Buildings for a Changing Climate

This workshop is part of the spring celebration series: Land Art


Register here!


Friday, May 5: 8:45 am – 5 pm

With the advent of the Ontario Climate Change Action plan there is a unique window of opportunity to take action to assist vulnerable households and communities to reduce energy costs and Green House Gas (GHG) emissions. At a time when so many people are already struggling to pay household utility costs, how do we begin to protect low income households from greater costs and reduce the financial impact of cap and trade?

What are the challenges and opportunities in reducing green house gas emissions in affordable housing? During this year’s annual Green Energy Retreat, co-hosted by Wintergreen Studios, Sustainable Eastern Ontario, and the Wintergreen Renewable Energy Co-operative, the panel, keynote address, and small group discussions will focus on these questions:

  • What is the opportunity within the Kingston and Frontenac region to create a pilot program for social and cooperative housing that addresses GHG reduction through energy retrofits?
  • How can we promote the delivery of deep thermal energy retrofits to the highest priority households within affordable housing stock?
  • What building blocks are already in place and what barriers exist to achieving affordable deep thermal retrofits?
  • What processes are advisable for the evaluation of energy use and the design of retrofits for affordable housing?
  • Who will deliver the retrofits?
  • Who will fund the retrofits?

Melody Tomkow will be the facilitator for the retreat. There will be a panel discussion in the morning, followed by a keynote address. After lunch, we will have small group break-out sessions, and we will end the day with a preliminary action plan for Kingston and area.

PANEL 1:  Deep Energy Retrofits and Climate Change Goals in Ontario

This session will open with an examination of the features and targets Ontario Climate Change Action Plan (OCCAP) that are relevant to improving housing in our province. We will learn about passive housing and deep retrofits, and learn why deep retrofits are fundamental to achieving climate change goals. We will focus on social housing and cooperative housing, where we can have the most impact in the province in light of Ontario’s Climate Change Action Plan.

Panelists: Gavin Hutchison and Chris Weissflog

KEYNOTE ADDRESS BY Larry Brydon: The EnergieSprong, Inspiration from Holland

The EnergieSprong is a remarkably successful social housing retrofit program that meets the highest standards of building efficiencies. By using industrial processes and techniques, costs are reasonable and retrofits are applied quickly, sometimes in less than a week’s time. Read more about EnergieSprong here.

Larry Brydon  serves as a Board Member of Sustainable Buildings Canada (SBC) and is Vice President Business Development and Regulatory Affairs for Cricket Energy.

LUNCH: Conversation and Networking


PANEL 2: Reducing GHG in Kingston and Frontenac Affordable Housing/Social Housing

What are the needs, problems, challenges and opportunities in Kingston and Frontenac?

Invited Panelists: Dave Jackson, Mitchell Grange, Scott VanderSchoor

PRESENTATION & GROUP DISCUSSION: How do we develop, deliver and fund a pilot and program for deep thermal retrofits?

deep action
Now House Project – example of War Time Housing Retrofit, Toronto, ON

We’ll take inspiration from the day’s conversation, our collective knowledge, and the delivery and funding model example of the Better Buildings Partnership. We will identify Opportunities, Solutions and Barriers to creating a Deep Thermal Energy Retrofit Pilot and Program in our region.

About the Better Buildings Partnership

The City of Toronto Better Buildings Partnership initiative enables City of Toronto Divisions, Agencies and Corporations, as well as, community based entities (including not-for-profit organizations) to access low-interest loan to support up to 100% of renewable energy, energy retrofit and greenhouse gas emissions reduction project costs. Greg Allen of Rivercourt Engineering, a leading Canadian strategist, envisioning and designing for the end of reliance on fossil fuels, will give us a short introduction to the Better Buildings Partnership.

GROUP DISCUSSIONS: Develop, Deliver, Fund

We’ll break into three groups, and each group will consider all of the following questions:


  • What skills and experience would be needed to develop a pilot program?
  • How will pre- and retrofit GHG emission assessments help or hinder quantifiable pilot outcomes?
  • Can we identify local groups and organizations that have the skills and experience needed?
  • What partners would be needed to develop a pilot program?
  • How would we build support from municipal, provincial and federal governments?


  • What skills and experience would be needed to deliver it?
  • Who would be partners in a partnership to promote and facilitate a pilot program?
  • What organization (existing or to be developed) can staff a partnership?


  • Where can funding come from for a deep retrofit pilot and a long term program?
  • Who would be partners in a partnership to fund a pilot program?
  • If funds are governmental, how can we ensure they are not affected by changing governments?
  • How would we build support from municipal, provincial and federal governments?

What else can you tell me about how the day will unfold?

deep action

Participants will gather at 8:45 for coffee and conversation, with panels commencing at 9:30. Lunch will be served at 12:00 pm, and the afternoon sessions will begin again at 1:30 pm, with the wrap up taking place at 4:30 pm. A more detailed agenda will be distributed at the retreat. Meanwhile, if you’d like to read more about deep action thermal retrofits, click here to download a document produced by the Pembina Institute, describing the energy retrofit potential in British Columbia.

ALL SCENT-FREE ZONE: The Retreat Facilitator is extremely sensitive to scented products and will become ill when exposed to them, causing cognitive impairment and lung dysfunction. Please do not wear scented (including essential oils) personal or laundry products to the retreat – we need her brain to function!

Thanks to the support of the three co-hosting organizations and the Community Foundation of Ottawa, this retreat is being offered to participants for $25, including snacks throughout the day, beverages, and lunch. Looking forward to seeing you on May 5, as we gather for the 8th annual Green Energy Retreat.








Register here!