Local groups leading climate solutions in Calgary and Edmonton secure funding to advance new approaches



Calgary, August 24, 2023 — The Alberta Ecotrust Foundation is excited to announce its 2023 Climate Innovation Grant Program recipients. Eight remarkable organizations in Calgary and Edmonton were awarded a total of $659,135 to implement groundbreaking projects to support both cities in addressing their declared climate emergencies. 

“The Climate Innovation Grant Program enables local communities and organizations to take climate action," says Mike Mellross, Program Director for Alberta Ecotrust’s Climate Innovation Fund. “We are pleased to see that many of the projects awarded this year bring new approaches to climate solutions and are empowering community members such as renters, persons with disabilities, and youth to be leaders in creating change. In addition to reducing greenhouse gas emissions, climate solutions solve social and economic problems, and these projects have great potential to do that.”

This year's projects cover a broad spectrum, including increasing the uptake of electric vehicles in private taxi fleets, enhancing youth cycling infrastructure, researching school bus fleet electrification, bridging virtual energy audits with retrofits, exploring demand-side energy solutions, and testing nature-based carbon sequestration through ecologically restored school sites.

“Pollution Probe is excited to launch a school bus demonstration project in Edmonton with the support of the Climate Innovation Grant. The project will further demonstrate the technology readiness of electric school bus models available in the Canadian market and assess their health implications. It is essential to share real world operational data and best practices from early adopters for other school bus operators to successfully integrate electric school buses into their fleets. Electric school buses play a pivotal role in combating climate change, enhancing air quality, and fostering a green economy.” - Christopher Hilkene, Pollution Probe CEO

Since the grant program opened in 2021, the funded projects have the potential to reduce or avoid over 1,719,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions cumulatively over the next 20 years. This is the equivalent of taking nearly 26,750 cars off the road annually once the projects have scaled up. 

"The Alberta Ecotrust Climate Innovation Fund remains at the forefront of tackling the climate emergencies declared in both Calgary and Edmonton. As we announce this year's grantees, we are proud of the partnerships we have forged with both cities, ensuring that our grants, programs, and impact investments are closely aligned with their climate plans and goals,” says Alberta Ecotrust Acting CEO Rod Ruff. “However, the demand for support has been overwhelming, with 28 exceptional projects vying for support, totaling over $2.1M in requested funding. Given this, we recognize the need to expand this Fund further. With each passing year, the urgency to address climate change grows, and we invite more philanthropists, businesses, and investors to join us in delivering local climate solutions and lasting impact.”

Alberta Ecotrust Foundation is grateful for additional funding from the Edmonton Community Foundation whose contributions increased the granting capacity in Edmonton. All the projects directly link to policy directions in the City of Calgary and the City of Edmonton’s climate action plans.


Both Cities

  • Alberta Energy Efficiency Association: Demonstrating the Power of Demand Side Management (DSM) in Alberta will develop a recommended approach to Demand Side Management (DSM) that considers how DSM activities can complement and support other energy savings and emission reduction efforts in the province. 

  • Green Calgary: How to Start an EV Fleet for Taxi Services will work to increase the uptake of electric vehicles (EVs) in private taxi fleets in Calgary and Edmonton. This project will narrow the questions and assumptions Taxi operators have about transitioning from internal combustion engine (ICE) powered vehicles to EV fleets and create engagement activities to break down real and perceived barriers. The results of this project will support Taxi drivers to make the switch to EVs while helping both cities reach their zero-emission targets.

  • Volta Research Inc.: Bridging the gap: From virtual audits to in person energy assessments will build and test an application programming interface (API) that will enable the exchange of information collected in Virtual Energy Audit (VA) software platforms to Volta’s SNAP platform. With rising interest in VAs from existing homeowners interested in energy efficiency retrofits, and an EnerGuide Home Evaluation (EGHE) being a requirement for Clean Energy Improvement Programs (CEIP) in Calgary and Edmonton, this pilot project will bridge the gap between completed VAs and an EnerGuide Home Evaluation (EGHE).


  • ACORN Institute Canada: Eco-Tenant Union ProjectEco-Tenant Union Project will connect the dots between housing precarity and energy inefficiency in Calgary’s rental housing as well as develop short-term and long-term policy campaigns that will induce the scaling of apartment retrofits in Calgary. 


  • North Glenora Community League: Coronation Schoolyard Naturalization for Carbon Sequestration and Biodiversity Gain will test the potential of ecologically restored school sites to sequester carbon, focusing its impact on carbon sequestration as a scalable nature-based solution to climate change mitigation and adaptation. 

  • Goodwill Industries of Alberta: Goodwill Sustainable Energy Training Centre for Persons with Disabilities will provide long-term Greenhouse Gas Emission reductions through solar panel installations at the Edmonton Impact Centre and across the city, while providing ongoing employment opportunities for persons with disabilities.

  • The Board of Trustees of Edmonton School Division: Moving Forward on Active Transportation at Edmonton Public Schools will provide opportunities for up to five high needs schools to take action on active transportation and collectively contribute to the mitigation of climate change and reduction of emissions. Lessons learned will inform the City of Edmonton initiatives such as the Bike Plan, Safe Routes to Schools, and implementation of projects at additional school sites.

  • The Pollution Probe Foundation: Edmonton Electric School Bus Deployment, will lead a pilot project that will provide valuable data and insights addressing the primary challenge hindering the adoption of electric school buses in Canada; concern regarding their limited range due to factors like temperature, battery chemistry, and driving conditions.

About the Climate Innovation Fund
Alberta Ecotrust Foundation is a founding member of the Low Carbon Cities Canada (LC3) network. LC3 supports cities and communities in reaching their carbon emissions reduction potential. This initiative is implemented in partnership among seven local centers and the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM). Funded by a Government of Canada endowment through FCM, LC3 is part of a national investment in municipal climate action to accelerate urban climate solutions and to help achieve Canada’s climate goal of net-zero by 2050.

As an LC3 centre, Alberta Ecotrust received a $43.4 million endowment from the Government of Canada to create the Climate Innovation Fund. The Fund provides programming in Calgary and Edmonton, taking on a nimble, accelerator role, complementing and advancing the leadership work undertaken by the municipalities. 

For more information, visit albertaecotrust.com.

For media inquiries:

Maureen Ezeodumegwu, Communications Manager, Alberta Ecotrust Foundation


403.209.2245 x 205