Friday, 19 April 2013

We have moved our blog!

Hi all, you will have noticed we haven't posted on our blog for quite a while. That is because we have moved our blog to our website. You can find our latest posts at

You can also check out our all new website at or see us on Facebook at

See you at our new location and thanks for letting us help you use less and save more!
The KCP gang

Thursday, 16 February 2012

And that is the end of that! ecoENERGY program NOT renewed in Fed 2012 budget

April 2012 update - And that is the end of that!

Well, the Feds announced their budget and to no one’s surprise did not renew the ecoEnergy program. So, for those of you who managed to get your audits and incentive eligible work done prior to the surprise end of the program– congratulations – you are the last ones to have participated in the program. Just a quick reminder that you need to get your follow up audit to validate the work you have completed prior to end of June this year. 

Feb 2012 update - A quick update to this post. The Feds are no longer accepting new audit requests and the program has been halted. Participants who have already an ID number are still eligible to participate in the program but work must be completed before March 31st, 2012. You can find out more about the sudden cancellation of the program in this article in the Globe and Mail - Tories close program early

Just as I was sending out our first newsletter and mentioning upcoming fall newsletter topics such as government incentives out came the press releases announcing the details and specifics of the revived ecoENERGY home incentive program.

Previous announcements came without details and had been frustrating as customers decided (understandably so) to delay moving forward on projects till the details of the program were known. So we are happy to hear that the program is officially back and the program has returned essentially un changed. The program still includes incentives for solar hot water, high efficiency boilers, efficient hot water solutions and more.

If you decide to do a full update of your heating and hot water system while adding solar the total incentives available can tally nearly two thousand dollars. When you add in the existing Alberta incentives (which piggy back on the Federal program) the total incentives available can tally nearly three thousand dollars!

However there is a catch which is the Federal program does not have a definite timeline. When the money is used up the program will end full stop. If you have been thinking about upgrading your home's heating systems you probably want to start the process sooner than later in order to take advantage of these incentives.

Some example rebate amounts
1. Energy audits $100 for the pre and post audit (Ab)
2. Solar hot water $1,250 (Feds)
3. High efficiency furnace $625 (Feds) + $400 (Ab)
4. High efficiency boiler $750 (Feds) + $600 (Ab)

Some links to the relevant sections of the Federal ecoENERGY program and Alberta provincial program:
1. What are the steps to apply for a grant?
2. The ecoENERGY brochure including what is covered and the incentive amount
3. The Government of Alberta list of incentive items and amounts

A more formal announcement.......

The federal government has just released details of the $400 million EcoEnergy Retrofit – Homes program that was revived as part of the 2011 budget delivered in June. The program, which provides up to $5,000 in rebates to Canadian homeowners, is effective as of June 6, 2011 through to March 31, 2012. There are a few changes to note with the new program. NRCan now requires all participants to register with them prior to a pre-retrofit evaluation. If a homeowner had completed a pre-retrofit evaluation under the old program, they can still apply for the new grant, provided they register with NRCan and that they have yet to max out on the $5,000 grant threshold. The program applies only to equipment purchased and installed after June 6, 2011, so anything purchased prior to that date is not eligible for this round of rebates.

Friday, 15 July 2011

Integrated high efficiency and solar systems - what are they and what are typical savings?

With the re introduction of the ecoENERGY incentives people are getting interested in high efficiency heating and solar equipment again.

I spend a fair amount of time sharing with our customers what I believe to be one of the best solutions out there for integrating solar with a high efficiency natural gas system. I describe it as an integrated system and it combines solar for heating the domestic water with a high efficiency natural gas boiler for heating the home. If the home has radiant heat all the better, the boiler also heats the radiant parts of the home.

The benefits of this type of system are it is extremely efficient, maximizes the use of solar for heating the hot water and if planned for can be installed in phases to reduce the upfront cost. In addition it reduces the need for two hot water tanks (one for hot water and one for solar storage) in your mechanical room which allows installations to occur in smaller mechanical rooms. Another benefit of a system like this is the flexibility now available for controlling the system, controls can be simple thermostats on the wall all the way up to integrated controllers that work on your smart phone allowing you to monitor or control settings when not at home. 

So now that I have shared some of the reasons to consider an integrated system from an installation and operational stand point what about the savings - both emission wise and dollars wise? Before I get into some numbers associated with reduced monthly bills I want to touch on an item not often discussed and that is increased home value. The Appraisal institute of Canada, , estimates that home efficiency improvements increase the value of a home by 61 cents on the dollar. So if a homeowner spends $10,000 on an energy efficiency improvement they  can expect their home value to increase by $6,100. Not bad and certainly a nice upside to doing the right thing while saving money on your monthly bill. Add to that the pending addition of an Energuide rating field in the popular MLS real estate tool and your home, should you decide to sell it, has a new selling feature. But what about the monthly savings? Below you will see some sample numbers showing possible savings, emission reductions and a positive return on investment. As you can see the efficiency improvements are significant as are the emission reductions. I should point out that this example was done during the time the ecoENERGY program was shutdown so the ecoENERGY incentives discussed in the previous post are not included in the ROI calculations.

To summarize, integrated systems save money, increase the value of your home and significantly reduce emissions while reducing your utility bill. And control and monitoring of these systems can be easily integrated into our busy smart phone based lives.