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LiveSmart BC’s Energy Incentive Program

LiveSmart BC’s Energy Incentive Program is one of the BC Liberal government’s best programs, and yet it is in danger, with no assured funding beyond March 31st 2013.

We – the BCSEA - consider this to be a shame, since it provides funding for the home energy efficiency upgrades that are such an important part of our journey to a low-carbon economy in BC.

We are looking for 50 HEROES who will agree to send an email to the Premier and the Minister of Energy, reminding them why LiveSmartBC is so important, and urging them to continue funding it.

Will you step forward? It will only take ten minutes of your time to pick one or two of the points from our listing of LiveSmartBC’s strengths, and to send them by email, letter or phone to -

(a)   The Hon Christy Clark, Premier of BC, premier@gov.bc.ca, Box 9041, Prov Govt, Victoria V8W 9E1. 250-387-1715

(b) The Hon Rich Coleman, Minister of Energy, rich.coleman.mla@leg.bc.ca, Box 9060 Prov Govt, Victoria V8W 9E3. 250 387-5896

(c) cc to info@bcsea.org, so that we can keep track of your emails – and thank you!

The Program is available to any homeowner who has not yet accessed an incentive from the Livesmart BC or ecoEnergy programs.

It covers insulation in the attic, exterior walls, basement or crawl space; space and water heating; upgrades for windows, doors and skylights; air sealing, mechanical ventilation; and distributed power generation. A home energy efficiency assessment is required beforehand, and a follow-up assessment is needed within 18 months or the upgrade, or before March 31st 2013, whichever comes first. For the details, see www.livesmartbc.ca/rebates.

Here are seven reasons why we believe this program deserves to continue:

1.     It's one of the BC Liberals’ best programs that the government should be proud of.

2.     It contributes to BC’s economy. In 2011, BC’s green building and energy efficiency sector generated some $8.4 billion in GDP ($5.5 billion direct and $2.9 billion indirect), according to the BC Green Building Report, Globe Advisors, 2012. The Energy Incentive Program plays an important role in BC’s green building industry, and the retrofit market for existing homes.

3.     It creates jobs in every riding, in all communities.  In 2011, according to the same report, BC’s green building and energy efficiency sector generated 76,450 full-time equivalent jobs (46,290 direct and 30,160 indirect) for tradespeople, contractors, manufacturers, wholesalers and support services.

4.     It stimulates private sector investment. The residential energy retrofit sector contains over 1000 small and medium sized businesses, and the EIP stimulated the market for high efficiency products, innovative energy retrofit services, high tech energy conservation start-up ventures, and new R & D opportunities, presenting investors with many green economy market opportunities.

5.     It keeps life affordable for families. The EIP helps families make wise home energy retrofit investments that save energy and lower their energy bills, insulating residents from pending double digit increases in energy rates, while also protecting the wider environment.

6.     It insulates us all against the future cost of climate change. The future cost of climate change may not yet be evident, but the scientific consensus tells us that inaction now will lead to increased costs for residents, municipalities and the provincial government down the road.

7.     It brings broad support from industry and environmental sector. It has the unique attribute of being broadly accepted both by business and industry, and by the environmental community.

We believe that there is a strong role for the provincial government to extend and expand LiveSmart BC’s Efficiency Incentive Program, and the supporting policies that accompany it. It is pro-active programs like this that improve the economic vitality and sustainability of our fine province.

Many thanks to Peter Sundberg at City Green, for his support, and for the substance of these notes.