Central Saanich to launch PACE financing program for homeowners to switch to heat pumps
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Homeowners in Central Saanich wanting to replace their oil heating systems with an electric heat pump will soon have access to 0%-interest financing through the District of Central Saanich.
The District’s two-year pilot program is one of the first of its kind in the province. The program is funded by the Community Efficiency Financing initiative of the Green Municipal Fund, a fund administered by the Federation of Canadian Municipalities and backed financially by the Government of Canada.
The program concept, known as Property-Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) financing, enables homeowners to fund the up-front cost of the home improvement through a loan repaid on property tax bills.
“By enabling homeowners to make the switch, we will reduce carbon-intensive energy consumption and associated greenhouse gas emissions in our community,” said Central Saanich Mayor Ryan Windsor. “It will also decrease home energy bills for participating homeowners, which can be put towards repaying the loan.” The program will also help increase resilience against future climate impacts, since heat pumps are able to heat and cool homes and can therefore handle the hotter summers anticipated for southern Vancouver Island.
Climate action is one of Central Saanich Council’s key strategic priorities for 2021 and 2022. The financing program will help support the community’s two key climate action goals enshrined in the Climate Leadership Plan: 100% GHG emission reductions relative to 2007 by 2050 and 100% renewable energy community wide by 2050. A critical pathway needed to meet these goals is to develop and implement energy improvement projects in homes and businesses, including the conversion of 100% of oil heated homes to electric heat pumps by 2030.
Workshops and educational sessions for Central Saanich’s PACE pilot program will be scheduled over the summer while the official launch is planned for fall 2021.
For more information
If you are a homeowner in the District currently using heating oil and would like to be kept informed of program developments, please contact Ali Rivers, Climate Action Specialist for Central Saanich at firstname.lastname@example.org or 250-652-4444.
PACE background information
The $300-million Community Efficiency Financing initiative is funded by the Government of Canada as part of its $950-million investment in FCM’s Green Municipal Fund. The official press announcement from FCM and the Government of Canada can be found here.
Across Canada, there are successful PACE programs running in Toronto and numerous municipalities across Nova Scotia and rural Yukon, and several other provinces have passed legislation enabling PACE.
The BC government is taking action around PACE as well, including $2 million for a PACE Roadmap and Pilot Program in the September 2020 Economic Recovery Plan and actions in December’s mandate letters for the new ministers of Energy, Mines and Low Carbon Innovation and Municipal Affairs. The province engaged a contractor, Dunsky Energy, to develop a PACE Roadmap. Central Saanich has been involved in the stakeholder consultations, which began in late 2020. Further updates regarding the provincial program and implementation plan will be announced in spring 2021.