Canadian “Oil to Heat Program” in Saanich touts electric heat pumps

Written on: April 21, 2022 by ICM

The District of Saanich, BC in Canada recently launched an “Oil to Heat Pump Financing” program. It quickly became full and there is now a waitlist. The program offers up to $12,000 in 0% interest financing to help residents upgrade an existing oil furnace or boiler to an efficient electric heat pump. The financing is repaid over 10 years through an additional levy on the home’s property tax payments.

Residents can also combine the offer with other rebates available including:

  • Up to $6,350 (plus up to $1,000 for electrical service upgrades) from the CleanBC Better Homes program (including Saanich Top-Ups)
  • Or up to $9,500 (plus up to $3,500 for electrical service upgrades) from the CleanBC Income Qualified Program
  • Plus up to $5,000 from the Canada Greener Homes Grant

The District of Saanich said it is committed to eliminating carbon-intensive oil heating in the community by 2030 in order to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and achieve climate targets. “Heat pumps provide efficient heating and cooling with renewable energy and should save you money on your heating bills compared to oil,” according to a statement by the District.

This type of innovative financing (also called Property Assessed Clean Energy or PACE financing) is the first of its kind in BC, but has been used by many jurisdictions across Canada and the U.S .to encourage energy retrofits in existing buildings. Oil to Heat Pump Financing Eligibility Requirements include:

  • A location within the District of Saanich and must be a primary residence
  • Must be an eligible home type (single family, duplex, or qualified townhouse or mobile home)
  • Home must be primarily heated with oil heating
  • Property must be in good standing with regards to property taxes and municipal utility bills
  • Before work starts, the applicant must apply to the program and have financing agreement signed

The eligible upgrades are Ducted Central, Ductless Mini-Split, Air-to-Water, or Combined Space and Hot Water Heat Pumps, with system requirements equivalent to the Provincial CleanBC Better Homes Program. The heat pump must become the primary heating system of the home and any back-up heating installed must not be fossil fuel.

The Federation of Canadian Municipalities and the Real Estate Foundation of BC contributed undisclosed sums to this program.