Environment File: Eco-rebates and eco-grants return


Eco-rebates are back

City residents can once again get cheap energy savings with the return of a popular provincial in-store rebate on efficient products.

Alberta Environment Minister Shannon Phillips kicked off the second round of Energy Efficiency Alberta’s in-store rebate program for energy-efficient products Thursday at the Pembina Institute Alberta Climate Summit in Calgary.

Until Oct. 29, some 600 retailers in Alberta, including Rona, Home Depot and Superstore, will offer substantial discounts on power and water-saving devices such as LED lights, timers, clotheslines and low-flow showerheads.

The first round of the rebate was wildly successful, with some 4.3 million products sold (about 4 million of which were LED bulbs), said David Dodge, chair of Energy Efficiency Alberta.

“For me, it’s a simple acknowledgement that this works,” he said.

Those products should collectively save about 422,000 gigajoules of energy a year, which is enough to heat about 3,500 homes for a year, he noted.

“That’s pretty cool!”

Phillips said sales of low-flow showerheads spiked some 40,000 per cent at participating retailers in the first round of this rebate, with LED bulbs up 8,000 to 14,500 per cent.

Christina Finlayson, manager of the St. Albert Home Depot, said her store saw sales of everything under the rebate program rise about 50 per cent during the last round. There were people lined up outside the store when they opened Thursday, and were already pretty busy just hours after Phillips’s announcement.

Finlayson said they’d also learned from the shortages that happened last time (where some stores ran out of LED bulbs within days), and have stocked up on significantly more product.

“We have more than 3,000 of most light bulbs in stock,” she said.

The province has also expanded its list of qualifying products and made it easier to understand, Finlayson said. Pretty much all LED bulbs now qualify, for example, and all rebates are done at the till – no more coupons or mail-ins.

Phillips said that this rebate and the other Energy Efficiency Alberta programs had supported the creation of about 1,300 jobs and saved residents money they could use for other purposes.

“A gigajoule saved is a gigajoule earned.”

Dodge acknowledged that there was a backlog when it came to the no-charge residential energy savings program, where the province has people install energy-saving devices in your home for free.

“We are faced with demand that’s more than double what we expected,” he said, and they’ve already doubled the number of people working on the program.

“We’re asking for patience,” he said, adding that all the inspections should be done before the end of next year.

This round of rebates should cost the province about $14 million, similar to the last one, and cover about a quarter of the price of the products, said Monica Curtis, CEO of Energy Efficiency Alberta.

Visit https://www.efficiencyalberta.ca/instant-savings/ for details on affected products.

Eco-grant anniversary

St. Albertans have just a few days left to get in on an eco-grant that’s now 10 years old.

City of St. Albert environment co-ordinator Meghan Myers said that the deadline to apply for this year’s Environmental Initiatives Grant is 5 p.m. on Oct. 5.

The city sets aside about $33,000 for the grant each year to help residents implement sustainability projects. Past projects include the solar array on the St. Albert United Church on Green Grove Drive, the binoculars on the Big Lake observation platform, and the ongoing reforestation of the Grey Nuns White Spruce Park.

Myers said she had yet to receive any official applications, but expected about 10 based on initial inquiries.

Myers said that this year was the grant’s 10th anniversary, and that the city would hold a celebration next February to commemorate it.

“It’s been a really cool program, and I think the community has really benefited from it.”

Call Myers at 780-459-1735 for more on the grant.


About Author

Kevin Ma

Kevin Ma joined the St. Albert Gazette in 2006. He writes about Sturgeon County, education, the environment, agriculture, science and aboriginal affairs. He also contributes features, photographs and video.