Energy efficiency upgrades to New Dawn Centre underway

Project funded by the Sustainable Communities Challenge Fund

New Dawn Enterprises has moved one step closer to its goal of becoming a net-zero organization with a major retrofit to the New Dawn Centre.

The 38,000 square foot building – a former high school located in Northend Sydney – houses the New Dawn offices and more than 20 tenants, including small businesses and not-for-profit organizations.

All 85 windows in the building were replaced and 45 heat pumps were installed to replace the old hot water boiler heating system. The upgrades have resulted in more efficient and effective temperature regulation in the building and expected annual energy savings of more than $70,000.

“Through these upgrades, we’ve had an immense decrease in our impact on the climate,” said New Dawn CEO Erika Shea, who added the next phase will be improvements to the building’s roof.

This project is supported by the Sustainable Communities Challenge Fund, delivered by the Nova Scotia Federation of Municipalities on behalf of the Province of Nova Scotia. New Dawn applied to the grant program and received $776,159 in its first round of funding.

“This investment allows us to reduce the building’s GHG emissions by a minimum 130 tonnes of carbon dioxide per year. This is equivalent to the CO2 sequestered by 155 acres of trees in a year. It is also the pivotal investment that secures our ability to repurpose, rather than tear down and reconstruct, this building in pursuit of more efficient operations,” Shea said.

“The environmental and financial impact of its dated, inefficient and costly heating system and building envelope weighed heavily on us. Nova Scotia is replete with older buildings with a lot of life remaining in them. Investments like these allow us to responsibly repurpose these buildings, saving the significant additional CO2 and waste that would be generated through demolition and reconstruction.”

The New Dawn Centre is one of 6 commercial buildings New Dawn owns along with almost 200 residential units. In 2021, the federal government committed $1.8 million to allow New Dawn to build a solar array and upgrade energy and heating infrastructure at its Pine Tree Park Estates. The solar installation meets the energy needs of the community while emitting zero greenhouse gases, making it the first net-zero energy community in Nova Scotia.

“Through the solar and the building retrofits, we’ve been able to remove all fossil fuels from the property,” says Shea.

Read more about New Dawn’s commitment to cutting greenhouse gas emissions and addressing energy poverty here.

Read about the 26 successful applicants to the first round of funding from the Sustainable Communities Challenge Fund here.