Boosted roof rebate fights wildfire
Banff homeowners will have a greater financial incentive to replace combustible roofs to protect their property – and the community – from wildfire.
Council increased funds to the Town’s Combustible Roof Replacement Program, raising the rebate per home from $900, to $1,200, for those replacing wood shingles or shakes with non-combustible shingles.
To date, 114 property owners have used a rebate from the Town to help replace their combustible roofs. There are 211 homes in the community that still have wood shake or shingle roofs.
Experiences from wildfires in other Alberta communities such as Slave Lake and Fort McMurray show that embers from burning forest fires can easily blow onto wood roofs and ignite the home.
The resources and time required to protect a home with an untreated combustible roof more than doubles. With limited time and resources, these types of structures may be identified as being unable to be protected during a wildfire and abandoned to protect homes with a higher probability of survival.
Properties that have adopted FireSmart principals have a significantly higher survival rate compared to homes that do not apply them. The Town also covers the cost of new trees for homeowners removing conifer trees on their properties to reduce wildfire spreading risk. The Town also provides free home and property assessments to make homes FireSmart.
The roof replacement program had good uptake the first several years of its existence, but recently has seen a significant decrease. Possible explanations for this decline could be related to the pandemic impacts on supplies and incomes, significant industry cost increases, and that the program has not kept pace with inflation. In 2018, the average cost to replace the roof on half a duplex in Banff was $8,000-$9,000. The average cost in 2022 was $11,000-$12,000. The rebate was intended to cover about 10% of the cost.
The increase in funding to $1,200 per home will come from the existing funds for the program.
To learn more and apply for the roof replacement rebate, visit https://banff.ca/987/Combustible-Roof-Replacement-Incentive
Town closer to giving loans for energy upgrades
Council adopted a Clean Energy Improvement Tax Bylaw, which will allow the Town of Banff to loan funds to homeowners and commercial properties for energy efficiency and renewable energy upgrades, such as installing solar panels, energy efficient furnaces or full building efficiency upgrades. Loans will be paid back over time through the owner’s property tax bill.
The purpose of the program is to help property owners with investments that will save them money in the long-run due to energy efficiency, and to help the community reduce greenhouse gas emissions as part of Banff’s climate action.
This bylaw is required by the Municipal Government Act before a Town can embark on a Clean Energy Improvement Program. Now that it’s in place, administration will return later in 2023 with the structure/design of the proposed program, including administrative cost projections, funding recommendations, eligibility requirements, details on program process and procedures, etc.
Other communities have launched similar programs, like Canmore, Calgary and Edmonton. These programs have had strong uptake.