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Sustainability in the Age of Post COVID -19

While there have been a number of programs to help our businesses with support payments, loans, and other business incentives, none of these are going to fully provide for the losses, turmoil, hardship and deaths this pandemic has caused, here are some sustainability strategies business owners can utilize as the economic recovery is geared to build back better.

As we reopen our businesses there may be some new rules regarding social distancing, cleaning and other health related requirements that will cost money to install and follow but will provide better and cleaner spaces to live and work. Businesses must also consider that our electricity costs have now returned to previous time of use rates and the fossil fuel costs have already started to rise. As we now have to use our building space wisely, and possibly reconfigure the spaces, we need to also address the changes in the energy systems like the lighting, heating, ventilation, air conditioning, refrigeration and water that should be adjusted for the new loads and profile of use.

The recovery funds are going to allow for a number of job creation programs and recalling laid off staff that know the business and the buildings offers an opportunity to have them work on the recovery changes in both the business demands and the energy and water cost that can be lowered with retrofit investment and incentives in both capital and operating solutions.

Below is an action plan I propose and it is my hope that it now may be facilitated by the new job creation incentive programs the federal government and the province may provide.

Action Plan.

  • Get a sustainability commitment from senior management. There are many available seminars and reports that highlight how to build a business case for energy savings that will get approved.

  • Immediately implement low-cost efficiency measures. These are easy to do and provide an immediate sense of accomplishment. Think of the energy wasted when lights are left on and no one is in the space and water wasted when taps are running on while scrubbing our hands. Signs in the room and occupancy sensors and automated shut of taps are possible applications as well as sealing up window leaks and other areas of wasted resources.

  • Conduct an energy and water audit. You can’t manage what you don’t measure. An audit will identify how and where energy and water is utilized, what it costs and where you can make improvements. Based on your energy and water costs and the complexities of their usage, choose the right level of audit (Self or Professional) for your business.

  • Create an energy and water management plan. Analyze costs of short term and long term actions, and then prioritize them for implementation. Find ways to measure progress and update your ROI requirements and equipment specifications as required.

As a final note, here is the latest job creation potential figure suggested by Julia Langer of the Toronto Atmospheric Fund in her recent newsletter.

“After decades of demonstrating the benefits of energy efficiency retrofits in buildings, we are seeing unprecedented support across government, industry, and advocates for scaled up investment. Many experts are recommending that the federal government include retrofits in a post-pandemic stimulus package. And these recommendations are resonating because they boast powerful job creation numbers and significant additional public benefits. For example, the $1.7 billion allocated to clean up orphan oil wells (an initiative we support) is expected to create 10,000 job-years; based on these numbers, we’ve calculated the same investment in energy efficiency would directly and indirectly create at least three times more. “

RHBOT would like to thank David Katz of Sustainable Resources Management for acting as this week’s Guest Blogger.


As a member of the Board of Trade, David Katz, President and CEO of Sustainable Resources Management can assisting Board of Trade Members with their sustainability action plans. For those members without their own energy and water management expertise, their firm can offer an initial review of your energy and water bills as part of an initial free consultation on sustainable solutions. They also offer energy management training and education on funds that a business can apply for to implement for these programs saving your business time and money.

David Katz, MBA

President & CEO

Sustainable Resources Management Inc.

Tel: 416-493-9232 Cell: 416-618-4651