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Kelowna, B.C. couple transforms home after taking advantage of FortisBC rebates

Click to play video: 'FortisBC boosts funding for energy efficient rebate programs'
FortisBC boosts funding for energy efficient rebate programs
WATCH: A Kelowna couple is showcasing their home makeover, after taking advantage of FortisBC's home renovation rebates. The renovations have made their home significantly more energy efficient, lowering their monthly energy and heating bills -- something FortisBC is hoping more people will look at doing. Jayden Wasney reports – Apr 24, 2023

FortisBC’s investment of more than $155 million into conservation and energy rebate programs this year has helped extend the life of a Kelowna, B.C., couple’s home by over 40 years.

Colleen and Shane Sondermann purchased their home in the Pandosy neighbourhood, knowing full well that it needed renovations.

The home, built in the 1980s, received an extensive makeover in 2021 that took approximately 10 months to complete, but after receiving $6,700 in rebates from FortisBC to make their home more energy efficient, their dream home was finally complete.

“It exceeded our expectations,” said Colleen Sondermann.

“The rebates are a huge opportunity to invest in the efficiency of your home, and recoup some of those costs.”

One of the main areas contractors focused on was the exterior of the house.

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“We did cladding around the outside, it’s kind of like a blanket, and that’s essentially had a big impact on sealing up air leakage and adding to the energy efficiency,” said Colleen.

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“Our windows and doors were also a big component as well — we went with a triple-pane option, and it’s been very effective. We installed a tankless water heater system, used fridge rebates and added an energy efficient washer and fireplace.”

The couple has also seen their monthly energy bills decline substantially since. In 2019, their home used a total of 11,002 kilowatt hours (kWh) of electricity, and in 2021, just 6,921 kWh.

“We had an energy audit done before and after the renovations, and the efficiency of the home was shown to have improved by over 40 per cent,” said Colleen.”

“That’s going to translate into lower energy bills, but also the comfort of our home – it’s made a noticeable difference.”

Roughly $14.5 million of FortisBC’s 2023 investment is going towards targeting electric efficiency programs for their electric customers in the Southern Interior. Communications adviser with FortisBC Nicole Brown says now is the time for residents to utilize these rebates.

“Anything that helps you reduce your heating load is really important, said Brown.

“Rebates range from a few hundred dollars to several thousand dollars, so it really is an ideal time to take a look at rebates and take advantage of them.”

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Last year, the company’s budget for its rebate program was about $37 million less than this year’s budget. Brown says that’s because FortisBC is looking to improve its efforts when it comes to energy efficiency.

“We’re committed to helping our customers reduce greenhouse gas emissions,” said Brown.

“That does support the province and their climate initiatives, and it also lessens the need for new infrastructures to keep up with demands, so it really does help keep rates as low as possible.”

For more information on FortisBC’s rebate program, click here.

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