Retrofit rebate program approved by Regina city council

“Not only do more efficient homes support long-term climate objectives but retrofit investments also create economic and financial benefits.”

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Regina city council, during a meeting Wednesday, gave the go-ahead for a retrofit rebate program designed to help residential property owners go green.

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“Not only do more efficient homes support long-term climate objectives but retrofit investments also create economic and financial benefits,” said a report approved unanimously by council.

“Encouraging and accelerating action on home retrofits will create new demand for jobs — for energy auditors, retrofit contractors, and the next-generation of skilled workers — and an increased demand for energy efficient equipment and low-carbon materials will grow the green building product supply chain in Canada.”

Having debated the program at executive committee last week, mayor and council approved it without any further discussion Wednesday, an anticlimactic end to a key piece in the city’s Energy and Sustainability Framework.

The program will distribute $200,000 for up to 80 residential rebates with a goal of “reducing energy consumption, reducing greenhouse gas emissions and providing some financial assistance to residential property owners.”

In a report considered by executive committee last week, administration said the rebate program is a must, given changing building codes and the city’s recently approved Energy and Sustainability Framework, which “indicates that all residential homes need to be retrofitted to be 50 per cent more efficient by 2030 and 2035.”

Building retrofits is one of the seven “big moves” outlined in the framework, which was released in mid-March and approved by council at the end of March.

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Energy use in buildings accounts for 69 per cent greenhouse gas emissions in Regina, according to city administration. The framework notes that it’s most cost-effective to maximize energy efficiency before adding renewable energy.

Retrofits range from LED lighting, adding insulation, and solar panels to replacing windows and doors, and updating heating and cooling systems. The framework outlines a path starting immediately to complete deep retrofits in residential buildings constructed prior to 1981 by 2030, and then in residential buildings constructed between 1981 and 2016, as well as industrial, commercial and institutional buildings by 2035.

The Energy and Sustainability Framework is a roadmap to becoming a net-zero city by 2050. It is expected to cost $11.5 billion to implement and create an equivalent of more than 4,000 full-time jobs.

The city has called it a realistic plan, but one that will need investment and “sustained efforts” from the city, residents and all sectors of the community to make it happen.

— with files from Alec Salloum

[email protected]

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