboration, working together to build trust, and finding shared visions of the future while creating opportunities for local governments and Indigenous communities to pilot initiatives that could subsequently be rolled out province-wide.

Other highlights

CEA participated in an open session where delegates could access tools and information about funding sources for climate action.

CEA joined with BCMCLC,, and Climate Caucus to host a sold-out reception celebrating local climate leadership in communities around BC.

Coaching Offer for Local Elected Officials 


Now one year since the last local government election, many elected officials may be interested in enhancing their capacity for community leadership on climate action. 

Help is on the way! BCMCLC and CEA are collaborating to continue delivering a coaching program on public narrative. The five webinar series will run from Nov. 2023 to Feb. 2024, led by Andrea Reimer, founder/principal of Tawâw Strategies and former three-term Vancouver City Councillor, and featuring communications specialist Norm Gludovatz (both pictured above). The topics covered will include time management, priority-setting, power relationships, crafting effective public narratives, building effective coalitions, and applying all of those skills to making progress on local climate action.

Interested or know an elected official who might be? Sign up to express your interest and get more info.

The Climate Leaders Coaching Program is supported by BC Hydro, the Real Estate Foundation of BC, Vancity, and the Government of BC’s Climate Action Secretariat.


Come Together. Right Now.  


The Government of BC is hosting a provincial climate leadership symposium this month in Kamloops for those working in climate action on behalf of local governments and public sector organizations. 

CEA’s Megan Lohmann and Sam Sedlowsky will be there to facilitate a session on peer networks and regional collaboration. It’s the perfect topic for CEA. Last year alone, more than 540 people participated in at least one network meeting facilitated by CEA, representing 132 local and Indigenous governments. Currently, these networks focus on particular topics (electric mobility, new construction, retrofits, and embodied emissions) and cover various regions (Northern BC, the Thompson Okanagan, and Vancouver Island and Coastal Communities). Most of the members of these networks are staff of local and Indigenous governments; CEA has also been helping to facilitate networks of elected officials in BC and Alberta.


Building a Legacy in Northern BC  


People involved with construction in north-central BC will have a variety of learning opportunities over the next several weeks all geared to helping them build better, more affordable, and more comfortable homes. Presented by Building a Legacy – North, a partnership of the Northern BC chapter of the Canadian Homebuilders’ Association and CEA, the events will help prepare local government officials and builders to make buildings more “future-proof” as building codes, the climate, and technologies all change.

October 10, Prince George: This event will focus on future-proofing construction in cold climates in both new construction and through deep energy retrofits.  Presenter Mark Bernhardt will discuss application of the BC Energy Step Code and Zero Carbon Step Code to improve climate resilience and adaptation. This will be followed by an overview of local examples of deep energy retrofits of existing housing, a discussion of the regional challenges to increasing the number of these types of retrofit projects, and information about a new Step Code Compliance Checklist. Register

October 11, Prince George: A LEEP (Local Energy Efficiency Partnerships) forum that will focus on the technologies and best practices related to building envelopes and mechanical systems. Register

November 2, Prince George: a LEEP forum on the Integrated Design Process, which is a collaborative approach to project design and project management essential for efficient, high-performance buildings. Register

November 7 in Quesnel and November 8 in Williams Lake: these Builders’ Breakfasts provide an opportunity for builders, designers, housing managers, HVAC technicians, energy advisors, and building officials to learn about the recent Building Code changes and local, cost-effective strategies to improve energy efficiency in new construction. Watch to register soon!

Building a Legacy – North is financially supported by BC Hydro. In addition, the LEEP forums are presented by Natural Resources Canada with support from BC Hydro and FortisBC.


Community Bioenergy Systems: A View from the Summit


Nearly 20 years ago, the City of Revelstoke installed a community district heating system using wood waste from a local sawmill and became a pioneer in how these systems reduce greenhouse gas emissions and support local economies. 

On October 19, Revelstoke will host a Bio-Heat Summit and share information about what they’ve learned since 2005, how it might relate to other communities with bioenergy systems, and what their experience could mean for communities contemplating district heating systems as a pathway to reduce consumption of fossil fuels, boost local economies, and protect them from wildfires. 

