December 28, 2016
As a vital resource for people who are struggling to make ends meet, food banks are an ideal place to provide energy-saving products that can help clients lower their household expenses.
Chuck Griffiths, operations manager for the Maple Ridge Food Bank, agrees.
“Having FortisBC involved is a natural fit," he says. "If we can help Mom make her home more comfortable and save money, then maybe those savings can help towards a new pair of shoes for her child."
Maple Ridge is one of the more than 30 food banks that's teamed up with us since September. We’ve visited food banks across the province—from the Lower Mainland to the West Kootenays and from Osoyoos to Prince George—distributing Energy Saving Kits to close to 600 households.
The kit contains a number of easy-to-install energy-saving items like water-saving faucet aerators and shower heads, draftpoofing materials and LED light bulbs. Installing these products help reduce the natural gas or electricity needed for space and water heating, and the electricity used for lighting.
These small products can make a big difference. Installing a water-efficient showerhead, like the one found in the kit, plus shortening showers by just three minutes can save $108 in energy costs a year.*
“People get really excited when they see us there,” said Lindsey Knorr, street team ambassador for FortisBC. As part of her role, she’s often found in the community letting people know about all of our energy-conservation programs, and she’s visited 13 food banks across the interior of BC this fall.
“A lot of recipients tell us they’re living in older, drafty homes and really appreciate the weather stripping. They also love the LED light bulbs as they know these can be expensive to buy,” she adds.
FortisBC and BC Hydro have worked together since 2010 to provide income-qualified customers the Energy Saving Kits at no cost. In addition to food bank recipients, close to 12,000 people received a kit this year, a 10 per cent increase from 2015.
Additional assistance is also available through the Energy Assistance Conservation Program. Through this program, an energy advisor visits a home, installs energy-saving measures and sees if they qualify for additional free upgrades such as a high-efficiency natural gas furnace or ENERGY STAR® fridge.
If you know someone who can use a little extra help stretching their household budget, we encourage you to let them know about these energy-saving programs. Customers can order an Energy Saving Kit online and apply for the Energy Conservation Assistance Program.
* Switch from a standard shower head using 9.5 litres per min (LPM ) to a water-efficient model using 5.7 LPM and reduce daily showers by three minutes, a family of four will save 69,350 litres of water per year and $108 in water heating costs. Dollar savings is based on January 2016 FortisBC natural gas residential rate for lower mainland of $7.04 per gigajoule. Rate does not include basic charge and taxes.