Simple changes make apartment buildings more efficient

Thursday, February 6, 2020

With operating expenses rising and rent increases capped for 2020, owners of residential rental buildings in B.C. may be feeling a bit squeezed. The good news is that landlords can do something to control energy costs—and getting help is free.

As many of B.C.’s rental apartment buildings are over 30 years old, you may be paying more than necessary to provide heat and hot water for your tenants. FortisBC’s Rental Apartment Efficiency Program is designed to make it easy for busy landlords and property managers to improve the energy efficiency of older buildings, reduce water use and greenhouse gas emissions, and save costs.

Making upgrades easier

Those who sign up for the program receive a free building energy assessment with an engineering consultant, who will provide tips and a report on opportunities to save energy. Contractors will also install water-efficient faucet aerators and showerheads in each apartment (as well as up to 10 LED light bulbs per suite in FortisBC’s electricity service area). Just these free water-saving upgrades can reduce your building’s natural gas use by 12 per cent annually.

If you choose to invest in further energy-efficiency upgrades, you’ll also get free ongoing professional support for implementation and applying for rebates. FortisBC offers rebates on high-efficiency boilers, water heaters, condensing make-up air units, pipe and tank insulation, and more for commercial and multi-unit residential buildings.

“Apartment building owners and managers are typically busy juggling multiple priorities, and most are not experts in how to find and implement cost-effective energy-efficiency strategies,” said Jordan Fisher, president of FRESCo Building Efficiency, which delivers the program for FortisBC. “By bundling FortisBC’s offerings for landlords into one package and providing support, they have found the program very effective in reducing energy use.”

Increasing sustainability of rental apartments

To date, FortisBC and FRESCo have delivered the Rental Apartment Efficiency Program in more than 800 apartment buildings across BC, saving owners an estimated $2 million in utility costs. Together with their tenants, they have saved an estimated 270 million litres of water per year—enough to fill 110 Olympic-sized swimming pools—and reduced greenhouse gas emissions by about 15,000 tonnes.

And with 11,000 older rental apartment buildings out there in BC, there is still plenty of room to sign up and save energy, water and money. There’s no cost, and you could make improvements that maintain important rental housing stock in communities and make your buildings more sustainable and affordable to operate, all while helping BC to meet its climate action goals.

It’s easy to get started

If you own or manage an older purpose-built rental apartment building with nine or more units and receive natural gas and/or electricity from FortisBC, sign up for the Rental Apartment Efficiency Program. You can receive a $100 Amazon gift card for each apartment building you sign up for the program. For full details on eligibility criteria and program terms and conditions, visit, call 1-877-327-6137 or email

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