Ponoka County Reeve Paul McLauchlin is advocating residents take advantage of a free energy efficiency program.

Ponoka County Reeve Paul McLauchlin is advocating residents take advantage of a free energy efficiency program.

Ponoka residents can take advantage the province’s energy efficiency program

There may be a way for Ponoka town and county residents to take advantage of the province’s new carbon tax.

There may be a way to take advantage of the province’s new carbon tax and that is to sign up for its new energy efficiency program.

Ponoka County Reeve Paul McLauchlin is taking a pragmatic approach to the program called Energy Efficiency Alberta, which aims to install energy efficient products into people’s homes for free.

McLauchlin is part of a climate change advisory committee through the Alberta Association of Municipal Districts and Counties (AAMDC). Whatever the debate over climate change McLauchlin suggests this is a benefit that residents should take advantage of.

“I think we can all attest to being more efficient and less wasteful,” said McLauchlin.

The products being installed are purchased from the money that comes out of the controversial carbon tax set by the province, and with its implementation, McLauchlin recommends keeping the money in the area. “Your carbon tax will leave Ponoka County unless we give a reason to keep money in the county.”

“If you don’t take advantage of it, it’s going to flow somewhere else.”

What he would like to see is greater involvement from residents in these programs. McLauchlin suggests with education of a program comes opportunities to help drive its future and direction. He points out that the province’s goal is to have 10,000 roofs installed solar panels by 2019 and while all the details aren’t there for implementation, the program will continue to grow.

This new energy savings program is something that also puts Alberta in line with other provinces and countries.

“We are the only jurisdiction in North America that doesn’t have an energy efficiency program,” said McLauchlin.

He referred to a federal study of greenhouse gas emissions conducted recently. Information in the study, which can be found on the Environment and Climate Change website, compares increases from 1990, 2005 and 2014. Alberta, which also produces the greatest amount of emissions, saw the largest increase from 2005 numbers. Ontario and Quebec numbers dropped. Other provinces that increased emissions were Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Newfoundland and Labrador although their combined emissions are less than that of Alberta’s by more than half.

McLauchlin advocates for an efficient use of Alberta’s energy so that more is available as a product to sell to other jurisdictions. “The more energy efficient we can become the more energy we can sell to someone else.”

There’s more information on the Energy Efficiency Alberta website www.efficiencyalberta.ca than just signing up for the program. Also included are ways to be notified on information related to residential retail programs, business and non-profit energy savings programs as well as residential and commercial solar programs.