Nova Scotia

Nova Scotia ranked 4th  in Canada’s first Provincial Energy Efficiency Scorecard, earning 45 points out of 100.

Energy Efficiency Programs See All

Energy efficiency programs secure energy savings through various strategies such as audits, retrofits, training for building tradespeople, “people-centred” or behavioural efficiency strategies, and customized industrial programs.

Energy Efficiency Program Administration

Efficiency Nova Scotia administers electricity and non-regulated fuel programs in Nova Scotia.  Efficiency Nova Scotia was established as an independent, non-profit corporation in 2010, becoming Canada's first 'energy efficiency utility'.  In 2014, the government converted the role of demand-side administrator to a franchise, granted for the first 10 years to EfficiencyOne (the former Efficiency Nova Scotia corporation).  Electricity efficiency programs are funded through rates, and subject to oversight by the Utility and Review Board (UARB). Non-electric programs are primarily funded by the provincial and federal governments, and are governed by a fee-for-service agreement with the Province.

Last reviewed: November 2019

Energy Efficiency Targets

Electricity savings targets are approved by the Nova Scotia Utility and Review Board, under the current 2020-2022 demand side management plan. Non-electricity targets are published in the Efficiency Nova Scotia business plan.

There are no targets in policy or regulation.

Last reviewed: November 2019

Energy Efficiency as a Resource

An Act Respecting Electricity Efficiency and Conservation (2014) established Efficiency Nova Scotia as an “energy efficiency utility” that acts as an independent franchise with the exclusive right to supply electricity and conservation to Nova Scotia Power Incorporated.

The act states that Nova Scotia Power “shall undertake cost-effective electricity efficiency and conservation activities that are reasonably available in an effort to reduce costs for its customers” (Section 79(I)(1).  This does not mean all cost-effective DSM. The Act further states that the utility board takes into account “affordability” to customers (Sect 79L(9)). Affordability (i.e. rate versus bill impacts) is not defined.

Varying levels of DSM investment in the near to mid-term are examined during the development of an Integrated Resource Plan (IRP).  There is no fixed schedule for IRPs in Nova Scotia, but they are generally completed every 3-5 years.  Efficiency Nova Scotia supports teh IRP process by developing DSM Potential Studies in advance of each IRP.

Last reviewed: October 2020

Efficiency Potential Study and Energy Planning

Nova Scotia Power has developed Integrated Resource Plans since 2007, with no fixed schedule.  The last IRP was filed in 2014.  A new DSM potential study was completed and filed as part of a new IRP process in August 2019.

Last reviewed: October 2020

Cost-Effectiveness Testing

Primary test: Total Resource Cost Test
Secondary test: Program Administrator Cost Test 

The Total Resource Cost Test, at the program level, is the principal screening tool for cost-effectiveness, and the Program Administrator Cost test is reported for informational purposes in DSM plans.  

Non-energy benefits are not included in the TRC.  The Nova Scotia Utility and Review Board has ruled (M08888, Letter 80859) that it does not possess the jurisdiction to allow inclusion of non-energy benefits in the TRC.

Last reviewed: October 2020

Evaluation, Measurement and Verification

Savings for Efficiency Nova Scotia Electricity programs are evaluated by a third-party, and verified by a Nova Scotia Utility and Review Board appointed Verification Consultant. Evaluation reports are publicly available on the  Nova Scotia Utility and Review Board website

NRF programs are evaluated by a third-party, evaluation reports are not publicly available.  

Last reviewed: October 2020

Program Innovation

Efficiency Nova Scotia Demand Side Management plans include investments in “enabling strategies” to improve program and services innovation and market transformation.

Last reviewed: October 2020

Support for low-income energy efficiency programs

EfficiencyOne’s 2020-2022 DSM plan includes “low income performance indicators”, which estimates low-income participants and resulting budgets and savings figures for a variety of programs. Participation is estimated using geographic census information, amongst other methods.

Programs include the HomeWarming program administered by Clean Foundation and Efficiency Nova Scotia; the Affordable Multi-Family Housing, the Efficient Product Installation, and First Nations programs administered by Efficiency Nova Scotia. 

The 2014 Electricity Efficiency and Conservation Plan committed to retrofit all low-income homes over 10 years. 

Last reviewed: October 2020

Enabling Policies See All

Enabling policies refer to policies, regulations, and other activities that build supportive infrastructure and policy frameworks to advance energy efficiency in a province. 

Support for Financing

PACE Financing
The Municipal Government Act was amended in 2010 to authorize PACE loans. Section 81A enabled municipal councils to make by-laws to enforce charges on private property, with the consent of the property owner and section 65(aca) notes the potential to finance energy efficiency equipment installations, including solar panels.

