The Township of Langley Civic Facility. (Matthew Claxton/Langley Advance Times)

The Township of Langley Civic Facility. (Matthew Claxton/Langley Advance Times)

Low-energy housing project launched in Langley Township

The pilot program will look for 15 homes to retrofit sometime next year

An energy-saving pilot project for Langley homes will attempt to go beyond double-glazed windows and checking the seals around doors, deploying data and an “energy concierge” in a pilot that could go national if it works here.

About 30 per cent of greenhouse gas emissions in Langley Township come from homes, and of that, 50 per cent come from single family homes, explains Tess Rouse, the Township’s manager of climate action.

The new program will help residents adopt “deep-energy retrofits,” a pilot program that is being tested in Vancouver, the Township, and the Regional District of East Kootenay.

Home retrofits are nothing new, but they have tended towards relatively simple fixes, such as blocking drafts or upgrading windows from single- to double-pane.

This program will take a holistic, whole-building approach, said Kevin Ramlu, the Township’s building energy manager. It will look at major changes, such as permanently replacing gas furnaces with heat pumps, for example.

An energy concierge position will be created, essentially a person who can walk homeowners through the program one on one to streamline the process.

READ ALSO: Energy efficiency program takes aim at educating Langley Township

The pilot project is currently in phase two, which involves data modelling.

Ramlu said the analysis will look at the type of buildings across the Township – dividing them up by age, size, and building style, for example – so that future programs will have a better idea of what type of housing exists in Langley and what can be done to make it more energy efficient.

Because the pilot project is also looking at homes in Vancouver and in the Kootenays, it will capture differences in urban, suburban, and rural communities.

Phase three will be finding 15 homes for trial retrofits. The homeowners will be eligible for rebates and financing.

Rouse notes that not every home is being asked to give up its furnace immediately, but as they get to the end of their working lives, it makes sense to upgrade to other sources of heating, such as heat pumps or electrical heat. One of the goals is decarbonizing energy use in homes.

The third phase is expected to take place around the end of next year or early 2023.

If it’s successful, it could be scaled up from a pilot project to benefit hundreds or thousands of homes in Langley.

The $396,240 program is being funded by the federal government through the Federation of Canadian Municipalities, part of a larger $1.76 million investment in the FCM’s Green Municipal Fund.

Rouse notes the province has set a goal of slashing 80 per cent of emissions by the year 2050. Part of that will be retrofitting tens of thousands of single family homes to make them more energy efficient and to cut the use of natural gas.

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