By Alvin Tsang
Over $625,000 of funding for green infrastructure improvements to the Hintonburg Community Centre was announced by Ottawa Centre MP Yasir Naqvi on July 13.
“This project is quite important and special for our community,” Naqvi said. “I have been in public service in our community for some time, and one of the biggest issues that people have raised with me has to do with the impact of climate change.”
The $625,000 funding comes from the Green and Inclusive Community Buildings (GICB) program—a five-year $1.5 billion federal program that supports green upgrades and renovations to public community buildings across Canada.
“This project is one of the most impactful ways we can mitigate climate change. The Hintonburg Community Centre is so well-used by the community that we are reducing the greenhouse gas emission from that building by 90 per cent,” he said.
The green retrofit will decarbonize the building by taking it off natural gas. The new heating and cooling system will run on electricity instead.
“Using electricity in Ontario is much cleaner because some time ago, when I was a member of the provincial parliament under the Liberal government, we removed coal as a source of electricity production in Ontario,” Naqvi said.
The first phase of the project begins in August 2022. It begins by installing high-performance windows, and, following that, an upgrade to the ventilation equipment, upgrades to the heating and cooling systems and a switch from gas heating to heat pumps. The retrofit is scheduled for full completion by spring of 2024.
“I got so excited because it’s more than just refurbishing the building and changing the windows: it’s a practical example of how we as a community can reduce the impact of climate change by making our public infrastructure readapt to the needs of our climate today,” he said.
Canada’s second largest source of emission is buildings, following automobiles at number one.
“Climate change isn’t just a notion. It has a real impact on our lives, and one of those real impacts on our lives [is] the extreme weather events we’ve seen in Ottawa. We’ve experienced multiple freak storms that have wreaked havoc on our lives. We are seeing heat temperatures that we haven’t seen before. It’s extremely important that we take practical steps,” Naqvi said.
Mike Fletcher, a project manager of the environmental program for the City of Ottawa, called the Hintonburg Community Centre a vital asset and explained that this retrofit project is the first of its kind in a City of Ottawa building.
“Once complete, the retrofits will serve to reduce the facility’s energy consumption by an estimated 30.8 per cent and greenhouse gas emissions by 28.9 tonnes annually,” Fletcher said.
With the full upgrades, the building will no longer have any on-site emissions and will be more resilient with the capacity to hold its temperature in a protracted power outage.
“The new windows coming in August will replace the old ones originally installed in 1984 and, in addition to their high thermal insulation values, will reduce noise transmission by 40 per cent at windowed areas of the building,” he said.