Back on a diet

The Kootenay Energy Diet gives Rosslanders a second chance to revisit what is working and what isn't.

How you use the energy in your home can go undetected and unanalyzed until you get your bill at the end of the month.

And with the rising cost of electricity, sometimes that end-of-month realization can come as a shock.

Following on the heels of the successful Rossland Energy Diet, the Kootenay Energy Diet gives Rosslanders a second chance to revisit what is working and what isn’t, and give those who did not participate a chance to step on the scales.

Starting this week, the Kootenay Energy Diet is intended to support local homeowners in learning about their home’s energy efficiency and better manage their own habits with natural gas and electricity usage. This will help them to have a more comfortable home and one that is affordable to operate.

“The most important thing people can do to reduce energy use is to ensure their homes have ample insulation so it doesn’t leak heat and have drafts,” said Shelley Hastie, PowerSense community ambassador, in a press release.

“The second most important thing to do is improve their heating system, whether it is gas or electric. And thirdly, review hot water tanks and the amount of hot water they use.”

The average LiveSmart qualified retrofit reduces energy use by 20 to 50 per cent. If customers improve their insulation and air sealing and heating system, they’re more likely to have savings in the 50 per cent range, said Hastie. If they chose only to change out their windows and doors, the savings would be in the five to seven per cent range.

To participate in the Kootenay Energy Diet, Rosslanders can register in person at an introductory information session on June 12 (7-9 p.m.) at Miners’ Union Hall.

If homeowners can’t attend the information session, they can complete an online application form and submit it within six weeks of the session in their community.

Once people are registered, FortisBC will help them through the next steps, conducting an initial home energy assessment with a certified energy advisor, make a commitment to complete at least one home energy efficiency upgrade before Dec. 31, complete a post-retrofit evaluation before March 31, 2014 and keep all retrofit receipts and submit at the post retrofit evaluation to receive rebates

For LiveSmart BC rebates, participants must book and complete the post assessment prior to March 31, 2014.

Kootenay Energy Diet participants receive a subsidized home energy assessment, which includes the installation of free energy efficiency products like low-flow shower heads and CFL lighting (participants pay $60, normal cost is approximately $400).

People can also access the LiveSmart BC and FortisBC rebate programs (up to $4,000 from LiveSmart and $2,000 for from FortisBC) and a low-interest, long-amortization loan program through local credit unions. In addition, there will be a local energy coach to provide them with personalized service and information.

The home energy assessment provides independent third-party energy efficiency advice for existing homes and handles the paperwork to ensure eligibility for incentives from LiveSmart BC and FortisBC.

Homeowners will also gain an energy efficiency rating label of their home that can increase the home’s resale potential by providing evidence of “invisible” energy improvements in existing homes.

The assessment estimates energy consumption, makes energy efficiency recommendations and gives estimated reductions in energy use should each recommendation be implemented.

To qualify for the Kootenay Energy Diet and the energy assessment required to access the LiveSmart BC Efficiency Incentives program, people must live within the Kootenay Boundary Regional District and be an electric customer of ForticBC.

Only homes built prior to 2006 will be eligible for the FortisBC energy assessment subsidy, and the primary heating system must be gas or electric.

To learn more about the program, homeowners can contact Shelley Hastie, PowerSense Community Ambassador, at 250-368-1918, by email at energydiet@fortisbc.com or visit fortisbc.com/energydiet.

editor@rosslandnews.com