Kamloops families get Habitat home, with help from Power Smart

Image of Habitat for Humanity home in Kamloops, B.C. under construction
A duplex in Kamloops built by Habitat for Humanity is shown in mid-construction. Numerous volunteers, business and corporate sponsors, helped deliver on a project that will see two families move into the building later this month.

New Home Program ensures energy costs will be lesser burden for homeowners

Before the end of February 2015, two families in Kamloops will be moving into brand new homes, thanks to Habitat for Humanity.

The duplex, shown above in the midst of construction, came about as a result of the hard work by volunteers and the support of business and corporate sponsors.

"We depend on corporate partners to build hope and to build or renovate homes for families to break the cycle of poverty," said Jan Lingford, executive director for Habitat for Humanity Kamloops, in a recent phone interview. "Without them we couldn't exist."

Program provides energy modelling

BC Hydro's Power Smart New Home program was one of many important partners during the development of this house.

"BC Hydro paid for the cost of energy modelling and on-site testing," said Lingford, "which gives homes an energy-efficiency rating, much like that of a fridge or a washing machine."

Lingford said that Habitat isn't just responsible for building the homes. "We follow our families all the way through their homeowner experience," he said. "As long as they are in a Habitat home, we are in a partnership with them to ensure they succeed."

That includes considering caring for and maintaining the home after a family has moved it, which is why thinking about the energy efficiency of the home is so important. "It helps our homeowners reduce their energy consumption costs," said Lingford.

Lingford and Habitat want families to be able to pay off their mortgage and become complete homeowners.

"One of our measures of success is when our families sell us back their Habitat home when they're ready to enter conventional real-estate markets," she added. "Then we can place another family in that home and interrupt the cycle of poverty all over again."

There are between 22 and 25 Habitat projects planned for B.C. this year, and BC Hydro will be collaborating whenever possible.

The benefits of a Power Smart new home

Power Smart new homes meet strict energy-efficiency standards, supporting new homes that are rated ENERGY STARĀ® qualified new homes, a standard that was developed by the Government of Canada and Canada's home building professionals. ENERGY STAR qualified new homes are 20 per cent more efficient and are more comfortable.

If you're planning a move, looking for an ENERGY STAR new home can lead to annual savings because of features that include:

  • Heating and cooling systems that use less energy
  • High-performance windows, doors, and skylights
  • Insulation that exceeds what's required by the building code
  • ENERGY STAR fixtures and appliances that use less electricity by meeting strict technical specifications
  • A ventilation system that reduces indoor humidity while ensuring appropriate airflow.