Recognized as one of Atlantic Canada's Top Employers (2019) and Nova Scotia's Top Employers (2019):
By Richard Yerema and Kristina Leung, Mediacorp Canada Inc. staff editors (Jan 8, 2019)
Here are some of the reasons why EfficiencyOne was selected as one of Atlantic Canada's Top Employers (2019) and Nova Scotia's Top Employers (2019):
- EfficiencyOne invests in ongoing employee education with tuition subsidies for courses taken at outside institutions (up to $2,500 annually) and subsidies for professional accreditation
- As part of the organization's health benefits plan, EfficiencyOne offers a health spending account of up to $500 each year, allowing employees to top up coverage as needed
- EfficiencyOne encourages employees to prioritize health and wellness through a number of internal initiatives, including providing healthy snacks for purchase, free membership to a nearby gym, and various wellness challenges (with prizes and rewards for participants)
Recognized as one of Canada's Greenest Employers (2019):
By Richard Yerema and Kristina Leung, Mediacorp Canada Inc. staff editors (Apr 14, 2019)
Here are some of the reasons why EfficiencyOne was selected as one of Canada's Greenest Employers (2019):
- EfficiencyOne's unique line of business is designed to encourage fellow Nova Scotians to reduce energy consumption and make green living choices, offering rebates to residents for the purchase of energy efficient appliances (and retire their old high energy consumption appliances), home energy assessments and business energy solutions
- EfficiencyOne encourages employees to leave the car at home through a number of initiatives including discounted transit passes, an active carpooling program (with preferred and discounted parking), and support for cyclists (indoor parking, access to a bike pump and repair tools, and shower facilities) -- and offers commuters a guaranteed ride program if ever required
- EfficiencyOne ensures that its employees "walk the green talk" by supporting a number of initiatives in the community including Bike to Work Week, the annual Commuter Challenge, Earth Day and Earth Hour events, and the Great Nova Scotia Pick-Me-Up litter clean-up day in May -- employees even built (and manage) their own onsite community garden
At EfficiencyOne, employees want to motivate change
Here's a nice eco-friendly story. When an employee of EfficiencyOne in Dartmouth, N.S. came forward with a proposal to members of the organization's Environmental Team, they acted quickly. The employee knew about a new company that produced waste-free products and packaging. These included such innovative items as a toothbrush made from compostable bamboo, with bristles made from recyclable material that could in turn be recycled.
So the subcommittee organized a pop-up shop at the EfficiencyOne head office - itself a LEED Platinum floor of a LEED Silver building - where the 100 or so employees could browse for cool stuff and help the new company get going.
That sort of support is par for the course at EfficiencyOne, which is both a green employer and a green organization. EfficiencyOne is the independent, non-profit organization that operates Efficiency Nova Scotia, the only utility in Canada dedicated to energy efficiency.
Not surprisingly, employees are very supportive of new ways to help the planet. "EfficiencyOne is filled with a lot of environmentally conscious people," says Kraig Porter, Onsite Energy Manager for the agricultural industry and chair of the Environmental Team. "So many of our employees are champions of of energy efficiency and environmentalism and we really practise what we preach."
Since its formation in 2010, the organization has helped more than 400,000 program participants access over 24 program and services that help them reduce their energy use and save money.
"Our role is to motivate people to make a change," says CEO Stephen MacDonald. "Energy efficiency is by far the quickest and most effective way to reduce energy costs. And by doing that, families and businesses also reduce emissions into the environment. Energy emissions in this province are 11 per cent lower than they otherwise would have been because of the work of EfficiencyOne."
Among the measures the utility encourages are draft-proofing buildings, wrapping hot water tanks, installing heat pumps, switching to low-flow shower heads, using solar panels, building high-efficiency new homes, transitioning to EnergyStar appliances and even ensuring that industrial compressed-air systems are less prone to leaks. There is also a Green Schools initiative and programs for lower-income people, offsetting the cost of upgrades.
MacDonald says the utility sends out experts to help large organizations and industries, sometimes embedding them in a hospital or other institution. Or in Porter's case, visiting agricultural operations. Porter shows farmers the energy-saving benefits of everything from upgrading barn lighting with LEDs to installing more modern milking machines. "Sometimes the advantages are not just economic - you might finish milking in one-and-a-half hours instead of two, which is its own benefit," he notes. And brighter light can elevate the mood of a cow, leading to greater milk production.
Back at head office, Porter's six-member Environmental Team involves employees in a variety of events. There are tours of local composting, landfill and recycling operations, a community garden on the front lawn, recycling of everything from paper to ballpoint pens, and beach and roadside garbage cleanups. There's also a commuting challenge, with points for reducing emissions through carpooling, biking, electric vehicles and the like.
"We have a huge community of employees who believe in what we're doing in energy efficiency," Porter says. "They also believe that we in society can do better for the environment - and they're out there doing it."