March 13, 2006

Energy efficiency programs for buildings launched in Kelowna

The first implementation of a new Energy Efficiency in Buildings Strategy, introduced last September, is being carried out in Kelowna, BC by FortisBC and Okanagan College. The federal-provincial program will provide $615,000 to support FortisBC's PowerSense conservation and energy efficiency programs.

Specific allocations include:

*$275,000 for the "EnerGuide for Houses 80" program to help build 500 qualified homes throughout the utility's service area;

*$260,000 for the Energy Star Window program, under which customers will receive a rebate of $1.50 per square foot of qualified windows installed up to March 31, 2007;

*$50,000 in Heat Pump Technology Support to provide more customer rebates, seminars, general information and advanced contractor training up to March 31, 2007; and

*$20,000 in Smart Metering funding to help customers save money by monitoring "real time" energy usage in their homes.

The British Columbia government has also made $500,000 worth of in-kind contributions such as co-ordination and facilitation services, and PST exemptions for energy conservation equipment.

The federal government funding to FortisBC augments the utility's $4.4-million PowerSense fund for consumer information and incentives aimed at improving energy efficiency.

BC Energy, Mines, and Petroleum Resources Minister Richard Neufeld noted that the Energy Efficiency in Buildings strategy lists ten energy efficiency measures that contribute to achieving the goal of environmental sustainability.

FortisBC is matching the provincial funding of $10,000 to Okanagan College over the next two years to add supplemental energy efficiency training to an existing building sciences program.

"As a result of this funding, Okanagan College will include the latest energy efficient building standards in our residential construction program and carpentry apprenticeship classes," said Randy Werger, the college's associate dean for trades and apprenticeship.

FortisBC's PowerSense is recognized as one of Canada's leading energy efficiency programs, earning provincial and national recognition. Since 1989, it has helped customers reduce their energy consumption by 200,000,000 kilowatt hours; this is enough energy to meet the demands of 17,000 homes. CEO John Walker noted that "These savings have offset $10 million in additional power costs annually over the past seven years on behalf of BC ratepayers."

The federal government funding comes from the Opportunities Envelope that provides financial support for cost-effective, greenhouse gas emission-reducing projects and programs brought forward by the provinces and territories. This is part of a two-year agreement between the governments of Canada and British Columbia to help the province achieve its market transformation objectives and reach its energy efficiency targets.

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