Annual General Meeting June 12, 2016

The HARE Annual General Meeting is scheduled for June 12th, 2016 from 2-4pm at the office of Environment Hamilton.

The meeting will include a presentation about the use of low cost loans backed by the City of Hamilton (as used by other cities) to finance home energy improvements.

This will be facilitated by Michael Nabert and Ian Borsuk of Environment Hamilton, who will also be presenting to Neighbourhood Associations and to City of Hamilton Councillors.

Additionally, The Board of HARE will be putting forward a motion to discontinue operating as a separate entity and instead work within Environment Hamilton to pursue our vision and mission.

Please come to the meeting if you have any items you would like to contribute, discuss, or be informed about.  Light refreshments will also be available.

On behalf of the Board of HARE we sincerely look forward to seeing you,
Mrs. Nadine Bernacki, B.A.
H.A.R.E. President

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Investing in Renewable Energy Cooperatively: Information Session


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Annual General Meeting

Tuesday, January 20th, 2015 at 7pm. Environment Hamilton office. 22 Wilson St. Hamilton (in the Sonic Unyon Building).
We are seeking new board members so please consider joining us.
As always, we are seeking people to get involved in HARE activities!

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Year in Review

We hope you are having a wonderful break. We are briefly interrupting your break to offer you a summary of HARE activities in 2014 and where we hope to go in 2015.

  • HARE members have been publishing Op Eds in the Spectator throughout the year.
  • In the spring, we toured the only North American geo-thermally cooled and heated church– the Meadowlands Fellowship Christian Reformed Church.
  • We attended numerous events and eco fairs in the community.
  • In the summer, in partnership with Environment Hamilton, we began advocating for a Local Improvement Charges program in Hamilton, to assist home owners in improving their home’s energy efficiency.  We talked to many people and canvassed door to door in the Crownpoint neighbourhood.
  • The HARE Board was present at the People’s Platform and and we attended all candidates meetings in October to ensure that our request to get LIC on the agenda be taken into account. We invite you to learn more about the potential of such a program at the following link:  

Currently, we are compiling a list of Hamilton rooftops for FIT 4 so that we can make investing opportunities available (in Hamilton proper) through the Green Energy Coop of Ontario.

Looking forward—We will be working with Environment Hamilton to encourage city councillors to implement LICs in 2015. We will continue to educate the community about the benefits of renewable energy.

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RES Canada Announces Completion of Energy Storage System

MONTREAL, Aug. 5, 2014 /PRNewswire/ — Renewable Energy Systems Canada Inc. (RES Canada), a leader in the development and construction of wind, solar, transmission, and energy storage projects in North America, is pleased to announce final certification of the company’s second energy storage system, Amphora.

RES Canada conceived, developed, and constructed the energy storage system, which it will own and operate. Located in Central Strathroy, west of London, Ontario, the system is comprised of a +/-4 megawatt (MW) (8MW total range)/ 2.6MWh lithium battery that will provide a service called “frequency regulation” to Ontario’s grid operator, the Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO). Amphora will operate under a three year agreement with the IESO and the facility has a lifespan of more than 10 years.  The site was provided by Entegrus, a utility providing electricity, renewable energy, and water supply to more than 40,000 customers in Southwestern Ontario.

Amphora was developed in response to a request for proposal issued by the IESO, through which it sought to procure up to 10MW of regulation from alternative sources such as dispatchable loads, aggregated demand response, and storage technologies, including batteries and flywheels. The energy storage system will allow the IESO to acquire experience with battery technology. Unique operating characteristics at the facility enable it to contribute to Ontario’s energy needs in a variety of ways while complementing the performance of existing generators.

The project utilizes lithium iron phosphate, an inherently safe variant of lithium battery chemistry, and consists of two containers that house batteries weighing approximately 20 tons each, as well as a third container that converts the direct current (DC) output to alternating current (AC) for the grid. The equipment was supplied by BYD America.

