Power Smart New Home Program helps shift B.C. building industry
British Columbia's housing landscape is changing. With more than 30,000 new housing starts forecasted for 2013 and a need to differentiate your product in today's competitive market, now is the time for residential builders to take advantage of the Power Smart New Home Program — and gain incentives for their builds.
"Between our Home Performance offer and our ENERGY STAR® offer, 20,000 participants in B.C. have received incentives from our program since it launched in 2006," says Sarah Yada Seto, Power Smart New Home program manager.
Aimed at builders of new single family, row/townhome, duplex or multi-unit residential building projects, the program helps them to construct energy efficient homes by providing financial support, education and training, and home buyer awareness.
The Power Smart New Home program helps builders meet the guidelines of the national EnerGuide rating system, which measures the energy efficiency level of homes on a scale of 0 to 100. The incentive is for builders who achieve an EnerGuide EG rating of 80+, which is considered excellent for a new home. Builders who meet a minimum rating of EG 80 can also receive support from Power Smart to qualify for BuiltGreen® Platinum, R-2000 and LEED Canada for New Homes certification.
Financial incentives help builders make it happen
Two financial incentives are available through the program. The Home Performance incentive, which provides up to $2,000 per home, is for builders of single family homes, row houses, townhouses or duplexes that achieve an EnerGuide rating of 80 or higher through improved building envelope or operational systems.
The ENERGY STAR package, also available for builders of multi-unit residential buildings, provides up to $200 per suite for the installation of qualified ENERGY STAR lighting, appliances and ventilation. Thanks to a partnership between BC Hydro and FortisBC, natural gas incentives were added to the program in early 2012. These incentives include $300 per home for an EnerChoice fireplace, and between $200 to $1,000 per home for ENERGY STAR water heater technologies.
Education and training — for builders and their buyers
In addition to the financial incentives, the Power Smart New Home Program supports education and training of builders on energy efficient building practices, and raises awareness among home buyers to stimulate market demand for energy efficient homes.
"We provide cooperative marketing support, but also focus on sharing builders' best practices," Yada Seto says. They want to help builders establish deeper relationships with other industry partners, to ultimately help them create a streamlined approach to building energy efficient homes.
The most effective aspect of the New Home Program is the range of support builders receive from BC Hydro Power Smart. "Builders tell us they appreciate that we provide both financial incentives to offset costs, and share technical know-how to help them find tailored solutions for their specific projects," says program representative Doug Overholt.