Installing high levels of insulation in homes can reduce the amount of energy we use, but it’s seldom the first thing that comes to mind when we think about saving energy. Insulation is a crucial first step according to Jay, Executive Director at the North American Insulation Manufacturers Association, Canada (NAIMA Canada).
Jay gives Energy Efficiency Alberta’s Home Improvement program top marks as one of the best energy efficiency programs in Canada right now. The program has some unique features that he feels set it apart, including its performance-based rebate structure. Homeowners are rewarded for how much energy they save, not how much money they spend.
“We put this in our homes and our buildings, and we really never see it but you feel it. Insulation is one of the smartest energy efficiency investments you can make. Energy Efficiency Alberta has placed a strong emphasis on insulation by offering a healthy rebate on it, which is not always the case for energy efficiency programs. The rebate encourages folks to take an important step that they otherwise likely wouldn’t,” says Jay.
Energy Efficiency Alberta’s Home Improvement Rebates offers rebates of up to $3,500 on insulation upgrades.
“This program is going to make Alberta’s homes healthier and more comfortable, and it’s going to reduce bills too. It’s a win-win-win,” explains Jay. “You need to start with the base, with insulation, to feel a real difference in the cold winters and the hot summers.”
For Jay, the program also stands out because it’s contractor-led. Contactors are required to meet certain standards to be part of the program, and they’re required to participate in future training as it becomes available.
“Requiring a contractor to be involved in the retrofits helps make sure upgrades are completed correctly and safely, and provides greater certainty around the energy savings resulting from the upgrade,” explains Jay. “If you have someone installing insulation that doesn’t understand things like the vapour barrier or thermal bridging, you’re not going to get the best results, and you could have problems with mould or heat in the future. That’s why it’s so important to have a professional, knowledgeable contractor,” says Jay.
Contractors in the program are also required to submit all the application pieces, making it an easy process for homeowners.
Jay foresees positive impacts coming from this program.
“From an environmental perspective, I think this program will be successful in reducing greenhouse gas emissions. And from a consumer perspective, insulation is the one measure where you can reduce your bills, make your home more comfortable, and create a healthier indoor air quality all in one.”