Previewing FCM’s Energy Efficiency Guide for Affordable Housing Providers

Written by Aisha Salahdiin Ahmed

October 5, 2022

The Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) held, on Wednesday June 15th, a webinar where they:

  • Discussed Energy retrofitting existing buildings
  • Broke down Funding opportunities for new projects
  • Recommended engaging Regional Energy Coaches
  • Teased their new guidebook for affordable housing providers

The FCM proposed to achieve energy efficiency mainly by reducing waste and incorporating technological solutions. For the case of retrofits of multi-unit projects, it is crucial to engage with residents at an early stage and conduct consultation. To housing providers, they advised that budgeting and planning can lead to new energy efficient equipment- instead of just like-for-like replacements, and they recommended considering non-energy benefits and ensuring efficient choices are made to support operations.

They also placed heavy emphasis on pursing “upgrades” rather than “replacements” throughout the retrofitting journey. They categorize projects by the various levels of energy reductions:

  1. Minor retrofits: less than or equal to 25% of energy reduction
  2. Major retrofits: 35% energy reduction
  3. Deep retrofits: greater than 50% energy reduction

As for new construction projects that are aiming to produce energy conscious buildings, the FCM through their sustainable affordable housing initiative offer various funding opportunities for different stages of the project. In order to be eligible, applicants must meet these criteria 


Retrofits: Save at least 25% of current energy consumption
Newbuilds: Net zero energy (ready) or 80 kWh/m2


Rents for at least 30% of the units are less than 80% of the local median market rent

The Green Municipal Funding Funding Offers at Various Stages

Project Stage Funding Offer
Planning Grant up to $25,000 
Up to 80% of eligible costs 
StudyGrant up to $175,000 
Up to 50% of eligible costs 
Pilot Project Up to $500,000 
Up to 80% of eligible costs 
Capital: Retrofit
(Minimum 25% energy improvement) 
Financing up to $10 million 
Up to 80% of eligible total project costs 
Grant based on energy performance 
Grants are 25% to 50% of GMF funded amount 
Capital: New Build 
Financing up to $10 million 
Up to %20  of eligible total project costs 
Grants are 50% of GMF funded amount 

The FCM has also expressed that to evaluate funding applications, they consider three main aspects of the application and the applicant team:

The FCM encourages anyone who is interested in retrofits to engage “Regional Energy Couches” such as BC Non-Profit Housing Association, Co-Operative Housing Federation of Canada, and Community Housing Transformation Center. These Regional Energy Couches can support retrofit project planning, coach affordable housing providers to plan efficient retrofits, and share opportunities across the funding landscape. 

Finally, The Federation of Canadian Municipalities has recently published a detailed guidebook for affordable housing providers. Click here to take a look at the “Understanding Energy Efficiency” guidebook. 

For more information on FCM’s SAH capacity development resources, visit

For more information on Regional Energy Coaches, visit

Aisha Salahdiin Ahmed

Development Project Manager

October 5, 2022