Solar panels make life sunny for Pickering condo residents
Esplanade residents encouraging other developers to consider sustainable energy
PICKERING — The warm summer sunshine is translating into money in the bank for residents of one Durham condo.
At the Liberty at Discovery building on The Esplanade North in Pickering, residents have been enjoying the benefits of solar energy since 2005, when solar thermal panels were installed on the roof of the building. The project, put forward by the developers, was encouraged by residents on the condo board, which supported the green initiative.
“I’m surprised that with the whole focus on being green in society, we’re the only high-rise building in Durham with solar panels,” said Michelle Kerkos, president of the building’s condo board, noting the monetary savings are passed on to residents annually through reduced condo fees.
“There are buildings that went up after us that have no solar panels, which surprises me, I would think every new building should include these. We want to encourage other people to look at retrofitting and definitely new buildings going up to consider sustainable energy in their building plans.”
The panels reduce the need for natural gas by using solar energy to heat the building’s water, during cloudy periods the system switches to gas.
The unit, which cost more than $200,000, recently reached its pay-back date of 6.5 years, meaning the system was paid for fully through energy savings within that time.
“I haven’t met a resident yet who’s not proud to show off the fact their building is energy-efficient,” said Christine LePage, property manager for the building.
“I strongly encourage any developer, whether in Durham or wherever, to look at solar panels because the sun is here forever and we should make use of it.”
The building’s green reputation is also proving beneficial in other areas, with young people clamoring to buy units at the building.
“It’s unique because when people started moving in it was mostly seniors, now the people moving in are a lot younger,” Ms. LePage said, explaining she thinks the solar panels help attract a younger crowd.
“I often hear real estate agents pointing it out to clients as they’re walking through the lobby,” she continued.
“It’s what young people want to see, it’s the way of the future.”
Source: Durham Region