Every dollar counts for non-profit organizations. Few know this better than the YWCA Banff, which is currently replacing an aging boiler with a new high efficiency one that is expected to be 26 per cent more energy efficient.
The technology upgrade, supported by over $25,000 in incentives from Emissions Reduction Alberta’s (ERA) Energy Savings for Business program, will help the not-for-profit save thousands of dollars every year. The boiler is also expected to cut over 1,000 tonnes of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions over its life span.
“While funding for a project like this is great for emissions reductions and will have a positive environmental impact, for us, it will also allow us to allocate any savings to support our core programs,” said Rae-Ann Roberts, Director of Operations, People, and Culture for the YWCA Banff.
The Banff YWCA provides a range of programs and services across the Bow Valley, with a focus on those most vulnerable including women who are experiencing intimate partner violence. The organization offers many services and programs including an emergency shelter for those experiencing violence, affordable housing program, support services for people experiencing homelessness or precarious housing as well as transitional housing.
To support these programs the organization relies on donations and revenue generated from its social enterprise hotel, which includes 42 hotel rooms and 60 dorm-style beds.
“Our social enterprise hotel allows us to invest in our people, pay salaries, and cover operating costs. When the COVID-19 pandemic hit we had to temporarily close it, so we knew we had to make some changes to our budget and to our spending and really think critically about how we can invest in necessary investments, like a new boiler,” said Roberts.
She said funding from ERA’s Energy Savings for Business program was critical to moving their project forward.
“The funding was extremely timely,” said Roberts. “For organizations that rely on donor dollars, and in our case rely on a social enterprise that’s been temporarily closed, any additional funding that we can source certainly helps us allocate any savings to high-priority areas like our programming.”