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Stanley Knowles Housing Co‑operative

Good Practices in Energy Savings

“Money saved on energy is money in our pockets.”

Who We Are

Stanley Knowles is a housing co‑operative in Toronto. The co‑op has 103 units, including 10 units for people in wheelchairs.

Our Story

In 2008, the provincial Housing Services Corporation launched their GLOBE (Green Light on a Better Environment) program to help social-housing providers reduce energy and water consumption. Our co‑op staff and a member attended the workshops and came back with information on the program and ideas on how to involve members. We set up a new standing committee and held a contest to name the committee. The person who submitted the winning name, Turn Over a New Leaf, won a basket of environmental products.

We first conducted an energy audit and came up with a list of improvements we could make. In the first year we replaced our washing machines with high-efficiency models. Motion sensors were installed in the laundry rooms to turn off lights when no one is there. We also used GLOBE’s program to replace lights with compact-florescent lighting. We even installed a new garbage chute system to separate garbage, recyclables and organic waste.

The following year we took advantage of Ontario’s MEER (Multi-family Energy Efficiency Rebate) program to help pay for the energy audit and the CFL retrofit in the common areas.

We are conscious of costs and have installed low-flow toilets and aerators as replacements were needed, rather than doing them all at once.

The co‑op’s work was showcased in GLOBE’s first newsletter in 2011 and Stanley Knowles was the winner of both Level 1 and Level 2, in the Co‑operative Housing Federation of Toronto’s Green Award 2011.

Energy Costs per Unit

The co‑op spent $1,181 per unit on energy for heat, light, hot water and power in 2011, a lower amount than most of our peer group in that same year. Although costs have been rising since then, it's not at the same rate that it would be had they not put conservation measures in place.

    2009 2010 2011 2012 2013
Cost per unit for heat, light, hot water and power   $1,183 $1,211 $1,181 $1,200 $1,262

How Could We have Done Better?

  • Educating members on the use of the 3-tier garbage chute system proved to be a challenge.
  • Some members have caregivers, and it was particularly difficult to help the caregivers understand the system.

What Others Can Learn from the Stanley Knowles Story

  • Take advantage of government and other programs for loans, grants and information.
  • It is easier to springboard off an existing program than to start from scratch.
  • Educate members about the goals and ask them for ideas.
  • Monitor the progress on new initiatives, survey members and identify any problems and difficulties


Co‑op name: Stanley Knowles
Location: Toronto, ON
Program: Section 95
Number of Units: 103
Unit Type: Apartments
Date of Occupancy: 1983
Management Model: Staff