“RES Canada is pleased to bring our first Ontario energy storage project online,” said Peter Clibbon, Senior Vice President, RES Canada. “We believe investments in developing energy storage infrastructure are critical to improving the flexibility and efficiency of an increasingly complex grid system.”

“BYD is proud to work with RES Americas on this important project and appreciates their visionary leadership in the energy industry,” said Micheal Austin, Vice President of BYD America. “We share a common vision of a low-carbon electric grid that is enabled and balanced by battery energy storage.”

“Alternative technologies on the power grid are gaining momentum,” said Bruce Campbell, President and CEO, IESO. “This is the first grid-connected battery on the IESO’s system and the experience we gain will help demonstrate how this technology can help us balance power flows, and ultimately maintain reliability.”

The global market for energy storage is expected to grow rapidly in the coming years. Navigant Research estimates that worldwide revenue from advanced batteries for utility-scale energy storage applications will grow from $164 million in 2014 to more than $2.5 billion in 2023. Frequency regulation represents a small fraction of the numerous services that energy storage can provide to the grid.

The Amphora project is named after an ancient type of vessel, one of mankind’s oldest known storage technologies. RES Canada’s affiliate, RES Americas, delivered the company’s first 4MW system in March 2014 in Sunbury, Ohio for the grid operator PJM.

About RES Canada
Renewable Energy Systems Canada Inc. (RES Canada) is based in Montréal, Québec, and is engaged in the development and construction of renewable energy projects across Canada. The company offers a full suite of development and construction services for wind, solar, transmission, and energy storage projects and has constructed or has under construction over 700MW. RES Canada is part of the RES Group, a leading international renewable energy developer, and is an affiliate of RES Americas.

About BYD
BYD specializes in electrified public transportation, environmentally-friendly energy storage, affordable solar power and information technologies.  As the world’s largest manufacturer of rechargeable batteries, their mission to create safer and more environmentally friendly battery technologies has led to the development of the BYD Iron Phosphate chemistry. This fire-safe, completely recyclable and incredibly long-cycle technology has become the core of their clean energy platform that has expanded into automobiles, buses, trucks, utility vehicles and energy storage facilities. For more information, please visit or

Media Contacts
Anna Giovinetto

Peter Clibbon
(514) 525-2113

SOURCE Renewable Energy Systems Canada Inc.

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How to improve your home right now using the LIC

Environment Hamilton and HARE want to bring a Local Improvement Charges (LIC) program to Hamilton for Home Energy Conservation Projects

Making your home more energy-efficient means you’ll save on your utility bills. What if there was a way to finance those home improve-ment projects without having to pay cash up-front? There is! Municipalities all over North America have implemented financing programs called local improvement charges (LICs) to aid home owners.

What are LICs?

LICs are long-term, low-interest loans backed by the City.

Unlike a typical loan, LICs are added to the homeowner’s property tax bill, and stay with the property should the owner sell it.
LICs are currently used by Hamilton homeowners for limited property improvements. We want to extend LICs to improve your home com-fort and reduce your energy bills.

Benefits to you

  • Lower utility bills
  • A more comfortable, higher value home
  • A long-term, low-interest loan that stays with the property, not the property owner

Cities like Toronto and Halifax have already started LIC pilot projects for energy-saving retrofits and renewable energy installations and have had immense support and success so far.

Existing LIC Program Example

To give you an idea of how an LIC program works, here is an overview of an existing program in Canada:

  • Available Loan terms: 5—15 years
  • Interest rate: 2.5%—4.25%
  • Maximum financing amount: 5% of current value assessment

Examples of applicable projects:

  • Insulation
  • Air sealing
  • Solar water heaters

A Certified Energy Advisor undertakes an audit to identify which home improvements will benefit you the most.

Example project:

Details: 2000 sq ft home, 15 year term.  Funding amount: $7000 Total charge after incentives, interest, admin fees: $ 7455 Monthly payments through property tax: $45 Savings on utilities/month: $52

  • HVAC
  • Toilet replacement
  • Windows and doors

Environment Hamilton and Hamilton Association for Renewable Energy (HARE) are looking for volunteers to help us bring an exciting new program to Hamilton.

