Have questions? Get in touch with an Contact an Energy Coach at 1 (844) 881.9790 or email

Frequently Asked Questions

Rebate Questions

EfficiencyBC Custom-Lite Program

How is the Custom-Lite Program different from the Custom Program?

The Custom-Lite Program is a simplified version of the Custom Program, meant to facilitate smaller electrification opportunities across the commercial and institutional building sector. Similar to the Custom Program, the Custom-Lite Program will offer incentives for both energy studies and capital equipment replacements that result in GHG reductions from fuel-switching and other electrification measures (such as heat reclaim systems).

What measures qualify for Custom-Lite Program funding?

  • Air-to-water heat pump water heater
  • Air-to-air rooftop heat pump
  • Sewage heat recovery pump
  • High-efficiency (>75%) HRV*
  • Electric water heater**
  • Air source VRF
  • Electrical cooking equipment

The following measures qualify but are typically found in larger buildings and as such may exceed the GHG criteria thresholds for the Custom-Lite Program:

  • Heat recovery chiller*
  • Ground source heat pump
  • Water-to-water heat pump
  • Exhaust air heat recovery heat pump
  • Electric boiler**
  • Water source VRF

*Proposed measures leading to a gas dominant heating system (i.e.  Gas heating equipment with greater than 50% share in total building heating energy consumption) should first contact FortisBC to inquire about eligibility in its gas DSM program.
**Electric boiler only will be accepted if all other more efficient heat pump options are not feasible.

Do I need an energy study to receive Custom-Lite retrofit incentives?

Eligibility for retrofit incentives can be obtained by submitting a completed Custom-Lite Workbook with either 1) an already completed energy study, 2) substantive engineering documentation, or 3) an approved energy study report. Eligibility is dependent on a review of all documentation by BC Hydro’s Conservation and Efficiency Management (CEM) Engineering.

If you completed an energy study prior to applying for Custom-Lite funding, you can still access Capital Incentive funding. An energy study completed prior to the launch of the Custom-Lite Program or funded from a third-party can be eligible for Custom-Lite Capital Incentive funding provided it is approved by BC Hydro. These studies are not eligible for Energy Study-Lite funding.

Energy studies provide detailed technical information, quantified energy information, and expected implementation costs, and help determine the most effective energy efficiency measure for implementation. The Custom-Lite program offers funding supporting the completion of energy studies.

The program will support up to 50% of an energy study cost, up to a maximum of $2,000. Any remaining balance will be funded by the customer. Energy studies must be completed by a registered member of the BC Hydro Alliance of Energy Professionals.

What is the Custom-Lite Workbook?

The Custom-Lite Workbook is an Excel Spreadsheet with information on preliminary building and/or equipment information, project cost and GHG estimates, as well as relevant contact and project team information. By completing the Workbook, both customers and program administrators will be able to determine if there is a viable opportunity for Custom-Lite funding.

The Workbook is mandatory for all commercial customers wishing to apply for energy study-lite funding and capital incentive funding through the Custom-Lite program. The Workbook is a free tool that can be obtained on the EfficiencyBC website.

How many projects can I receive funding for?

At the parent company level, you are eligible to receive a maximum of $48,000 in Custom-Lite funding, which can be spread across multiple projects/properties. Approvals are subject to overall program funding availability.

Are demonstration projects eligible for Custom-Lite funding?

Demonstration projects may be considered if they are innovative technologies that are commercially available but not widely used in BC or for testing emerging technologies that are relatively new to the market. These projects may be considered for Custom-Lite funding if they create ‘real life’ examples of innovation and encourage customers to adopt emerging technologies. Such projects will be approved at the discretion of program administration.

Will there be sufficient electricity to support my project?

An important consideration when exploring any electrification project is understanding potential building or localized capacity issues in the surrounding area. An electrical service upgrade may be required. This should be identified and explored by the contractor in the workbook and in consultation with BC Hydro.

