A Path to Energy Efficiency

Mar 01, 2019

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Posted by
Matt Mayers
Policy Analyst

The provincial government's CleanBC plan has substantial impacts on homeowners through rebates and incentives, free energy coaching, new standards for building upgrades and exploring an energy rating requirement.

Introduced in late 2018, the plan aims to help the province achieve its goal of cutting greenhouse gas emissions by 40 per cent by 2030. BC Budget 2019 laid out funding for CleanBC initiatives, totalling $902 million over three years.

Several rebates are in effect now, such as one for replacing electric, oil, propane or natural gas heating systems with a heat pump, upgrading wood-burning stoves through the Provincial Wood Stove Exchange Program, as well as financial incentives for commercial and multi-unit residential buildings for energy saving studies and upgrades.

Other grants will be available in the coming months, including a Clean Communities fund available to remote communities so residents can apply for grants to upgrade existing housing. Find the full list of funding opportunities, including pre-existing incentives here.

In addition to rebates and incentives, the province is also offering free energy coaching services for homes and businesses, including a phone and email hotline staffed by specialists.

Several significant long-term changes have been announced. There will be new standards for existing building upgrades to be developed by 2024, guided by the National Energy Code. The province is also exploring an energy rating requirement for homes and buildings across the province at the point of sale or lease, similar to what has been done on vehicles and appliances.

Another energy efficiency development that took effect in late 2018 was the BC Energy Step Code, which allows local governments to incentivize or require higher levels of energy efficiency in new construction.

BCREA appreciates the government providing incentives and rebates so homes can be more energy efficient. The free coaching will also assist homeowners in understanding how best to access the opportunities available and choose the most effective renovations. We strongly believe in the importance of energy efficiency through a voluntary approach.

Be sure to check out the full CleanBC plan and the Budget 2019 CleanBC Backgrounder.

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