Starting in 2013, a Halifax program called “Solar City” financed solar hot water installations through a local improvement charge. This was the first program to use LIC funding on a large scale, supported by the Canadian Federation of Municipalities Green Municipal Fund.

PACE financing programs are available in over 10 municipalities in Nova Scotia. The Clean Energy Program, operated by the Clean Foundation, provides PACE financing in the Town of Bridgewater, District of Lunenburg, District of Digby, District of Barrington, District of Yarmouth, Municipality of Cumberland, and the Town of Amherst, and other municipalities offer it through other organizations, with support from the government.

Efficiency Nova Scotia’s My Energy Improvement Plan PACE Program offers full design, implementation and administration of PACE on a not-for-profit basis.

The Town of Bridgwater is exploring program expansion opportunities to allow even deeper energy retrofits through the Clean Net Zero program, which is currently in the pilot phase.

On-Bill Financing

Efficiency Nova Scotia has credit enhancement features in its Custom Program On-Bill Financing (loan guarantees), Home Energy Assessment Financing Program, and the Affordable Multi-family Housing On-Bill Financing program (both using interest rate buy-downs). The Small Business Solutions On-Bill Financing allows third-party financing. Standard on-bill financing is also available through NS Power for heat pump conversions and electric thermal storage.

Last reviewed: November 2020

Research and Development

Both Efficiency Nova Scotia and the government have supported energy efficiency RD&D, including studies of the province’s energy efficiency sector supply chain, microlending for energy efficiency, heat pump trials, locational DSM pilots, and old home retrofitting.

Several universities conduct research into energy efficiency in Nova Scotia.  Between 2016 and 2019, research funding for energy efficiency received through Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) grant programs comprised 1.5% of research funding for energy more broadly.

Last reviewed: November 2020

Lead by example

As of November 2008, all building construction financed by the government of Nova Scotia will be designed and constructed to a minimum LEED Silver standard, an energy efficiency improvement 35% above the 1997 Model National Building Code. Buildings must also provide a post-occupancy comparison of target efficiencies.

Efficiency Nova Scotia’s Onsite Energy Management program includes benchmarking participatory organization’s energy use against similar organizations - Housing Nova Scotia, Nova Scotia Health Authority and TIR Buildings.

The NS Department of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal is using Energy Star Portfolio Manager to benchmark nearly 80 department owned buildings as part of the Energy Conservation Program.1  This benchmarking initiative is associated with a building recommissioning project.

Vehicle Fleets
An April 2013 Strategy “Choose how you move” states that it will require provincial infrastructure initiatives, including buildings, schools, road facilities, to be planned, located, and designed in a way that supports sustainable transportation goals. 

ReThink: Greener Choices at Work is an internal government sustainability initiative that proposes active transportation infrastructure in government buildings (e.g. bike racks and showers), encouragement of active and public transportation, and managing fleets by right-sizing and purchasing best-in-class vehicles and exploring shared resources between departments.

Last reviewed: August 2019

Grid Modernization

Advanced metering
Nova Scotia Power’s $133 million AMI initiative is currently underway, with plans to have all meters be smart meters by 2021.

Non-wires alternatives / Geo-targetting
EfficiencyOne and NS Power were ordered by the Utility and Review Board, in 2016, to begin investigating non-wires alternatives and locational DSM (geotargeting) techniques, as applicable to Nova Scotia. Three reports on the topic have been provided under - M07815. These reports provided conceptual design information and proposed preliminary techniques for economic comparison. 

In the fall of 2019, EfficiencyOne launched a locational DSM pilot at the Klondike Substation in the Kentville area.

Conservation voltage reduction
Conservation voltage reduction is not used in Nova Scotia.

Rate design
An optional time of day tariff is available for residential electricity customers who employ electric thermal storage equipment.

There is a declining block rate for general and small industrial electricity customers (lower price after a kWh consumption threshold).

Interruptible rates are available for large industrial and extra large industrial customers

Nova Scotia has a fuel adjustment mechanism, which is a mandatory rider applying to many electric rate schedules.

Active demand response is currently in the investigation stage in NS - 2019 DSM Potential Study will include active demand response. NS Power is currently testing both distribution-scale and behind-the-meter battery storage as part of the Intelligent Feeder Project, as well as certain other smart grid technologies.[4] NS Power historically participated in the Power Shift Atlantic project, which investigated demand response techniques.

