Town council approves energy efficiency bylaw

·2 min read

Pincher Creek residents who have been wanting to make their property more environmentally friendly but lacked financing options now have an opportunity to be a little greener in 2023.

Town council passed its Clean Energy Improvement Program bylaw Aug. 22, which sets out the rules for residents to register with CEIP to upgrade their property’s energy efficiencies.

Administered by Alberta Municipalities, CEIP allows municipalities to finance projects through banks or other institutions like the Federation of Canadian Municipalities.

The program provides contractors to complete the upgrades and sets the framework for residents to pay back the project cost through smaller instalments applied to their property tax. Potential projects include solar installations, interior and exterior lighting controls, water heating and building envelope improvements.

Because the loan is tied to the property and not the owner, payments would continue even if the original owner sold the property.

Bylaw 1634-22 lays out the rules for projects to qualify under the program.

Residents must be current on their property tax payments up to five years before applying for the CEIP and must have never had a property in collections. Owners who purchased their property within the last five years may be subject to additional financial review, like submitting a record of tax verification from previously owned property in another municipality.

The town reserves the right to decline applications for properties where the mortgage amount exceeds the assessed property value. Applicants for CEIP must be current on their mortgage payments.

A single property owner can be approved for a maximum of three CEIP project agreements. A property owner can submit only one CEIP application per year. Projects must be permanent and must improve the energy efficiency or use of renewable energy on the property; they must also cost more than $3,000.

Because the maximum total available for CEIP loans is $300,000 for residential projects and $500,000 for commercial, the cost for a proposed residential project needs to be below $50,000, with commercial projects being less than $500,000.

The interest rate for the amount borrowed by the property owner will be established at the signing of the agreement and will not exceed 10 per cent. The max term of loans is 25 years.

If the owner wants to pay off the loan earlier than the agreed term, the amount owing will be calculated at the time of the request, based on the principal and interest remaining and the financing terms.

The town has the ability to increase property taxes in the event an owner fails to pay the agreed CEIP instalment.

Town administration anticipates the program will be open for applications sometime next year.

Sean Oliver, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Shootin' the Breeze