Supported by Tourism Revelstoke and CEA, the hybrid event (in-person in Revelstoke and online) will include perspectives from various communities, an overview of bioenergy systems across Canada, the ingredients necessary for success (and what to avoid), and the roles of industry and governments. 

Register today to participate in-person or online.


Opening Doors to Climate-Friendly Homes


Many homeowners want to either retrofit their existing properties or build high-performance homes to improve comfort and save money, but they often don’t know where to start or what to prioritize. What if they could see what their neighbours might have done, to give them an idea of what works – and what might not – in their community and in their climate?

That’s the idea behind the Climate-Friendly Homes Tour, developed by CEA with funding from BC Hydro, Vancity, B2E, and the City of Vancouver. On Oct. 14, homes from a dozen communities in the Kootenays and Greater Victoria will throw open their doors and their owners will showcase what they did to be climate-friendly, while saving money and boosting the comfort of their homes in the process. 

Visit Climate-Friendly Homes Tour to learn more.


Retrofit Assist(ed)


One of CEA’s new signature programs is a concierge-style service that guides homeowners through the process of retrofitting their homes, and ultimately receiving rebates. Called Retrofit Assist, it serves as a one-stop shop connecting homeowners to contractors in order to enhance a home’s energy-efficiency while also making it more comfortable and climate-friendly. The program has launched in Whistler, Squamish, and Rossland in partnership with the local governments.

Retrofit Assist now has its first success story. Nick Stenner has been the first homeowner to work through the Retrofit Assist process and collect his rebates. Work done on his home to convert from electric baseboard heating to a heat pump will reduce his energy consumption by 38% annually and the rebates covered nearly 40% of the upfront cost. 

“I had been struggling with the rebate process,” says Nick. “Signing up for Retrofit Assist was extremely helpful as I was given a dedicated contact for all my questions who made sure everything was done correctly and maximized the rebates available to me.”

Learn more by reading the case study.


Fully Charged!


These CEA staff participated in a unique festival of electrification that was held last month in Vancouver, attracting thousands of people to displays of electric cars and other types of mobility, home energy solutions, and more than 50 panel presentations. The CEAers at Fully Charged Live joined panel discussions on electric vehicles in rural communities and cold climates, priorities for reducing energy consumption in homes, the climate emergency, and how electrification might encourage more active transportation.


Join us in welcoming... 


Amanda Evans, Program Manager leads implementation of the dynamic and growing Retrofit Assist Program. This includes engaging with partner communities, overseeing program delivery, and participating in strategic development. Amanda lives on the territory of the Coast Salish and Ditidaht Nations, Honeymoon Bay, BC.

Mark Castonguay, Engagement Lead supports administrative and financial components for projects in the Capacity & Leadership Development Service Area, assisting with climate education and leadership across local communities. Mark lives on the territories of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm, Sḵwx̱wú7mesh Úxwumixw, and səlilwətaɬ Nations, Vancouver, BC.

Trevor Chow-Fraser, Communications Lead brings CEA over 15 years experience using news writing, graphic design, web design, video and photography to promote engagement in sustainability and climate action. Trevor lives on Treaty Six territory in the City of Edmonton, a traditional gathering place and home for Dene, Tsuut’ina, nêhiyaw, Anishnaabe, Métis, Nakota Isga and Niitsitapi.


Inspiration from Elsewhere – China 

Taking a long car trip in an electric vehicle takes an adjustment. You need a plan for where you will stop to charge up the battery. Fortunately, Level 3 fast chargers (such as Tesla Superchargers) are being built all across the country, and these can top up an EV battery in 30-45 minutes.

While carmakers are looking for ways to speed this up, the Chinese company NIO has an alternative: EV battery swapping. NIO’s Power Swap Stations are the size of a two-car garage. Drive the car in, and five minutes later, the battery has been swapped for one with a fresh charge. Instead of paying by the kWh, drivers pay a monthly subscription to the battery swap service.

Could this model work in Canada? Learn more and tell us what you think.