Optimizing Home Energy Programs

Helping Residents Optimize Home Energy Programs
Posted on 04/28/2022
Neighbourhood approach boosts home energy projects and savings

The City of Charlottetown is helping residents with home energy opportunities one neighourhood at a time. In partnership with efficiencyPEI, the Better Homes Neighbourhood Energy Project (BHNEP) was created in 2019 to deliver a local, hands-on approach to home energy projects and savings.

Specifically, BHNEP was created as a pilot project to better understand the barriers to participation in home energy efficiency programs and to help homeowners realize their energy efficiency opportunities. The pilot project was free for participants and provided a home energy audit, home energy conservation upgrades such as LED light bulbs and low flow shower heads, and an in-home consultation with an energy consultant.

“Sharing resources and information about how to reduce energy consumption is essential to creating a greener city,” said Councillor Mitchell Tweel, Chair of the Environment and Sustainability Committee. “Our pilot project empowers and equips homeowners with more tools and knowledge to help make their home more energy efficient and reduce their home energy costs.”

Beginning with a designated area within the Sherwood neighbourhood, the BHNEP registered 41 participants who have accessed more than $45,000 in home energy efficiency rebates from efficiencyPEI since the pilot project began.

Results showed that BHNEP participants were twice as likely to access efficiencyPEI’s home energy efficiency programs than non-participants and four times more likely to access home insulation rebates. There was a slight reduction in average heating fuel (oil) consumption for participants when their pre-program energy data was compared with their post-program energy data. At the conclusion of the project, the results also showed homeowners had a much higher level of energy efficiency knowledge than what they had reported prior to the BHNEP program. Overall, the results demonstrate the success of a neighbourhood level approach to energy efficiency education and engagement.

Based on the success of the pilot project, the BHNEP is currently underway in designated area within the downtown. In total, there are currently 22 registered participants, or 39 units, as this intake was broadened to include multi-unit residential buildings as well as single-family homes. In the future, BHNEP will continue to see targeted expansion across the City.

Over the last number of years significant improvements have been made to building construction and home energy efficiency. There are several energy efficiency opportunities available to local homeowners to reduce home heating costs and enhance comfort throughout the entire year. All Islanders, including Charlottetown residents, are eligible for several home energy efficiency rebates through efficiencyPEI. There are additional rebates, along with free services and upgrades available for income qualifying homeowners. Home energy audits, insulation rebates, heating equipment upgrade rebates, and more are available through the efficiencyPEI office of the Government of PEI.

Charlottetown residents also have access to financing to help with the upfront cost of home energy upgrades through Switch Charlottetown. Launched in 2022, Switch provides 0% interest loans up to $40,000 for home energy efficiency upgrades including home insulation, exterior windows and doors, home heating equipment such as heat pumps, solar panels and more.

To learn more about the Better Homes Neighbourhood Energy Program, visit charlottetown.ca/betterhomes.

To learn more about efficiencyPEI, visit princeedwardisland.ca/en/topic/efficiency-pei.

To learn more about Switch Charlottetown, visit switchcharlottetown.ca.