Regional and municipal governments in the East Kootenay can now buy their carbon offsets locally and achieve their carbon neutral commitments by putting some funding into the East Kootenay Energy Diet program.
“It is a local reduction project,” said Regional District of East Kootenay community energy manager Megan Lohmann, adding this means money local governments put into the Energy Diet program counts as carbon offset credits.
So far the regional district is the only local government putting money into the Energy Diet program, which is also funded by the Columbia Basin Trust, B.C. Hydro and Fortis BC.
The Energy Diet is at present just a pilot project, but basically provides incentives and helps coach East Kootenay residents through the process of making their homes more energy efficient.
“Local governments can still achieve their commitments but also have a benefit for residents,” said Mrs. Lohmann.
The program is attracting interest in the Upper Columbia Valley – as attested by the almost full house of nearly 30 residents attending a meeting on the project at Radium’s Prestige Inn on Thursday, November 7th. This may be partly because Upper Columbia Valley homes tend to have much more expensive heating systems (usually propane heating, heating oil or electric heating) than houses in the Cranbrook and Kimberley area (which, thanks to a natural gas pipeline in the area, have the more affordable option of natural gas heating).
The Energy Diet involves having your home assessed and then retrofitted, then re-assessed. Subsidies mean the normally $300 assessment currently costs $40 and LiveSmart B.C. is offering a $1500 incentive to anybody who undertakes three of what it calls energy efficiency actions (usually improving insulation plus two other actions to retrofit your home to make it more energy efficient).
The subsidies and incentives will not be offered long — those interested must sign up for the initial assessment before December 10th. Those who then want to continue with the program and get the LiveSmart incentive must complete the three renovations and have their home re-assessed by the end of March.
“It’s a tight timeline, but if people were already thinking of doing some renovation this winter, it’s a great opportunity,” said Mrs. Lohmann.
The crowd at the Prestige Inn meeting also heard about other energy efficiency opportunities in the valley from biomass business owner David Dubois and solar-power business owner Bill Swan. For more on the East Kootenay Energy Diet, check out www.eked.ca.