How to Maximize Energy Savings for Seniors in British Columbia

In BC, managing utility bills is a vital concern for many seniors, especially considering the temperature extremes we now experience among seasons. The polar vortices in winter and heat domes in summer mean heat and cooling are more important than ever. For those living on a fixed or limited income, significant swings in utility bills can be eased with a few low- or no-cost upgrades to your home’s energy profile.

To help with this, the Province of British Columbia has teamed up with BC Hydro and Fortis Gas to create the Energy Conservation Assistance Program (ECAP). If you are a BC Hydro or Fortis Gas customer, you can apply for free programs aimed at assisting lower-income customers to increase their home’s energy efficiency, reduce electricity and gas bills, and enhance overall comfort throughout the year.

For example:

1. Energy-saving kit:

This is a complimentary kit delivered right to your doorstep, filled with products to help you save energy. The kit includes LED light bulbs, a high-efficiency showerhead, and other easy-to-install, energy-saving items. These products are designed to reduce your power consumption immediately, lowering your bills and contributing to a more energy-efficient home environment.

2. Free products, installation, and energy coaching:

Eligible homes will receive a visit from an energy coach, who will offer personalized advice about how to save energy. Also, the energy coach will install energy-saving products at no cost to you, including but not limited to weather stripping for doors, insulating wrap for hot water pipes, and carbon monoxide monitors. Qualifying homes may also receive bigger upgrades, such as a new fridge or insulation. This personalized approach not only equips your home with the latest in energy-saving technology but also educates you on best practices for resource conservation, tailored to your specific living situation.

On June 29, 2023, the Government of BC announced additional funding to provide portable air conditioners to income-qualified customers, recognizing the increasing need for affordable cooling solutions. This is part of ECAP, designed to help you find relief during the warmer months while keeping energy costs manageable.

If you rent your home, you are still eligible to apply if the BC Hydro or Fortis Gas account is in your name. Otherwise, talk to your landlord or property manager about these terrific programs to see if your unit or home will qualify for the larger improvements. Note that the energy-saving kit contains products that everyone can use (including LED light bulbs, LED night light, and a fridge and freezer thermometer) without any structural modifications whatsoever.

Click here for more information and to access the application and landlord consent forms. Remember, small steps can lead to big savings, and with the support available, making your apartment, condo, or house more resource efficient has never been easier.

Upgrades at Hopehill

Hopehill is also making significant strides of our own toward eco-friendly power-saving with a series of upgrades across our properties, including:

  • Pipe insulation will be installed on the boiler systems at the Beechwood and Cedars facilities. This improvement will mitigate heat loss and lower heating costs.
  • In an effort to manage waste more proficiently, Hopehill has planned to refresh the appearance and functionality of garbage rooms at Bentall and Beechwood, following the successful model implemented at Aspen last year.
  • Additionally, Bentall will install LED lighting in hallways and exterior patios, ensuring residents enjoy well-lit environments while reducing electricity consumption.

These targeted actions reflect Hopehill’s commitment to creating sustainable and cost-effective living spaces for its residents. Let’s all do our part to conserve!