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Greener Co-op Microgrants

Greener Co-op Microgrants

Applications for the Greener Co-op Microgrants are now closed for the year. Check back next spring for the 2020 application.

Housing co-ops are encouraged to design and implement projects that will help green their communities. Even the grant money is green! It comes from a fund to offset greenhouse gases emitted when staff travel across the country by plane, train or car.

CHF Canada will fund small projects from $500 to a limit of $4,000. All CHF Canada member housing co-ops can apply.

Why a Greener Co-op Microgrant?

These small grants support projects that help protect the environment.

Who can apply?

Any housing co-op that is a member of CHF Canada can apply.

How much are the grants?

CHF Canada accepts grant requests for $500 to $4,000. Successful recipients will receive a single payment after submitting receipts and a final project report. The grant request must be for projects related to one of the categories listed.

Will all qualified applicants get a grant?

Funds are limited and will be distributed according to geographic representation, size and variety of projects. Co-ops leveraging additional funds and/or forming partnerships with other partners and suppliers will be given special consideration. Incomplete applications will not be considered.

What are some examples of projects the Greener Co-op Microgrant will fund?

  • composting, community gardens, rain barrels
  • planting trees
  • safe and secure bike and carrier storage
  • lighting upgrades
  • energy audits
  • viability studies for projects like roof gardens or grey-water harvesting

Check out the projects that were funded in 2018 for inspiration!

These are just a few examples. Use your imagination! If you think your project would have a positive impact on the environment, send us an email and we can discuss whether it meets the microgrant’s objectives. 

What does the grant cover? 

  • materials, supplies and equipment
  • contractor or consultant fees

What isn’t covered?

  • members’ labour
  • co-op staff wages
  • normal co-op operating costs
  • ongoing costs associated with maintaining the project after completion 

How long do you have to complete your project?

 This depends on the size and complexity of your project. However, all funds must be spent and requested by the end of the year granted. You will be required to submit a project plan with deadlines and a budget. Note that your grant funds will not be sent to you until your project is completed, so please keep this in mind when estimating the project’s completion date. 

When will you get the money?

You will receive a single payment after you submit receipts and a final project report. Payment will be made upon receipt of the final report and receipts. The deadline for submitting reports and receipts is November 29, 2019. Co-ops that do not submit reports and receipts on time will not be refunded.

What are the reporting requirements?

When your project is done, send us a final report of no more than one page. Tell us what you did, send us a summarized list of the costs and include receipts. Also send us before, during and after pictures of your project. Submit the report and receipts no later than November 29, 2019.

When will you know if your application has been approved?

Approvals will be announced two weeks following the submission deadline.

How do I apply?

Applications for the Greener Co-op Microgrants are now closed for the year. Check back next spring for the 2020 application.


If your organization has a focus on sustainability, help us expand our Greener Co-op Microgrant Program. Consider becoming a sponsor so that more co-ops across Canada can access these grants.


Julie LaPalme








CHF Canada would like to acknowledge the generous contributions of The Agency for Co-operative HousingCHF BC, CMS, Iler Campbell, Desjardins, and BluArc to the Greener Co-op Microgrant fund.

2018 Microgrant Summary of Projects

Nine housing co-operatives received a total of $33,037 in Greener Co-op Microgrants. Four of the co-ops are in Ontario, four in BC, and one in Alberta. There were three LED light replacement initiatives, two low-flush toilet installation projects, one co-op replaced diseased trees with new ones, one indoor parking space was converted into bike storage, one heat pump replaced electric baseboard heaters, and one co-op built a community garden.

1. Bamburgh Circle - Toronto, ON – Exterior LED - $3,860

Based on a Building Condition Assessment recommendation, the Board of Directors replaced light fixtures in the park area and in visitor parking lots. The fixtures were in fair to poor condition and too expensive to repair so they were replaced with new LED fixtures. The co-op also approved the Environmental Sustainability Policy and committed to dispose the fixtures through a local organization that collects electronics and old light bulbs.

2. Bowen Island Seniors – Bowen Island, BC – Exterior LED lighting - $3,650

Driveway lighting upgrades started in August with the removal of old, expensive to run, standard old style lights. They were replaced with energy efficient, low to the ground, LED lights which cost a lot less to power and contribute far less to general light pollution, a subject of significant focus on the island.

