Our Story – GREENLIGHT CANADA – Vancouver LED Retrofits

Our Story

Murray Ward , the founder of Greenlight Canada, has extensive experience in policy for climate change action. During his years away from Canada seven of these were spent heading the climate change team in the Ministry for the Environment in New Zealand. In this time and the following decade as an international climate change policy consultant he witnessed the development of policy in many countries. He has observed the challenges countries are facing to translate policy into action at meaningful scale.

After spending over 20 years living and working in other countries, Murray was keen to get back to Vancouver. He had noted from abroad the media stories about Vancouver planning to be the “greenest city in the world by 2020” and the Province of BC’s bullish stories about their climate change policies. It was a surprise to him then that he immediately noticed that Vancouver was still far from widely implementing even the most affordable energy efficiency projects in its buildings. It was apparent that Vancouver, like many other advanced jurisdictions in the world, had not yet found a solution to the dilemma of ‘the market’ failing to capture the economic benefits of a widespread uptake of energy efficiency technologies.

A City of Vancouver document Energy Retrofit Strategy for Existing Buildings (June 2014) identified that there were 5,700 apartment and condominium buildings and 5,200 commercial and institutional buildings in Vancouver. By our estimate, less than 20% of these buildings have yet taken the simplest and most affordable energy efficiency measure: the retrofit of lights in their parking lots, stairwells and hallways to modern LED lights technology.

There are enormous savings in energy, dollars and greenhouse gases to be made going forward. The collective societal benefits of taking this step are huge. Why is it that the current business models of building owners and the actors in the energy efficiency field have failed to harvest all these savings? The answer is that there are a range of barriers preventing decision makers from getting to say Yes to take these measures. Most importantly, there are competing demands on their cash and credit reserves. In addition, there are demands on their capacity and time to research the alternative technologies and to manage the implementation of lighting retrofit projects in a timely, affordable and low-stress manner.

The idea for Greenlight was born from seeing what could be, and understanding these barriers. It seeks to disrupt the current business-as-usual state with a new business model that clears away the hurdles.

Greenlight Canada's raison d'être is helping to meet climate goals through community-led action to save energy and save money. To do this at a meaningful scale means that Greenlight has to present to its clients the most affordable and compelling proposal possible. This is our Pay-As-You-Save business model. There is a fundamental truth at the core of this model. It is that, unlike other business endeavours where money spent on one thing takes away money being spent on something else, projects implementing energy efficiency that can be paid for out of the savings do not face this struggle between competing needs and wishes.

To be the most affordable service provider, Greenlight Canada has developed a fully vertically integrated business model. Through our 6-step process, we take care of everything and eliminate unnecessary costs at every stage. This includes working directly with the manufacturers of the LED technology used in our projects.