The CVRD has received more funding to offer incentives for people to replace old, polluting wood stoves. (File photo)

The CVRD has received more funding to offer incentives for people to replace old, polluting wood stoves. (File photo)

Cowichan Valley Regional District offers rebates to replace woodstoves

Rebates up to $2,000 each

The Cowichan Valley Regional District is, once again, offering rebates of up to $2,000 to help residents invest in better ways to heat their homes.

The 2022 woodstove replacement rebate program is funded through a grant from the BC Lung Foundation and the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy.

This rebate can be combined with those offered through the Better Homes BC and the Canada Greener Homes Grant programs, helping residents access up to $6,000 when upgrading a woodstove to a heat pump.

“We are grateful to once more receive funding to support our residents in investing in more efficient and healthy heating options,” said Lori Iannidinardo, chair of the CVRD.

“With the annual decline in air quality during winter months, when wood burning is the most common across our region, it’s important that we take action at a local, household level when possible to help those suffering from health conditions that worsen during days of poor air quality.”

Upgrading a woodstove to a heat pump has several benefits, both for the individual and the surrounding neighbours. They include staying cool and breathing easier indoors.

“We experienced devastating impacts from extreme heat in the summer of 2021, including loss of life,” said Dr. Shannon Waters, medical health officer for the Cowichan Valley region.

“The ability for a heat pump to also cool your home can help mitigate this risk, particularly for households with young children, elderly and those living with underlying health conditions.”

In addition to cooling your house, many heat pumps also improve indoor air quality by filtering out dust, pollen, excess humidity and pollutants from wildfire smoke.

Upgrading an old stove to a new home heating system, or limiting the use of it to emergencies only, benefits everyone in your neighbourhood. While it is difficult to reduce all sources of wood smoke, due to events such as wildfires, every step taken to improve air quality locally will benefit people living with COPD and asthma, both of which are prevalent in the Cowichan Valley region.

“Taking steps to reduce wood smoke is especially important in the Cowichan Valley because of our unique topography and weather,” said Ilse Sarady, senior environmental technologist for the CVRD.

“We live in a low-lying valley with surrounding mountains and we hardly get any wind or mixing of atmospheric air layers in the winter. As a result, smoke gets trap here at ground level for days which is bad for your health.”

As well, old, uncertified woodstoves can use one-third more wood than newer EPA certified woodstoves to produce the same amount of heat.

Replacing wood-burning appliances can also reduce your annual home insurance bill.

Many people that have changed from a woodstove to a heat pump also enjoyed not having to spend time chopping, staking and hauling in wood to heat their homes.

Check out the CVRD woodstove replacement program at www.cvrd.ca/Woodstove. For information on the Better Homes BC and the Canada Greener Homes Grant rebate programs, contact an energy coach for free at 1-844-881-9790.

Environment