Central Saanich is encouraging homeowners to replace their oil heating systems with an electric heat pump by offering them zero per cent financing under a two-year pilot program.
The program known as Property-Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) financing allows homeowners to fund the up-front cost of the home improvement through a loan repaid on property tax bills.
Central Saanich Mayor Ryan Windsor said helping homeowners make the switch will cut carbon-intensive energy consumption and community greenhouse gas. “It will also decrease home energy bills for participating homeowners, which can be put towards repaying the loan,” he said.
The program will also help Central Saanich build resilience against future climate impacts, because heat pumps can handle the hotter summers expected for southern Vancouver Island.
The municipality plans to launch PACE in the fall of 2021 with workshops and educational sessions scheduled over the summer.
The municipality’s pilot program is one of the first of its kind in the province and receives funding through the $300-million community efficiency financing initiative which is part of the $950-million Green Municipal Fund, a federal government fund under the administration of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities.
Central Saanich said the financing program will support two key climate action goals: reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 100 per cent by 2050 (based on 2007 figures) and 100 per cent renewable energy by 2050. The municipality has identified the development and implementation of energy improvement projects in homes and businesses, including the 100 per cent conversion of oil heated homes to electric heat pumps by 2030, as a key pathway toward those goals.
Successful PACE programs are running in Toronto as well as numerous municipalities across Nova Scotia and rural Yukon. Several other provinces have passed legislation enabling PACE, and British Columbia has put $2 million for a PACE Roadmap and Pilot Program in its economic recovery plan released in September 2020.
Interested homeowners in Central Saanich can keep themselves of informed by contacting Central Saanich’s climate action specialist Ali Rivers at firstname.lastname@example.org or 250-652-4444.
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