A RADIANT NEW DAWN: The New Energy Initiative for Greenwood from FortisBC & Avalon Alliance

One of the most striking, iconic images of Greenwood, BC is that of downtown Copper Street, circa 1900. In this enhanced photograph provided by Susan Charnell, the turn-of-the-century city is shimmering in the early morning light.  We get a sense of new possibilities, in all the excitement of the historic mining boom and the material prosperity that went with it.  The Victorian era architecture was ornate, and the businesses were bustling, reflecting the city’s status as a social and economic hub for the region.

Greenwood has proven to be very resilient through many economic ups and downs.  In this time of climate change transition and regional diversification, the smallest city in Canada now has an opportunity to become a leader in community energy conservation and efficiency.  This will in turn generate more business opportunities, tourist attractions, and local employment in the green tech and building sectors.  Through green renovation, the extraordinary homes and heritage buildings of Greenwood will be preserved for future generations to enjoy.

The New Energy Initiative for Greenwood was created by sustainable community development organization Avalon Alliance, and is sponsored by FortisBC, the region’s electricity and natural gas provider.  Avalon Alliance projects, services and programs are professionally led and innovative, with a real heart for grassroots engagement. Our goal is to facilitate collaboration between stakeholders and fast-track positive change, while protecting what communities value most. FortisBC is sponsoring the Avalon New Energy initiative with energy efficiency and conservation program funding and support. Energy efficiency measures often result in reduced energy bills and provide secondary benefits like water conservation, added comfort and healthier indoor environments. The residential campaign currently underway for homeowners and tenants will be followed by subsequent phases of New Energy Initiative education, funding and actions for local businesses and other community sectors.  Everyone living in the City of Greenwood, as well as homes and businesses in Anaconda and the rural fringe of the community, are welcome to register.

Participation in FortisBC’s full-service residential Energy Conservation Assistance Program (ECAP) is now easier than ever. Residents only need to bring their FortisBC electriAs part of the Avalon New Energy Initiative, the application for FortisBC’s Energy Conservation Assistance Program (ECAP) has been modified for easier approval in your community. Homeowners and tenants only need their FortisBC electricity or natural gas account to register.  No other documentation is required for Greenwood area residents.  This full-service ECAP program is for low to medium-income residents; if your household income is above the threshold, FortisBC can still help you access other offers and incentives.city or natural gas statement for registration at the Open House event at Greenwood Community Hall on April 22, 2023.

There was a good turn-out at our Open House event held at the Greenwood Community Hall on April 22, 2023.  Avalon Alliance and FortisBC representatives enjoyed meeting community members, some fun games and delicious refreshments.  If you missed the Open House, you can still contact us at AvalonNewEnergy.com to request an application, or visit one of three authorized parties that can provide these custom ECAP forms for your community:  the Greenwood Board of Trade, the Greenwood Community Hall and the Greenwood Credit Union.

All participating homes will benefit from free advice, an energy assessment, and many energy-saving products. Some homes may also receive free programmable thermostats, high-efficiency natural gas furnaces, Energy Star certified fridges, and attic, wall and/or crawlspace insulation. For further details and our FAQ, please see AvalonNewEnergy.com. 

Avalon Alliance has also been connecting with businesses and other organizations in the Greenwood area, to better understand the special opportunities and challenges of the historic downtown and commercial sector generally.  We have been met with local enthusiasm, civic pride and friendly assistance.  Residents and businesses are expressing hope for an abundant future that will provide the means to stay in the region they love.  They have been sharing with us many good ideas on how to make improvements. 

We encourage Greenwood area commercial building owners and tenants, who were not able to register at the Open House on April 22, to contact us via the AvalonNewEnergy.com site to sign up for upcoming business luncheon “info and input” meetings.  These informal consultations will be scheduled for dates starting in May-June 2023, catered at the Mama’s Pacific Grill.  

Avalon Alliance, FortisBC, the Greenwood Board of Trade and Regional District Kootenay Boundary will be working together to ensure that the unique commercial buildings, many with significant heritage value, are given the special care they deserve in energy retrofit and renovation efforts.

“It’s encouraging to see so many people and businesses engaged in energy conservation in the Greenwood area,” said Carol Suhan, Community Program Manager, Conservation and Energy Management at FortisBC. “We’re thrilled to support Avalon Alliance’s New Energy Initiative through our energy conservation programs designed to reduce energy use, while also saving residents and business owners money on their utility bills. Working together with Avalon Alliance and Greenwood shows how a collective effort can help the community achieve their energy conservation goals.”

The Avalon Alliance extends much gratitude to the Greenwood Board of Trade and the Ledge Paper for their support. We also congratulate the Board of Trade and the Ledge Paper in their efforts to enhance communications, cooperation, and community spirit in the region. Thanks to the Senior’s Drop-In Centre and other community members who have also been of assistance.  We appreciate the hospitality and involvement of the Greenwood Community Hall, food caterer Mama’s Pacific Grill, as well as dessert bakers the Deadwood Café, Copper Eagle and Saffron Guild that assisted with the Open House event. The Greenwood Elementary School also recently hosted the BC Lions’ energy conservation education program, sponsored by FortisBC. The Avalon Alliance welcomes more community stakeholders and supportive agencies as we build momentum and capacity for exciting current and future phases of the New Energy Initiative.

“It’s an amazing opportunity for Greenwood and a big step towards enhancing a united, all inclusive, proud and inspired community”.

barry noll, Board of trade president

Again, if you want to participate in the residential or business energy efficiency programs, please contact us through the AvalonNewEnergy.com webpage and we will ensure that you get registered. The local contact people who can provide the special residential ECAP forms are Donna Durbin of the Greenwood Credit Union, Barry Noll of the Board of Trade and Colleen Lang of the Community Hall.  Full steam ahead towards a revitalized, prosperous Greenwood!