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by Nicole Bogdanovic
September 11, 2017

Energy efficiency



Perhaps the last thing you might expect to get at a food bank is a kit to help save energy. But 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 toward a new pair of shoes for her child."

Maple Ridge is one of the more than 30 food banks that have teamed up with us to distribute free Energy Saving Kits. We’ve visited food banks across the province—from the Lower Mainland to the West Kootenays and from Osoyoos to Prince George—giving 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 showerheads, draftproofing 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 $129 in energy costs a year.*

“People get really excited when they see us there,” said Lindsey Knorr, administrative assistant to the FortisBC street team. As part of her role, she often goes into the community to let people know about all of our energy-conservation programs.

“A lot of recipients tell us they’re living in older, drafty homes and really appreciate the weatherstripping. They also love the LED light bulbs, as they know these can be expensive to buy,” she adds.

Since 2010, we’ve helped provide income-qualified customers with Energy Saving Kits at no cost. In addition to food bank recipients, close to 3,000 households have received a kit this year.

Additional assistance is also available through the Energy Assistance Conservation Program. Through this program, an energy advisor visits a participant’s home, installs energy-saving measures and sees if the customer qualifies 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 who are income qualified can order an Energy Saving Kit or apply for the Energy Conservation Assistance Program online.ustomers who are income qualified can order an Energy Saving Kit or apply for the Energy Conservation Assistance Program online.

* By switching from a standard shower head using 9.5 litres per minute (LPM) to a water-efficient model using 5.7 LPM and reducing daily showers by three minutes, a family of four can save 48,550 litres of hot water per year and $129 in water heating costs. Dollar savings is based on January 2017 FortisBC natural gas residential rate for Lower Mainland of $8.65 per gigajoule. Rate does not include basic charge and taxes.​