Cash rebates for switch to energy efficiency

Buy a more efficient outboard motor, save the environment. It’s part of the territorial government’s plan to push energy efficient…

Buy a more efficient outboard motor, save the environment.

It’s part of the territorial government’s plan to push energy efficient appliances into people’s homes.

An expansion of the territory’s cash rebate program was announced Tuesday afternoon.

The Good Energy program gives $100 to $500 rebates to residents who buy pre-approved energy efficient products.

Refrigerators, dishwashers, wood and pellet stoves, solar hot water systems, furnaces and boilers and certain outboard motors all qualify for rebates.

The products must meet the Energy Star or several other industry efficiency standards.

Cash incentives will help people make good energy choices, said Energy, Mines and Resources Minister Brad Cathers.

“Participating in Good Energy will literally put money back in the pockets of Yukoners,” he said.

Flanked by a fridge, stove and outboard motor, Cathers explained the program will help reduce energy costs and fight climate change.

As more people switch to more efficient appliances, less energy is used and less carbon is emitted, he said.

Five per cent, or 589, households received rebates for 676 appliances and 83 furnaces or boilers in 2007.

Rebates are doubled for people in communities not plugged into hydro-power.

The program fails the imagination and is inadequate for low- or fixed-income residents, said NDP Leader Todd Hardy in a release.

A $500 rebate on a $10,000 furnace is not enough to prompt change, he said.

“Many of those on fixed incomes and lower incomes will not be able to take advantage of this offer or many of the other ones.”

And not enough people are taking the government’s rebate offers, Hardy added.

“The program is not offering the kinds of incentives people need to replace their energy- or fuel-wasting appliances with more efficient ones,” he said.

Since the program’s inception, its popularity has increased, said Colin McDowell from the Energy Solutions Centre.

More people are taking advantage of the program every year, he said.

“Five per cent of households is a huge amount for the Yukon,” said McDowell.

“It’s by far the most successful program we’ve ever run.”

The program is expected to cost $210,000 this year.

It’s an expansion of the Appliance Rebate Program offered by the government’s Energy Solutions Centre.

A combination of massive fuel-price increases, the release of the Climate Change Action Plan, and an upcoming energy strategy project, prompted the expansion, said McDowell.

“It seemed like a perfect storm to include a broader array of equipment for fuel choices,” he said.

Eligible products are found at many Yukon stores.

Retailers are keen on the program because it helps to sell products and convert the market, said McDowell.

“Initially, when the solution centre began, you almost couldn’t buy an Energy Star refrigerator in town,” he said.

“The program is intended not just to give a rebate, but continue to help the consumer,” said McDowell.

Rebate information and forms are available in stores or at the Energy Solutions Centre.

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