January 5, 2017 7:36 pm
Updated: January 5, 2017 11:50 pm

Vancouver launches thermal imaging pilot program to help cut homeowner energy costs

The city of Vancouver has launched its delayed "thermal imaging" program, that will help homeowners find out how much heat they're wasting. Ted Chernecki reports.

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The City of Vancouver is launching a thermal imaging pilot program to identify older homes that are using excess energy.

Vancouver hopes to draw from the experience that other cities like Calgary, Detroit and London have had using thermal imaging to help detached houses find opportunities for improving their energy efficiency.

Thermal images can show homeowners where their homes are losing heat. The tool, according to the City, is a cost-effective and non-invasive way of showing homeowners where their homes need to be updated.

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The program was initially announced in February 2016 and was set to begin two months later. The City said the project didn’t launch at the time due to the transit referendum.

Now, the imaging could begin as early as Jan. 15, depending on weather conditions.

“We’ll target homes that are built generally 1950 and before insulation was part of our building code because there are many homes 1950 and before that have no insulation in the walls,” said Chris Higgins, green building planner at the City of Vancouver in February 2016.

In B.C., 12 per cent of the province’s annual greenhouse gas emissions come from commercial and residential buildings — but in Vancouver, it’s 30 per cent.

The City estimates the number of pre-1960s homes at about 40,000. The City will be providing free thermal images to about 3,000 homes that have the greatest opportunity for energy savings.

Strathcona, Hastings Sunrise, Dunbar-Southlands, Riley Park and Victoria Fraserview neighbourhoods have been identified to pilot the program. They were chosen based on their location in the City, the majority of homes are owner-occupied and represent a diversity of home ages.

When the project was announced last year, Higgins said the cameras can only detect heat, and the photos will only be shared with the homeowner. Once the pilot project is over, the images will be destroyed.

For homeowners who are uncomfortable with their homes being imaged, the City said they can opt out of the pilot program by emailing them at: thermal.imaging@vancouver.ca

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