The Scotiabank Ecoliving award rewards Canadian businesses, innovators and students in the field of home energy efficiency products and services. The purpose is to showcase the great work that is happening in energy efficiency around Canada. There are three categories:

1. $50,000 Business Leadership Award: This award is for the business that provides eco-friendly products or services to the residential sector.

2. $15,000 Innovator’s Award: This is for a company or individual who has developed a prototype or is in the early stages of development of a residential energy efficiency product or service.

3. $10,000 Student Leadership Award: This is for a full-time enrolled post secondary student involved in developing a prototype or innovative concept in the realm of home energy efficiency.

The first Scotiabank Ecoliving Awards were given away in 2011 to three very worthy businesses and individuals. In fact reading about them made my eyes water-up, but I’m a sucker for brilliant ideas and the brilliant people behind them.

To give you an idea of what creative Canadians are up to, Scotiabank followed up with the three recipients of the 2011 awards to see how they were using their awards. They’ve all put them to good use.

BUILD, based in Winnipeg, MB was the Business Leadership Award winner. Shaun Loney, the  executive director of this not-for-profit organization, is like the Mother Theresa of contractors.  His organization is killing three birds with one stone:

  • BUILD trains people to retro homes to make them more energy and water efficient, giving them employment. The group also retrofitted an old building into a Social Enterprise Centre where they share the space with a co-op hardware store and a bedbug remediation centre — in total, the 3 groups employ 150 people who would otherwise not have jobs.
  • BUILD used their award to successfully lobby the Manitoba government to pass Bill 24, The Energy Savings Act. Winnipeg will be the first jurisdiction in North America where utility companies will pay for energy and water efficiency infrastructure improvements in low-income areas. The idea is that Hydro Manitoba will install them, and the charges will go on the resident’s now reduced Hydro bill so residents will benefit from the better efficiency and not see a change in their monthly bill.
  • BUILD retrofits low-income homes so it is increasing residential energy efficiency in Manitoba while training and employing people from low-income neighbourhoods who might not have other opportunities. It’s a win-win-win.

Alex Lerche of EcoPlus Home won the Innovator’s Award. Based in Bathurst, NB, EcoHomes Plus makes low-footprint, energy-efficient homes. The company’s homes have since been added to houses available to build in six sustainable communities across North America. EcoPlus homes have been used in Serenbe, GA, an award winning green community. In fact, Alex had the idea of opening up a 2200 sq. foot “life lab” in Serenbe to demonstrate to Georgians the energy efficient technologies available today (such as induction cooktops), that don’t affect quality of life. In an area where air conditioning costs eat up a huge portion of residents’ electricity bill, (as well as putting pressure on the grid), convincing people to invest in more energy efficient technologies is critical.

Eden Full, the Student Leadership Award Winner, has used her money to further tweak her invention of the SunSaluter. It rotates with the sun to collect up to 40% more sun, meaning 40% fewer solar panels are needed to maximize energy output. Eden’s further goals are to help electrify areas in developing countries from a monastery and orphanage in India to a school in Uganda.

Entries are being accepted until February 15, 2013.


BEC Green

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