Monday, January 3, 2011

Ontario leads PV Solar payback

Over the past few months I have watched the solar industry grow in British Columbia with the help of government incentives. Unfortunately we are still far behind other areas in North America when it comes to Photovoltaic systems, especially grid tie in. A friend in Ontario recently sent me a link (I&MElectric) which outlines their programs for PV Grid Ties. Maybe 2011 will see improvements for British Columbia programs.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

EcoEnergy program to end

Effective March 31st, the ecoENERGY Retrofit – Homes program is no longer accepting bookings for pre-retrofit evaluations. The program will continue to be administered until March 31, 2011. If you have already booked an appointment for a pre-retrofit evaluation, have completed an evaluation or applied for re-entry to the program, you remain eligible to apply for a grant.

For more information go to

Re-purpose Building Supplies

Are you renovating?

Did you know that you can donate your old kitchen cupboards, bathroom vanities and other building materials to Habitat for Humanity?

Through an arrangement with SC Home Renovation Centre, your donations will be re-sold and a portion of the proceeds will go to Habitat for Humanity.
SC Home Renovation Centre is on Hwy 97 between Leathead and McCurdy in the Blue Heights Mall. They carry windows, doors and other used building supplies and can help you save thousands on your next build project. While shopping at SC Home Renovation Centre, watch for the Habitat sticker that means your purchase will help fund building projects in your community. And whether you donate or purchase, you help keep used building materials out of the landfill.

Please call us at 250-762-7303. In most cases, we can arrange for pick-up of your donation. Unfortunately, we cannot accept donations of appliances, lighting fixtures, or furniture at this time.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Extra Solar BC Grants

SolarBC is happy to announce that incentives for solar hot water will double during February and March, from $1,000 to $2,000. This investment will support the installation of domestic solar water heating systems for the first 200 homes over the next 2-months. So, if you have been wondering about installing solar hot water but haven’t yet taken the plunge, now might be a smart time to do so.

This extra discount to use perhaps in getting solar panels for your own home, or to help show case solar hot water panels on your show home as an additional option for homebuyers.

Rebates/Grants at a glance are:

SolarBC point-of-sale discount: NOW $2,000 (was $1,000)
ecoENERGY rebate: $1250
*Total rebates: $3,250

* For homes with electrically-heated hot water in the FortisBC area there is an additional $300 available. The total covers roughly half the cost of installation depending on the system chosen.

Learn more at or

EcoEnergy program to end

Be aware that the ecoEnergy program is winding down and the federal government at this time will not be creating a followup program, so do take advantage of the grants and rebates available while possible. The program ends on March 31st 2011, however all installations and final energy audits must be completed before this date and paperwork submitted.

Learn more at

Friday, November 20, 2009

HST - CHBA works towards changes

Increase of HST threshold a good first step

BURNABY, November 19, 2009 – The Government of B.C. announced today the HST transition rules on housing.

“As a result of the advice you have provided to government and B.C.’s unique real estate conditions, the Province is proposing to increase the threshold for B.C.,” said Colin Hansen, Minister of Finance, in a statement to CHBA BC early today.

The Province is proposing to increase the threshold for the B.C. HST new housing rebate from $400,000 to $525,000 to ensure that, on average, purchasers of new homes up to $525,000 pay no more tax due to harmonization than is currently embedded as PST. Purchasers of new homes would be eligible for a rebate of 71.43 per cent of the provincial portion of the HST paid on a new home, up to a maximum of $26,250. Homes above $525,000 would receive a flat rebate of $26,250 or the same 5% that CHBA BC has recommended. This enhanced rebate represents a 30 per cent increase in the threshold and maximum rebate available.

“CHBA BC has worked diligently to ensure meaningful change to the HST threshold and we are pleased that government has acknowledged our recommendations in their final decision. We will over the next two years continue to compile empirical data to demonstrate to government that this threshold sill needs to be raised. Indexing will also be top of mind as we continue lobbying,” said Bob Deeks, President of CHBA BC.

The Province is also proposing transitional rules for new housing. The provincial portion of the HST would not apply to sales of new homes where ownership or possession is transferred before July 1, 2010.

CHBA BC suggested to government that new houses should be entitled to grandparenting up to July 1, 2010. Grandparenting rules issued in today’s notice state that sales of newly constructed or substantially renovated homes would be grandparented where the written agreements of purchase and sale are entered into on or before November 18, 2009 and both ownership and possession of the homes are transferred under the agreement after June 2010.

For more information on new housing rebates and transitional rules for B.C. HST, please visit

The Canadian Home Builders’ Association of BC, a viable industry driven organization, is the voice of the residential construction industry in BC, and is built on a vision of strong and positive roles for the housing industry. CHBA BC is committed to supporting the professionalism of our over 1700 members and providing affordability, quality and choice for consumers. CHBA BC’s voluntary membership comprises builders, developers, renovators, suppliers and other professionals who are dedicated to industry excellence.