What can you do?

Are you interested in seeing the City of Hamilton establish an LIC program for homeowners? Contact your ward councillor and let them know you would like an LIC program for home energy retrofits here in Hamilton.
You can also contact Environment Hamilton at 905 549 0900 or email for more information.


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How much can you save with LED lighting?

(Reprinted from The Record)

LED lighting offers clear advantages over conventional incandescent, metal halide, and High Pressure Sodium or HPS bulbs.  They’re more efficient, last longer, and generate much less heat.  How does this translate into saving you money?

According to Natural Resources Canada, LED bulbs use about 70% less energy than conventional bulbs.  The exceptionally long lifespan of LED bulbs —  at least 25 times as long as incandescent bulbs — makes your savings even greater.  Thus, even if they may cost a little more to purchase, that cost is more than offset by their longer lifespan.

These savings multiply rapidly in a large commercial or industrial setting that uses hundreds or even thousands of bulbs.  In these environments, lights are often left on for most of the day, even around the clock, so the potential for saving on electricity charges is obvious.  And since they generate much less heat than the alternatives, customers also save on air conditioning costs.

The longer lifespan of LED bulbs leads to additional savings for larger customers in terms of a marked decrease in maintenance expenses.  Rather than having facilities staff spending much of their time climbing up and down ladders to change burned out bulbs, they can focus on other tasks.

Even residential consumers can save by switching to LED bulbs.  The average Canadian household spends about 11% of its electricity on lighting.   Switching to LED bulbs can reduce the lighting portion of your electricity bill to about 3%.  The difference can be $100 to $150 a year for a typical household.

How much you’ll save by switching to LED lighting will depend on your circumstances; the number and type of bulbs you have, the number of hours a day you need them, and how much you currently spend on maintenance.

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Defend our climate rally 2014

LeadNow is an independent advocacy organization that brings generations of Canadians together to achieve progress through democracy.  They are currently working on a nation-wide Climate Change campaign to defend our communities from the dangers of fossil fuels and work toward a cleaner future.

On May 10th, communities across the country will be holding rallies to get the word out.  We need to show our community leaders that there is great concern regarding climate change, and call for a just, safe and clean energy future.

Why all the fuss?

From Enbridge’s proposed Northern Gateway Pipeline to Keystone XL, Line 9 and Energy East, there are looming decisions on dangerous pipelines and extreme energy projects across Canada.  Many of these projects are strongly opposed by communities across Canada, but so far our federal government has shown that they are willing to undermine our democracy to side with powerful oil industry lobbyists.

By participating in these events, or spreading the word to friends and family, we can show this government that they will pay a steep price in the next election if they try to ram these pipelines through local opposition.  Let’s reach out, rally and organize.

Hamilton’s event is only one of dozens across Canada.  Click here to find an event in your community, RSVP and spread the word.

“We live in historic times. In 2011 for the first time more money was invested in creating renewable energy than all fossil fuels combined and the share of renewable energy production continues to grow. We’re at the beginning of a great transition to replace fossil fuels with clean energy and ensure a safe climate for all generations.”

Meanwhile, in Canada, our federal government is undermining our democracy and betting our economy on boom-and-bust dirty energy projects that pollute the water and climate while piping profits out of our communities. Now, it’s time to take the next step to defend our climate and defend our communities.

Last fall, thousands came together for a day of action to connect communities standing up against pipelines and extreme energy.  Now, this May 10, we need your help to send a strong message to government that people across Canada are building a growing movement for a just, safe and clean energy future.

In many communities, these events will be the next step in a longer-term organizing effort to build the people-power Canada needs to stop the reckless expansion of dirty energy projects, and start the transition to a safe, just and clean energy economy.

What’s happening in Hamilton?

In Hamilton, a mock train will be unveiled at Friday evening’s Art Crawl (May 9) on James Street North. It will proceed up and down James Street. Train participants will meet at 6 pm in the LIUNA Station parking lot at James and Murray Streets.

