By Yolanda Ridge, Rossland News
If the sudden change in weather finds you stressed over the increased cost of heat and hot water, rather than dreaming about hitting the slopes, it’s not too late to consider an energy diet.
But you’ve got to act fast—time is ticking away almost as fast as your smart meter.
FortisBC PowerSense, the Columbia Basin Trust and Natural Resources Canada have teamed up to offer a Kootenay-wide Energy Diet that follows in the footsteps of last year’s successful Rossland Energy Diet.
The deadline to register has been extended to Dec. 13, according to FortisBC.
“But we encourage people to sign up as early as possible so they have time to make the necessary upgrades,” said
Despite ongoing labour issues at Fortis, the company continues to promote the Energy Diet at community events and recently presented it to a group of seniors in Rossland on Wednesday, Sept. 25.
“We have over 700 people signed up for the Energy Diet across the Kootenays so fortunately, people are learning about the program and taking advantage of the opportunity, despite the current job action,” said FortisBC spokesperson Nicole Bogdanovic.
In Rossland, 43 people have registered for this years Energy Diet and 36 have completed the first step of the process: having their home assessed by a certified energy advisor from Total Home Solutions, an independent energy assessment company.
After the written assessment is complete, participants have until Dec. 31 to make the recommended changes. Homeowners must be able to finance the upgrades (low-cost loan options may be available through the local credit union) and then apply for rebates when the work is complete.
The biggest energy reduction usually comes from improved insulation—a costly proposition made more affordable through rebates from LiveSmart BC. To get cash back, participants have to complete a post renovation assessment by March, 2014.
FortisBC rebates focus on replacing and upgrading heating systems but also provide assistance toward the purchase of energy star windows, doors, lighting and appliances. Participants can apply for the rebates as soon as the work is complete.
“To help all participants, FortisBC is continuing to provide personalized information to residents,” explained Bogdanovic.
Follow up phone calls, email updates and access to an energy coach are all part of the program.
Fortis BC does not anticipate offering an Energy Diet in 2014, however, so if you are interested in saving some energy (and some cash) the time to act is now.
According to Alicia Gray, who participated in last years program, the diet has translated into a 40 per cent reduction in gas consumption.
“Our winter bills were consistently over $200,” said Gray. “But after the energy upgrades it was down to just over $100 per month.”
With rebates to reduce the upfront cost of energy upgrades and the possibility of significant long-term savings, dieters will be ready for the white stuff and saving up for new skis in no time.