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Energy efficient home upgrades could net rebates and free kits during spring renovations

Incentives include free kits for qualifying incomes and up to $5,000 for insulation costs

Have home renovation plans this spring? B.C. offers incentives to reduce energy use and greenhouse gas emissions in new and existing homes.

The province supports energy use reductions on homes and buildings through rebate programs outlined in efficiencybc.ca. Homeowners qualify for rebates from the CRD and municipalities as well.

Eligible residences for the home renovation and energy efficiency rebates must be single family detached dwellings, mobile homes on a permanent foundation, side-by-side duplexes and row homes or townhouses, provided that each unit has its own natural gas or electricity meter. Utility accounts in the name of a strata corporation do not meet the criteria.

High-rises and apartment buildings, garages, workshops and out buildings aren’t eligible.

ALSO READ: New grants make energy retrofits more affordable for B.C. property owners

For eligible upgrades on valid homes, window and door replacements can net $50 per window or up to $1,000 per exterior doors.

Home insulation for attics, wall cavities, basement and crawlspace walls, exterior wall sheathing, exposed floors and basement headers can earn up to a combined $5,000 in rebates. Eligible insulation types are rolls or batts, blown-in, loose fill, rigid board, and spray foam.

Heating, generally considered to be the biggest energy drain on a home, can earn owners $2,000 in rebates if they switch to a mini-split or multi-split air source heat pump. “At least one indoor head must serve a main living area,” the Efficiency BC website states. If converting from a fossil fuel heating system to a heat pump, “all fossil fuel heating equipment must be removed or decommissioned.”

“Homes with natural gas or propane fireplaces are eligible if the fireplace is a secondary heating system,” they add. The home’s primary backup system must not be natural gas, oil or propane. Further requirements, including the minimum performance criteria can be found at the website’s incentive page.

ALSO READ: Small business to get rebates for some of the cost of energy efficiency projects

A bigger rebate on offer is for installing a combination space and water heat pump system. If the house uses electric water heating and fossil fuel space heating, “you may be eligible for $3,000 (pre-approval required),” the website states. Pre-approval is also required if switching fossil fuel water heating and fossil fuel space heating together.

Saanich and Victoria offer an additional $350 for converting to an electric heat pump space heater. Residents can combine the money with a Capital Regional District incentive for a $700 municipal top-up.

To qualify, for the window, insulation and space heating upgrades, the owner must be using FortisBC, BC Hydro, or a municipal utility and use electricity, natural gas, oil or propane as their primary heating fuel for 12 consecutive months. Each application application form must be submitted within six months that the invoice is dated. The renovations must have been installed after Sep. 28 by a valid licensed, BC-based contactor.

ALSO READ: HOMEFINDER: The good, bad and ugly of older home renovation

Energy saving kits are also provided free of costs for income-qualifying households, and a home evaluation may qualify your renovated home for $300 bonus based on the evaluation of pre- and post-retrofits.

The “easy-to-install” energy saving products include a water-efficient showerhead, kitchen and bathroom faucet aerators, weatherstripping, window film, outlet and switch sealers, a refrigerator/freezer thermometer, an LED night light and four LED light bulbs and a furnace filter coupon. However, the kits are limited to one per household, the website states. Income qualifications are found on the Fortis BC website.

For all incentives, including for adding a high-efficiency natural gas fireplace ($300), appliance rebates ($25-$100), CMHC Green Home evaluations (15-25 per cent refund), and new housing tax refunds, visit the incentives page and select your region and type of heating.

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