REnEW graduates use skills to embark on new opportunities

Program from FortisBC and BC Hydro trains workers specializing in energy efficient construction

SURREY, BC, June 14, 2013 /CNW/ - Equipped with new skills in energy efficient construction and retro-fitting, 11 participants in the Residential Energy Efficiency Works (REnEW) training program, funded by FortisBC and BC Hydro, have now graduated and have been equipped with new skills to pursue opportunities in this growing sector.

The students completed renovations and energy upgrades to an over-70-year-old heritage home in Kelowna that provides housing to marginalized low-income individuals and seniors. While on the verge of dilapidation and becoming ever-more expensive to operate, the extensive renovations, including upgrades to drafty windows, outdated insulation, an antique furnace and creaky doors, made the home a much more comfortable place.

"This program is designed to prepare graduates for a new career in energy efficiency and conservation," said Doug Stout, vice-president of energy solutions and external relations FortisBC. "On behalf of FortisBC, I'd like to thank them for the work they will be doing, and we look forward to hearing about their successes."

"I would like to personally congratulate the REnEW program graduates for their achievement. The participants know how to be smart with power and also help others do the same. Their understanding of energy efficiency and conservation will help to improve their communities and British Columbia overall," Lisa Coltart, Executive Director of Power Smart and Customer Care, BC Hydro.

Launched in 2010, the REnEW program has been held in several communities around the province including Vancouver, Chilliwack, Williams Lake, Prince George, and Kelowna. Participants learn hands-on job skills, such as the fundamentals of energy efficiency, installation of energy saving technologies, first aid and fall protection, all with the intent of preparing them to find employment in the energy efficiency industry.  Over the past three years, 104 participants have graduated from the program and most are now either working or furthering their education.

"REnEW is a program that helps society two-fold by not only providing individuals with the skills they need to gain employment but by helping grow the skill-base in the environmental construction sector," said Shelley Cook, Executive Director of John Howard Society of BC.  "John Howard Society of the Central and South Okanagan is proud to once again be part of this innovative and unique program made possible by FortisBC and BC Hydro."

"The REnEW program opened my eyes to the world of energy efficient construction," said participant Matthew Nutting. "Many homes are not running as efficiently as they can, and a lot of energy is wasted. Now I know how to fix these problems for homeowners."

The REnEW program supports the growing energy efficiency retrofit industry by creating a much-needed pool of skilled workers for this emerging field. Participants in this class of the REnEW program were selected by the John Howard Society.

For background on the REnEW program contact FortisBC at or visit

Photos from the graduation are available to media on request.

About FortisBC

FortisBC is a regulated utility focused on providing safe and reliable energy, including natural gas, electricity, propane and thermal energy solutions. FortisBC employs more than 2,200 British Columbians and serves approximately 1.1 million customers in more than 135 B.C. communities. FortisBC is indirectly wholly owned by Fortis Inc., the largest investor-owned distribution utility in Canada. FortisBC owns and operates four regulated hydroelectric generating plants, approximately 7,000 kilometres of transmission and distribution power lines and approximately 47,000 kilometres of natural gas transmission and distribution pipelines. FortisBC Inc., FortisBC Energy Inc., FortisBC Energy (Vancouver Island) Inc., and FortisBC Energy (Whistler) Inc. do business as FortisBC. Fortis Inc. shares are listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange and trade under the symbol FTS. Additional information can be accessed at or

About BC Hydro

BC Hydro has been providing clean, reliable power to British Columbians for more than 50 years while maintaining among the lowest rates in North America. BC Hydro is a provincial Crown corporation that serves 1.9 million customers and invests in the electrical system and in energy conservation to deliver a safe and reliable supply of electricity for today's customers and for generations to come.



For further information:

Michael Allison
Corporate Communications Advisor
Phone: 604-592-7536

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