I have not received and signed my Capital Incentive Agreement, but have time sensitive purchasing and budget decisions. Can I purchase these materials before finalizing my Incentive Agreement?

Equipment purchased before the finalizing of the Capital Incentive Agreement would be deemed ineligible for Custom-Lite incentive funding.

If I received Capital Incentive funding through the Custom Program, am I eligible for Custom-Lite funding?

No. If you have already received Capital Incentive funding from the Custom Program, you are not eligible for further funding under the Custom-Lite program. If you received Energy Study funding under the Custom Program but were not eligible for Capital Incentives funding due to not meeting the GHG reduction threshold of 1200 tCO2e over the lifetime of a measure, you may be eligible for Capital Incentive funding through the Custom-Lite Program.

I have applied for additional funding through a third-party organization, will this affect the Capital Incentive funding I receive?

Yes. The total amount of third party funding would be subtracted from the original Incremental Cost applied to the original calculated incentive amount. This updated incremental cost would then be applied and a new Incentive amount would be calculated.

For example, if you have a project with a $25,000 incremental cost that will produce 1,000 tCO2e of lifetime GHG savings, your maximum eligible Custom-Lite Capital Incentive will be $12,500 (50% of incremental cost). If you have received $5,000 from a third-party towards that same project, the Custom-Lite Capital Incentive would be recalculated to $10,000 ($25,000-5,000= $20,000 incremental cost).

What happens if my project requires an extension?

Projects will be expected to be completed within a 12-month timeframe. If an extension is required, the request must be made to your Key Account Manager or the Power of Business Help Desk if you do not have a Key Account Manager. BC Hydro will assess the request, and if approved, will issue a one-time only extension of 6 months after the original expected project completion date as per the Incentive Agreement.

What if the consultant I want to work with is not a member of the BC Hydro Alliance of Energy Professionals?

If the consultant/contractor you have chosen to work with is not an approved member of BC Hydro’s Alliance of Energy Professionals, the consultant may contact BC Hydro for assistance with gaining membership. After review and consent from BC Hydro, the application may continue moving forward while membership application is being completed.

EfficiencyBC Custom Program

What measures qualify for EfficiencyBC Custom Program funding?

  • Heat recovery chiller*
  • Air-to-water heat pump
  • Air-to-water heat pump water heater
  • Ground source heat pump
  • Air-to-air rooftop heat pump
  • Water-to-water heat pump
  • Exhaust air heat recovery heat pump
  • Sewage heat recovery heat pump
  • Electric boiler**
  • Electric water heater**
  • High-efficiency (>75) HRV*
  • Air source VRF
  • Water source VRF

*Proposed measures leading to a gas dominant heating system (i.e. gas heating equipment with greater than 50% share in total building heating energy consumption) should first contact FortisBC to inquire about eligibility in its gas DSM program.
**Electric boiler only will be accepted if all other more efficient heat pump options are not feasible.

What is the Low-Carbon Electrification Workbook?

The Low-Carbon Electrification Workbook (Workbook) is an Excel spreadsheet that helps customers and program administrators determine if there is viable opportunity within a building. The Workbook contains preliminary building and equipment information, project estimates, relevant project team information, and is mandatory for those seeking Custom Program Funding. The Workbook is a free tool accessed through your BC Hydro Key Account Manager, and is filled out by the customer and/or consultant and is a requirement for program participation.

The Custom Program offers funding supporting energy studies, which are used to complete the inputs of the Workbook. Energy studies provide detailed technical information, quantified energy information, expected implementation costs, and help determine the most effective energy efficiency measure for implementation.

The Program will support up to 50% of an energy study’s cost, up to a maximum of $20,000. Any remaining balance will be funded by the customer. Energy studies must be completed by a registered member of the BC Hydro Alliance of Energy Professionals.

How many projects can I receive funding for?

At the parent company level, you are eligible to receive a maximum of $200,000 in Custom Program funding, which can be spread across multiple projects/properties. Approvals are subject to overall program funding availability.

