The short answer to that question is “yes,” but unlike new homes which are built according to a building code that now requires greater levels of energy-efficiency, transforming an existing home into a high performing, energy efficient building is much more, well, complicated. That’s assuming the homeowner even knows where to start! Many homeowners and contractors are confronted with so many options for different technologies and rebate programs that they simply don’t upgrade existing homes out of ease. That’s not a good outcome for the economy or the environment, let alone the people living in those homes.
Enter Retrofit Assist, a “concierge-style” program that CEA launched last year, first in Squamish and Whistler, and later in Rossland. The roll-out of the program was popular in all three communities:
- In Squamish and Whistler, Retrofit Assist started as a program to facilitate heat pump installations. The program is now supporting a larger suite of upgrades to improve energy-efficiency, such as air sealing, insulation, windows and doors, heat pump installation, and more.
- In Rossland, the 2022 Retrofit Assist program was over-subscribed within a week of launching. Last month, a second intake was opened and only a handful of spots remain. Soon about 100 homeowners in Rossland will be supported by Retrofit Assist to undertake various home energy improvements.
As CEA staff deliver the Retrofit Assist Program in these communities, a key learning is that while financial incentives are vital, personal assistance connecting homeowners with energy advisors and qualified contractors is even more critical. The personalized approach to develop a plan for each home ensures equipment is identified and installed that fits the needs of the building while also qualifying for rebates. For homeowners, the process to upgrade their home to be more comfortable year-round with lower energy bills and GHG emissions, is simple. For energy advisors and contractors, Retrofit Assist provides valuable supports that allow them to focus on the work itself, ultimately serving more customers.
A key hurdle for homeowners looking to upgrade their home’s energy performance and access rebates is learning how to work with an energy advisor. Proper retrofitting starts with understanding the home’s current energy efficiency, and this means having an energy evaluation done by a qualified Energy Advisor. Their role is to assess the home and put together a report to guide energy upgrades. The video below outlines how this is done.