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Rossland energy retrofit assist program gets set to launch

The first intake of the Rossland Retrofit Assist project will begin in December and run until June
New builds will need to follow BC Energy Step Code guidelines in order to meet sustainable energy goals. (Photo Jim Bailey)

Like most BC municipalities, despite good intentions, Rossland is a long way from meeting its sustainable energy goals.

Jessica Martin-Thompson from the Community Energy Association attended Rossland council meeting, Nov. 21, and presented a Rossland Retrofit Assist program, which would cut fossil fuel emissions and make the city’s goals more tenable.

“I don’t want to focus on the negative, but even in a community like the City of Rossland we aren’t yet seeing a trajectory shift in terms of green-house gas emissions (GHG),” said Martin-Thompson. “We set very robust targets to be at net zero by 2050, yet we aren’t seeing that shift down yet.”

Rossland is one of 10 West Kootenay communities that in January, 2021 committed to 100 per cent renewable energy by 2050. The commitment requires four Big Moves, including retrofitting the buildings in which we live, work, and play to become energy efficient by implementing the BC Energy Step Code.

“Seventy per cent of the buildings in 2030 are already built today, so as much we need to focus on the new buildings that need to be built to the highest efficiencies … we have a huge amount of buildings that need to be retrofit to a more efficient standard.”

The plan for zero carbon communities is to reduce emissions by 50 per cent by 2030 and 100 per cent by 2050, and includes a revolutionary reconsideration of how we travel, where we live and work, and how we recycle waste.

According to the report, Rosslanders can achieve those 2030 goals if 460 conventional passenger vehicles are replaced by electric vehicles, 21kg/person/year of organic waste is diverted to the Regional District of Kootenay Boundary Organics Waste program, and 880 buildings (40 per cent) in Rossland be retrofitted by 2030 and emissions reduced by 33 per cent.

The objective of the Rossland Retrofit Assist project is to develop a 10-year community-wide campaign to motivate residents to reduce home energy use and GHG emissions.

Also the Community Energy Association has teamed up with various agencies like FortisBC and Columbia Basin Trust to help homeowners fund the projects through grants and rebates.

“We have secured funding, so City of Rossland dollars will not be spent on this project,” said Martin-Thompson.

In the first two years the project will engage at least 1,000 Rosslanders, and hopes to get 100 homeowners to apply for the program, undertake home energy evaluations and commit to action.

In year one, the project will support 40-50 homeowners to create retrofit plans and undertake at least one measure to reduce their energy use by the end of 2023.

It will also support the completion and assessment of a minimum of four residential deep-energy retrofit projects to reduce their energy use by at least 50 per cent.

“We really need to test how we can support them from start to finish and get that model right, so that anybody in the future isn’t coming across barriers,” added Martin-Thompson. “Barriers in terms of ‘I can’t find an energy advisor, I can’t find a contractor, I don’t have the money.’ So really address all those barriers we have with that group and figure out how we can scale up.”

Mayor Andy Morel shared his experience renovating his own personal space.

“With me being involved in my own project, and being quite mired in it, there is tremendous opportunity here for hand holding,” said Morel.

The first intake will start in December and run to June in which residents can become active in the process and send in applications for participation and energy assessments.

See Nov. 21 agenda at to access report.

Read: Rossland votes against sending member to sit on Ktunaxa treaty committee

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Jim Bailey

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