LETTER: EcoSave program helps save money

From EcoSave coordinator Carmen Proctor...

RE: Conflicting views on Nelson;s solar garden

I want to thank Michael Jessen for some of the points he makes in regards to energy. His statement about using less energy instead of how to make it cheaply so that we can easily waste it is astute. My favourite saying is, “The greenest energy, is the energy not used at all.”

Mr. Jessen also expressed that he would like to see Nelson Hydro assist more energy efficiency efforts, especially for customers on fixed and limited incomes.

In response, I would like to explain what has been accomplished when it comes to energy efficiency and reducing emissions.

The City of Nelson implemented a greenhouse gas reduction plan in 2010. They reduced energy consumption in city owned buildings through projects such as boiler upgrades, biogas capture and control systems resulting a 25 per cent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions every year.

This was followed with a program for residents to make energy efficient improvements to their homes. Since 2012, the EcoSave Energy Retrofits Program has been offered to all Nelson Hydro customers, and now has over 500 registrants.

The 107 participants, who completed energy upgrades during the 2012/2013 pilot phase, are saving upwards of 30 per cent on their utility bills.

The EcoSave Program offers a simple way to have your building assessed and to receive recommendations on how you can save energy and what rebates you may be eligible for.

All Nelson Hydro customers are eligible for the FortisBC rebate offers. As part of the program, it is my role to raise awareness for those rebates. For instance, The Energy Conservation Assistance Program (ECAP) for fixed- and low-income households provides home energy assessments, the installation of household energy efficiency products like LED lights, low-flow showerheads, and draft proofing.

And for eligible homes, participants may also receive new Energy Star refrigerators and furnaces, as well as upgraded insulation all at no cost. If you think you may be eligible, please call me and I’ll help you get registered.

There is also the on-bill financing that is offered to city residents for energy upgrades and is repaid on your Nelson Hydro utility bill.

This loan program was designed specifically to help those who want to reduce their utility bills and want an affordable way to complete energy upgrades.

The approval process is simple, if your account with Nelson Hydro is in good standing and you own your home you are approved for a loan up to $16,000.

The amount that you save on your utility bills now goes towards the payment.

Mr. Jessen also advocated that the local utilities support the construction of energy efficient homes (aka: net zero). FortisBC provides a $2,000 rebate for homes that are built to the Energy Star rating standard, including net zero homes.

Lastly, I’d like to say that Nelson Hydro’s power comes from run of the river and does not have the methane impacts of stored hydro.

We also appreciate the various thoughts on the solar project and have encouraged input and been transparent throughout the project.

And we will continue to do so. Information for this project is available at www.nelson.ca/solar.

Carmen Proctor

EcoSave Program Coordinator

Nelson

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