Last reviewed: November 2020

Carbon Pricing

A Nova Scotia specific cap and trade program came into effect on January 1, 2019 and the first auction was held in June 2020. The program targets reductions 45-50% below 2005 levels by 2030. Most allowances are set to be distributed for free, with some auctioning of additional allowances with a floor price of $20/tonne. The province is creating a “green fund” to manage auction revenues, with some revenue expected to support energy efficiency

Last reviewed: November 2020

Buildings See All

Buildings are a significant and often neglected component of Canada’s infrastructure, and high-performance buildings are important for our quality of life, physical and mental health, and economic productivity

Building Codes

Housing and Small Buildings
Nova Scotia Regulation 26/2017 to the Building Code Act made on March 1, 2017 adopted the 2015 National Building Code, effective April 1, 2017. This includes section 9.36 regulating energy efficiency in housing and small buildings. 

Large Buildings
In January 2020, Nova Scotia amended to N.S. Reg. 179/2019 (effective January 1, 2020) to adopt the 2017 National Energy Code for Buildings.

Stretch or Step Codes
No stretch or step codes.  

Net-zero energy ready commitment
No commitment to a net-zero energy ready provision in Nova Scotia.

Last reviewed: August 2020

Building Code Compliance

No code compliance studies have been completed in Nova Scotia.

The province of Nova Scotia has provided funding to Efficiency Nova Scotia to develop additional training for the energy efficiency requirements in new buildings. This training is offered at no or minimal cost, and during times that work best for the buildings community.

Last reviewed: August 2020

Home Energy Rating and Disclosure

Mandatory home energy rating and disclosure: No
Home energy labelling voluntary or pilot program: Yes 

Home sellers can upload their EnerGuide label onto the Viewpoint real estate listing website. This project received funding from the Government of Canada and is a joint venture between Efficiency Nova Scotia, the province, Nova Scotia Association of Realtors, and Viewpoint.

Last reviewed: August 2020

Building Energy Rating and Disclosure

Mandatory large building energy rating and disclosure: No
Voluntary building benchmarking and transparency program: Yes

The province, along with ENS and CaGBC, announced a voluntary energy benchmarking program in September of 2018. This program was officially launched in April 2020. Funding from NRCan’s benchmarking program is supporting this program, along with funding from the province. This program will run for three years.

Efficiency Nova Scotia’s Onsite Energy Management program includes benchmarking participatory organization’s energy use against similar organizations.

The NS Department of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal is using Energy Star Portfolio Manager to benchmark nearly 80 department owned buildings as part of the Energy Conservation Program. This benchmarking initiative is associated with a building recommissioning project.

Last reviewed: November 2020

Appliance and Equipment Market Transformation
Space Heating Windows Water Heating
Research and development - - -
Pilots and demonstrations Efficiency Nova Scotia partnered with Housing Nova Scotia and Nova Scotia Community College to pilot four hybrid thermal heat pump systems. Efficiency Nova Scotia is running a pilot program to provide additional incentives for new home construction that meets a specified performance level. Efficiency Nova Scotia partnered with NRCan, Nova Scotia Power, and the province to install and monitor performance of CO2-refrigerant split heat pump water heaters and conventional integrated heat pump water heaters.
Information and awareness Efficiency Nova Scotia’s programs require heat pumps to be Cold Climate certified, measured with internal criteria based on the North East Energy Partnership’s cold-climate heat pump list. Windows and doors must be ENERGY STAR® rated to be eligible for Efficiency Nova Scotia rebates. Efficiency Nova Scotia’s 2020-2022 DSM plan includes a focus on increasing uptake of domestic hot water measures.
Technology and installation training Efficiency Nova Scotia has hosted high performance building training sessions, which include information on selecting and installing space heating equipment. Efficiency Nova Scotia has hosted high performance building training sessions, which include information on selection and installation of high-performance windows. Efficiency Nova Scotia has hosted high performance building training sessions, which include information on selecting and installing water heating equipment.
Upstream or downstream incentives Efficiency Nova Scotia offers downstream incentives for heat pumps to both residential and commercial customers. Efficiency Nova Scotia provides downstream incentives for windows and doors. Efficiency Nova Scotia provides downstream rebates for integrated heat pump water heaters.
Regulation, codes and standards Efficiency Nova Scotia supports the development of CSA heat pump standards. - Efficiency Nova Scotia has provided support for CSA standards development.

Last reviewed: August 2020

Appliance and Equipment Standards

Nova Scotia regulates the efficiency of appliances and equipment under section 5 of the Energy-efficient Appliances Act. Updates were made in 2008 under NS Reg 400/2008, and in 2012 under NS Reg 172/2012 to create efficiency standards for LED roadway lighting.

No updates have been made since 2008. Nova Scotia has endorsed the federal government work on the reconciliation agreement between the Federal Government and the Provinces and Territories to harmonize household appliances.

Last reviewed: August 2020

Efficiency Requirements for Government Supported Housing

There is no policy or standard for government supported housing, though housing Nova Scotia has built homes to the Passive House Standard.

