Erin Thompson, who co-ordinates the Seniors Energy Efficiency Program for the West Kootenay EcoSociety, installs a new water-efficient shower head in a local senior’s home. Photo submitted

Nelson seniors take the chill out of winter with home energy upgrades

Over 100 seniors have signed up for free energy efficiency installations

Submitted by the City of Nelson and the West Kootenay EcoSociety

Over 100 seniors living in and around Nelson won’t be feeling the chill of winter, regardless of what the weather throws at them. That’s because they’ve had their home energy efficiency improved for free, through an initiative of Nelson Hydro’s EcoSave energy retrofits program.

The seniors energy efficiency program is a partnership between Nelson Hydro and the West Kootenay EcoSociety to help senior citizen Nelson Hydro customers install basic home energy efficient materials such as weatherstripping, LED light bulbs, outlet insulators, water-efficient faucet aerators, and showerheads. The program is free with trained volunteers to do the installations.

Erin Thompson is the EcoSociety’s program coordinator helping seniors be more comfortable at home and save money on energy. She signs up the participants, trains the volunteers, and assists with the installations.

“The seniors we’ve worked with are so appreciative of this program,” she says. “Our seven volunteers have installed more than 250 outlet insulators, almost 50 LED bulbs, and I don’t even know how many feet of weatherstripping. We also check hot water tank settings, fridge, and freezer settings, and adjust them if necessary.”

Local senior Margaret Stegman says “I want to encourage other seniors to sign up. I wasn’t sure what to expect and was relieved that Erin was so easy to work with. She just went around quietly, making our home more energy-efficient, with no muss, no fuss, and without needing us to participate. The whole process took only a couple of hours. She left us with peace of mind, a cozier house, and a lovely goodbye smile.”

Carmen Proctor has been managing the EcoSave program for over seven years and has helped hundreds of residents improve the energy efficiency in their homes.

“The idea came to me as I noticed a need here in Nelson for seniors to get small handyman jobs done,” Procter says. “It can be quite challenging to find someone to come in and do the simple things that a senior may not be able to do themselves. These small fixes can add up and make a big difference on your utility bill, plus adding comfort by taking away cold drafts.”

The program target was to have 100 senior Nelson Hydro customers sign up, and this has already been exceeded. The program has been extended into 2020 with the hope of reaching over 200 senior residents.

If you are a senior citizen Nelson Hydro customer and think you could benefit from the Seniors Energy Efficiency Program, please contact Erin at 250-354-1909 or visit ecosociety.ca/campaign/seniors-weatherization to sign-up today.

Not a senior but interested in saving energy? Learn more at rdck.ca/reep.

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