Electricity saved at home buys hospital equipment

World's first conservation program using GOODcoins social currency launches today in Newmarket

NEWMARKET, ON, June 16, 2014 /CNW/ - Newmarket-Tay Power Distribution today launches engagingNewmarket, a conservation program that lets consumers save electricity at home, earn rewards and spend those rewards to buy equipment for the local hospital, Southlake Regional Health Centre. Newmarket is the first city in the world to link a conservation program with a social currency, GOODcoins, to turn electricity savings into real community benefits that consumers can select.

"What makes this electricity conservation program a world first is its link to tangible benefits to the community, in this case, equipment for use with children receiving care at Southlake Regional Health Centre," said Paul Ferguson, president of Newmarket-Tay Power Distribution.

The project is a collaboration of Newmarket-Tay Power Distribution, IBM Canada Ltd., the Town of Newmarket, Southlake Regional Health Centre and Zerofootprint, the company that developed GOODcoins, the world's first social currency for rewarding personal and social good.

"The starting point is our peaksaver PLUS smart thermostat, paired with Zerofootprint's software, which rewards consumers with GOODcoins for saving electricity at home," says Paul Ferguson. "Consumers then choose the equipment they want their GOODcoins to help Southlake acquire."

The initial phase of the project is a pilot involving 500 families in Newmarket. The equipment the program funds will directly impact the hospital's pediatric patients from diagnosis through to recovery stages of care.

"Southlake is honoured to be a part of a warm and supportive community of businesses and people who want to give back. We are incredibly grateful to Newmarket-Tay Power Distribution, Zerofootprint, and other engagingNewmarket partners for including us in this truly unique and innovative project that links real-life energy conservation to improvements in the delivery of healthcare," says Dr. Dave Williams, Southlake's president and CEO.

"We are excited to be partnering with Newmarket-Tay Power Distribution to encourage evidence-based positive behaviour in Newmarket using GOODcoins," says Ron Dembo, founder and CEO of Zerofootprint. "GOODcoins rewards Newmarket residents for doing good and allows them to spend their rewards to help the local hospital. This innovative program will create more resilient, engaged residents and enhance the community and we are proud to be a part of it."

"The Town of Newmarket has a growing reputation as a municipality that welcomes innovation that benefits the community," says Tony Van Bynen, mayor of Newmarket. "The engagingNewmarket project is a unique private and public partnership between our hospital, our utility and world-class innovators like Zerofootprint and IBM. We couldn't be more proud that such a ground-breaking partnership has formed in Newmarket."

BACKGROUNDER

The idea

Newmarket-Tay Power Distribution is offering and installing free smart thermostats to consumers through the utility's peaksaver PLUS® program. Consumers can also choose to participate in engagingNewmarket™, an additional free program, through which their electricity savings at home earn rewards called GOODcoins. At the end of the program, the consumers choose the equipment (either a paediatric monitor or a diagnostic imaging radiology workstation) they wish their rewards to help fund at Southlake Regional Health Centre.

There is no cost to consumers to participate and no cost to choosing the equipment they wish their GOODcoins to support. The value of the combined conservation efforts of all participants benefits the community and that value is used to fund the equipment donation to Southlake.

The pilot and the community

The pilot involves approximately 500 families in Newmarket. It begins June 16 and runs for approximately three months. engagingNewmarket is a collaboration of Newmarket-Tay Power Distribution, IBM Canada Ltd., the Town of Newmarket, Southlake Regional Health Centre and Zerofootprint, the company that developed GOODcoins.

The peaksaver PLUS connection

The peaksaver PLUS smart thermostat is the gateway to the engagingNemarket program and allows the electricity conservation to be measured and assigned GOODcoins rewards that fund the gift to Southlake Regional Health Centre.

Through the consumer's wireless router connecting the home area network to the Internet, the WiFi-enabled peaksaver PLUS smart thermostat reports the home's electricity usage to the consumer's personal GOODcoins webpage. The conservation savings are measured against energy-reduction goals. The more successful the consumer is at reducing the home's electricity use, the more GOODcoins rewards are assigned.

Signing up for peaksaver PLUS

Customers of Newmarket-Tay Power Distribution may arrange for their free (installation included) smart thermostat by calling 1 (855) 558-5283 or visiting www.nmhydro.ca/peaksaver.

GOODcoins at newmarket.goodcoins.ca

Participants can sign up at newmarket.goodcoins.ca and take part in evidence-based electricity reduction campaigns. The website allows them to track their progress, share and compare their activities with their neighbors, and access tips and information on energy conservation. It rewards participants with GOODcoins for every kilowatt-hour that they save. At the completion of the pilot GOODcoins earned can be spent on improving Southlake Regional Health Centre.

The medical equipment for Southlake

The GOODcoins rewards fund two items for use at Southlake Regional Health Centre in the care of children. A paediatric monitor measures the heart rate, blood pressure, temperature and other key vital signs when a child is recovering from surgery. A diagnostic imaging radiology workstation may be used to provide quick and accurate reading of an MRI scan of young person with a suspected concussion.

About Newmarket-Tay Power Distribution

Newmarket-Tay Power Distribution (NTPD) is the local electricity distribution utility that serves over 33,000 residential and business customers in Newmarket and Tay Township, Ontario. An industry leader and innovator in electricity distribution systems, NTPD is widely regarded as a utility with successful experience in managing community-based conservation programs.

About Southlake Regional Health Centre

Southlake Regional Health Centre is a full-service hospital with a regional, clinically advanced focus. Southlake offers almost 400 patient beds and accommodates more than 90,000 visits to the Emergency Department, 22,000 in-patient admissions, and 600,000 out-patient visits each year. As a regionally designated site, Southlake is responsible for developing and providing advanced levels of care to the more than one million people who reside in York Region, Simcoe County, and in some cases, as far north as Muskoka.

About Zerofootprint

Zerofootprint is a social enterprise with the aim of making large-scale positive contributions to society. To this end, it has created an extensive engagement software platform, VELO® for measuring and managing behaviour change engagements and GOODcoins™, a social currency that rewards evidence-based good behaviour. Zerofootprint operates in the domains of health and wellness, electricity, energy, water and transportation.

Image with caption: "Imagined by Newmarket-Tay Power Distribution and Friends. Powered by zerofootprint. (CNW Group/Newmarket-Tay Power Distribution)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20140616_C7224_PHOTO_EN_41424.jpg

SOURCE: Newmarket-Tay Power Distribution

For further information:

Rick Butts  905 853-7395 (office); 905 717-2878 (cell)

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Newmarket-Tay Power Distribution

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