June 16, 2013 - Equipped with new skills in energy-efficient construction and retrofitting, 11 participants in the Residential Energy Efficiency Works (REnEW) training program—funded by FortisBC and BC Hydro—have now graduated, and are equipped with new skills to pursue opportunities in this growing sector.
By Anthony Capkun
The students completed renovations and energy upgrades to an over 70-year-old heritage home in Kelowna, B.C., that provides housing to marginalized low-income individuals and seniors. While on the verge of dilapidation and becoming more expensive to operate, the renovations tackled drafty windows, outdated insulation, an antique furnace and creaky doors to make the home a more comfortable place.
“This program is designed to prepare graduates for a new career in energy efficiency and conservation,” said Doug Stout, vice-president of energy solutions and external relations, FortisBC.
“The participants know how to be smart with power and also help others do the same,” said Lisa Coltart, executive director of Power Smart and Customer Care, BC Hydro. “Their understanding of energy efficiency and conservation will help to improve their communities and British Columbia overall.”
Launched in 2010, the REnEW program has been held in several communities around the province, including Vancouver, Chilliwack, Williams Lake, Prince George and Kelowna. Participants learn hands-on job skills, such as the fundamentals of energy efficiency, installation of energy-saving technologies, and First Aid and fall protection, all with the intent of preparing them to find employment in the energy efficiency industry. Over the past three years, 104 participants have graduated from the program, and most are now either working or furthering their education.
“The REnEW program opened my eyes to the world of energy-efficient construction,” said participant Matthew Nutting. “Many homes are not running as efficiently as they can, and a lot of energy is wasted. Now I know how to fix these problems for homeowners.”