New grants make energy retrofits more affordable for B.C. property owners

Up to $14,000 for houses, $200,000 for businesses to save energy

British Columbians can now apply for new incentives to help them spend less on a retrofitted home or business project.

EfficiencyBC, along with partner programs, will provide up to $14,000 for a home and $200,000 for a commercial business to switch to high-efficiency heating equipment and to make building envelope improvements.

It is a new initiative launched in partnership with the federal government, BC Hydro, FortisBC, BC Housing and many local governments.

“This new program makes life more affordable by providing you with the financial incentives you need to make energy-saving improvements,” said Michelle Mungall, B.C.’s Minister of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources. “EfficiencyBC will help us lower greenhouse gas emissions while creating opportunities for people, including lasting good jobs through energy retrofits.”

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The new EfficiencyBC program will dedicate $24 million to helping people save energy and reduce their environmental footprint.

Financial incentives through the program can take multiple forms, including replacing a fossil fuel (i.e. oil, propane or natural gas) heating system with an electric air-source heat pump, upgrading to a high-efficiency natural gas furnace or installing improved windows and doors that minimize heat loss:

* People who apply for an incentive can receive $2,000 for replacing a fossil fuel (oil, propane or natural gas) heating system with an electric air-source heat pump.

* Homeowners planning to upgrade their windows and doors to better insulated, more energy-efficient models may access up to $1,000 in incentives.

* Homeowners can also apply for up to $700 in incentives for highest efficiency natural gas furnaces.

* Commercial owners can receive up to $20,000 to complete energy studies that identify cost-effective improvements to their building.

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In addition to financial incentives, EfficiencyBC offers homeowners a free home energy coaching service and guidance on home energy upgrades. For commercial buildings, the program will also help pay for energy studies that identify opportunities for energy savings. The program is fully integrated with existing incentive programs.

The funding is also aimed at fostering improved standards in buildings, improving the quality of energy-efficiency installations and increasing market share of low-carbon, energy-efficient building technologies.

The EfficiencyBC program is jointly funded by the provincial and federal governmentsunder the Low Carbon Economy Leadership Fund. Victoria and Ottawa are each contributing $12 million.

Below are two examples of how people can save money through the EfficiencyBC program:

Vancouver:

* City of Vancouver resident, home heated with natural gas, natural gas water heater

* Undertakes a pre- and post-upgrade energy assessment ($300 from EfficiencyBC, $150 from City of Vancouver)

* Converts to electric air source heat pump ($2,000 from EfficiencyBC, $2,000 from City of Vancouver)

* Installs condensing tankless natural gas water heater ($500 from FortisBC)

* Adds attic insulation of R30 x 1000ft2 ($600 from BC Hydro)

* Home Energy Improvement Bonus, improving EnerGuide score by 60% ($1,200)

* Total rebate: $6,750

Kelowna:

* Kelowna resident, home heated with baseboard electricity from FortisBC, natural gas water heater

* Installs a single-head ductless heat pump ($1,200 from FortisBC)

* Converts to electric air source heat pump water heater ($1,000 from EfficiencyBC)

* Two-upgrade bonus ($300)

* Total rebate: $2,500

To report a typo, email: edit@kelownacapnews.com.


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