Older Alberta Homes Could Be Getting Better for the Environment

Posted by Gurpreet Ghatehora on Thursday, December 17th, 2015 at 12:54pm.

One of the many benefits of buying a newer home is its energy demands. With their fresh insulation and Energy Star rated appliances, these homes often offset their slightly higher costs with a noticeable reduction in monthly operating costs. Of course, older homes come with their advantages as well, and it looks like the Alberta government may be going forward with a program that can help improve the impact older homes have on the environment, and their owner’s wallets.

The program comes from the recent budget, which allocates a total of $5 million to loans for families, small businesses, and farms who want to do some energy retrofitting. These can include utility repairs, alternative energy installations, and more.

The program is, most obviously, good for the environment. With a focus on alternative energy resources for smaller properties, and simple upgrades to make them more efficient, the result can be better homes that use less resources while still keeping people comfortable and happy, especially when the winter cold settles in. According to The Edmonton Journal, residential greenhouse emissions only account for about four percent of the province’s total, but any change is welcome.

The program also helps local economies. Since these types of programs require licensed professionals to perform the needed upgrades, black market contractors can’t do them, and that means legitimately-qualified professionals can be brought in to do the work. And while $5 million isn’t a large amount right now, if the program expands, it could be good news for local contractors all over the province.

Plus, the program helps out homeowners, who may struggle to sell their homes as people look to the new for lower monthly costs. As new restrictions come in for homes all the time, the gap between energy costs for older homes versus new can be as high as 66%, which is no small number for a prospective buyer. But with energy retrofitting, these same homes could become competitive again in terms of sustainability and cost, and help people with older homes see some actual payback on their years of hard work and dedication to their homes.

The new program will be expected to roll out sometime in the new year, so pay close attention to the province’s website to learn more about the program and application process, especially if you’re in a home from the seventies or earlier, which are notoriously inefficient.

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