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This newsletter provides information about CEA projects, events, and the networks it supports – all aimed at accelerating bold actions from local governments and Indigenous communities related to climate and energy. 

If you know somebody that would be interested in receiving this newsletter, please feel free to forward it to them so they can sign up.


This month: 

  • Apply Now – 2023 Climate & Energy Action Awards 
  • Coming Events and Recent Recordings 
  • Catch us Live in June 
  • The Future of Housing...Today 
  • Retrofits of Community Buildings: Help is on the way 
  • Adding EV Charging to Condos  
  • CEA AGM and 2022 Annual Report 
  • Join us in Welcoming.... 
  • Inspiration from Elsewhere: Oakland, CA 


The Academy Awards of Local Climate Action 

The best actors can get rich, achieve fame, and – if they’re lucky – win an Academy Award. None of those things usually happen for the people who initiate and implement local initiatives related to climate and energy. CEA is working to right that wrong and at least address the fame part. Kind of. Well, not really. One thing we can promise is that we’ll shine a light on great projects and initiatives in municipalities, regional districts, and Indigenous communities across BC. The best part is, when it comes to local climate action, the successes of one community might inspire dozens of other communities – or even just one – to do the same thing.   

What’s the project or activity from your community that deserves to be nominated? Enter it. There are no categories to worry about. Just consider things like how it achieved (or will achieve) local greenhouse gas emission reductions, involved people and built capacity, and brought diverse benefits that are setting the community up for future success. Check out the web page for more information on the awards program and to access the nomination form.   

All of the nominees are profiled in various articles, digital channels, and in a future edition of this newsletter. And the winners will be announced at the Union of BC Municipalities convention in September in front of AT LEAST a few dozen people 😉 .  


Coming Events and Recent Recordings 

Home Energy Retrofit Series – webinars on Electric Vehicles (June 13) and Solar PV (June 20). Both hour-long webinars begin at 7:00pm PDT.  

Mind the Gap: Preventing Failure in HVAC and Airtightness – these in-person workshops (see “The Future of Housing” below) are being held in Smithers (June 20) and Dawson Creek (June 23). Register today

Zero Carbon Step Code webinar – hosted by the BC Municipal Climate Leadership Council and presented by CEA, this webinar outlined how this new step code provides an opportunity for local governments to demonstrate leadership in reducing – and ultimately, eliminating – emissions associated with operating buildings. The recording of the May 17 webinar is provided along with other resources related to the changes in the BC building code that were implemented on May 1.


Catch us Live in June 

CEA staff are presenting at a variety of upcoming conferences: 

Clean Energy BC’s Generate 2023 conference – Megan Lohmann will participate on a panel exploring how BC will power its net zero economy.  

Local Government Management Association –

CEAers Tami Rothery and Maya Chorobik, together with UBC student Lorena Polovina and former CAO Ron Mattiussi, will outline how community infrastructure planning in relation to climate disasters should bridge emergency response, climate adaptation, and ongoing reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.

Retrofit Canada Conference – Jessica Martin-Thompson will lead a roundtable discussion on embodied emissions in retrofit projects. 

Canadian Rural Revitalization Foundation  – Danielle Wiess will be highlighting rural leadership in electric mobility.

It must be conference season! CEA staff were active with presentations last month as well: 

Electric Autonomy’s EV and Charging Expo, the Building Officers Association of BC, Government Finance Officers Association of BC, North Central Local Government Association, Arctic Academy for Sustainability, BC Hydro’s Peace Williston Advisory Council, BC Recreation and Parks Association, Building Ontario Transformation Hub, and the 100% Renewable Kootenays Working Group. 

In May, CEA’s Danielle Wiess (far left), together with colleagues from Ontario, spoke about the critical importance of inter-community collaboration for increasing EV adoption at a national conference on EVs and Charging Infrastructure. 


The Future of Housing…Today 

Is it truly possible to build homes that are more affordable and also more comfortable, more energy-efficient, and quicker to construct…in cold climates? YES, is the answer that home builders in Prince George heard in May during a course and tour delivered by CHBA Northern BC and the Community Energy Association as part of the Building a Legacy – North initiative. 

With more than 50 years of construction experience between them, the course instructors – Joe Hart, a net-zero builder of Quesnel-based Icon Homes and energy advisor and passive-house consultant Mark Bernhardt of Victoria – showed builders how planning, site orientation, the location and size of windows, and a building’s shape and surface area all play critical roles in reducing a home’s energy consumption.  

Titled “Mind the Gap,” the course was delivered in May on the heels of updates to the BC building code, which mandates a 20% improvement in energy efficiency over the last iteration of the code. Hart and Bernhardt showed how these new requirements can easily be met through design and construction techniques, while minimizing additional costs for the builder and the customer. The course will also be delivered in Smithers on June 20 and Dawson Creek on June 23. Builders, HVAC professionals, energy advisors, engineers, designers, and building officials in those regions can register now to participate:  

Delivery of the course in Prince George included a tour of two examples of local leadership in high-performance homes: one focused on retrofits; the other on new construction.  

  • The retrofit is taking a 100-year old home and making it achieve Passive House-levels of airtightness and energy-efficiency. The homeowner described his experience to date and motivations for the project, which include increasing comfort in a home the family loves and instilling a work ethic among the family’s teenaged children. 
  • At Winton Homes (pictured below), participants explored a newly built demonstration module that was crafted on-site to prove how Step 5, net-zero ready, performance targets can be met in Northern BC’s climate zones using high-performance, prefabricated panels.

