• Sat. Jun 19th, 2021

Okotoks, Alta., one step closer to clean energy improvement program | CBC News


May 14, 2021

Instead of footing the invoice upfront, residents in Okotoks, Alta., will quickly have the ability to entry a low-interest mortgage for his or her family vitality enchancment tasks.

The Town of Okotoks handed a bylaw this week for its clear vitality enchancment program (CEIP). It’s a primary step towards implementing a four-year pilot venture to assist property homeowners make energy-efficient enhancements like including photo voltaic panels, investing in higher insulation or shopping for home equipment — with out the sticker shock. 

Sheri Young, the city’s local weather change and vitality specialist, says she’s been fielding extra calls from residents keen to enhance the vitality effectivity of their properties

“I think people are home and looking at their four walls and going, ‘how can I improve my house?'” mentioned Young. “So I think it’s a really good time for this.”

From a market research, Young mentioned demand was pegged at about 20 tasks a 12 months. Okotoks is planning to finance this system by means of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities, which has created a group effectivity financing initiative. 

Low curiosity, no cash down

“I mean, no down payment, right?” Young mentioned. “Low monthly payments … because we can get a lower interest loan than a regular homeowner. As a municipality, we get to leverage some of our credit.”

For some, Young mentioned, the upfront value of a photo voltaic venture, and even upgrading a furnace or home windows, is usually a barrier. This program would enable individuals to put money into enhancements that might up the worth of their properties and save prices. 

The province launched CEIP laws in 2018. This is Alberta’s model of a property assessed clear vitality (PACE) program, which first gained reputation years in the past within the United States.

How it really works:  

  • Municipalities should create and cross a bylaw, which features a capital plan.
  • The Alberta Municipal Services Corporation then helps create this system and helps the municipalities by means of administering it. 
  • Homeowners apply for this system. If permitted, they will rent a certified contractor to finish their chosen venture. 
  • Instead of paying the contractor, the house owner pays off the advance on their common property tax invoice over as much as 25 years.
  • If the property proprietor decides to maneuver, the invoice stays with the house and can be charged on the brand new resident’s taxes.

Other municipalities eyeing program

Steven Ottoni is the director of the clear vitality enchancment program for the Municipal Climate Change Action Centre in Alberta.

Ottoni says whereas no municipality has a program up and operating, a number of are properly on their method. 

So far, 5 municipalities have handed bylaws, with a pair extra within the course of. Ottoni expects a few of these municipalities to have packages operating by the top of the 12 months. 

“Alberta is going to be playing kind of a leadership role, which is exciting,” Ottoni mentioned. 

Young hopes Okotoks will transfer ahead with its program this fall. 

“I hope this is one more feather in our hat for being the sustainable destination for people who live in southern Alberta,” Young mentioned. 

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