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Bridgewater is the Winner of Infrastructure Canada's $5 million Smart Cities Challenge 

On May 14, 2019, Bridgewater was declared the winner of the competition in the $5 million prize category, beating out 49 other communities. Bridgewater’s winning idea aims to reduce energy poverty in our community.  Living in energy poverty means not being able to afford enough energy to heat and power one’s home, or fuel for transportation.  It is a serious problem that affects about 2 out of every 5 residents in Bridgewater. The jury felt that Bridgewater’s idea would make a big difference in people’s lives and reduce poverty in the community.  It could also be copied by other communities that want to follow in Bridgewater’s footsteps.

Read the application here: Energy Poverty Reduction Program



Challenge Statement: Our community will lift its residents out of energy poverty, starting by reducing the energy poverty rate 20% by 2025. 


What is Bridgewater planning on doing with its $5 million prize?

The prize will allow Bridgewater to lift many of its residents out of energy poverty. It will do this by:

  • Making homes more energy efficient: we will hire a team of experts who will help residents and property owners to make your homes highly energy efficient and to install renewable energy systems, for example by adding insulation, smart thermostats, heat pumps, and solar panels. They will help residents and property owners find grant funding or loans to pay for these upgrades. The team will also take care of getting the work done by hiring good contractors and making sure that the work is done well. They will pay particular attention to older homes and apartment buildings, and as well as the needs of lower-income residents.
  • Helping you own and sell your own renewable energy: rooftop solar and ‘solar farms’ within which residents will be able to own solar panels that will provide you with income.
  • Setting up an “energy management information system”: to help home owners and businesses across the community plan energy upgrades, and make sure that you actually save energy and money as promised.
  • Making transportation cheaper and more accessible for everyone: improving Bridgewater’s bus service, and making streets and trails safer and more walkable for everyone.
  • Setting up a local energy investment program: so residents and businesses can make financial investments in the community’s energy projects and earn income from those investments.
  • Improving community services: better connecting residents who experience energy poverty with the community services (health, education, social services, etc.). 


When can I start using the program?

If you own your home and would like to explore affordable energy upgrades today, our Clean Energy Financing program can already help with that! www.CleanEnergyFinancing.ca / (844) 727-7818 (toll free). Efficiency Nova Scotia also offers programs and rebates for homes, apartment buildings, and businesses. www.efficiencyns.ca / (877) 999-6035 (toll free).

The full Energy Poverty Reduction Program will take more time to set up properly – we will likely start taking applications in 2020 or 2021. That’s a long wait for people who need this help today. But help is already available – in the form of community support, emergency fuel funds, free home energy upgrades, and other solutions. The Town is already working with community partners to better connect residents to these existing services. More information will be available later in 2019. 


Bridgewater's Smart Cities Challenge Video Playlist 


 Energize Bridgewater Monthly Zine

Read about the latest in sustainability in Bridgewater including the Smart Cities Challenge, Bridgewater transit, and more. Click on a cover page to read: 

March Edition

December Edition

November Edition


August Edition


What is Energy Poverty?

Defining Energy Poverty

Energize Bridgewater Team 

  • Jessica McDonald, Director of Community Development 
  • Leon de Vreede, Project Lead
  • Myles Cornish, On-Site Energy Manager
  • Greg Goubko, Energy and Finance Development Coordinator
  • Mackenzie Childs, Planner
  • Nelson Nolan, Junior Planner 




Energy and Financing Working Group 

  • Kaelan Keys, Business Development Manager, Efficiency Nova Scotia
  • Don Regan, Superintendent,   Berwick Electric Commission
  • Kathleen Heymans, Policy  Analyst and Coordinator,   Nova Scotia Department of  Energy
  • Samantha Peverill, Nova Scotia  Services Lead, Quality Urban Energy Systems  of Tomorrow (QUEST)
  • Andy Horsnell, Founder &   Owner,   Andy Horsnell Consulting
  • Douglas MacLennan, Vice President of  Development, New Dawn Enterprises
  • Richard Bridge, Barrister &   Solicitor
  • Mark Hewitt, Technology Specialist
  • Fernando Paulovich, Canada Research Chair in Data Visualization and Associate Professor, Dalhousie University 


Project Partners

See the appendix of the Energy Poverty Reduction Program document for letters of support from the following project partners:

  • Affordable Energy Coalition
  • Affordable Housing Association of Nova Scotia
  • Be the Peace Institute
  • Big Brothers, Big Sisters of South Shore
  • Bridgewater Active Transportation Advisory Committee
  • Bridgewater and Area Lions Club
  • Clean Foundation
  • Dalhousie University - Faculty of Computer Science
  • Ecology Action Centre
  • EfficiencyNova Scotia / EfficiencyOne
  • Energy Services Association of Canada
  • Family Services of Western Nova Scotia
  • Housing Nova Scotia
  • Lunenburg County Seniors Safety Program
  • Lunenburg County YMCA
  • Halifax Regional Municipality
  • New Dawn Enterprises Limited
  • Nova Scotia Community Transportation Network
  • Nova Scotia Department of Energy and Mines
  • Nova Scotia Health Authority
  • Nova Scotia Power
  • Nova Scotia Works
  • Nova Scotia Community College – Lunenburg Campus
  • Quality Urban Energy Systems of Tomorrow
  • RNDT Development
  • SchoolsPlus
  • Second Story Women’s Centre
  • Small World Learning Centre
  • Society St. Vincent de Paul
  • Souls Harbour Bridgewater
  • South Shore Family Resource Association
  • South Shore Housing Action Coalition
  • St. Mary’s University - Department of Mathematics and Computing Science
  • The Ark and Support Services Group
  • The Honourable Mark Furey, MLA Lunenburg West
  • The Honourable Steven McNeil, Premier of Nova Scotia
  • The Salvation Army, Bridgewater Corps
  • TownSuite Municipal Software
  • United Way Lunenburg County


Media Coverage  

Chronicle Herald: Bridgewater wins $5-million Smart Cities energy efficiency challenge

Newswire: The Government of Canada Announces Winners of the Smart Cities Challenge

Global News: Bridgewater, N.S., wins Smart Cities Challenge, earns $5M towards reducing energy poverty

CBC: Bridgewater wins $5M from federal program to improve energy efficiency

LighthouseNow: Bridgewater wins $5 million Smart Cities Challenge

CKBW: Bridgewater Wins Smart Cities Challenge

Smart Cities Challenge Library

Bridgewater's Initial Smart Cities Challenge Submission 

Smart Cities Challenge Project Charter 

Smart Cities Challenge Community Engagement Plan 

Community Energy Investment Plan: The Way Forward

Community Energy Financing Mechanisms Scoping Study 

Energy Poverty in Bridgewater Report 



For further reading on energy poverty and  affordable housing in Bridgewater and Nova Scotia, visit the links below: 

South Shore Housing Action Coalition: Housing Needs Assessment

Solving Nova Scotia's Electricity Pricing Problem: Energy Affordability vs Rising Electricity Prices 


Our Funders


NS Gov

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