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LiveSmart BC

Efficiency Incentive Program - Frequently Asked Questions

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Eligibility

I have already accessed incentives from the LiveSmart BC and/or ecoENERGY programs. Am I eligible for incentives through the current LiveSmart BC program?

Yes, if your follow-up (post-retrofit) assessment was prior to April 1, 2012 then you will need to have a new initial (pre-retrofit) assessment with a Certified Energy Advisor before beginning any work. LiveSmart does not provide a subsidy to participants who are having a second initial assessment. You will also need to have a new follow-up assessment after you finish your work and before March 31, 2014.

If your follow-up assessment was on or after April 1, 2012 this assessment can serve as the baseline for your participation in the current LiveSmart program and you will not need a new initial assessment.  However you must email EfficiencyIncentives@gov.bc.ca to receive a registration number before you begin work.  You will then need to have a new follow up assessment after you finish your work and before March 31, 2014.

If you already received incentives for a specific upgrade, you will not receive additional incentives for the same measure.  Upgrades that you undertook between a previous initial and follow-up assessment are not eligible for this program, alone or in combination with more recent upgrades. 

I have already had an initial (pre-retrofit) assessment but have never accessed incentives from either the LiveSmart BC or ecoENERGY programs. Am I eligible for incentives through the current LiveSmart BC program?

Yes, however if your initial assessment was prior to April 1, 2012 you must have a new initial energy efficiency assessment.  Only upgrades undertaken after this new assessment will be eligible for incentives. You will not be eligible for another LiveSmart BC assessment subsidy for this new initial assessment.

If your initial assessment was on or after April 1, 2012 this assessment will serve as the baseline for your new participation.  You will not need a new initial assessment.  However, you must email EfficiencyIncentives@gov.bc.ca to receive a registration number before you begin work.  You will need to have a new follow-up assessment after you finish your work and before March 31, 2014. 

I have already had an initial (pre-retrofit) assessment between April 1, 2012 and March 31, 2013 but I did not have a post retrofit assessment. After my assessment, I installed a new heating system. Can I apply for the LiveSmart incentives that were in market at the time that my heating system was installed?

No, under the new LiveSmart program, incentives are only available for upgrades noted in the current Eligible Upgrades and Incentives brochure.

Can I access LiveSmart BC incentives for upgrades to a rental property or a property that is not my primary residence?

Yes. As long as you own the property and meet all other program eligibility requirements detailed in the Terms and Conditions section of this website, you can access incentives for these types of properties.

I participated in the LiveSmart BC: Efficiency Incentive program and the federal ecoENERGY Retrofit – Homes program in a previous home. I now own a new home. Am I eligible for incentives under this program?

Yes. The first step to becoming eligible for incentives in your new home is to have a home energy assessment by a Certified Energy Advisor. To find a Certified Energy Advisor in your area click here.

A previous owner of my home participated in the LiveSmart BC: Efficiency Incentive program and/or the federal ecoENERGY Retrofit – Homes program.  Am I eligible for incentives under this program?

Yes. The first step to becoming eligible for incentives in your new home is to have a home energy assessment by a Certified Energy Advisor. To find a Certified Energy Advisor in your area click here.

The previous owner of my home already had a home energy assessment. Why do I need to have another one?

Each homeowner is required to have a new home energy assessment to establish a new baseline of your home’s energy efficiency and to allow us to make any incentive payments to the correct homeowner. This also takes into account any upgrades that have occurred between now and the previous homeowner’s last assessment.

I am interested in participating in the LiveSmart program. My house is primarily heated with an energy source not supplied by BC Hydro, FortisBC (electric) or FortisBC (natural gas), which I understand means I am not eligible for incentives, but I would still like to receive the $150 subsidy on the energy assessment with a Certified Energy Advisor. Am I eligible for this assessment subsidy?

LiveSmart will provide the assessment subsidy for any home/homeowner that has not previously received an incentive subsidy, regardless of the energy supplier for their home. Follow the Easy Steps to Savings on the LiveSmart website to find a Certified Energy Advisor in your area http://www.livesmartbc.ca/incentives/efficiency-home/steps.html.

My house is currently primarily heated with an energy source not supplied by BC Hydro, FortisBC (electric) or FortisBC (natural gas) which I understand means I am not eligible for incentives. I plan to convert my heating system to an energy source that is supplied by one of the utilities mentioned above. If I upgrade my heating system after my initial assessment, am I eligible for incentives?

Eligibility for LiveSmart incentives is based on the energy source in use at the time of the initial energy assessment. If your home is heated with an energy source that is not supplied by BC Hydro, FortisBC (electric) or FortisBC (gas) at the time of the initial assessment you are not eligible for LiveSmart incentives for eligible upgrades, even if you upgrade to a different energy source between your initial and follow-up assessment.

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About the program and how to participate

How do I find a Certified Energy Advisor in my area?

Click here to get a list of service organizations with advisors serving your area.

How do I apply for LiveSmart BC: Efficiency Incentive Program?

Your Certified Energy Advisor will handle all the paperwork in applying for provincial incentives after the post-retrofit energy assessment. 

Is there a provincial maximum for energy efficiency?

No, there is no provincial maximum. You will receive provincial incentives for all eligible upgrades made to your home.

Are the incentives based on how much I spend for upgrades?

No. The amount you receive is based on the individual upgrades completed. A specific incentive amount will be calculated for each qualifying upgrade so the rebate is based on the total qualifying upgrades completed.

Does the new equipment I am installing have to have a higher efficiency than the original equipment to qualify for incentives?

Yes.

Will I be taxed on the efficiency incentives I receive for my upgrades?

No.

How long will it take me to receive my incentive cheque?

Participants generally receive their incentive cheque within 12-16 weeks of their follow-up assessment.

