sponsored | Homes & Design Photo Credit: BC Hyrdro

How to Cut Reno Costs in Half

A Victoria bungalow is reimagined as an energy-efficient gem, with plenty of help from home energy rebates from BC Hydro and FortisBC

The Home Energy Rebate Offer is an opportunity for British Columbians to renovate or upgrade their energy-inefficient homes and be rewarded by BC Hydro and FortisBC for doing so.

The program offers homeowners a variety of rebates for renovations that include insulation upgrades, draftproofing, ventilation, space heating and water heating.

It’s incentive for owning a more comfortable home and one Victoria resident couldn’t pass it up.

Last fall, Andrew Swan and his wife renovated the two-bedroom bungalow they’ve called home for 17 years, a cozy, solid nest in a prime Oak Bay location that they loved at first sight. But what it had in charm and postal code, it lacked in energy efficiency. “The electric baseboard heating alone hurt every time we opened our bills,” recalls Andrew.

“We knew our house well and tried everything we could to lower our energy bills, but ultimately, there’s only so much you can do without a thorough upgrade.”

Andrew and his wife knew a reno would be time-consuming, disruptive of their personal space and, more than anything, costly. So they started researching how to offset the looming reno bill.

They heard about how BC Hydro wants to help homeowners use less energy and the various home renovation rebates to make B.C. homes more efficient.

“After a bit of research, the first step was to find an energy advisor to conduct an efficiency audit on our home,” says Andrew, who ended up going with Victoria-based City Green Solutions. “He immediately recommended changing our baseboard heaters to a more efficient heat pump,” says Andrew. “From there, the savings and rebate conversation started. He told us that if we completed three efficiency upgrades, we could qualify for a bonus of $750. All we had to do was seal up some cracks with caulking and complete a slightly more involved attic insulation project.”

After the renos were done, the Swan’s were excited to receive a rebate of $2,800 from BC Hydro.

“Plus, the long-term savings on your home electricity bill will make the reno pay for itself in less than three years,” says Andrew. “We were spending $150 a month and we are now spending $60 a month,” he says, adding that he proudly tracks his home’s before-and-after usage at bchydro.com.

But savings aside, Andrew is really impressed with how easy it was to participate. “Our energy advisor did everything after having a look at our home. He walked us through the rebates, recommended an action plan to us and even submitted all the paperwork.” Shortly after applying, the Swans received their rebate cheque, which was an extra happy ending to their renovation story.

“Increased home efficiency was a big undertaking for us,” reflects Andrew. “But it’s so rewarding personally and financially. And the financial part is actually quite easy.” His one word of advice is to start your energy efficiency-focused reno early, leaving lots of time for planning and implementation. Wise words, because to qualify for the rebates, energy upgrades must be completed by March 31, 2016.

Get more efficient and get rewarded for doing so at bchydro.com/homerebates.

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