Engaging Ottawa renters in retrofits

OCAF is supporting Ottawa ACORN to meaningfully bring Ottawa low- and moderate-income renters into the climate and retrofit conversation. This initiative will educate and empower tenants to take climate action, and engage their landlords on identification of building retrofit opportunities to improve living comfort and energy savings. 

Retrofitting apartment buildings isn’t just good for the climate, it’s beneficial for landlords and tenants who call it home. Buildings in Ottawa account for almost half of GHG emissions, which means we need to retrofit all types of buildings at a fast pace in order to meet Ottawa’s GHG reduction targets. Landlords will benefit by making their buildings more attractive to renters, and have lower energy costs in the long term. Tenants will benefit through increased comfort of the unit and lower energy costs if they pay utilities. The project will explore win-win scenarios where both landlord and tenant benefit from building retrofits. 

The ACORN team has hit the ground running, launching their Eco-Tenant Survey which asks tenants about the state of repair in their units and buildings, inquires about issues with energy efficiency, knowledge of their rights, tenants’ relationship with their landlord, their climate change concerns and willingness to work with other tenants in their building and across the city to take climate action. Further tenant engagement will include hosting meetings and direct outreach such as doorknocking. The goal is to meet tenants’ where they are at, give them the background knowledge to be part of the climate conversation, to engage their landlords, and advocate for policy change where needed. 

We anticipate that the project will help identify compelling retrofit options, tenant-landlord collaboration opportunities and potential funding sources to start to implement them.

We would like to thank the McConnell Foundation for their investment into the LC3 network to advance climate equity and Reconciliation which has helped OCAF find this project.

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