2017 was the first year for Energy Efficiency Alberta and it went better than anyone imagined.

The organization, well-known for its spring and fall campaigns this year to offer discounts on things like LED light bulbs, smart power strips and smart thermostats, does a whole lot more. The group offers home improvement rebates, online rebates, helps businesses and non-profits become more energy efficient and encourages investments in renewable energy.

In 2017, Energy Efficiency Alberta saved Albertans more than $300 million in energy costs. One of the highlights of the year, says CEO Monica Curtis, is the 500 households and businesses that have applied for the Residential and Commercial Solar Program.

"When you think of the small-scale solar installations in Alberta, historically, to have done 100 installations across the province would have been seen as a big number. So, this has been a substantial increase."

Economic diversification is one of the Alberta Government's big projects going forward. Through their programs, Energy Efficiency Alberta estimates that approximately 1,200 private sector jobs will be created.

"Energy efficiency and renewable energy are very labour intensive," said Curtis. "When energy efficiency programs are encouraging that kind of participation, we do see contractors, solar installers, distributors... all of those organizations in the supply chain do experience an increase in business and that that results in new jobs in their organization."

There's nothing new in the works for 2018, but Curtis and her team will be examining the existing products and programs in market and looking for ways to improve them.

"Every one of our programs have had strong participation and we're learning around the interest and needs of Alberta business and residents relative to energy efficiency," explained Curtis. "We really look forward to continuing to partner with both facility owners, homeowners and the businesses that serve them to continue to bring savings, energy savings [and] environmental benefits that come from energy efficiency."

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