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On August 30th, Ontario Minister of Environment and Climate Change (MOECC) Chris Ballard announced the launch of GreenON, a “not-for-profit provincial agency that invests proceeds from Ontario’s carbon market into climate actions that help people and businesses reduce greenhouse gas emissions and use cleaner technology to power their homes and workplaces.”

This announcement made good on one of the initiatives introduced by Minister Ballard’s predecessor, Glen Murray, as part of the government’s Climate Change Action Plan. In fact, the agency was initially announced in February under its official name, the Ontario Climate Change Solutions Deployment Corporation. The agency will create and deliver the programs funded through the proceeds of Cap and Trade, Ontario’s mechanism for raising the funds (through the sale of carbon credits) needed to underwrite the transition to a low carbon economy. The initial two Cap and Trade carbon credit auctions, held in April and June, raised $976 million in funds – funds that, in accordance with Section 71 of the Climate Change Mitigation and Low-carbon Economy Act, must be spent on initiatives dedicated to reducing carbon emissions.

Minister Ballard also introduced the first of many programs that will be overseen by GreenON, the “GreenON Direct Installations” program. This new program will, among other things, offer 100,000 Ontario households a free, installed, smart adaptive thermostat (Ecobee, Nest or Honeywell Lyric). While cautiously applauding the government’s initiative, HRAI immediately voiced some serious concerns about the implementation of this program.

GreenON Board Chair Parminder Sandhu stated at the news event that the agency’s procurement process was not yet complete, nor had it settled on an approach to scheduling and managing installations. Understanding the potential pitfalls of a single-source approach, HRAI immediately communicated the need for such a program to utilize trained professionals – i.e. properly constituted HVAC contractors and their licensed employees – to ensure that the program meets its objectives with minimal industry disruption and, more importantly, with a minimum of consumer problems and complaints.
Pre-orders for the smart thermostat offer were at close to 100% of the program target within 24 hours of the offer’s announcement.

For more information on GreenON, see www.greenon.ca

For more information, contact Martin Luymes at 1-800-267-2231 ext. 235 or email mluyme@hrai.ca.