New rebates make healthier home heating more affordable
Keeping warm during winter will have a lower effect on air quality in B.C. as more incentives and education on replacing wood stoves with cleaner, healthier heating options roll out.
“Burning wood is one of the largest air-pollution sources affecting B.C. communities, and switching to healthier, clean-heat sources can save people money by heating homes more effectively,” said George Heyman, Minister of Environment and Climate Change Strategy. “By increasing the amount available for rebates, we’re helping more people breathe healthier air in their homes and in their communities.”
In partnership with the BC Lung Foundation, the Government of B.C. will provide approximately $240,000 in rebates in 2024 through the Community Wood Smoke Reduction Program. This funding will help replace approximately 470 wood stoves with cleaner alternatives, such as heat pumps or emissions-certified wood stoves, and provide educational materials for municipalities to share with residents.
Rebates have increased this year to ensure the program is saving people money in a time of increased global inflation.
This year, people in First Nations communities can get as much as $3,000 back for upgrading to a heat pump. Rebates for heat pumps in other participating communities have doubled since last year up to $2,000, based on each community’s air-quality rating. Amounts for upgrading to a Canadian Standards Association (CSA) or an U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) emissions-certified wood or pellet stove have also increased significantly for all participating communities.
“It is important that more people understand the health risks involved with wood-burning stoves,” said Christopher Lam, CEO, BC Lung Foundation. “Our top concern is the fine particulate matter in wood smoke, along with hundreds of other pollutants, including some that cause adverse health effects.”
Since 2008, the Community Wood Smoke Reduction Program has provided more than $4 million to replace more than 10,300 old stoves with cleaner heating options. This year, the program will distribute $239,050, including $15,300 for “citizen science” projects, through the British Columbia Lung Foundation.
In addition to the Community Wood Smoke Reduction Program rebates, people in B.C. who heat their homes with wood or solid fuels can currently receive a rebate of as much as $2,000 from CleanBC to switch to an electric heat pump. For low-income households, it is as much as $5,000. Combined with federal rebates, people in British Columbia can save as much as $7,000 on the purchase and installation of a heat pump when converting from wood, or as much as $10,000 for income-qualified households. Heat pump rebates are also available from BC Hydro and CleanBC for customers switching from fossil-fuel heating systems to heat pumps.
“Modern heat pumps reduce energy bills and are effective even in colder areas of the province, especially when combined with a backup heat source for the coldest days,” Heyman said. “They also have the benefit of providing air conditioning during our increasingly hot summers.”
Depending on where they live and how much they earn, people in British Columbian can qualify for multiple rebates that will effectively cover most of the capital and installation costs for many heat pump configurations, especially in First Nation communities.