A 2016 Social Infrastructure Fund agreement between the province and the federal government will invest $75 M in affordable housing over the 2016-17 and 2017-18 fiscal years. $18.2 M was earmarked for “retrofit and renovation”, which could include “improving the energy and water efficiency”.

Last reviewed: August 2019

Transportation See All

Policies tracked in the transporation area reflect the potential energy savings of closer integration of private transportation with buildings and electricity grids. 

Zero-Emission Vehicles Mandate

There is no zero-emission vehicle mandate in Nova Scotia.

Last reviewed: August 2020

Electric Vehicle Charging Program

The Province does not have an active EV public charging program to deploy infrastructure. However, it has provided funding on a case-by-case basis.

NS Power installed a cross-province network of L3 fast charging stations available for public use on the 100-series highways. This network covers the majority of the province with stations every ~65km.

The province provided funding for L2 stations to accompany all 12 L3 stations.

Last reviewed: August 2020

EV and PHEV Financial Incentives

Nova Scotia does not have a public direct consumer incentive program, but has a funding program, Connect 2, for sustainable transportation, which has been operating since 2012. One of the funding options with Connect 2 provides funding for introducing zero-emission fleet projects, with grants up to $75,000. Several fleet projects were funded between 2019-2020, and applications for this year must be received by September 30, 2020, with projects completed by September 2021.

Last reviewed: August 2020

“EV Ready” Building Code

There are no provisions in building codes for EV/PHEV charging infrastructure.

Last reviewed: August 2020

Industry See All

In recognition that the industrial sector is highly varied across Canada, this database tracks policies that are broadly applicable to all industrial subsectors and provinces.

Energy Management

Energy Planning and Management Programs at Efficiency Nova Scotia include:

  • Strategic Energy Management, which includes energy mapping, monitoring and reporting, employee training and employee engagement.
  • The Energy Management Information System (EMIS) to install a monitoring system that analyzes energy use.
  • Onsite Energy Management where an energy manager will work to save energy within a given operation for 12 months or longer.

The Strategic Energy Management Program includes employee training and engagement. Participating organizations must provide dedicated Energy Champions to work with Efficiency Nova Scotia.
Through its Efficiency Trade Network, EfficiencyOne sponsors training with the Canadian Institutue for Energy Training (CEIT) - CMVP, CEM, Advanced M&V, Foundation Exam for Energy Advisor, etc. The Province of Nova Scotia offers an Energy Training program to help students a recent graduate get work experience in the energy sector. The Nova Scotia Community College also offers a program in Energy Sustainability Engineering Technology.

The SEM and EMIS programs are both informed by the SEP-50001 and the International Performance Measurement and Verification Protocol (IPMVP), but certification is not required.

Under the Strategic Energy Management and OnSite Energy Management Programs participating organizations sign a commitment to achieve significant energy savings achievements (≥ 2 GWh).

Last reviewed: August 2020

Co-generation / Combined Heat and Power

Efficiency Nova Scotia (ENS) provides business program participants with technical and financial support for demand side management projects through the Custom program – this includes behind the meter combined, heat and power (CHP).

Financial support for CHP is the same incentive formula used for other efficiency measures through the Custom program. Custom program incentives are calculated based on electrical-utility energy offset by a CHP system, project cost and the participant’s required financial hurdle. Incentives are currently not based on non-electric energy saved or utility electrical-peak demand. Custom program incentives can be used by a participant to offset the cost the third-party feasibility study and/or towards the implementation of a system.

ENS supports CHP systems from micro to several megawatt (MW) plants – done on a case by case basis. All CHP systems must be behind the meter and thus net-metering, feed-in tariff arrangements are not eligible for the ENS Custom program. Technical support is provided by ENS’s engineering team including but not limited to:

  • Pre-feasibility analysis which includes estimating the right system size based on: application and utility/fuel bills;
  • Support defining third-party feasibility scope of work;
  • Review of third-party feasibility studies for accuracy; and
  • Independent measurement and verification.

ENS would require that a variety of system sizes be explored in the third-party feasibility study to ensure a likely success of a participant moving forward with investment. If a participant wants to explore the largest possible CHP system behind the meter we would require that the third-party feasibility study right-size a system by looking at facility electrical-demand and thermal load requirements. ENS strongly advises participants to factor future efficiency measures in the right-sizing of CHP; however, do not require it.

ENS does not support combined, heat and power systems unless there is a green-house gas emission reduction as a result of fuel-switching (utility electricity to on-site generation). Thus, this limits the use of fuels for a CHP system. However, ENS does not provide incentives or require the use of renewable fuels.

Last reviewed: August 2019

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