Bigger rebate for energy-efficient homes

Power Smart increases its incentive for single family homebuilders

Nina Winham

It's never been a better time to build energy efficiency into your new home projects. For a limited time, Power Smart will provide an improved rebate of $1,500 to builders of single family detached homes who achieve an overall rating of EnerGuide80 rating on their builds.

"One reason for the increased incentive is to help builders and developers prepare for the new provincial building code regulations," says Margo Longland, Manager of the New Home Program. "It's important that the industry is in a position to meet those new requirements, both now, and as they continue to change in the future."

The $1,500 incentive applies specifically to single family detached homes. "These homes are typically larger and have more intricate architecture than townhouse or low rise multi-family construction," says Doug Overholt, Power Smart New Home Program Representative. "That means they have more exterior wall surfaces exposed to heat loss. We want to support builders of these homes to improve their energy efficiency specifications."

Overholt says the previous incentive basically helped offset the testing costs for having a new home EnerGuide rated. The improved incentive will go further, helping defray the costs of additional energy efficiency measures included in the home.

"For example, adding full height basement insulation, or upgrading to an air source heat pump instead of an air conditioner," says Overholt. "It doesn't cover the full cost, but it can make a significant contribution and help cover the EnerGuide rating costs too."

"We're interested in the end result of helping builders achieve a level of energy efficiency," says Longland. "So there's fairly broad flexibility in how builders approach this, and what choices they can make to qualify for the incentive."

EnerGuide80 equivalency is expected to become the standard for new homes once the B.C. Building Code is updated later this year. The Power Smart New Home incentive for single family detached homes is available now and will continue until mid-2011.

For more information about how to apply for the Power Smart New Home incentive, email Doug Overholt.