What is the Home Energy Savings Program?
The Home Energy Savings Program is a not-for-profit initiative to expand energy justice and energy security in rural and remote communities. This program specifically aims to connect households with the information, rebates, and contractors required to complete an energy savings renovation. Our services come at no cost to participants, prioritizing renovations that enhance home comfort, diminish reliance on fossil fuels, lower energy expenses, and mitigate pollution stemming from home heating.
Where should I start?
Visit our resources page, where we provide links to publicly available information and educational resources, including links to rebates.
What kinds of home upgrades can I get help with?
The program provides support for residents looking to improve the energy efficiency, health, and comfort of their homes, including new heating and cooling systems, insulation, windows and doors, ventilation, and draft-proofing. In support of British Columbia’s transition away from fossil fuels, the program will not provide support for installing gas furnaces, water heaters or boilers.
What backup heating system can I have if I get an electric heat pump?
To qualify for rebates, any natural gas, propane, and oil heaters must be removed. There are no requirements for removing a woodstove, so this could be kept as a secondary heating system in the case of a power failure.
Do heat pumps work in cold climates?
Yes, cold climate heat pumps are built to work efficiently in conditions down to -25 degrees Celsius.
What financial support programs are available?
CleanBC provides rebates for insulation, windows, and heat pumps. The income-qualified rebates, such as a four-person household with a total annual income of less than $79,147, can have up to 95% of the renovation cost covered by the CleanBC program.
New federal rebates are being announced in the spring of 2024 intended to help low- to median-income households.
There are also loans available through credit unions and banks that are specifically for energy-saving renovations.
Visit our resources page, which provides links to publicly available information and educational resources, including links to rebates.
Are there energy advisors in my community?
See the energy advisor search tool at https://www.betterhomesbc.ca/ea/
How loud are heat pumps?
Heat pump indoor units are ‘whisper quiet,’ with sound level ratings between 18 and 30 decibels. Modern heat pump outdoor units are commonly around 60 decibels, which is about the same as a normal conversation, and quieter than many washing machines. It is worth checking the noise rating of the specific product you are considering.
Do heat pumps require professional servicing?
Much like furnaces and air conditioners, it is generally recommended to have a professional service a heat pump annually or every couple of years. The product warranty may specify a required frequency of service.
How long does an upgrade process typically take?
This depends on the upgrade. Lead times for some retrofits are up to a year as contractors are very busy. Once the work begins, it can usually be completed within a few days, again depending on the complexity of the upgrade. Rebates normally take up to 90 days to be issued after the upgrade (and post-upgrade EnerGuide assessment, if required) is complete and all documentation has been submitted.
Is there a local company already contracted to do the installations?
We do not require that a specific contractor do the installations – this is your choice. However, to receive provincial insulation or heat pump rebates, or if you are participating in the BC Income Qualified Program, you must use a registered contractor. The CleanBC Better Homes search tool can help you find a contractor registered for the program and upgrade type you want to pursue: https://www.betterhomesbc.ca/find-a-contractor/
If a home has a gas hookup but hasn’t been using it (or isn’t currently with the provider), does the homeowner qualify for the larger rebate?
No, the larger rebate is only available when decommissioning gas heating systems that are currently serving as the primary heat source for the home.
Is there a guide for the best heat pump options in this town/climate?
This varies from home to home and is part of the job of an Energy Advisor and contractor.
Can I do an upgrade on the home I rent and qualify for any of the provincial or federal rebates?
Your landlord/the owner must consent to upgrades and be listed as the applicant. Tenants who hold their own utility account can apply to the Income Qualified Program but will also need to demonstrate the support of their landlord through a signed consent form.
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