Just ahead of Earth Day, the Government of British Columbia is announcing $1.4 million from the Innovative Clean Energy (ICE) Fund for a suite of programs to help homeowners reduce energy bills and greenhouse gas emissions and to support training in the construction of high performance, energy efficient homes.
The funding will be distributed as follows:
- $600,000 to provide rebates of up to $1,700 for homeowners to convert from oil heating to an all-electric air source heat pump. An oil-to-heat pump conversion provides, on average, the highest greenhouse gas emission reduction of any single upgrade for single family residential homes. This funding is in addition to $600,000 provided for the Oil-to-Heat Pump Incentive Program in 2015 and will ensure incentives continue to be available for homeowners to make the conversion from oil to electric heat pumps.
- $600,000 to support the training and use of energy coaches who conduct home energy evaluations, identify opportunities for energy efficiency upgrades and explore retrofit options with homeowners. The funds will be directed through the joint BC Hydro – FortisBC Home Energy Rebate Offer (HERO) program and will be used to establish training for energy coaches and to provide a subsidy for homeowners to offset the cost of energy coaching services.
- $100,000 to subsidize training for building professionals in Passive House design and construction. The international Passive House standard is the one of the most rigorous and advanced building performance standards in the world, achieving reductions in heating energy of up to 90%, compared to other buildings. This system of construction requires specialized training and experience. This funding is in addition to $100,000 provided for the Passive House Training Subsidy in 2015 and will help more builders, architects, engineers and municipal planning professionals take courses in Passive House principles.
- $100,000 to subsidize courses offered by the Canadian Home Builders’ Association (CHBA) and service organizations licensed by Natural Resources Canada (NRCan) in three national high-performance building standards: ENERGY STAR for New Homes Initiative, R2000 and Net Zero Energy (NZE) Homes Builder Training. The funding will build on the Passive House training incentive by broadening provincial support to a range of high-performance building standards and help to increase the number of high-performance builders, homes and buildings in British Columbia.
The ICE Fund is designed to support government’s energy and environmental priorities and advance British Columbia’s clean energy sector. It receives funding through a 0.4% levy on the final sale of specified energy products such as natural gas, fuel oil and grid-delivered propane.
Bill Bennett, Minister of Energy and Mines –
“We’re into renovation season and this is an excellent time for homeowners to plan and complete improvements that will make their homes more energy efficient. With this round of funding from the Province’s Innovative Clean Energy Fund, we’re helping homeowners reduce their heating costs and greenhouse gas emissions, and helping builders get additional training to design and construct high performance, energy efficient homes and buildings.”
Rich Coleman, Deputy Premier, Minister of Natural Gas Development and Responsible for Housing –
“The Province is working together with B.C. utilities and the home-building industry to give more building professionals and homeowners the training and financial support they need to build and retrofit homes to maximize energy efficiencies and savings. Along with improved energy efficiency comes more comfortable, durable and highly valued homes.”
Mary Polak, Minister of Environment –
“Energy use in buildings represents approximately 11% of British Columbia’s greenhouse gas emissions. Equipping builders with the latest skills and information on high-performance building standards and construction and helping homeowners better understand their homes’ energy and GHG performance can reduce our provincial GHG emissions and help us fight climate change.”
Jim Carr, federal Minister of Natural Resources –
“We are pleased to be supporting British Columbia’s programs through our EnerGuide Rating System, ENERGY STAR and R-2000 program. The Government of Canada is committed to working with Provinces and Territories to improve energy efficiency and environmental performance. The recent federal budget demonstrates our belief that investments in energy efficiency and clean energy policies reduce the environmental impact of energy use and can provide cost savings for Canadians.”
Peter Sundberg, executive director with City Green Solutions –
“For homes heated with oil, the switch to an air source heat pump is the single most effective home energy improvement available to reduce household greenhouse gas emissions. Heat pumps provide comfortable, clean and affordable heating and cooling all year round, while eliminating the financial and environmental risk of a home heating oil tank leak. Up to $1,700 is available through the Province of B.C.’s Oil-to-Heat Pump Incentive Program and the switch to electric heating allows program participants to access other financial incentives available through the Home Energy Rebate Offer.”
Scott Kennedy, chair, Canadian Passive House Institute (CanPHI) West –
“The Province’s training support for high-performance building design and construction is the first step in a path to a more sustainable built environment which supports the provincial economy while providing a higher standard of indoor air quality and comfort. CanPHI West is delighted to be assisting in the achievement of these objectives by providing training to construction industry professionals.”
Neil Moody, CEO, Canadian Home Builders’ Association of British Columbia –
“With this funding, more builders and renovators who want to develop their skills in high-performance building standards will be able to access the necessary training and courses. We're excited to see the Province of British Columbia support this initiative, and we encourage both industry and homeowners to take advantage of this opportunity.”
Janet Fraser, senior vice-president of corporate affairs and chief human resources officer, BC Hydro –
“Improving the performance of your home is one way to reduce your energy costs and environmental footprint. This new funding will help British Columbians access the tools and resources they need to reduce GHG emissions and electricity use.”
Roger Dall’Antonia, executive vice-president, customer service and regulatory affairs, FortisBC –
“We applaud the Province’s support that enables improvements to the energy efficiency of residential homes, providing ongoing benefits for our natural gas and electricity customers. For home renovations, energy coaching will make it easier for homeowners to make energy-efficient upgrades. For new homes, supporting industry training programs will help transform the market to high performance homes.”
For information or to register for the Oil-to-Heat Pump Incentive Program, call 1 877 545-6247 or visit: www.oiltoheatpump.ca
To learn about the Home Energy Rebate Offer (HERO) and residential energy savings, visit:
- BC Hydro: bchydro.com/homerebates
- FortisBC: fortisbc.com/homerebates
To learn more about high performance energy efficiency standards and training opportunities for building professionals, visit:
- Passive House: http://canphi.ca/passive-house-courses/
- ENERGY STAR for New Homes: https://www.nrcan.gc.ca/energy/efficiency/housing/new-homes/5103
- R-2000: https://www.nrcan.gc.ca/energy/efficiency/housing/new-homes/5051
- CHBA Net Zero Energy (NZE) Training: www.chba.ca/about/nze%20labelling%20program/nze%20builder%20training.aspx
- CHBA Building Science Training: https://education.chbabc.org/page.php?id=132&cid=140
A backgrounder follows.