Further Information
Nafisa Abdulla, Director of Communications
Canadian Home Builders’ Association of BC

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Green Roofs in the Okanagan Kelowna

If you are a homeowner or commercial building owner and you are looking to replace your roof there is a new option out there for you to consider, and that is to replace your existing roof with a green roof.
A green roof system is an extension of the existing roof which involves a high quality water proofing and root repellent system, a drainage system, filter cloth, a lightweight growing medium and plants.
Modern green roof systems were developed in Europe in the 1970’s and they have become very popular. In certain cities in Europe, green roofs are mandated for all new construction. In North America, the benefits of green roof technologies are poorly understood and the market remains immature, despite the efforts of several industry leaders. However, this is changing rapidly in some areas, such as Vancouver, which has over four hundred thousand sq. ft. of green roofs within its boundaries.
Some of the benefits of green roofs are:
• Protection of roof membrane resulting in a longer material lifespan (it is estimated that green roofs will last up to twice as long as conventional roofs), resulting in decreased maintenance and savings in replacement costs.
• Savings on energy heating and cooling costs, depending on the size of the building, climate and type of green roof. Studies at BCIT have found up to a 66 % reduction in cooling costs on a one story building.
• Improves air quality and lowers ambient temperature
• Storm water retention
• Beautifying and reclaiming unused space
• Increased property value
While there are some challenges adapting green roofs to the Okanagan climate, these can be overcome by proper planning and selection of plants.

To learn more contact Jim Frank of Okanagan Living Roofs & Walls
250 826 6814

or contact

Monday, October 5, 2009

Going Greener will save you money - Okanagan workshop

Mark you calendars for the Working Greener Workshop this November 10, 2009 at the Delta Grand Resort in Kelowna, BC.

Learn how going green can reduce operating costs, increase competitive edge and a positive work culture.

Learn more about green design and building at

Okanagan - Stop wasting water

By Adrian Nieoczym

A major water crisis is coming to British Columbia unless we change how this vital resource is managed, says a new report. And we’re going to feel it in the Okanagan first.

In a report released last week, the Pacific Fisheries Resource Conservation Council points out that B.C.’s population is growing, our rates of water consumption are among the highest in the world and that climate change is leading to hotter weather and smaller snowpacks, further reducing the supply of freshwater.

“Water scarcity undermines the viability of our communities and the health of our streams,” it says. The Pacific Fisheries Resource Conservation Council is an independent advisory body set up by the federal government.

Valley residents have already had a hint of what is to come, according to the report. For example, in 2003, the town of Summerland had to release water from its storage facilities into Trout Creek to save fish. As a result, less water was available for farmers.

The report also says that areas of the province which with the fastest growing populations – like the Okanagan- are also the ones reaching their limits on water use the fastest.

“First and foremost, I think the report really emphasizes the need to start looking at water as an increasingly scarce resource and it also highlights the fact that we have to manage our water resources more efficiently so we can better balance the needs of people, industry and agriculture on one hand and the needs of rivers and fish on the other,” said Mark Angelo, PFRCC chairman and head of the Fish, Wildlife and Recreation Department at BCIT.

The particularly hot and dry weather this summer has only made things worse. “There are a lot of streams running at really low levels,” said Angelo. “In many cases that’s exacerbated by excessive water withdrawals.”

Angelo noted that the provincial government recently curtailed water extraction from the Nicola River because low water flows were threatening Kokanee populations. The lower water volumes makes it harder for fish to swim upstream, increases water temperature and reduces the amount of habitat.

B.C.’s excessive water consumption is made worse by our growing population.

“We tend to use well over 300 litres per person, per day, so I think there’s lots of room to try and use water more efficiently,” said Angelo.

Part of the solution is providing financial incentives for people to conserve water, according to Angelo, who would like to see more water meters installed, like those in the City of Kelowna, so people pay for the water they actually use.

He also suggested instituting different pricing tiers so “excessive” users pay more for the extra water they consume.

Angelo also said the province’s Water Act, which dates back to 1909, is in dire need of updating. “It has to be revised to deal with the present day realities.”

The act currently only deals with how water extraction licenses are allocated, he said. “It’s virtually silent on things like the need to maintain healthy aquatic ecosystems and it’s virtually silent on the need to protect fish.”

Many license holders do not use all the water they are entitled to, but if they did, many of B.C.’s rivers and streams would be drained.

“On the Nicola [river], if all of those licenses were used to their maximum potential, you would have a stream that would be close to dry,” said Angelo.

The coming water woes will be felt throughout the province but are likely to hit the the valley first, said Angelo.

“The Okanagan is one of the great places in the entire world to live but you’re seeing some dramatic increases in population. Your precipitation levels, though, are less than other parts of the province,”he said, adding that climate change is exacerbating the challenges. “You are going to see pressures and stresses on water supplies probably sooner – you’re already seeing them- and if anything those pressures or stresses are going to be greater in the Okanagan.”


Want to learn more about water conservation and green building -

Saturday, July 25, 2009

BC Hydro Commercial Building Incentives for Kelowna - Okanagan

Effective June 1st, 2009

The Product Incentive Program provides financial incentives to organizations who replace inefficient products with energy-efficient technologies or add on products to existing systems to make them more efficient. Not all products are eligible. Please contact the BC Hydro web site at for all program policies, eligible products and performance criteria before purchasing products.

For more information, call 1 866 522 4713

For more information on green building and weblinks go to:

Kelowna Build Alert - Dual Smoke Sensor Smoke Alarm Recall

CPSC announced the recall of 94,000 dual sensor smoke alarms; the recall indicates an electrostatic discharge can damage the unit, causing it not to warn consumers of a fire. The smoke alarm were marked with the UL Listing Marks for the United States and Canada.

The recall can be viewed at: