Whitehorse Daily Star

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Community Services Minister John Streicker

Energy retrofit loan program planned

The territorial government will be moving forward on an energy retrofit loan program, Community Services Minister John Streicker said Wednesday.

By Gabrielle Plonka on October 24, 2019

The territorial government will be moving forward on an energy retrofit loan program, Community Services Minister John Streicker said Wednesday.

“For most of us who live here in the North, heating our homes is expensive, and it often involves the use of fossil fuels,” Streicker said in a statement to the legislature.

“Maximizing energy efficiency in our homes will reduce carbon emissions and make life more affordable.”

The loan program will provide funding to Yukoners who want to retrofit their homes and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

According to the Yukon government website, retrofitting projects can include:

• replacing old appliances with new energy efficient models;

• replacing windows and doors with “high-efficiency models” that use low-E coatings, insert gas fills and better edge spacers and frames;

• installing updated outlets and ventilators; and

• replacing heating systems with energy-efficient furnaces.

The website recommends Yukoners hire a professional to run an energy assessment to determine which retrofit projects would have the greatest benefit.

Streicker said the retrofit loan program will focus specifically on energy retrofits for the heating of buildings.

Currently, Yukoners can access rebates for a portion of retrofitting costs, Streicker said, but the cost of projects often exceeds the rebate amount.

Streicker looked to the domestic water well program and rural electrification and telecommunications program ––which provide low-interest financing to be repaid alongside property taxes–– as a model for the retrofit loan program.

He suggested loan repayments would be spread over five, 10 or 15 years.

The cost of repayment would be alleviated by the reduced fuel bills in retrofitted homes.

Streicker said his team is determining which retrofitting projects promise the highest return on investment “without creating an unreasonable tax burden.”

The Energy Solutions Centre and the Property Assessment and Taxation Branch of the Community Services department are working in tandem on the program, Streicker said.

The territory will work alongside municipalities, and there are plans for public engagement.

The Assessment and Taxation Act will be amended to expand the definition of “local improvement changes” to include retrofitting projects.

Streicker said the loan program will have the threefold benefit of reducing the Yukon’s carbon footprint, reducing the cost to heat buildings and creating jobs in retrofitting work.

Yukon Party MLA Wade Istchenko responded to the ministerial statement with concerns that the government plans to “off-load” the cost of the program onto municipalities.

Streicker said his department will work with municipalities to provide supports, based on processes set by the rural well program.

If a home owner retrofits his or her house and then sells, the improvements would stay with the property, Streicker said. The new owners would take on the responsibility of paying back the loan.

“That’s what makes it a really elegant solution,” Streicker said.

He noted that his department is still working on establishing the details of the project, including exact interest rates. Yukoners can expect to see legislation on the program this spring.

Comments (16)

Up 9 Down 4

Richard Bishop on Oct 27, 2019 at 6:37 pm

Queen to Bishop - Check mate!
Tell us something we don't know, since your stuck here with us. Perhaps we could come up with some innovative ideas rather than the ones forced on us by the politicians and their globalist masters.

Up 3 Down 15

Laurie on Oct 27, 2019 at 2:13 pm

How about adding incentives for solar tiles on homes?

Up 21 Down 8

Queen to Bishop - Check mate! on Oct 26, 2019 at 12:48 pm

Yes Richard Bishop - You are the commodity. You will be caught in the to and fro that your consumer gods dictate. From this panic to that panic; global warming, lack of resources, straws stuck in turtles noses, diversity, to aluminum in your deodorant causing Alzheimer’s... Impulsive creatures yielding to or conforming to this, that and the next.

With the current push for globalization and immigration/emigration things will get a lot worse for everyone in the Rights recalibration to come. You should be afraid because you will have less freedoms and more responsibilities. Good luck - May the odds be ever in your favour!

Up 3 Down 30

Werner Rhein on Oct 26, 2019 at 11:43 am

This is typical politician bla, bla, bla.
But bla, bla, bla, is not a solution. What about real plans that reduce the CO2 foot print of Yukon.

A solar farm, which you can start tomorrow.
A wind farm that needs a few more days to plan and install.
Wood Biomass heating.
Wood Biomass Gasification to produce more electricity.
Battery installations for subdivisions and in private homes.
All this will lead to the electrification of the whole transport system.

That would b a plan, John Streiker.

Up 23 Down 4

North_of_60 on Oct 25, 2019 at 7:40 pm

@Max is correct. It's all a smokescreen to hide raising taxes for the ClimateEmergency™.
As others have noted, the 'strings' make it hardly worthwhile, but it always looks good in an announcement.
It's better to just replace your windows one or two at a time as you can afford it, starting with the biggest ones where most of the view and heat loss is.

Up 17 Down 4

JC on Oct 25, 2019 at 6:41 pm

Eric Blair, be sure to read my comment below. There is no such thing as government favours for the working poor.

Up 26 Down 4

yukon72 on Oct 25, 2019 at 1:12 pm

These programs require that insurance be carried on the property which is being upgraded. The increased premiums instituted by the insurance company pretty much cancel any benefit from the low interest loan.

