Who We Are

About the Project

The Smart Energy Communities Benchmark was developed to provide Canadian communities with a clear picture of what a Smart Energy Community looks like, as well as a powerful benchmark that communities can use to track their progress on their energy-smart journey.

A Smart Energy Community considers mobility networks, buildings, electricity and natural gas distribution, water management, and waste management and recovery as deeply integrated parts of a highly efficient and localized energy system.

In 2017, QUEST and Pollution Probe partnered to distill what we have learned in over a decade of research and engagement into a series of ten indicators that define a Smart Energy Community. Through research of best practices in planning, policy making, process design, and program implementation, we developed a comprehensive benchmarking framework that measures the presence of each indicator in a community.

Over the course of two years, we worked with municipal and utility staff from nine pilot communities and 17 technical advisors to ensure the Benchmark could be used by any community across Canada engaging in community energy planning and implementation.

Meet our Team

Advisors
Pilot Communities
Supporters

Meet our Team

QUEST teamed up with Pollution Probe to develop the Smart Energy Communities Benchmark. The work would not have been possible without our supporters, advisors, and partner pilot communities. Below, we share more information on the people and organizations that brought this project to life.

Alex Benzie

Alex Benzie

Project Manager

Bio

Alex is a community energy planning enthusiast with more than seven years of experience managing and delivering multi-stakeholder, multi-year initiatives. As QUEST’s Senior Lead, Research and Projects, Alex leads a number of research and engagement projects, such as the Accelerating Implementation of Renewable Energy Project and the Toward Planning Alignment in Ontario project. Prior to QUEST, Alex was a project manager at a solar PV developer where she led the regulatory and pre-construction development processes for a 10MW school rooftop PV portfolio (83 individual sites). She has a Master of Environmental Studies and a Bachelor of Science in Geological Sciences from Queen’s University.

Michael Lee

Michael Lee

Research Manager

Bio

Michael is a community energy planning researcher who works across multiple sectors. He led the research of the Smart Energy Communities Benchmark framework, provided research support for QUEST’s Community Energy Planning: Getting to Implementation in Canada initiative, and helped to facilitate the Toward Planning Alignment in Ontario project between local energy planning stakeholders in Ontario. Michael holds a Master of Planning in Urban Development from Ryerson University, and a Bachelor of Science in Biology from McMaster University.

Samantha Peverill

Samantha Peverill

Researcher

Bio

Samantha has facilitated a working group focused on existing building retrofits, and the Nova Scotia Municipal Energy Learning Group which supports municipalities engaged in community energy planning. She also managed the Atlantic Canada Energy Data Roadmap project and served as the Regional Climate Advisor for the Partners for Climate Protection Program in Nova Scotia and Newfoundland and Labrador. She holds a Masters of Science in Industrial Ecology from the Norwegian Institute of Science and Technology and a Bachelor of Commerce from McGill.

Richard Carlson

Richard Carlson

Advisor

Bio

Richard Carlson joined Pollution Probe in 2017 as Director of Energy Policy and Energy Exchange. He brings extensive energy policy and energy-literacy experience, most recently at the University of Toronto’s Mowat Centre. A recognized expert on energy policy and engagement, Richard has presented at numerous industry events. Media often invite him to provide commentary and context on energy stories. Beyond Canada, Richard has worked professionally and academically on energy development and policy in Europe, Central Asia, the Middle East, and East Asia. He also sits on the board of Transition Énergétique Québec, the Québec government’s energy transition agency.

Emma Hill

Emma Hill

Researcher

Bio

Emma has supported research, policy, and community engagement initiatives at Pollution Probe. Prior to her current role, she worked as an analyst in renewable energy development and in environmental communications. Emma holds a Master of Environmental Science degree from the University of Toronto, and a Bachelor of Science degree from Queen’s University.

Cheryl Ratchford

Cheryl Ratchford

Communications Lead

Bio

Cheryl is a policy, communications, and marketing professional with more than twelve years of experience from government, stakeholder, and political perspectives in the energy sector. As the Director, Communications and Marketing Cheryl oversees the development, management, and delivery of QUEST’s communications and marketing activities and has been with the organization since 2015.

About QUEST

QUEST is a national non-government organization that works to accelerate the adoption of efficient and integrated community-scale energy systems in Canada by informing, inspiring, and connecting decision-makers. QUEST undertakes research, communicates best practices, convenes government, utility, private-sector and community leaders, and works directly with local authorities to implement on-the-ground solutions. QUEST grounds all its activities in the “Smart Energy Community”—a concept that encapsulates the ideal end state of the organization’s work.

About Pollution Probe

Pollution Probe is a national, not-for-profit, charitable organization which is improving the health and well-being of Canadians by advancing policy that achieves positive, tangible environmental change. It is a leader in building successful partnerships with industry and government to develop practical solutions for shared environmental challenges.

Advisors

A team of technical advisors kindly provided critical input into the scoring framework that underpins the Smart Energy Communities Benchmark tool. We thank them for their help.

Sheena Adams

Subhi Alsayed

Pat Bell

Navneet Budhia

Dr. Kirby Calvert

Kara Chan

Robin Goldstein

Anthony Hommik

Sara Mudge

David Photiadis

Kenneth Porter

Sarah Shenstone-Harris

Mark Robertson

Derek Satnik

Penny Slight

Dana Wong

Pilot Communities

The project team travelled from coast to coast to coast and met with municipal and utility staff in nine pilot communities across Canada. Their feedback was integral to the process of refining our methodology and identifying best practices. These communities are an inspiration to our project team because they exemplify our vision of Canada as a nation of Smart Energy Communities. 

