Taking Advantage of the Government’s Green Mood
It is not often that the government gives you money, and even when they do, it is usually returning money that they have previously taken from you. This is not the case when it comes to renewable energy technologies. The federal, provincial, and municipal governments have all established climate action plans that include incentives and rebates to homeowners and businesses that adopt clean technologies. As with most things governmental, the process of qualifying is convoluted, but the payouts are substantial. If you are considering energy efficiency upgrades to your home, this year is the ideal time with various programs that can be stacked to make for unprecedented opportunities for the consumer.
Federal energy efficiency programs have been around for a number of years, yet are still underutilized. I, myself, had just replaced every window and door in the other house on my property last year. If only I had known that each window or door that I replaced could have been subsidized by a $60 rebate totalling $840! There are rebates for improving the insulation in your home, installing renewable energy technologies, or simply upgrading your old appliances. The average homeowner does not have the time to investigate these types of programs. This is the reason that the Energy Advisor was introduced as an intermediary in the rebate program. In order to qualify for any energy efficiency rebates, we must first submit to an energy audit, which is to be conducted by a qualified energy advisor (for more information on federal programs visit www.ecoaction.gc.ca). Once the audit is complete, you qualify for extensive rebates on heating and cooling applications, insulation, solar hot water, and many other technologies to improve the comfort and value of your home.
The provincial government also created an energy efficiency program that piggybacks on the federal system. The same prerequisite applies in that you must have an energy advisor conduct an energy audit, after which you have 18 months to complete any qualifying upgrades to your home or business (see www.livesmartbc.ca). The LiveSmart BC program often matches or exceeds the federal rebate.
These programs are supplemented further by programs such as Solar BC and the 15% federal tax credit for home renovations completed in 2009. On top of the government incentives and rebates for renewable energy systems, the Net Metering program and the new Standing Offer program allow you to sell your generated electricity to BC Hydro at a significant premium over the price at which you purchase electricity. These programs further improve the payback on your system(s).
The first step in energy efficiency improvements is conservation, as both the federal and provincial government point out. If you are considering a renewable energy technology installation, it is critical to have a thorough assessment of the specific environmental characteristics of your home and property. The position of the house with reference to the sun, shading from trees, wind characteristics and water flow on the property should all factor into the consideration of how to best integrate renewable energy technologies into your home. Specific renewable technologies that you may want to consider for your home include solar voltaics (P.V.), solar hot water, wind, micro-hydro and ground source technologies. Take advantage of the governments’ giving mood to improve your home.
Solar Thermal (Hot water) Example:
Evacuated tube SDHW system retail installed price = $8,000
EcoAction Rebate $1,500
Solar BC Rebate $1,000
LiveSmart BC $125
15% Tax Credit $1,050
Total Incentives $3,575
Brian is a business planning and strategy specialist with a passion for technology implementation, project management and sustainable development.