Council told how to keep it green

PORT HOOD: Inverness Council was informed of two green programs offered by the Clean Foundation of Nova Scotia early last week at the municipal unit’s July meeting.

“Energy programs are our biggest focus,” said Derek Peters during his presentation to council. Peters is a program coordinator with the Clean Foundation of Nova Scotia.

“There are two programs I’d like to talk with you about today. One is for clean energy financing which is a PACE program. I’m also going to talk about a program we’re developing that builds off the PACE model. It’s called Clean Net Zero, and it’s taking that next step to deeper energy retrofits.”

A PACE program offers affordable financing for homeowners to make their homes more energy efficient through retrofits. Peters said his group’s PACE program offers a 1-1 debt-to-savings ratio over a 10-year (or less) financing period.

“Month-to-month, you are saving more energy than you are paying to the project,” Peters said.

He noted that Clean Net Zero is a program that expands on what’s offered through his group’s PACE program.

“Clean Net Zero is a program where we’re offering a means to allow homeowners to invest in retrofits that will allow them to eliminate their energy costs over the year,” Peters said. “The idea is to have your house produce just as much energy as it consumes.

“The way you create this housing is by investing in fundamental energy efficient retrofits – insulation, heat pumps, windows and doors – with PACE financing, but then you also reintegrate the renewable energy component.”

The benefits to the municipality are that Clear Net Zero allows county residents the opportunity to finance deep energy retrofits with support from experts. The Clean Foundation of Nova Scotia offers local trades people the opportunity to receive free-of-charge technical training on how to do the retrofits properly. Joining the program would also put Inverness County in a multi-sectorial relationship with Peters’ group, the District of Lunenburg, the District of Shelburne, the District of Digby, and the Town of Bridgewater.

Though the county didn’t make a move to join up, councillors seemed to like what Peters was saying.

“I’ve been off-grid my whole life, and I have to say some of these systems are definitely working,” added Inverness councillor Jim Mustard.