Earn a rebate when you go energy-efficient

Since 2008, the Green Rebate program offered by Yukon’s Energy Solutions has offered a monetary incentive to encourage consumers to trade their old appliances for new, energy-efficient ones.

Shane Andre, director of the Energy branch, says that since its incarnation, the program has definitely grown. In the last few years, they have received roughly 1200 to 1500 applications a year.

“We establish criteria for more energy-efficient products, based on international standards, then we then offer incentives for the purchase of that product,” Andre says about how the program works.

“So essentially all the folks in the Yukon need to do is purchase the product and provide proof of purchase of that product. And then we verify that they’ve met all the requirements. And just like that, a rebate cheque will be headed your way.”

Nowadays, most appliances by law need to have an EnerGuide reading, which indicates how much energy that particular appliance uses over the course of a year. If the product is in the top 10 per cent energy efficient products in its class, there’ll be an Energy Star sticker on it, Andre explains.

“For the most part, for the criteria, we use the Energy Star requirement. That’s a really good standard to use for most appliances and other things.”

Andre stresses that’s not the only standard Energy Solutions follows.

“The Energy Star isn’t always available for all products, so sometimes we use other standards [like] EPA WaterSense, or sometimes we establish a standard that is a little bit higher than Energy Star for some products as well.”

Though there currently isn’t a program with higher incentives for residents in rural communities to trade their appliances in for more energy efficient ones, Andre says there is a significantly higher incentive for residents of diesel-powered communities.

“For folks who are using electricity-producing diesel generation, that generation is both more expensive and has a higher environmental cost associated with it. For that reason, we try to offer a much greater incentive for folks in that community to use as little energy as possible.”

The regular rebate for most major appliances such as refrigerators is usually $100, but for residents in diesel-powered communities like Watson Lake and Old Crow, it’s usually a $300 rebate instead.

Andre notes that though it’s important to offer incentives to the consumers, it’s also important to offer the same incentives to retailers.

“When we first started the program, there weren’t a lot of energy-efficient appliances in the stores to choose from,” he says.

Over the course of delivering this program consistently, however, Andre says retailers have educated themselves on the energy-efficient options available, as well as how to provide and educate their customers about these options.

“We work really closely with all the retailers, so they’re really familiar with our criteria. But if you’re ever in doubt, you can always give us a call here at the Energy Solutions Centre, and we can guide you to the right products.”