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New program for homeowners aimed at reducing carbon footprint

Photo by Lucas Mulder.

City Council received the Kingston Home Energy Retrofit Program and an update on the Green Standard Community Improvement Plan at the City Council meeting on Tuesday, Jan. 19, 2021. Both initiatives are aimed at reducing Kingston’s carbon footprint.

According to a release from the City of Kingston dated Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2021, the Kingston Home Energy Retrofit Program will help homeowners retrofit their homes to make them more energy efficient and affordable — and bring the City one step closer to its goal of being carbon neutral by 2040. 

“We know that Kingston residents are eager to make a difference when it comes to climate change and protecting our environment and as a City, we want to help make this possible,” says Mayor Bryan Paterson.

“We’re thrilled to see the Kingston Home Energy Retrofit program move forward, an initiative that will support homeowners with their own climate action goals, while also helping them cut their personal expenses,” he adds. 

More about the Kingston Home Energy Retrofit Program

Kingston homes account for approximately 14 per cent of the community’s total greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, according to the release. Council has set an ambitious target to achieve carbon neutrality by 2040, 10 years ahead of most governments. While this goal is for the City of Kingston as a corporation, it has also become a goal post for the entire community.  

The City says the Kingston Home Energy Retrofit Program would potentially be supported through money from the Federation of Canadian Municipalities, and City funds. If it receives support during next week’s City budget deliberations, staff will then apply for the federal funding for implementation. Staff will report back to the Environment, Infrastructure & Transportation Policies Committee with final program details following notification on the funding application.

The Kingston Home Energy Retrofit Program could launch as early as this Fall, according to the release. Homeowners in Kingston could then apply to the program, and if eligible, have an energy audit completed on their homes to help determine which areas might benefit from an upgrade. Examples of energy-saving upgrades include installing energy efficient furnaces, insulation or solar panels, the City said. These changes would be made by contractors and financed over time through participating residents’ individual property tax bills. 

Councillor Kiley said at last nights council meeting: “I was very pleased to read through this report. I think that staff have hit many high notes — reducing emissions, creating jobs in the community.”

He also noted that it is a very technical program, and asked City staff to answer some questions. Homeowners can view the discussion beginning at 2:19:00 in the Council Meeting video on YouTube.

The City says that while they are looking at how to make existing buildings more sustainable, they are also focused on growing greener.

The Green Standard Community Improvement Plan

The Climate Leadership Division also presented Council with an update on the Green Standard Community Improvement Plan.

According to the release, this plan would incentivize net-zero construction in Kingston, by providing homebuilders and developers with incentives such as grants, loans, refunds, exemptions, tax increment rebates, financing or assistance if their build meets net-zero requirements (i.e. the building has no net greenhouse gas emissions associated with its operations).

City staff is developing the program and will present it later this year to the Environment, Infrastructure & Transportation Policies Committee, before it goes to Council.

Learn more about the Kingston Home Energy Retrofit Program and work on the Green Standard Community Improvement Plan.  

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