Homeowners in the Regional District of Nanaimo are now entitled to receive a free home evaluation, along with industry experts, to help answer questions and provide support to change their homes from fossil fuels to electric.
According to the district, buildings (commercial, institutional, and residential) account for up to 19 per cent of the community’s greenhouse gas emissions, and residential buildings account for close to 70 per cent of those emissions. They say the Home Energy Navigator program will provide education to those looking to lower their emissions and help the district reduce their levels even further to reach their 2050 goal of an 80 per cent reduction.
Board chair Vanessa Craig says this program is free for RDN residents and will help navigate people who wish to make upgrades to their homes.
“We’ve heard from residents that they’re interested in upgrading, but they’re unsure about how to do it,” she says. “This will reduce the confusion and save time for residents through access to a virtual home energy consultation, ongoing support online resources, and access to workshops.
“These services will help make home energy upgrades more accessible to RDN residents who need extra assistance navigating this complex process.”
Organizations across the province are providing similar processes and offering residents rebates to upgrade their homes. According to BC Hydro, customers can access up to $10,000 in rebates by putting in more efficient windows, insulation, heat pumps, and water heaters.
Climate Change and Resilience Coordinator Jessica Beaubier says providing consumers with rebates can go a long way to building a cleaner, greener future but education is the key.
“We can help residents get information on what rebates are available, or what energy solutions they might want to consider for their house,” she says. “There is a lot out there from the federal and provincial government for pursuing climate adaptable home retrofits.”
According to the Canada Greener Homes Grant, most households can access a maximum of $5,000 when upgrading their homes to make them more energy efficient, but Beaubier says there are a lot of factors homeowners need to consider before starting their projects.
“I have found people struggle with comparing contractor quotes since they have different solutions,” she says. “Having objective help with it can be helpful so they can get the best value and the most time efficient.”
The Home Energy Navigator Program is being administered by City Green Solutions and is already in place in the City of Vancouver, and the Capital Region District.
The program will serve as a pilot program in the RDN and support approximately 50 homes across the region.