Government loan to switch houses to renewables

Dear Editor,
If it costs only $25K to completely switch a house from gas and coal to solar (power and heat), I don’t understand why we aren’t organizing to do it right away. Is it just too easy?
I made a few calls yesterday because we’re planning to renovate an older house that’s been on blocks in our yard for a few years.
The cost of insulating that house, installing heat-recovery ventilation and solar power and solar-generated hydronic heat is less than $25K.
We aren’t going to be finished our renovation for about three years, which is too bad. I wish I could do it now because, at the rate we are currently paying for electricity and gas, we’d have that debt gone in less than 12 years and enjoy free heat and power for the rest of our lives.
Unfortunately for us, we have to wait, but I don’t understand why other homeowners aren’t already at the bank getting a loan to get this done.
I do realize that a lot of people might not want to go further into debt. So I think we ought to have a program like the one we had in 1989 when interest rates were way over 10 per cent and the housing market was slumping.
To help people to buy their first home, the provincial government offered a $5K interest-free loan to be paid back over the next five years.
I was automatically approved for my loan through the Alberta Treasury Branch. (It was exactly the kind of program that ATB was created for.)
The government got all the money back within five years. Why not do the same to switch all our homes to renewables?
Each homeowner could be automatically eligible for an interest-free loan and pay back the loan at the same rate that they currently pay in heat and power.
Or, for more incentive, maybe they pay a little less (which puts a little extra money back in our pockets right away). Once the loan is paid back, apart from occasional upgrades and repairs, the cost of power and heat is…zero.
If you buy an electric vehicle, you also drive for free.  Government spending is only the cost of administering the interest-free loan.
It would take years to switch every house in Alberta, and anybody who wanted to work could. We would attract people, investment and innovation.
Energy companies would see that Alberta is ready for change and kickstart those big renewable energy projects for export to the US (before somebody else does).
I just cannot see the downside of moving as quickly as possible into a cheaper, cleaner future.
Nora Abercrombie CEO, Green Party of Canada for Battle River – Crowfoot

About the author

ECA Review

Our newspaper is only as good as its contributors and we thank each one who submits stories, photos and opinions. If you have a news item, photos or opinion to share please submit it to