By Jesse Row
Back in 2014, Alberta was the only jurisdiction in Canada or the U.S. without energy efficiency programs for the public. This is changing now that the Provincial Government has announced three new programs coming to Alberta this year.
The first program is open to single family and multi-family homes, both owners and renters. It’s called the Residential No-Cost Energy Savings Program and will bring high efficiency lightbulbs and other basic energy saving products to homes across the province at no-cost. The program will also give energy saving tips and let consumers know about other programs they can participate in.
The second program for homes is a Residential Retail Products Program that will offer rebates on high efficiency appliances, insulation and lighting. Other products like consumer electronics and water heaters are expected to be added over time.
The third program is a Business, Non-Profit and Institutional Energy Savings Program that will offer incentives for high efficiency lighting, heating and cooling systems, and hot water heating.
The exact launch dates of these programs have not been set, but many are expecting them in the April-May timeframe. You can receive updates on these programs, and other energy efficiency initiatives in the province, by signing up to the Alberta Energy Efficiency Alliance LinkedIn Group at https://www.linkedin.com/groups/4836089.
These programs are just the start for Energy Efficiency Alberta – a new agency tasked with increasing the uptake of energy efficiency and community energy systems in the province.
Last year, an Energy Efficiency Advisory Panel was established to provide advice to this new agency while it was being created. The results of that advice can be found in the panel’s final report at https://www.alberta.ca/documents/climate/EEAP-Report-Getting-It-Right-Complete.pdf. The Panel’s report contains 39 recommendations for Energy Efficiency Alberta that includes a long-term vision, suggestions for initial programming and opportunities for engaging Albertans.
The overall message from the Panel focuses on the opportunities that exist to help save money, create jobs and reduce emissions all at the same time through energy efficiency and community energy systems. Considerable pent-up demand and interest was also identified throughout the province as a key opportunity for the new agency.
The opportunity for energy efficiency in Alberta is significant and will lead to many different benefits. Energy efficiency upgrades improve the quality of buildings and enhance property values; households and businesses save money; jobs are created; emissions are reduced; and real estate professionals and other service providers are able to provide value-added services to their clients. Energy efficiency programs are a win-win opportunity for many different sectors and that’s why they are so widely used around the world.
It’s good to see Alberta re-entering the energy efficiency space with this initial offering of programs. We certainly want to see this continue so Albertans can take advantage of all the benefits energy efficiency has to offer.