In a climate emergency, it can be overwhelming to try to think of ways to make a difference.
A new free program co-sponsored by the Capital Regional District and the municipalities of Victoria, Saanich, Central Saanich and Esquimalt, and administered by City Green Solutions, aims to help homeowners get the information they need to upgrade their home’s energy efficiency, and at the same time reduce their carbon footprint.
With the CRD’s greenhouse gas reduction not happening nearly as fast as hoped for, according to a staff report discussed at the Aug. 12 board meeting, programs such as Bring it Home 4 the Climate become even more crucial, says Larisa Hutcheson, CRD general manager of parks and environmental services.
“Residential buildings are a large source of greenhouse gas emissions in the capital region, second only to on-road transportation,” she says.
City Green is working directly with homeowners. An initial online survey asks participants to describe their situation – is their home too hot in summer or too cold and drafty in cooler months? Or are they looking to save money on heating and cooling costs, or be more environmentally conscious?
An online or phone interview with a Bring it Home energy expert follows. They’ll suggest retrofit options and ways to increase energy efficiency in the home, and advise about the various rebates available.
People not planning on doing the work themselves will receive tips on getting quotes from a contractor – including a list of COVID-safety questions to ask.
“With older homes there’s multiple things you can do to improve the energy efficiency of your home,” said City Green executive director Peter Sundberg.
“What this program is designed to do is let people know about a range of supports for getting started.”
City Green received a grant from the Federation of Canadian Municipalities to run the program, in co-operation with the CRD and local jurisdictions, as a way to accelerate residential retrofits, improve energy efficiency and reduce the carbon footprint of people’s homes.
Going from an oil-burning, forced-air furnace to a efficient heat pump is a common way people reduce their home’s carbon footprint and heating costs, Sundberg said.
Register for the program and find more information online at bringithome4climate.ca.
Other home renovation rebate options can be found at betterhomesbc.ca.