June 1, 2024

Save money by signing up for an energy audit in Whistler and Squamish


A growing program helping homeowners make their homes more energy efficient has launched for the third consecutive year.

The Retrofit Assist program is returning to Whistler and Squamish for the third year in a row.

The program, which helps homeowners access energy and home efficiency discounts, has been operational in Squamish and Whistler since 2022, with more than 240 local residents applying to take advantage of the service over the past two years.

The program is coordinated through the Community Energy Association (CEA) and implemented in collaboration with BC Hydro and the BC Real Estate Foundation with support from the communities of the Resort Municipality of Whistler (RMOW) and District of Squamish (DOS).

“There have been major improvements in the energy efficiency of newly constructed homes and this is key to impacting existing homes,” said Squamish Mayor Armand Harford.

“We are pleased to see this work continue as we work towards our region-wide goal of decarbonizing Squamish buildings.”

The program, which was oversubscribed for 2023, gives homeowners access to an energy advisor, who audits applicants’ homes and generates an energy assessment and suggestions on how to make their homes more energy efficient and comfortable year-round.

According to the CEA, the assessed and retrofitted homes are, on average, 25 percent more energy efficient through a variety of recommendations, including adding insulation to prevent leaks, adding heat pumps, replacing windows and doors, and installing solar panels.

“Reducing emissions from existing buildings is a critical step in curbing emissions as part of our Big Moves climate action strategy,” said Whistler Mayor Jack Crompton.

“We know Whistler is home to many residents who want to take advantage of new technology and new building solutions to make their homes more comfortable, healthy and safe. Retrofit Assist is just one way Whistler Resort Municipality is supporting homeowners in this journey by providing access to generous grants and discounts to help reduce costs.”

The Retrofit Assist program began in the Sea to Sky Corridor and has since expanded inland to Rossland, with more communities expected to join the program over the next few years.

According to CEA, the Retrofit Assist program’s community-specific model means it also supports local contractors: A team assigned to each community will maintain a list of local contractors who can carry out upgrades for homeowners, and provide individual support to homeowners through CEA, helping them take advantage of rebate and loan programs that can further reduce the cost of renovations.

Squamish and Whistler homeowners who are interested in applying for the Retrofit Assist program can learn more by visiting the retrofitassist.ca website. For those considering home renovations or looking to incorporate energy improvements into their home, a one-on-one energy advisor can point them in the right direction on where to start.

Successful applicants can receive an “energy assessment.” This is done to determine the efficiency of the home, and the report will provide guidance to homeowners on what, and how, they can do to make their home more energy efficient. After the renovations are made, another assessment is done to understand the home and how much it has improved in terms of its energy efficiency. This means that the CEA data on the average improvement from the program is backed up by before and after assessments of homes.

Registration for the Whistler and Squamish programs opened on May 16. People who registered in 2023 but were not assessed due to oversubscription that year will be placed on the list for 2024, so apply early if you want to participate. Homeowners can register on the Retrofit Assist website.

Note: An original version of this article reported that Energy Advisor is free, but there is a $650 fee for the program, with limited rebates available to help cover the cost.


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