Energy Diet initiative supported

Summerlanders will get some help in paying for an assessment which can help make their homes more energy efficient.

Summerlanders will get some help in paying for an assessment which can help make their homes more energy efficient.

On Monday evening, municipal council approved a $25 subsidy towards the Okanagan Energy Diet’s initial home energy assessments for up to 160 homes in the community.

The funding for the subsidies will come from the Climate Action budget, to a maximum of $4,000.

Peter Robinson of the Community Energy Association said the Energy Diet began in Rossland, where the community covered the costs of the home assessments.

Roughly 22 per cent of homeowners participated and of those, 80 per cent made changes to improve the energy efficiency of their homes.

The result was a significant boost to the local economy as homeowners worked to complete their upgrades.

The Energy Diet program has since spread and is organized through FortisBC.

The inspections carry a $60 price tag.

Those who make energy efficiency upgrades have until March, 2014 to complete the work.

Municipal administrator Tom Day said he had the audit conducted at his home. The audit showed him a method to save almost $800 a year on his heating bills, without any retrofit or renovation work required.

Coun. Lloyd Christopherson, council’s representative on the Climate Action Committee, said he would reluctantly support the initiative.

He added that he would like to see it in place for low-income people.

Coun. Robert Hacking said he initially had reservations about the subsidy, in part because he did not think the money would be enough. However, he said he has since changed his mind. He noted the potential economic benefits.

“My hope is that there will be many more than 160 people signing up,” said Coun. Martin Van Alphen.

Coun. Orv Robson said he hopes the initiative will help to bolster the community’s economy. He urged residents to hire local contractors for the upgrade work.