©2022 City Green and Vancouver City Savings Credit Union
City Green and Vancity are helping homeowners find climate-friendly solutions for home upgrades.
This offer is available for free to Vancity members.
What is Home Energy Advice?
The Home Energy Advice offer is a collaborative effort between City Green Solutions and Vancity to bring free virtual expert advice and guidance to homeowners at all stages of their retrofit journey. Our Energy Experts and the Home Energy Advice Report is here to help you get started, provide guidance on next steps and support decision making so that you feel confident in tackling climate-friendly upgrades for your home.
What are the eligibility requirements?
- Participants must be a Vancity member.
- Participants must be owners of a home within British Columbia.
- Premises must be at least 12 months old.
- Each Participant must submit a separate registration form per Premise.
- The Premise must be connected to a residential account with one of the following utilities:
- FortisBC Natural Gas, FortisBC Inc., BC Hydro, City of New Westminster, City of Grand Forks, District of Summerland, City of Penticton, Nelson Hydro, or Pacific Northern Gas
- The Premise must be heated primarily by one of the following:
- natural gas, propane or oil (a fireplace is not considered a primary heating system)
- electricity (hard-wired electric heating systems such as electric baseboards, radiant ceilings, radiant floors, forced-air furnace/boiler, or heat pump)
- wood or other solid fuel
- The following types of premises are eligible for the Offer:
- single family home (detached dwelling).
- secondary suite in a single-family home (detached dwelling); the home and secondary suite must be individually metered.
- mobile home that is permanently fixed, sits on a foundation and is structurally complete with installed and connected plumbing, heating, electrical, water and sewer services; towing apparatus and axle must be removed.
- duplex, triplex, row home or townhome, where each unit has its own natural gas and/or electricity meter. Utility accounts must be in the name of the resident and/or homeowner; utility accounts in the name of a strata corporation are not eligible
- The following types of premises are not eligible for the Offer:
- multi-unit residential buildings such as condominiums, high-rises and apartment buildings
- garages, workshops, and outbuildings
See the Program Terms and Conditions for full details.
What types of home energy advice is provided?
Home Energy Advice provides guidance for all types of home energy efficiency upgrades that deliver greenhouse gas emission reductions:
- space heating
- water heating
- air sealing
- windows and doors
The program registration survey collects contextual information about your home and we provide support based on your needs and goals. We aim to address energy related issues in your home (comfort issues, high-energy bills, equipment replacement, indoor air quality issues, etc).
I need additional support, what do I do?
Each time you need support, just complete the Registration Form.
- If you’ve already received a Home Energy Advice Report, we already have your home’s information on file and just need your contact information.
- When the Registration Form asks what type of support you’re looking for, just select the option that suits your inquiry best:
- I know what I want to do and need help finalizing decisions
- I just have a few quick questions
- I need help accessing rebates
Once you submit the form, an energy expert will reach out to you to provide additional support.
What does a climate-friendly home mean?
A climate-friendly home is a home that produces minimal greenhouse gas emissions and minimally contributes to local and global climate change. In the capital region, 30-50% of household emissions are from burning fossil fuels for heating our homes and buildings. In Vancouver, nearly 60% of carbon pollution comes from buildings. A home with fossil fuel heating (e.g. natural gas, oil, or propane) can produce more GHG emissions than the average car each year. A home with electric heating will produce almost no GHG emissions thanks to BC’s nearly 100% renewable hydroelectricity supply.
A home can be made more climate-friendly by reducing the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions it produces. There are a variety of ways to do this, including switching from fossil fuels to low-carbon hydroelectricity and/or by improving the overall efficiency of your home. Home energy improvements such as upgrading to a heat pump and improving the insulation, windows, and air sealing in your home, can keep energy bills low and help to make your home climate-friendly.
How does reducing the energy consumption of my home make a difference to the issue of global climate change?
Canada is among the top 10 global emitters as a country and one of the largest per capita emitters of GHGs. While the energy consumption and greenhouse gases emitted from your home make up a tiny percentage of global greenhouse gas emissions, at a regional level, the collective GHG emissions from homes is significant. More importantly, the amount of GHG emissions you produce in your home is completely within your control to reduce. Individual and collective actions at home are part of the solution.
What is a heat pump?
A heat pump takes heat from one place and moves it to another – just like a refrigerator. In summer, it moves heat out of the house, and in the winter it moves heat into the house – even if it’s cold outside.
Heat pumps are able to transfer heat using a process of evaporation and condensation of a substance called refrigerant that cycles between the indoor and outdoor units.
There are several types of heat pump:
- Central ducted heat pump uses the existing ducting to distribute warmed or cooled air throughout the home. They are excellent alternatives to natural gas or electric furnaces.
- Ductless mini-split and mutli-split heat pumps do not use ducting. Instead they use indoor heads that are mounted on the wall. Mini-split and multi-split heat pumps are excellent for zonal heating and cooling.
- Air-to-water heat pumps provide space heating through hydronic heating like a boiler. Some air-to-water heat pumps provide both space and water heating.
For more information on heat pumps, visit BetterHomesBC.ca/HeatPumps.
Do I have to be considering a heat pump to participate?
No. Actively considering a heat pump is not a requirement to receive a Home Energy Advice Report. The intention of the Home Energy Advice program is to support homeowners taking action to reduce their household greenhouse gas emissions. A heat pump can be one of the best ways to do so, but isn’t the only way.
Why are you asking for information about my home?
By understanding some details about your home or issues you may be having in your home our energy experts can be prepared to provide you with better support. Although separate from each other – your insulation, heating and cooling system, windows, doors, ventilation, and exterior walls, foundation and siding make your house operate as a system (house-as-a-system), where all the components interact. Because your house operates as a system – sometimes energy retrofits to one component of your home can affect other components of your home in unintended ways.
Before starting to improve the efficiency of your home with one retrofit, it is a good idea to get advice to ensure that your investment in home energy improvements meets your expectations and that you will not be causing new issues while resolving old ones. Planning your retrofits within a house-as-a-system approach will also allow you to create a long-term home energy improvement plan and will provide guidance on the recommended order in which to complete energy retrofits.
Example: Heat Pumps
A well-installed high efficiency heat pump system can reduce dollars spent on utility bills, shrink your environmental footprint, keep fresh clean air circulating through your home while maintaining an even, comfortable temperature.
- House-As-A-System Considerations:
- Regardless of what type of heating system you are installing it is always best practice to consider how the efficiency of your home can be upgraded so you are using less energy and more cost effectively heating your home.
- Installing a high efficiency heat pump system in your home before addressing air leakage issues or upgrading your insulation may result in the installation of an oversized heating system that does not provide the energy savings or comfort you would expect from your investment in a new system.
What is the difference between a Home Energy Advice Report and an EnerGuide Home Evaluation?
The Home Energy Advice Report is a free one-on-one conversation with an energy expert to assess what upgrades best suit your goals and priorities. The Home Energy Advice Report is not a replacement for an EnerGuide Home Evaluation.
An EnerGuide home evaluation is a comprehensive service designed by the federal government to help you improve the comfort and energy efficiency of your home. As part of the service, an energy advisor will come to your home and assess its energy performance. Energy advisors are building science professionals who will provide you with unbiased energy saving information, rather than selling any particular products or recommending particular contractors. Read more on Natural Resources Canada’s EnerGuide Home Evaluation info-graphic.
Certain rebate programs will require you to have an EnerGuide Home Evaluation prior to your upgrades.
How should I prepare for the Home Energy Advice consultation?
The Home Energy Advice consultation is a phone or video call conversation. You can prepare for it by:
- Ensuring you are available during the appointed time.
- Consider preparing a list of questions related to the survey you submitted.
- Consider having utility billing history available to reference for both electricity and natural gas bills.
- Consider having the efficiency of your heating system on hand, it is located either in the user guide or the model number label.
- If you have already received quotes, consider having those on hand to discuss the upgrades you are currently considering.
Does Vancity offer financial support for home upgrades?
Vancity is committed to tackling climate change and leading a climate transition that puts people at the centre. They have financial products and services to support you in taking action on climate, including their:
What rebates are available?
There are up to $11,000 in rebates available plus additional offers such as municipal top-ups. Conditions apply, see individual programs for details.
- CleanBC Better Homes and Home Renovation Rebate Program – up to $6,000
- Canada Greener Homes Grant – up to $5,000
- CleanBC Municipal Top-Ups – up to $2,000
- CleanBC Group Purchase Rebate – up to $500
- CleanBC Income Qualified Program – up to $33,900
Check with your municipality to see if there are special codes or top-ups available.
Where can I get more information about rebates or additional support?
For free support, rebates, and contractor search tools, visit CleanBC Better Homes:
- Rebate Search Tool – Province wide listing of rebates in your area
- Find a Contractor – Find a contractor that services your area
- Program Qualified Energy Advisor – Find an Energy Advisor that services your area
- Contact an Energy Coach – Ask questions about rebates
- Renovation Frequently Asked Questions
- Product and Upgrade Frequent Asked Questions