If the unusual winter we’ve experienced in the Kootenays is making you think about climate change, you’re not alone. Fortunately, there are a myriad of ways to take meaningful action—such as retrofitting your home. Buildings (including our homes) account for 18% of Canada’s greenhouse gas emissions according to the Government of Canada. By increasing the energy efficiency of our homes, we can simultaneously lower our monthly electricity bills and our carbon footprint. It’s a win win!
The Benefits of Home Retrofits
Retrofitting a home means updating older systems in a building to increase energy efficiency. Home retrofits lead to reduced energy consumption, lower energy costs, and safer environments. There are various ways to retrofit a home including updating insulation, replacing windows and doors, and improving air sealing. Installing solar panels, electric heat pumps, and LED lights can also improve the energy efficiency of a residence.
In addition to reducing heating bills and protecting the environment, home retrofits can increase property value and bring a return on the investment. Take solar panels for example. “The second you turn your solar array on, you start saving money on your utility bill,” Kootenay Solar CEO Eden Yesh tells Kootenay Business. “There’s also a grant right now from the federal government that will cover up to $5,000 for solar. Therefore, a basic five-kilowatt solar array can be paid back in as little as six to seven years,” Yesh explains.
Home Retrofit Grants & Rebates
Home renovations can add up quickly but federal, provincial, and municipal grants and rebates are available to make home retrofits more affordable for homeowners. In fact, there are over $20,000 in rebates available to property owners. Below are some of the resources available to homeowners in our community.
Canada Greener Homes Grant: This federal grant provides access to up to $5,600 in rebates. In order to access the maximum rebate amount, be sure to schedule a pre-retrofit EnerGuide home evaluation with a NRCan registered energy advisor. This evaluation will help determine the best use of your retrofit efforts and dollars.
Clean BC Better Homes and Home Renovation Rebate Program: This program offers a series of provincial home retrofit rebates administered by BC Hydro, FortisBC and the Province of BC. You may also be eligible for a Two Upgrade Bonus if you install two or more eligible updates. Use Clean BC’s rebate search tool to find grants and rebates for building or renovating residential homes.
City of Kimberley Energy Efficient Building Incentive Program: The City of Kimberley’s Energy Efficient Building Incentive Program helps new builders and homeowners adhere to the BC Energy Step Code, thus reducing their energy demand, carbon emissions, and energy costs. Applicants constructing new buildings that meet the Energy Step Code can receive rebates and discounts.
East Kootenay Climate Hub’s Guide to Retrofits
If you’re interested in a home retrofit and looking for a roadmap, look no further than the East Kootenay Climate Hub Guide to Retrofits. From determining grant eligibility to conducting post-upgrade EnerGuide evaluations, this thorough guide provides a step-by-step approach to navigating the home retrofit process.
The East Kootenay Climate Hub is also available to help you navigate the process. Contact them at firstname.lastname@example.org.
“More retrofits, less GHG!”
These are the wise words of East Kootenay Climate Hub’s Tracy Flynn, and we couldn’t agree more. Canada’s per capita GHG emission (4.1 tonnes per person) is significantly higher than other countries; the United Kingdom, France, Norway, and Germany, reported per capita GHG emissions ranging from 1.0 – 2.3 tonnes according to Statistics Canada. We have a big opportunity to reduce greenhouse gas emissions — let’s do what we can!