Andrew Duffield

City of Beaconsfield, QC

Leon de Vreede

Town of Bridgewater, NS

Alice Yu & Brit Samborsky

City of Calgary, AB

Chris Osborne & Amber Zirnhelt

City of Campbell River, BC

Michelle Gairdner

City of Grand Prairie, AB

Kecil Joseph

Town of Inuvik, NT

Jamie Skimming

City of London, ON

Jenn Wong & Jacqueline Tung

City of Markham, ON

Chris Vaughn & Mike Auge

City of Yellowknife, NT
The City of Beaconsfield, QC
The Town of Bridgewater, NS
The City of Calgary, AB
The Town of Campbell River, BC
The City of Grande Prairie, AB
The Town of Inuvik, NT
The City of London, ON
The City of Markham, ON
The City of Yellowknife, NT
The City of Beaconsfield, QC
Nestled on the shores of Lake Saint Louis, the City of Beaconsfield is graced with prime waterfront green space. The exceptionally high standard of living that you find in this community of 20 075 residents has been achieved through a long-standing tradition of responsible government and citizen involvement. Committed to safeguarding its resident’s quality of life, Beaconsfield is a member of the Healthy Communities Network, an international movement sponsored by the World Health Organization that promotes collaboration among all sectors of the community. The City’s sound financial position and the rising real estate value make a home in Beaconsfield a blue-chip investment.
The Town of Bridgewater, NS
The Town of Bridgewater is located on Nova Scotia’s South Shore and had a population of approximately 8500. Long-known for being “The Main Street of the South Shore,” Bridgewater has is the primary commercial and professional service centre in the southern half of the province. Over the past decade, Bridgewater has grown a reputation for embracing sustainable municipal practices and has been recognized nationally as a leader in forward-thinking sustainable initiatives.
The City of Calgary, AB
As the third largest municipality in Canada, Calgary s home to 1.2 million people, a population that is young – with an average age of 36 years, diverse – with 28% visible minorities, and growing – with 40,000 new people arriving each year from across Canada – and the world. An excellent quality of life, low taxes, proximity to nature and cleanliness make Calgary one of the most liveable cities on the planet!
The Town of Campbell River, BC
With the waters of Discovery Passage at our shoreline and majestic mountains as a backdrop, Campbell River is located at the 50th parallel on the east coast of northern Vancouver Island. We are the third largest city on the island, with a population of more than 35,000, and the urban service centre and hub community for approximately 60,000 people living and working in our region. Campbell River is a city with friendly small-town character, a highly accessible location, abundant natural resources and first-class transportation and communications networks. With eco-adventures and internationally renowned salmon fishing, golfing, skiing at Mount Washington and parks and trails for all ages and abilities, as well as fine dining, boutique shopping, advanced educational opportunities, community festivals and cultural treasures, Campbell River has it all!
The City of Grande Prairie, AB
Grande Prairie is a rapidly growing resource-based community in northwestern Alberta with a population of approximately 63,000 residents. Being a part of the Smart Energy Communities Scorecard Pilot Project is well-timed as we are developing a community energy strategy that optimizes energy delivery systems with the available resources. This project will allow industry, business and residents to understand the benefits of a multi-faceted approach to energy consumption.
The Town of Inuvik, NT
The colour and vitality of Inuvik will take you by surprise. You’ll see paved streets lined with brightly coloured houses on pilings, dome-shaped buildings and the strange snakelike Utilidor system. In the summer, the town hums with activity. Tourists walk the streets and air charter and construction companies take advantage of the continuous daylight. The community is within the taiga forest, just south of the tree line and west of the open tundra. The Arctic Ocean is only 97 kilometres north and the Arctic Circle is 200 kilometres to the south.
The City of London, ON
With a population of almost 384,000 in 2016, London is the 6th largest city within the province of Ontario and the fifteenth largest city in Canada. Industry sector leaders like 3M, McCormick Canada, Trojan Technologies, TSC Stores, and London Life all have their Canadian headquarters in London. Over the past several years, the city has witnessed growth in its manufacturing sector, diversifying to include military, aerospace, medical, and automotive parts, and food processing. London is also poised for new business growth in the areas of life sciences, technology, and digital media.
The City of Markham, ON
Markham, an award-winning municipality with over 355,000 residents and the largest of nine communities in York Region, is home to over 400 corporate head offices and more than 1,100 high tech and life science companies. Markham is a leader in attracting foreign direct investment with more than 210 foreign companies located in the City. Founded in the 1790s, today Markham is Canada’s most diverse community and enjoys a rich heritage, outstanding community planning and services, and a vibrant local economy. Markham has received the Excellence Canada Gold Award for Organizational Quality & Healthy Workplace, and multiple heritage and environmental awards.
The City of Yellowknife, NT
The City of Yellowknife is the capital of the Northwest Territories, with a population of approximately 20,000. It is the hub of commerce for the territory and serves as a gateway to smaller communities and southern metropoles. Yellowknife at its roots is a mining city and has successfully managed to balance small town feel with broadening, industrial, commercial and institutional sectors. As a northern city ensuring that our workplaces and homes are well heated is essential to the well-being of our people, land and economy. Climate action, with a particular focus on energy, is high on the priority list for municipal officials, businesses and residents.
Supporters

Thank you to our funders for making this project possible through their support.

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