Community spending $100 million on heat

The city is encouraging Campbell Riverites to invest in energy efficiency upgrades for their homes

The city is encouraging Campbell Riverites to invest in energy efficiency upgrades for their homes so the city can reach its energy and emission targets.

Using 2007 as the base year, the city is targeting a 25 per cent reduction of total community greenhouse gas emissions by 2020, a 35 per cent decrease by 2040 and by 40 per cent in 2060.

The city targets a 20 per cent reduction in total community energy use by the year 2020, a further 25 per cent by 2040 and by 30 per cent in 2060.

Amber Zirnhelt, the city’s sustainability manager, said the key to reaching those targets is in promoting “energy retrofits for existing homes and buildings and encouraging the development of new energy efficient buildings.”

Just 3.4 per cent of local homes had undergone energy efficiency retrofits between April 2008 and June 2011.

Residents and businesses (excluding large industry), currently spend more than $100 million on heating and powering homes, offices, and schools and on fuel for transportation, according to Zirnhelt.

Buildings are responsible for 24 per cent of the city’s greenhouse gas emissions and 51 per cent of the community’s energy use.

“With energy costs increasing, promoting energy efficiency upgrades in homes and businesses will help the community to reduce energy related spending and GHG (greenhouse gas) emissions,” Zirnhelt said.

The city encourages homeowners to take advantage of the province’s LiveSmart BC program, which offers incentives on a range of efficiency upgrades such as insulation, windows, hot water tanks, solar hot water, air source and ground source heat pumps and other measures.

The program, which runs until March 31, 2013, includes an energy audit by a Certified Energy Advisor before and after the energy retrofit, to show homeowners the change in energy consumption.

LiveSmart BC is also available for businesses and offers companies free energy audits, with recommended steps to decrease energy consumption.

Zirnhelt said city staff will continue to work with BC Hydro and Fortis BC to promote energy efficiency incentive programs.

“Encouraging these energy efficiency upgrades will help keep money otherwise spent on energy in the community,” she said.