Are demonstration projects eligible for Custom Program funding?

Demonstration projects use commercially available technologies that are not widely used in BC or are relatively new on the market. Demonstration projects may be considered for Custom Program funding if they create ‘real life’ examples of innovation and encourage customers to adopt emerging technologies. Such projects will be approved at the discretion of program administration.

I’ve completed an energy study prior to applying to the Custom Program. Is this study eligible for capital incentive funding?

Yes. An energy study completed prior to the launch of the Custom Program or funded from a third-party can be eligible for Capital Incentive funding provided it meets the requirement in the Low-Carbon Electrification Workbook and is approved by BC Hydro. However, these studies are not eligible for Custom Program Energy Study funding.

I have not received and signed my Capital Incentive Agreement but have time sensitive purchasing and budget decisions. Can I purchase these materials before finalizing my Incentive Agreement?

Equipment purchased before the finalizing of the Capital Incentive Agreement will be deemed ineligible for Custom Program incentive funding.

I have applied for additional funding through a third-party organization, will this affect the Capital Incentive funding I receive?

Yes. The total amount of third party funding would be subtracted from the original incremental cost applied to the original calculated incentive amount. This updated incremental cost would then be applied and a new Incentive amount would be calculated.

For example, if you have a project with a $77,000 incremental cost, that will produce 2,829 tC02e of lifetime GHG savings, your maximum eligible incentive will be $38,500 (50% of incremental cost). If you have received $10,000 from a third-party towards that same project, the Custom Program incentive would be recalculated to $33,500 ($77,000-10,000= $67,000 incremental cost).

What happens if my project requires an extension?

Projects will be expected to be completed within an 18-month timeframe. If an extension is required, the request must be made to your Key Account Manager. BC Hydro will assess the request and if approved will issue a one-time only extension of 6 months after the original expected project completion date as per the Incentive Agreement.

What is energy benchmarking, and why am I required to sign up for Portfolio Manager?

Building energy benchmarking is the ongoing review of your organization’s energy consumption to determine if your building’s energy performance is getting better or worse. Natural Resources Canada (NRCan) supports building energy benchmarking through the ENERGY STAR® Portfolio Manager, a free online tool developed by the US Environmental Protection Agency.

Participants in the Custom Program are required to have a Portfolio Manager account containing the building where the incented measures will be implemented. Participants will also be required to share access to their Portfolio Manager in ‘Read Only’ mode with BC Hydro and the Ministry of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources’ (EMPR) Program Administrator. This will enable program administrators to easily verify that your account has been properly set up before administering the incentive payment.

What if the consultant I want to work with is not a member of the BC Hydro Alliance of Energy Professionals?

If the consultant you have chosen to work with is not an approved member of BC Hydro’s Alliance of Energy Professionals, the consultant may contact BC Hydro for assistance with gaining membership. After review and consent from BC Hydro, the application may continue moving forward while membership application is being completed.

General Rebates and Upgrades

What rebates are available?

There are many rebate and incentive programs available for improving the energy efficiency of commercial, institutional, and multi-unit residential buildings in BC, and each program is different. Visit our incentive search tool to find the right program(s) for you.

Take the time to read thoroughly about the rebates you’re interested in. Find out which incentives you are eligible for based on:

  • The building’s location
  • Your utility provider
  • Your fuel consumption rate
  • Whether you need an Energy Assessment or Benchmarking Study before starting
  • What kinds of documentation are needed
  • What the rebate deadlines are

If you have any questions, you can also contact us.

Did you see a building science or energy efficiency term you did not understand? Check out our glossary.

What are municipal utility providers?

Municipal utility providers are located within the service territories of BC Hydro or FortisBC. These municipalities sell electricity directly to their customers.

Municipal utility providers within the BC Hydro service territory:

  • New Westminster

Municipal utility providers within the FortisBC service territory:

  • Grand Forks
  • Summerland
  • Penticton
  • Nelson

Get solutions for common problems & learn about energy efficient upgrades.