Wednesday, September 13, 2006

EnerGuide - What happened to you?

As of May of this year, Canada had a very successful efficiency program called EnerGuide for Houses. This federal program encouraged participation by providing home owners with key incentives. Homeowners paid half price for the auditor fee and earned grant money based on measured improvements to their house. Did the incentive work? There was a huge leap in participation of more than 600% when the government started rewarding homeowners.

But it was a Liberal program so now it’s gone. In its place, what? We’ll find out sometime this fall when the Conservatives announce their “made-in-Canada” plan. Most people who worked on EnerGuide (who just happen to be Canadians. The program was piloted and rolled out in Canada) will tell you though, you’d be hard press to improve on EnerGuide. It was so successful that elements of it have been exported to the States and the UK.

This is a fine example of how a government can really help move communities toward serious carbon reduction, or throw a foolish, misinformed wrench into the process. It took years to develop the infrastructure, the auditors, retrofit experts and database, to support EnerGuide. And now they’re looking for work elsewhere.

Will the Conservative government start from scratch? Do they plan to pilot their program to test to see if it works? Are they replacing a made-in-Canada program with a made-in-Ottawa approach? Stay tuned.

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