On Saturday morning, a rally is gathering at the GO Station near the corner of  Hughson and Hunter at 11 am. This group, including the mock train, will proceed through Gore Park and end at the Federal Building at Bay and York.

Click here to register for the Hamilton event.  Sign-up isn’t required.  Please feel free to show up to participate in the rally, or to offer your support from the sidelines.

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What can Hamilton do next to fight climate change?

What can be done?

Hamilton 350 logoWhat can be done about climate change in the Hamilton area where we have suffered from 20 extreme rainstorms that have flooded homes in the last decade, and extensive damage and costs from high winds and ice storms in the last year?

Come out on May 12

Join Hamilton 350 and other co-hosts on Monday May 12 to become part of the solution. We’ll hear from top climate scientist Dr. Gordon McBean, Durham Region sustainability manager Brian Kelly, and aboriginal voices.

Gordon McBean is the forthcoming president of the International Council for Science, a director of the Institute for Catastrophic Loss Reduction, and a past deputy minister of Canada’s Ministry of the Environment. Brian Kelly is leading the design of the climate change adaptation policy for the Region of Durham. We’ll also hear from the Manitou Mkwa Singers and Danielle B (Anishnaabe Kwe and one of the many aboriginal voices for water and land.)

The climate change forum is on Monday May 12 in the Hamilton Central Library (55 York Boulevard, Hamilton) starting at 7 pm. It is hosted by the Hamilton 350 Committee, the Council of Canadians Hamilton Chapter, Environment Hamilton, Green Venture, and Idle No More. It is co-sponsored by ten community organizations.

Please invite your family, friends and contacts. For more info contact

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Touring Ancaster’s geothermal church

Photo of the exterior of the Meadowlands Fellowship Christian Reformed Church

Exterior of the church

April 5th was a fantastic day for touring the beautiful Meadowlands Fellowship Christian Reformed Church, located in Ancaster, Ontario.  This house of worship is the only exclusively geothermally heated and cooled church in North America.

For this facility, “exclusively” means that there are no secondary sources of heating or cooling.  Even through this past cold winter, the geothermal system kept the congregation warm.

Denise Neutel provided our tour.  She is a member of the church’s building committee.

Link to the presentation by Denise Neutel on the geothermal churchTo bring us up to speed, Denise provided an overview of various geothermal techniques.  These include Open Loop, Lake Loop, Horizontal Loop and Vertical Loop.  All of these use the temperature of the ground (or water) as an energy source for heating or cooling, combined with a heat pump to transfer that energy into the home or facility.

Her presentation is included here for your reference.

Meadowlands Fellowship Christian Reformed Church used a Horizontal Loop system.  These require a shallow excavation of 1-2 metres (3-6 feet) over a fairly large area of land.  The church took advantage of their planned parking area, and buried their loops two metres down before construction of the parking lot.

The bottom line is geothermal has the lowest operating cost of any currently available system.

Diagram showing cost comparison of geothermalIn selecting geothermal, the building committee examined case studies, including one from Oklahoma City comparing two buildings.  One building used geothermal and the other used an efficient commercial Variable Air Volume system.

By comparing energy use and greenhouse gas emissions, it was clear that geothermal was the superior option.

The building committee then partnered with an architect, an engineer and Next Energy.  The congregation was impressed and building commenced.

The congregation moved into their new building in late 2005, where an array of environmentally sound practices were working together to keep operating costs low.  Beyond the geothermal system, construction included Insulated Concrete Forms for specific exterior walls, additional insulation, compact fluorescent bulbs to replace standard incandescent, occupancy sensors to switch off lights in several areas, waterless urinals and LED lamps for all outdoor lighting.

With all these factors, their savings on energy are very impressive.  Using their highest quarter energy cost, they calculate an average of $0.96 per square foot per year (for electricity and water combined).  The average cost for similar sized buildings falls between $2.00-3.00.

Improvements were made to the geothermal system in 2012 to increase the efficiency.

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