At Sightline, we’ve been reviewing energy efficiency programs lately. We’re particularly interested in programs that are focused on financial incentives for homeowners to make improvements that reduce energy consumption—and ultimately cut energy bills.

Vancouver’s One Day program is one example. It looks a lot like Portland’s Clean Energy Fund might look after its been in operation for awhile.  One Day provides certified specialists to conduct an energy audit and make recommendations to homeowners about which improvements might yield the most savings.  This video shows how the audit works.

  • It’s cute, but it also shows just how involved these audits can be. At about 5:40 you’ll hear the consultant talk about the incentives which are tied to subsequent audits to measure the improvements’ efficiency. So in order to receive a benefit from the government the improvements must show some actual savings. Some incentives come from the Canadian government and some from the BC Provincial government. It sounds like a lot of work for a homeowner to track all the documentation. But given the possible payoff and savings it could be worth it.

    On the other hand, the website’s condo and rental section doesn’t advertise any incentives but instead offers a lot of encouragement about how to reduce energy use both in individual units and buildings (and a special note about the dangers of decorative fireplaces). Again, as in Portland’s program, the emphasis seems to be on incentives for single family homes, not landlords or businesses.

    With that in mind, I am keeping an eye out for any programs in BC that have addressed the split incentives problem in a unique way. But so far it seems like BC is doing a great job leading homeowners to making investments but like many cities, is struggling with incentives for efficiencies for multi-unit housing.  

    Editor’s note: Through May 20, we’re offering a chance at one of three gift certificates for Vancouver restaurants Chambar and Wild Rice to BC residents who sign up for Sightline’s daily or weekly emails. If you’re from BC, sign up and take a minute to let your coworkers and friends know about us.