Many older homes stand to benefit from climate-friendly energy improvements that save homeowners money while strengthening the community’s overall climate resilience. However, several barriers limit the number of improvements that homeowners undertake. These barriers include a lack of understanding of the following:
- The greenhouse gas footprint of residential homes
- The options to make homes climate-friendly
- The benefits of climate-friendly homes
- Opportunities to save money through government programs and rebates
The Virtual Home Energy Check-Up tool is helping homeowners identify possible home energy improvements that would be cost effective and reduce their greenhouse gas emissions. The project was developed by City Green Solutions with support from FCM’s Municipalities for Climate Innovation Program, and the tool is helping homeowners in British Columbia’s Capital Regional District (CRD).
About the Virtual Home Energy Check-Up tool
The Virtual Home Energy Check-Up supports homeowners in the CRD who are interested in improving the energy efficiency of their homes by providing advice online or through a video call. Development of this tool began in April 2020 with the service launching as part of the Bring It Home 4 the Climate program in August 2020. This tool is non-proprietary and could be replicated for home energy efficiency programs in other regions and provinces.
How the tool is helping local homeowners
To respond to the challenge of providing housing advice during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Virtual Home Energy Check-Up was designed to kick-start home energy improvement and climate-friendly home action plans. The Check-Up consists of an online survey focused on helping homeowners identify household goals and motivations, as well as issues and concerns, that could be addressed by undertaking home energy improvements. The survey is followed by a video or phone call with an Energy Expert, a program representative who recommends practical next steps.
The Virtual Home Energy Check-Up was developed by City Green Solutions with input from the following local government partners in British Columbia:
- The CRD
- The District of Central Saanich
- The District of Saanich
- The Township of Esquimalt
- The City of Victoria
"The Virtual Home Energy Check-Up is an innovative new service that combines cost effective online tools and the personalized support of Energy Experts to provide homeowners with a low barrier and COVID-19 safe means to kick-start their climate-friendly home energy retrofit"
– Peter Sundberg, City Green