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Saanich looks to continue top-up rebates for in-home heating conversions

Program has proven to be successful in encouraging Saanich residents to switch to heat pumps
Heat pumps are an example of a technology that can increase energy efficiency and Saanich top-up rebates are meant to increase overall uptake in the district. (Black Press Media file photo)

Top-up rebates in Saanich are proving to be an effective means of encouraging residents to participate in switching to greener methods of heating their homes. Saanich staff has seen an uptake in those utilizing these programs over the past year.

At an Oct. 18 meeting, council unanimously approved the continuation of top-up incentives for the CleanBC Better Homes Rebate provincially run program through to the next budget allocation at the end of May 2022.

A total of $170,000 from the Council Strategic Initiatives Contingency fund will go toward incentivizing Saanich residents to switch from oil and gas-powered furnaces to an electric-powered heat pump.

The rebate program ensures that residents have easier access to this switch by returning some of that up-front cost back to homeowners, a costly change that can seem daunting to owners at first, said staff.

Rebates of $3,000 are offered provincially for fossil fuel to heat pump conversion. As part of this program, municipalities may choose to provide top-up incentives in amounts that are pre-defined by the program.

This includes either $350 or $2,000 for heat pumps and either $500 or $1,000 for electrical panel upgrades.

Manager of sustainability Rebecca Newlove said that buildings in Saanich account for 31 per cent of GHG emissions in the district during a presentation to council.

Rebates further incentivize residents to switch to heat pumps – offering GHG, environmental, health, and cooling benefits, added Newlove.

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