What’s a loans for energy retrofits program?

In 2015, an estimated 60% of Yellowknife homes were rated below EnerGuide 70. To help residents reduce their energy use and save on their monthly utilities, as Mayor, I would work to get a loans for energy retrofits program in place.

This fall, the GNWT is set to pass legislation that will allow municipalities:

  • to pass bylaws allowing property owners to finance, through local improvement charges (LIC), local improvements that are substantively energy efficiency works or renewable energy works.

By developing an LIC Program, the City would help homeowners access low-interest loans for energy retrofits and allow them to pay back the loans on their property tax bills. The loan would be tied to the property rather than to the property owner, so if an owner sells his or her home the responsibility for paying back the loan would pass to the new owner.

There are many cities across the country who have implemented loan programs for energy efficiency retrofits – you can read about them on page 133 of the City’s Community Energy Plan: https://www.yellowknife.ca/en/living-here/resources/Energy/DOCS-485683-v1-CORPORATE_AND_COMMUNITY_ENERGY_ACTION_PLAN_2015_TO_2025_WITH_STUDIES.PDF

A model that I’m in favour of is home-owners getting an initial home energy evaluation which would identify the retrofit options with the best potential payback for their specific home (designed to reduce energy use, costs and greenhouse gas emissions). The homeowner would then select what work they would like to complete, get a contractor to complete the work, and conduct a post-retrofit home energy evaluation to assess the level of improvement. Details regarding eligible retrofits, what the dollar limit for the loan would be, etc would need to be worked out, and I’d suggest that we work with our local partners – like the Arctic Energy Alliance – to develop the best program for Yellowknife.

We’ve done many projects in the past few years to improve the energy efficiency of City facilities, and with the change in territorial legislation, we now have the opportunity to help residents too.