Alberta Friendship Centres partner with SAIT
for retrofitting project and summit series


The first of a four-part summit series focused on improving energy efficiencies and reducing greenhouse gas emissions at Alberta Friendship Centres kicked off in St. Paul last week.

Calgary, AB (March 30, 2023) — The Southern Alberta Institute of Technology (SAIT) Green Building Technologies Tech-Access Centre (GBTAC) and the Alberta Native Friendship Centres Association (ANFCA) have partnered on a multi-year retrofitting project to help create more energy efficient Friendship Centres around the province, and build awareness for climate action in Indigenous communities.

“This series of summits not only aim to bring awareness to the building retrofitting needs, but to create lasting connections between communities, industry and professionals. It’s our hope that these relationships will provide lasting positive impacts beyond the project’s timeline, creating valuable building and retrofitting resources for Centres and the communities they support,” says Melanie Ross, Scientific Strategy Lead, Green Building Technologies, SAIT.

The upcoming summits will take place in May, October and November at the Grande Prairie Friendship Centre, Nistawoyou Association Friendship Centre in Fort McMurray and Miywasin Friendship Centre in Medicine Hat, respectively. These dates will be confirmed within the coming months. Prior to the summits, communities are encouraged to engage with local infrastructure service providers to create lasting relationships beyond the project period, supporting continuous improvement at each of the Centres.

“The Alberta Native Friendship Centres Association hopes this summit builds awareness and advocacy through knowledge sharing, community engagement and action towards reducing greenhouse gas emissions. By implementing green building technologies, we hope to improve our relationships with our spaces and places throughout the Friendship Centre movement across Alberta,” says Len Morissette, President, ANFCA.

Three Friendship Centres will be retrofitted to reduce energy consumption and emissions, followed by a year of monitoring to assess the reduction in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions with a combined total target goal of a 20-tonne carbon dioxide equivalent across the updated Centres. Retrofits will be completed at the Mannawanis, Miywasin, and Nistawoyou Friendship Centres. The Grande Prairie Centre completed a detailed energy audit and through the process was able to identify other building retrofit needs to support the Centre’s long-term goals.

The project will deliver further educational, training and engagement events to share knowledge with Friendship Centre teams and community members on green building technologies and methods of reduction for GHG emissions. These initiatives aim to increase project awareness, highlight the value of Friendship Centres and support the needs of the community.

Friendship Centres have offered safe, accessible spaces to Indigenous communities for more than 60 years. This project came together in the spirit of friendship and respect, to improve these important community facilities and amplify the wide range of programs offered — from Elder and youth support to cultural engagement and generational passing of traditional knowledge and skills.

This collaboration is funded by the Climate Action and Awareness Fund through Environment and Climate Change Canada. 

About SAIT

Established in 1916, SAIT was the first of its kind, publicly funded technical school in North America. As a global leader in applied education and research — serving nearly 40,000 students annually — SAIT offers certificate, diploma, post diploma, apprenticeship and applied degree programs, baccalaureate degrees, corporate training and more than 1,000 continuing education courses, along with six dedicated, award-winning areas of research and capacity for new and emerging research. Curriculum and research priorities are developed through industry partnerships to ensure graduates have the skills and knowledge required to fulfill the demand for talent. SAIT is honoured to be recognized by Mediacorp Canada Inc. as one of Alberta’s Top Employers for 2024, and to be ranked sixth by Research Infosource Inc. in the Top 50 Research Colleges in Canada for 2023. CEOWORLD Magazine ranked the SAIT School of Business #49 on the list of Best Business Schools in the World for 2024, and the School of Hospitality and Tourism placed #14 on their list of Best Hospitality and Hotel Management Schools in the World for 2024.  

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