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BC Greens call for energy retrofits to improve employment and address climate change

By Contributor
August 15th, 2012

BC Greens plan to promote retrofitting within the BC in order to decrease climate change and stimulate local employment.

“We need to find viable commercial options that can finance a sustainable economy; one such option is energy retrofits”, says Leader Jane Sterk.

“Chicago’s Retrofit program is a proactive approach to creating a sustainable economy. We need to learn from programs like this and develop them for implementation at a provincial level.”
Chicago found that half of its energy consumption was due to inefficient use of energy in residential buildings. An outreach program was formed by Mayor’s Innovation Delivery Team.

They coordinated not-for-profits, government, utility companies and communities in order to make changes in 12 community areas. This program provides easy access to incentives that include free energy efficient equipment and a centralized contact centre that provides information on funding programs.

Approximately 8000 homes will receive some form of retrofit in the course of two years. In the process the program will create new jobs in the community.
It’s estimated that in BC 14,000 to 30,000 people could be employed in retrofitting projects involving 100,000 homes. There are approximately 800,000 homes built prior to 1984 that need attention.

Retrofitting will create employment and will have a direct impact on climate change. Businesses and homes release 7,700 kilotons of Carbon Dioxide annually and these emissions would be reduced significantly.  

“Retrofitting jobs create local employment and reduce energy consumption. Oil and gas jobs create work camps and increase energy needs in BC,” continues Sterk.

“We as a province need to reset our priorities and focus on creating a program like Chicago’s instead of building Site C and focusing on LNG and bitumen pipelines. If the Premier was serious about putting families first the focus would be on real meaningful and local employment and helping families create more energy efficient homes.
Sterk said there is a need to expand the Live Smart BC program that currently only targets single family home owners.

This will foster a sustainable economy, the to need to expand the vision and promote retrofitting benefits for high and low income families in BC.
“Retrofitting is only the tip of the ice berg,” Sterk said.

“BC Greens would stimulate education in renewable energy programs. Part of a retrofitting strategy requires funding for education programs that promote new skilled workers within a sustainable economy and are supported in their career with commercial incentives.”

“We look forward to promoting local BC production by reducing red tape and increasing opportunities for energy retrofitters to raise public awareness. With the right leadership BC could be a role model for a sustainable economy, the question is why aren’t we already?” concludes Sterk.

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