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Business: Residential

Eneract‘s Diversity Outreach

Making It Easier for Us All to Save Energy


Eneract is a not-for-profit organization working toward a sustainable future by encouraging innova-tive solutions to implement energy efficiency in every community. Eneract is located in one of the most multicultural regions of the world. With more than 90 ethnic groups making Toronto their home, over 50% of the population is part of a visible minority. There is a need across the country to provide environmental information to Canadians whose first language is neither English nor French.

Eneract is addressing this challenge with the smartliving Community program. They are providing culturally sensitive, language specific educational programming to six of the Toronto area’s largest ethnic communities: Chinese, South Asian, West Indian, Italian, Portuguese, and Filipino. The program focuses on the need for energy conservation and promotes Natural Resources Canada’s EnerGuide and ENERGY STAR initiatives. By eliminating the language or cultural barrier to obtaining established energy conservation information, Eneract expects to help participants reduce their energy consumption by up to 20%.


The international ENERGY STAR symbol is a simple way for consumers to identify products that are among the most energy-efficient on the market. Only manufacturers and retailers whose products meet the ENERGY STAR criteria can label their products with this symbol. In Canada, Natural Resources Canada's Office of Energy Efficiency administers and promotes the international ENERGY STAR symbol for a wide range of energy-using products sold in Canada.

Look for the ENERGY STAR symbol on product packaging, in product literature and advertising and on products themselves. Ask your local retailer to help you identify products that qualify for the ENERGY STAR symbol so you can begin saving energy and money. For more information, visit the ENERGY STAR Web site at .

The Chinese community is one of the largest target groups of the smartliving Community program. In Toronto t here are 409,000 people of Chinese descent. Of these, 85% speak Chinese and 67% speak Chinese exclusively at home. According to the Fairchild Media Group, “ Most Chinese-Canadians prefer to gather information from the Chinese media every day.” Despite this widely available information, educational programming, especially environmental programming, in Ontario exists mainly in English.

The smartliving Community program relies heavily on volunteer support. Volunteers from ethnic communities help Eneract design and deliver program materials to the various communities in the target language. Volunteers also help liaise with community media to encourage awareness about the availability of Eneract’s language specific environmental educational programming.

The program is based on Eneract’s own Smart Step, Simple Solutions program. The interactive website provides both homeowners and tenants with critical information and practical solutions for more energy-efficient living. The website is currently available in English and Chinese and is accessed by thousands of individuals every month. offers tools, incentives and facts about making your home more energy efficient.

An important element of the educational campaign is informing members of the community about the ENERGY STAR initiative. This awareness encourages those who previously have not heard about the initiative to look for the ENERGY STAR symbol when they are upgrading their electrical appliances.

Recognizing the ENERGY STAR symbol makes it easier for individuals who are considering appliance purchases to identify which appliances are the most energy efficient on the market. R. Mark Singh, Executive Director of Eneract, is pleased about the availability of ENERGY STAR and says, “ENERGY STAR has come to Canada and is taking a real hold in the market. I look forward to seeing continued growth in the program and Eneract looks forward to contributing to increased awareness of ENERGY STAR amongst Canadians.”

Community members are encouraged to attend a free two-hour smartliving workshop, which focuses on improving home comfort and lowering energy bills. More than 50 workshops were delivered between 2002 and 2004 with energy efficiency information going out to hundreds of attendees every year.

Participants can also “take the challenge” to reduce energy consumption with the help of the 20/20 Planner. Eneract is a partner of 20/20 The Way To Clean Air and delivers the 20/20 Planner as part of the program. The 20/20 Planner is designed to involve individuals in the solutions for air pollution by providing resources to help reduce energy and vehicle use by 20%. The planner presents easy-to-do activities and tips as well as outlining greater cost-saving actions that can be taken for the longer term.

Eneract‘s smartliving Community program brings needed educational programming right to six of the Toronto area‘s largest ethnic communities: Chinese, South Asian, West Indian, Italian, Portuguese and Filipino. With a focus on the need for, and details of, energy conservation, this program is leading the way for more language and culturally specific energy awareness programs around Canada and across the globe. The smartliving Community program delivers other elements of Eneract‘s Smart Steps, Simple Solutions program and has already engaged thousands of community members via the website and advertising in community media and hundreds more via workshops.

Contact Information

Marilyn Simms, Project Coordinator
Tel.: 416-488-3966
Web site

ENERGY STAR High Efficiency Symbol

For more information on ENERGY STAR®, contact Natural Resources Canada's Office of  Energy Efficiency: Gisèle Maillet, (613) 992-4535 or by e-mail

For tips on energy-efficient products, visit the ENERGY STAR Web site at or the Web site of Natural Resources Canada's Office of Energy Efficiency at

To obtain additional copies of this or other free publications on energy efficiency, please contact

Energy Publications
Office of Energy Efficiency
Natural Resources Canada
c/o S.J.D.S.
Ottawa ON K1A 1L3
Tel.: 1 800 387-2000 (toll-free)
        995-2943 (in the National Capital Region)
Fax: (613) 740-3114

Natural Resources Canada's Office of Energy Efficiency administers and promotes the international ENERGY STAR symbol in Canada.