3. Emanuel Housing – Kitchener, ON – Diseased tree removal and replanting - $4,000

The timing could not have been better for receiving the microgrant as the community was in the midst of significant exterior repairs as part of CMHC’s Renovation and Retrofit Program.  The stormwater upgrades damaged the roots of already compromised green ash trees.  Most of them were dead or dying as a result of the invasive Emerald Ash Borer. A total of 16 green ash trees were removed and replaced with a number of native trees, including bur oak and tulip trees. Apart from protecting the buildings from the risk of falling dead wood, planting new trees has helped to beautify the property, improving both curb appeal and marketability.

4. Garden Village – Guelph, ON – Low flush toilets - $4,000

Garden Village was well on its way to saving water before receiving a microgrant.  They had already replaced faucet aerators and showerheads, which significantly reduce water consumption. Thanks to the Greener Co-op Microgrants, the co-op installed ten new low-flush toilets and two low-flush toilets with higher seats. These toilets replaced 30-year-old toilets that were using 20 litres per flush. The low flush toilets cost $130 each and the higher seat toilets cost $265. The new toilets use 6 litres per flush, representing a 70% reduction in water per flush. The co-op is seeing savings on their water bill, and the members are feeling good about using less water.

5. Halston Hills - Burnaby, BC – Heat pump - $4,000

The co-op was built in 1985 and used an electric radiant heating system that was later proven to be inefficient. The board was exploring upgrading the heating system in the community building when the Greener Co-op Microgrant program came to their attention. Heat pumps can be up to five times more efficient than baseboard heaters. Another advantage of heat pumps is that they can be used as an air conditioner during summer months. At a recent General Meeting, members were impressed by the air quality and temperature consistency in a meeting room filled with over 50 people. The new heating system cost $5,579. Thanks to the microgrant, the co-op was able to upgrade the heating system at a fraction of the cost. The board hopes to expand the project and install similar solutions in all co-op units.

6. HW Flesher – Vancouver, BC – LED lighting in parking garage - $3,900

This project entailed replacing fluorescent lighting in two underground parking garages with an energy efficient LED system.  The retrofit will reduce energy and maintenance costs and greenhouse gas emissions, and will improve lighting quality and safety. Cost savings will allow investment in other improvements to the livability and sustainability of the co-op. The project is expected to result in approximately 20,000 kWh annual electricity savings, with annual cost savings to the co-op of about $2,000 and an additional $1,000 in reduced maintenance costs.

7. Pacific Heights – Vancouver, BC – Bike storage in parking garage - $3,274

Thanks to the Greener Co-op Microgrant, the co-op converted an unused parking stall in the underground parking garage into a bicycle parking stall with 12 secure, dry, and accessible spaces. Urban Racks, the local bike rack experts, installed six vertical high-density racks for lighter bikes and a horizontal rack with six spaces for heavier bikes. Two floor bike pumps were also installed and the co-op purchased small waterproof stickers to put on the bikes to help keep track of registered bicycles.

8. Ramsay Heights – Calgary, AB – dual flush toilets - $2,569

Over ten years ago, rising water and sewage costs motivated the Board to replace the old style 13 litre toilets with dual flush, low flow models. Reassigning surplus funds from their annual operating budget, replacement toilets were installed in 30 of the co-op’s 38 units. Unfortunately, unexpected costs eliminated the surplus and eight toilets didn’t get replaced. After becoming aware of the microgrant program, an application was submitted in 2017 but was not successful due to high demand. The co-op re-submitted in 2018 and were successful the second time around. The annual savings per replaced toilet will be in the order of $143 per toilet per year. An additional benefit is that all the replacement toilets have lined reservoirs which will eliminate the condensation problem which plagued the older style toilets.

9. Wyndham Hill – Guelph, ON – Community Garden - $3,783

Members of Wyndham Hill Co-operative Homes enjoyed building raised community garden beds and using them for growing tomatoes, zucchini, cucumbers, peas, eggplant, lettuce, onions and berries. The co-op also planted three different apple trees: MacIntosh, Northern Spy, and Fuji.