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Colwood offers free home energy kits

Goldstream News Gazette, January 31, 2012

Colwood offers free home energy kits
Rio Encias, 3, with a shower timer, and his brother Jace, 4, with a low-flow shower head, show a few pieces of the energy saving kit their family picked up for free from Colwood city hall
Charla Huber

Keith and Keli Encinas are transforming their home into an energy saving haven. They are also one of the first families to pick up a free energy saving kit offered through Solar Colwood.

Colwood residents can now pick up an energy saving kit from Colwood city hall. 

Each kit offers families a low-flow shower head, a waterproof timer to keep track of shower lengths and kitchen and bathroom aerator nozzles.

“(The aerators) force air through the water so you get the same pressure but less water is being used each time,” said Paula Steele, Solar Colwood outreach co-ordinator.

The Encinas, a family of seven, have already taken advantage of grants through Solar Colwood to install a solar hot water system and a ductless (split) heat pump. Their five children are between the ages of 14 and three.

“We try to limit how much hot water and energy we are using,” Keith Encinas said. “I am pretty conscious about conserving energy ... it’s about changing behaviour.”

The family’s ductless heat pump was installed at the end of November. They’ve seen a 20 per cent decrease in home heating costs, Keith said. The solar hot water system was installed at the end of December and the family is waiting to see the results.

“From June to September we should be getting free hot water,” he estimated.

The energy saving kits are just another way the family hopes to save money and energy.

“These kits are really easy to install and an easy way to save $50 to $100 on your water bill (in a year),” Steele said. “This is a great first step for water conservation and a great first step for energy saving solutions.”

The kit can be used to help reduce water consumption and Steele suggests using the shower timer to have family contests to see who can shower the fastest.

Steele has already implemented these energy saving items in her home.

“I just use less water and I have no limits in my lifestyle,” she said. “I don’t really even notice it.”

There are a few hundred kits available to Colwood residents at Colwood city hall.

“The kits are being offered until they are gone,” Steele said. “Solar Colwood wants to provide something for everyone.”

Call Colwood city hall at 250-478-5999 about the kits, or check out

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