Over Alberta Ecotrust’s 30 years supporting environmental projects across Alberta, we have the good fortune to work with industry leaders who invest not only in our work but in the health of the communities they serve. In addition to the support of our Visionary Partners we are also grateful to receive funding for our work from a community of corporate Patron Partners including Keyera, Syncrude and FortisAlberta.

Alberta Ecotrust shares a commitment to supporting projects with positive outcomes for both the environment and community with companies like our Patron Partners, FortisAlberta. With deep ties to the over 240 communities they serve as the owner and operator of more than 60 percent of Alberta’s total electricity distribution network, FortisAlberta lends their support to different organizations and initiatives. In addition to their donation to organizations like Alberta Ecotrust, FortisAlberta also has programs like its Save Energy Grant to support municipalities, including schools and businesses within its service territory. These grants assist with a variety of energy efficiency initiatives and range in the amount of $1,000 to $5,000, depending on the amount requested and the total cost of the project proposed by the community.

At Alberta Ecotrust we know that energy efficiency projects can have multiple community benefits. A perfect example is a fully sustainable, solar powered FarmWall at Strathmore High School supported for the 2020/2021 school year by FortisAlberta’s Save Energy Grant. As part of the hydroponics/aquaponics program at Strathmore High School, the student-led initiative was looking to expand the impact of the program by building the solar powered FarmWall. Through this program, students measure how many heads of lettuce, kale and swiss chard will grow. Through the solar project, they are also able to identify their direct energy savings by comparing the solar, sustainable FarmWall to other projects not operating on solar. The vegetables grown with the FarmWall are given to students and their families as well as to the local Strathmore Overnight Shelter. This means that the project has an impact not only on energy efficiency but also on food security and community health and wellbeing.

The project also increased the access students have to learning and working with new technology. “We are extremely appreciative of FortisAlberta’s support in bringing this project to fruition. Alternative energy sources are things that our students learn about but rarely get to experience in person. This project will allow our students to experience other forms of energy generation and to make decisions about the energy that we use. It will help frame energy as a resource for our students, something that is often taken for granted. The nice thing about this project is that on top of these rich learning opportunities it will have the added benefit of providing fresh produce to families in our community at a time when food prices are becoming more expensive,” says Cole Hintz, Science Teacher at Strathmore High School.

For their part FortisAlberta is looking forward to working with the school and watching the project progress.

“When we have the opportunity to contribute to the success of energy efficiency projects, we take another step forward to a more sustainable future. Student led projects equip the youth involved with the ingenuity to solve the sustainability problems of tomorrow. FortisAlberta will continue to support energy efficiency projects to maintain and grow our resilient communities throughout Alberta, “ says Jennifer Walsh, Director Emerging Customer Solutions, FortisAlberta

Environmental challenges are complex, no one can do it alone. We are proud to work with and alongside companies like FortisAlberta and our other Patron Partners to meet these challenges and create opportunities in communities across Alberta.

For more information on becoming a Patron or Visionary Partner, please contact Vicki Stroich, Engagement Director at [email protected].

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