‘That’s what tells people to change’: Edmonton HVAC company looks at carbon levy as opportunity

Business owner takes steps to adapt to Alberta’s carbon tax
WATCH ABOVE: They say necessity breeds innovation. So what kind of innovation will come out of the carbon tax? Vinesh Pratap spoke to one business owner trying to adapt to the changing times.

In just a few months, the Notley government’s carbon levy will take effect and while some Alberta business advocates have said they’re concerned about the tax’s impact on bottom lines, one business is positioning itself to capitalize on the policy.

“We’re about bringing efficiency and technology into the current world that we’re in,” Ironclad Mechanical’s Patrick Driscoll says. “We’re adapting. We’re changing the way that we look at things now.”

READ MORE: Alberta brings in carbon levy legislation, estimates higher cost to families

On its website, the Edmonton-based plumbing and heating company bills itself as the only business in the Capital Region “certified to install and distribute Conematic boiler and radiant heating products,” something it says can lower a homeowners’ energy costs by as much as 40 per cent.

The technology Driscoll’s company uses effectively regulates how much natural gas is used so that homes with it see minimal waste.

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Albertans who can afford to make upgrades to their homes to make them more energy efficient will be motivated to do so. The Alberta government estimates the carbon levy will cost the average family an additional $338 per year with $136 of that amount coming from natural gas alone.

Trina Innes, chief sustainability officer with the University of Alberta’s Office of Sustainability, suggests more and more Albertans may want to begin looking into businesses able to provide energy efficiency for their homes, especially if they don’t know how to do so themselves.

“We don’t need to necessarily be experts when it comes to putting things into our home,” Innes says. “We can rely on people that have great references, perhaps other products have third-party verifications that we can rely on.”

Driscoll acknowledges that whether you’re going green for the sake of the environment or for the sake of your wallet, there is an upfront cost to doing so although he thinks it’s worth it.

“You’re not paying for a Cavalier, you’re paying for a Cadillac, so it’s a different price point absolutely,” he says. “(But) you’re going to see (the difference) in your pocketbook and that’s what tells people to change.”

READ MORE: How will Alberta’s carbon tax impact consumers?

The government’s carbon levy will be “included in the price of all fuels that emit greenhouse gases when combusted” which includes transportation and heating fuels but does not directly apply to consumer electricity. Lower and middle-income Albertans will be eligible to apply for a carbon levy rebate.

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READ MORE: Wildrose claims carbon tax will cost Albertans more than NDP suggests

The tax is part of the NDP government’s broader plan to help tackle climate change.

The carbon levy takes effect on Jan. 1.

-With files from Vinesh Pratap.