Guelph, Ont., May 25, 2016 – Council approved a phased approach for the City’s Guelph Energy Efficiency Retrofit Strategy (GEERS) program at last night’s Council meeting.
“We are excited to proceed with further GEERS program development for Guelph property owners,” says Rob Kerr, the City’s Community Energy Manager. “The implementation will be completed in phases, which allows us to test the energy efficiency and cost-recovery capability of GEERS to further refine and expand the program.”
The cost of the GEERS program will be determined by the number of program participants and the technology option selected. Technology options may include:
- upgrades to insulation, windows, heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC);
- rooftop solar panels;
- electric vehicle chargers;
- rainwater harvesting;
- grey water recovery; and
- permeable pavement.
The cost will be presented to Council for consideration through the City’s 2017 budget process.
GEERS program costs will be recovered through monthly payments, called local improvement charges, made by participating homeowners. Local improvement charges allow the City to recover the costs of infrastructure improvements made on public or privately owned land from property owners who benefit from the improvement.
Staff will report back to the Infrastructure, Development and Enterprise Services (IDE) Committee about GEERS program development in October 2016.
City-wide implementation of the GEERS program will support the Community Energy Initiative’s long-term goal to reduce Guelph’s per-capita energy consumption.
GEERS encourages residents to make energy efficiency improvements to their homes by retrofitting insulation, windows, weatherizing, climate control devices, furnaces, air conditioners and heat recovery systems. The upfront costs of these retrofits are paid through the program, making the investment affordable for most homeowners. The homeowner then repays these costs over a five to 25-year period at low interest rates through special monthly charges on their tax bill, known as local improvement charges. If the homeowner sells their property before the cost of the retrofit is fully paid off, the new homeowner assumes responsibility for making the remaining payments. Program participants benefit from the energy upgrades and related energy cost savings. The program also benefits the local economy by creating jobs for contractors and equipment suppliers while at the same time reducing greenhouse gas emissions.