Building a Legacy – North is a collaboration of CHBA Northern BC and the Community Energy Association. The recent industry education events were made possible through the financial support of BC Hydro, BC Housing, and FortisBC.


Help with Retrofitting Community Buildings 

This just in: CEA is collaborating with the Federation of Canadian Municipalities to launch a new, national network for local government staff keen to learn more about how to retrofit civic facilities in order to make them last longer and be more energy-efficient. Invitations to participate will soon be sent to communities that are receiving Green Municipal Funds to either conduct feasibility studies or complete capital projects associated with retrofitting community buildings; the network will also be open to civic staff from across Canada.  

Get started today. Visit to access various information and supports. Watch for more info in future editions of this newsletter about how to join the new network. 


Adding EV Charging to Existing Condos 

Retrofitting existing buildings often involves improving their energy performance; it can also mean enabling buildings to support the energy transition in other sectors, such as transportation.

Case in point: staff at the Capital Regional District and the Vancouver Island Strata Owners Association worked with CEA to develop a workbook for strata corporations with condominium buildings (or any residential strata corporation) on how to add electric vehicle charging stations in the facility. The workbook covers everything from the basics of EV charging through to installation, operation, and possible rebates.  

Since strata rules across BC are the same, the CRD guide is applicable for strata owners/developers in any community. Check it out.


CEA AGM and 2022 Annual Report 

2023 has seen CEA surpass 50 members for the first time ever and many of them gathered for this year’s annual general meeting earlier today. One of the highlights was approval of the 2022 Annual Report, which details CEA’s amazing growth in response to the diverse energy and climate needs of communities. Some examples: 

  • 137 projects were undertaken in 2022, and revenues in 2022 were double the revenues from 2021. 
  • More than 1200 people participated in at least one CEA event/workshop/webinar in 2022, including representatives of 132 local governments and Indigenous communities. 
  • CEA facilitated the installation of 60 EV chargers, mostly in rural communities. Staff also completed plans, reports, or strategies for 16 local governments and 7 Indigenous communities. 

Not a member of CEA but wish you were? Membership is available to local governments, private and public sectors organizations, foundations, and other associations actively supporting communities on climate action. Membership is free to Indigenous governments.  

Also from today’s AGM: 

Members heard from a fellow CEA member who is also a pioneer in electric vehicle charging. Louis Tremblay Started Flo when he was still a university student and now the company has more than 90,000 EV chargers throughout North America. He spoke about the importance of innovative leadership at the local level and what he sees as the future of low-carbon transportation.

Welcome to new members: The City of Fernie, the City of Quesnel, and the Sunshine Coast Regional District.

The focus on optimizing the CEA organizational structure in 2022 allowed for CEA to extend impact and resilience into 2023 when a transition in executive leadership unexpectedly occurred earlier this year. Dale Littlejohn is currently on medical leave (and appreciates all the thoughts and well-wishes!), and Megan Lohmann has been appointed Acting CEO by the Board of Directors. Megan is carrying forward the goals and mission of CEA, supporting the organization through continued growth. She is supported by a new Director of Finance and Operations, Robbert Visscher, who brings many years of experience in finance and governance.


Join us in welcoming... 

Kacia Tolsma, Climate Solutions Specialist. Although currently located in Salt Spring on the shared and unceded territories of the Hul'qumi'num and SENĆOŦEN speaking Coast Salish people, Kacia will soon be moving to her hometown of Calgary where she will help with the Alberta Climate Leaders project and help scale up local climate action nationwide. Kacia applies a systems-thinking lens to her work and joins CEA with experience in strategic planning with a focus on integrated climate action, or low-carbon resilience.


Mariah Byers, Climate Initiatives Coordinator. Now CEA’s northernmost employee, Mariah joins CEA from the Indigenous Territory of the Taa'an Kwächän and the Kwanlin Dün, in Whitehorse. She brings experience in northern solar solutions, process development, and project management to her new role supporting CEA’s Retrofit Assist program. 

Toby Quantrell, Transportation Analyst. Toby brings international experience in active transportation and shared mobility, having previously worked as a Transport Planner on a range of projects throughout South East England. Now based in Vancouver on the traditional territory of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm, Sḵwx̱wú7mesh Úxwumixw, and səlilwətaɬ Nations, Toby will be supporting a variety of electric mobility and transportation-related initiatives. 

From left to right: Kacia Tolsma, Mariah Byers and Toby Quantrell


Inspiration from Elsewhere: Oakland, CA 

As governments, such as BC, implement mandates that will require zero-emission vehicles in the years ahead, communities need to consider local implications for infrastructure and services. Like BC, California also has a zero-emission vehicle target and the City of Oakland engaged widely with residents, especially those most likely to be affected by climate change, in coming up with a local plan. Check out Oakland’s zero emission vehicle action plan for ideas that might be relevant in your community.


Our Commitment to Truth and Reconciliation

The Community Energy Association (CEA) commits to the principles of Truth and Reconciliation. As an organization, we support the Calls to Action released by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada and recognize the importance of the self determination of Indigenous Peoples as articulated in the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples