Saanich aims to help homeowners dump their oil tanks for heat pumps

With a proposed budget of $724,000 over two years, 50 out of 4,600 homes with oil tanks may benefit

Some Saanich residents using oil to heat their homes could soon receive direct financial support from the municipality to energy retro-fit their homes under a pilot project.

The project would see Saanich finance the upfront capital costs of replacing oil heating systems with air source heat pumps. Eligible recipients (with an emphasis on low-income individuals) would receive up to $12,000 in loans with zero interest financing over 10 years to replace their oil heating systems, then repay the municipality through their energy cost savings.

RELATED: WATCH: Methane-snacking crabs adaptive to climate change, UVic researchers say

RELATED: CRD endorses Climate Emergency Declaration

Ting Pan, acting manager of sustainability, said offering zero interest financing and focusing on oil tank replacements in the pilot phase, energy cost savings would cover the annual repayments with no net increase to daily living expenses.

According to a staff report, 18 per cent (or 6,000) of all Saanich owner-households are spending 30 per cent or more of their income on shelter, leaving little room to invest in the capital costs of home energy retro-fits.

Pan said municipal financing would help homeowners benefit from a healthier, more comfortable home with lower energy bills, while overcoming barriers around short-term home ownership and affordability.

Pending direct financial support from the municipality ($220,000 over two years) plus $59,000 in other municipal support, and the province through grants ($445,000), the program’s total budget could benefit about 50 homes. Saanich staff estimates 4,600 homes use oil as heating source.

Based on Natural Resource Canada’s EnerGuide Ratings, homeowners could save between $1,450 and $3,500 per year on heating costs by switching, Pan said.

Pan said since the vast majority of today’s housing stock will still exist 50 years from years now, so retro-fitting homes will be “absolutely critical” if Saanich wants to meet its larger goals of cutting GHG emissions 80 per cent below 2007 levels and becoming a community that uses 100 per cent renewable energy by 2050.

“But it is also one of the hardest components of our GHG profile to reach,” she said.

According to Pan’s presentation, buildings account for 31 per cent of Saanich’s total emissions of the greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs). Of those emissions, 22 per cent come from the estimated 4,600 oil heated homes in Saanich, which account for six per cent of total community emissions.

RELATED: Saanich well off mark when it comes to meeting goals of climate plan

RELATED: Academic study gives Saanich’s climate action plan middling mark

They also represent an environmental problem beyond contributing to climate change.

“Beyond the climate impact, oil heating systems continue to pose a significant environmental and financial liability for the District and its residents,” said Pan. “Between 2012 and 2017, there were 27 furnace-related oil spills, 21 of which were from above ground oil tanks.”

While home owners are responsible for covering the cleanup costs — cost estimates typically range between $65,000 to $118,000 per spill — Saanich also bears significant costs as well, she said, with an estimated $175,000 being spent on staff time, equipment, and administration between 2012 and 2017.

Coun. Judy Brownoff, who has been spearheading the initative, said she would like to see it move forward as quickly as possible, adding other communities have asked Saanich for details about it.


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

wolfgang.depner@saanichnews.com

Just Posted

Leeroy Stagger to bring edgier new sound to the Capital Ballroom

Award-winning folk artist will highlight new album, Strange Path, at Oct. 20 show

Ginormous 10-foot dragon towers over Saanich yard

Artist Dan Iochelli spent seven years crafting the metal beast

Popular corn maze at North Saanich’s Pendray Farms out of operation

No Halloween-themed activities taking place this year at local farm

Return of the undead: Victoria Zombie Walk hits the streets

Hundreds of zombies expected for annual event Oct. 26 in Centennial Square

Investigation into cause of Saanich structure fire underway

The Friday morning fire left contents of the home ‘beyond repair,’ says a Saanich firefighter

VIDEO: Explosion, fire sends woman running from Saanich home

Heavy smoke in the area, crews on scene

Jack’s Devils beat Quinn’s Canucks 1-0 in NHL brother battle

New Jersey youngster scores first career goal against Vancouver

Two charged after owner’s wild ride through Kamloops in his stolen truck

Crystal Rae Dorrington, 37, and Derrick Ronald Pearson, 32, facing multiple charges

Judge orders credit union’s bank records for Kelowna social worker facing theft allegations

The man is accused of negligence, breach of contract, fraud and a conspiracy with Interior Savings

Leaders pour it on with rallies, boosts for candidates as campaign reaches peak

The federal election campaign has reached a crescendo

Allegations of racism lead to ministry investigation at Vancouver private school

St. George’s School was contacted over what the school describes as ‘deeply offensive behaviour online’

Not a political question: Thunberg calls for climate action in Alberta

Edmonton police estimated the size of the crowd at about 4,000

Zantac, the over-the-counter heartburn drug, pulled in Canada, U.S.

Health Canada also investigates possible carcinogen in some ranitidine drugs

B.C. public safety minister says cannabis edibles not in stores til January

Mike Farnworth says he wants regional issues considered when it comes to licensing

Most Read