Up 44 Down 0

Eric Blair on Oct 25, 2019 at 10:07 am

I do hope this new program does not have the same eligibility criteria as the Yukon Housing program, where they decide what else in your home needs to be invested in by their standards before they will provide any funding.
I wanted to upgrade my windows and applied for a loan, and part of the process was an inspection by one of their staff who advised that other upgrades were required per their terms. Things like having electrical sockets installed along the kitchen counter every 3 feet to make it compliant to the current code.
All I wanted was a few thousand dollars to replace my windows, but if I followed their suggested terms, it would have cost me much much more for all the other things they wanted me to do.
I am motivated to reduce my home heating fuel consumption and like most home-owners the price of filling the oil tank was the primary reason for making the investments in additional insulation, new weather stripping on the doors- even a new door as well.
We have an older stick built home with double pane windows from 1981. I know greater energy savings could be found by replacing these and that was my intention and purpose for applying to YHC for a retrofit loan. They refused to approve me unless I agreed to all this other work as a condition of the loan.
Yes, there are many homes that should be bulldozed due to a lack of maintenance and YHC inspectors are doing the owners a service by notifying the owners about the safety concerns they find, but there needs to be some allowance for their all or nothing approach to lending for energy upgrades.

Up 35 Down 1

Richard Bishop on Oct 25, 2019 at 8:01 am

What happens to all the replaced windows, doors, appliances, heating systems etc, and at what cost, to the consumer? Tipping fees?

Up 29 Down 3

Wes on Oct 25, 2019 at 7:51 am

Good idea but.... (the second commenter) addresses the elephant in the room; you may feel good about having electric bb, but our electricity comes from diesel in the winter, mostly, and that’s not going to change any time soon. And the installation of pvs on peoples roofs is a joke. Sure the consumer ends up getting g cheap power in the winter, but the pvs aren’t contributing to the net in any meaningful way. If they want to keep on with the pv install incentives, make the install of storage (power walls/batteries) mandatory. In fact, have incentives for the installation of storage in homes and convert to smart meters so we can use the green power we do have in the winter more intelligently.
Finally, we really do have to look at nuclear plants. It’s the only viable option if hydro is off the table.

Up 26 Down 6

Matthew on Oct 25, 2019 at 6:59 am

I'm in home renovations. I've renovated homes from 1880s - 2010s. I've sadly thrown away 50 year old appliances that still worked! Let's be honest, we live in a very wasteful society where items don't even last 10 years! Hmm, if only Canada had access to an abundance of fossil fuels it could make life so much cheaper for Canadians. Yes folks, free and clean energy has been around 100 years, big oil owns many, many patents. Stop being so dumb people and research for yourself.. while you still can.

Up 22 Down 2

Puzzled citizen on Oct 24, 2019 at 7:47 pm

Now why would anyone want to buy a house that has a loan to go with it? Who’s brainy idea was that? Yes, and what happens if we all go electric? We are already experiencing more outages due to several different reasons. Hopefully the loans will help those that want to do something, just hope the rules don’t get too onerous.

Up 51 Down 9

JC on Oct 24, 2019 at 5:07 pm

Like always these kinds of rebates don't even come close to the real costs. My advice, if your comfortable with your heating system, keep it. Don't let these government hoaxers fool you into a financial burden. They don't have to pay it off. It will come out of your pocket. Its just another climate change emergency hoax.

Up 42 Down 2

Max Mack on Oct 24, 2019 at 4:30 pm

I initially thought an expanded energy retrofit program for home owners was a good idea.
I now see the real game in play - which is to give municipalities the power to levy additional taxes . . .
And you can bet the City of Whitehorse will be the first to slide up to that trough.
Go ahead - retrofit your home. But, you're going to be paying one way or the other.

Up 43 Down 3

Good idea, but... on Oct 24, 2019 at 4:21 pm

From the article:
“For most of us who live here in the North, heating our homes is expensive, and it often involves the use of fossil fuels,” Streicker said in a statement to the legislature.

“Maximizing energy efficiency in our homes will reduce carbon emissions and make life more affordable.”

If by maximizing efficiency he means electric baseboard heat, its really not all that great. At least, let me give you my example. We own a modest size home at about 1800 sq.ft. (including garage). It was built in 2015 and has an energy rating of 87, look it up that is not a cheap build. This is quad pane windows, R40 walls and R80 ceiling and that damn HRV system. All heated by electric baseboard.

Now at our current milder winters we average about $300 to $400 a month for electricity. This is for a family of 4, 2 adults, 2 kids. Not running a laundromat or growing pot in the garage, just regular power usage. Translate that into kWh, add another few hundred more homes like this (or all of Whistlebend for example) and you will see that Yukon Energy will have a demand vs capacity problem as they do each year, so out come the gennys burning what? Diesel.

Now I would like to say I do my part being efficient, etc but I would much rather drive to the woods and at least partially offset my home heat with wood I chopped (ok, chainsawed) myself. Unfortunately a no go as I stare at my LPG fireplace that is draining the LPG tank on the outside of my home.

So all in all, if you want efficiency, then please consider more hydro, reduce the cost per kWh of electricity before you ask folks to switch to electric and see about adding some PV (solar panel) system grants to your plan Mr Streicker. The people and the electrical infrastructure will thank you.

Summary: Provide funding for people to install solar if they want to and provide more Hydro generated power before trying to move people onto electric heat.

Up 21 Down 0

Jzelitt on Oct 24, 2019 at 3:09 pm

Would trailer parks qualify for such loans?

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