When does the LiveSmart BC: Efficiency Incentive Program end?

Participants who have not had a pre-retrofit assessment between April 1, 2012 an March 31, 2013 must have an initial pre-retrofit assessment and must complete upgrades and have a follow-up post retrofit assessment before March 31, 2014.

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Getting the work done

Where can I get help hiring a good contractor?

Visit www.hiringacontractor.com

How do I know what type of new energy efficient products I should be putting into my house?

Your Certified Energy Advisor will help determine the improvements that are most cost effective for your home but you will decide which upgrades you undertake.

How do I know what it will cost me to make efficiency improvements? For example, how much will it cost to replace my windows or buy a new furnace?

You are encouraged to research energy efficiency products by talking to retailers, your contractor and the Certified Energy Advisor who does your home energy assessment. Before having work done to your home, you are advised to obtain three quotes from contractors.

Can I do the work myself and receive a grant?

Yes, but you must have an energy assessment done by a Certified Energy Advisor both before and after you make the improvements. Homeowners are responsible for ensuring that they obtain all necessary permits and meet all municipal and provincial requirements.

Do I have to make my energy efficiency improvements right after my initial (pre-retrofit) assessment?

No. However, in order to access incentives from the LiveSmart BC program, you must complete your eligible improvements and your post-retrofit assessment by March 31, 2014.

I’ve already started my improvements. Can I still have an energy assessment done?

It depends. The assessment requires a “blower door” test. This requires the building envelope to be intact. Holes in the exterior walls will prevent the test from being done. You can contact a Certified Energy Advisor to determine whether an assessment can be done. Only work undertaken after your initial pre-retrofit assessment will be eligible for incentives.

I am adding an addition to my home.  Am I eligible for incentives for the work undertaken to my addition?

No, work undertaken on an addition is not eligible for incentives and in some cases may reduce the overall amount of incentive you are eligible for.  Please speak to your advisor for details.

I have a heritage home. Will participating in this program impact the heritage value of my home?

There are special considerations when upgrading a heritage home. Take a look at this factsheet for more info:
Tips for Improving the Energy Efficiency of Your Traditional Home (PDF, 381 KB).

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Building type eligibility

Does it matter how old my house is?

Yes. New construction or houses that have had an occupancy permit for less than 6 months are not eligible for the LiveSmart BC program. Although any home that has had an occupancy permit for at least 6 months can become eligible, houses built before 1985 will benefit the most as they have the most potential for energy improvements.

I am building a new house. Am I eligible for incentives and assessments under this new program?

No. The Efficiency Incentive Program only targets existing housing. However, BC Hydro and FortisBC have incentive programs for new housing. For more information visit www.bchydro.com/pshome and www.fortisbc.com/Electricity/PowerSense/IncentivesPrograms/Pages/New-Home-Program.aspx.

Are mobile homes eligible for the incentive program?

Yes. Mobile homes on a permanent foundation are eligible.

I live in an apartment/condo complex. Am I eligible for incentives?

Multi-unit residential buildings are not eligible for the LiveSmart BC: Efficiency Incentive Program.

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The energy assessment

Why do I have to have an assessment to be eligible for incentives? What benefits will the assessment provide?

The home energy assessment:

  • provides independent third-party energy efficiency advice for existing homes;
  • handles the paperwork to ensure eligibility for incentives;
  • provides you with an energy efficiency rating label of your home that can increase the home’s resale potential by providing evidence of “invisible” energy improvements in existing homes;
  • provides the home’s estimated energy consumption, energy efficiency recommendations and the estimated reductions in energy use should each recommendation be implemented; and
  • allows you to make informed decisions on improving the efficiency of your home over the short- and long-term.

How long does it take to have an energy assessment completed?

The initial (pre-retrofit) energy assessment will take approximately two hours to complete. The follow-up (post-retrofit) energy assessment will take approximately one hour.

How much does an energy assessment cost? Is this cost reimbursed?

The total cost for an initial (pre-retrofit) energy assessment is up to $325.00 plus taxes and travel in some areas. The LiveSmart BC: Efficiency Incentive Program covers $150.00 of the cost directly to the assessment providers, so the cost to the homeowner is no more than $175.00 plus taxes and travel in some areas. Assessment providers are contractually bound to charge no more than $175 to homeowners for the base service of the initial energy assessment. Taxes and travel costs may be charged in addition to this amount.

The follow-up (post-retrofit) assessment also costs about $150.00. The price of this assessment is set by the assessment providers and may vary. This cost is covered by the homeowner.  It is recommended that homeowners request a quote for the follow-up assessment, including travel, at the time of the initial assessment.

What quality assurance procedures are in place for Certified Energy Advisors?

Natural Resources Canada reviews customer surveys and files and conducts on-site reviews of Certified Energy Advisors.

Will I need to provide personal information? What privacy guidelines are in place?

Some personal information will be needed in order to process your grant application. Your personal information is protected under the provincial Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act and under the federal Privacy Act. To allow the Province to coordinate incentives offered by LiveSmart BC and our utility partners, personal information will, if applicable, be shared with your utility providers for the sole purpose ofdetermining grant eligibility offerings provided by BC Hydro and FortisBC. Utility Providers are also required to protect your personal information.

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Incentive Cheques for previous LiveSmart BC: Efficiency Incentive periods

I have completed my follow-up assessment under the previous LiveSmart BC: Efficiency Incentive program.  When can I expect to receive my incentive cheque?? 

If you completed eligible upgrades and had a follow-up assessment under the previous LiveSmart program you can expect to receive your cheque within 12-16 weeks of your follow-up assessment.  If it has been more than 16 weeks since your follow-up assessment and have not yet received you cheque you can contact our call centre to inquire about the status:
1-866-430-8765.