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Innovative CRD home energy program spurs community collaboration

Regional district promotes neighbourly savings with heat pump discounts
Two air source heat pumps installed on the exterior of a house. The Capital Regional District offers discounts to switch from an oil, natural gas, or propane heating system to an air source heat pump. (Shutterstock)

If you want to save on your heating costs this winter, you should consider bundling up with your neighbours.

The Capital Regional District’s group purchase rebate provides discounts for individuals and groups of homeowners working together to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by switching from an oil, natural gas, or propane heating system to an air source heat pump.

The rebate, which is in addition to ones available through CleanBC and other local governments, begin at $200 for an individual home. Larger groups, beginning with two homes are eligible for a larger rebate up to a maximum of $500 for groups of 20 to 30 homes.

The aim is to encourage participants to spread the word with their neighbours about their heat pump purchase group in order to receive larger rebates, said CRD energy specialist Matt Greeno.

“It’s an interesting program adjacent to the rest of the rebates through CleanBC programs,” he said. “The more people that apply, the the higher the rebate gets.”

Although the CRD could not provide a municipality by municipality breakdown, the program, launched about a year ago, has been a popular with primarily contractors, but with individuals as well.

He attributes the program’s success to the buy-in by contractors, the CRD’s messaging, and people hearing about the benefits of heat pumps from their neighbours.

“The numbers show 20 to 30 people in the CRD apply every three months,” Greeno said. “Those are strong numbers from a CRD perspective. We’re lucky to live in a region where contractors are well-versed in the benefits and installation, and we’re ahead of the curve of heat pump adoptions, compared to the rest of the province.”

There’s a substantial efficiency gain in heating with a heat pump, compared to baseboard heaters or gas furnaces, Greeno said.

“A lot of people describe a significant comfort gain as well because they (heat pumps) are well-known for providing a more consistent level of heat, compared to the spikes you get with gas,” he noted. “Heat pumps are awesome.”

ALSO READ: Province encouraging use of more heat pumps in B.C. to help battle climate change

Another benefit not as well known is an improvement in air quality because heat pumps help to dehumidify your home, Greeno added.

“A heat pump is a big step forward that really delivers the comfort and efficiency you’re looking for and saves you money in the long term as well,” he said. “Even with gas prices where they are today, it’s still more cost effective to use a heat pump.”

Sooke Coun. Jeff Bateman said it’s great to see so many heat-pump supplier vehicles around the community and to hear the positive experiences of those who install the quieter, more efficient new generation of heat pumps.

“I hope everyone’s aware of the CRD’s Home Energy Navigator program, he said. “Established last year, it’s a solid starting point for anyone looking to take full advantage of the many incentives offers currently available.”

Greeno also strongly recommends visiting for the latest innovations in home energy and home energy systems.

“Home Navigator really supports you on changes you might want to make to your home, such as adding insulation, changing windows and doing air sealing.”

Check out for information specific to the heat pump rebate program.

About the Author: Rick Stiebel

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