Renovation rebates remain available

Getting money back for home improvements was a big push during the worst throes of the economic recession, but there are still plenty of programs that offer cash back for making home-efficiency upgrades.

How much incentive does it take to screw in a light bulb?

Long-term savings, higher efficiency and longer life of fluorescent or LED lamps are all good reasons to swap out old incandescent bulbs around the house and since the B.C. government has provided extra incentive by banning the sale of incandescent bulbs in the province it’s something home owners will eventually be doing anyway.

Still, with the cost of energy continually rising, there’s no such thing as a bad time to renovate your home or replace old appliances to cut heating and electricity costs.

Upgrading insulation, replacing old windows with double or triple pane designs and other home renovations can be costly, but can save money and improve comfort over the long haul.

For people who don’t want to wait months or years for a return on their energy saving investments, new and ongoing rebate and incentive programs are available from the provincial government, the city and energy providers.

LiveSmart B.C., a provincial government website, lists efficiency incentive programs, tips on ways to cut back on energy use and carbon emmissions, for homeowners and corporations.

Homeowners can also arrange for home energy efficiency audits and find out what rebates and other incentives are available for energy saving home renovations.

To find out more, please visit the LiveSmart B.C. site at www.livesmartbc.ca.

B.C. Hydro offers a comprehensive website listing energy saving tips and guides, rebates and savings programs and guides to help buyers maximize their operating costs and energy savings when purchasing everything from windows and appliances to home electronics.

The site’s E.Catalog lists more than 8,000 energy saving products for kitchens, computers, heating and cooling systems and controls, lighting and even systems used in ice rinks and agriculture.

For every dollar Hydro spends getting its customers to save energy, the company recovers $4 in savings that it would otherwise have to spend building new infrastructure.

To see what B.C. Hydro has to offer, please visit www.bchydro.com.

Life’s a gas until you have to pay for too much of it.

The Terasen Gas website lists ways to help customers manage energy costs with pages offering home energy saving tips, online brochures and links to other sites specializing in energy conservation, plus a section for Terasen’s promotions and rebates, including the Switch ‘n’ Shrink Program. Switch to an Energy Star natural gas heating system before Dec. 21, 2011 and get $1,000 back.

The City of Nanaimo is always looking for ways to save water, especially in the summer months. Inefficient 13-litre per flush toilets account for up 30 per cent of a household’s water consumption. Home owners can cut down their water bills and claim $50 rebates on the purchase and installation of 6-litre low-flow toilets, or $75 rebates for dual-flush (three-litre/six-litre) toilets.

The city has set aside $50,000 for the program, which is only active until funds run dry so homeowners might want to install new toilets while the program is still flush with cash.

For more information, please visit the City of Nanaimo website at www.nanaimo.ca and click on the Sustainable City link.

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