Rossland residents have been given a chance to retrofit for the future. The Rossland Energy Diet is a partnership between FortisBC and the city in an attempt to help Rosslanders ease off power consumption.
“You may or may not have heard that Rossland is quite a heavy energy user and uses more electricity than the provincial average,” said Carol Suhan, FortisBC Power Smart manager. “Homeowners will learn how they can make their home more comfortable, save on utility bills and use less energy.”
The program is a partnership and collaboration between FortisBC, the City of Rossland, the Columbia Basin Trust and the Nelson and District Credit Union.
FortisBC will be giving 253 energy assessments and distributing $1.5 million in grants to improve homes.
“That’s from the province, the Smart Program, the federal eco-energy program and of course the FortisBC program as well,” Suhan added.
Mayor Greg Granstrom was pleased.
“I just want to say thanks a lot to Fortis for bringing this project to Rossland and all the efforts of Steve [Ash] and the crew have been marvellous,” Granstrom said. “I think Rosslanders will embrace this and the savings we realize and the economic impact it will produce to this small area is very welcome. We look forward to co-operating further.”
Ash, who worked on getting the initial plans as a part of the Rossland sustainability commission, said it makes sense in Rossland.
“Several years ago there were a number of people in Rossland that got to thinking, ‘What does it take to make a sustainable community here?’” Ash said. “They did a lot of work and consulted with the community to find ideas that were local.”
What that lead to was the establishment of the sustainability commission, with the co-operation of the city.
“We got to look at the various important pieces of the community. Water supply, housing, economic development,” he said. “Energy is important to make the town sustainable. We looked at how we could make the town more energy efficient. We did a fair bit of work.”
He said Fortis helped with focus groups and asked people what the company would have to do to get them to participate in these programs. He said that most people in Rossland want to do the sustainable thing, but don’t know how to do it, so the challenge was to find ways to help them.
Their focus has been to try to find a project that was simple that Rossland would get behind.
With the program, you get a free audit, a report of things that need to be done and then the Credit Union will help finance those things.
“So you can get the work done with very little capital outlay — in fact no capital outlay,” Ash said. “The benefits are fairly obvious.”
And why Rossland?
“It’s a mountain community and so tends to get colder here than many other places. There are a lot of older homes and buildings that can benefit greatly from retrofits and insulation,” he added. “What I’d invite everyone in Rossland to do is jump onboard, sign up, get the audit done and get your home retrofitted at virtually no cost to you.”
The program will start right away, and there are six months to get the retrofits done.
There will be information sessions Oct. 11 at 5 p.m. and 7 p.m at the Rossland Miners’ Hall.