By Charles Lefebvre on November 5, 2016.
The city’s HATSmart program has continued to grow eight years after its inception, and organizers are looking at ways to ensure it remains viable.
HATSmart was one of the featured topics at the Urban Sustainability Forum hosted by the Southeast Alberta Watershed Alliance, Friday at Medicine Hat College.
“HATSmart has been a real plus for the city of Medicine Hat, and the fact it has been in place since 2008 as a sustainable program that has offered incentives to commercial and residential customers, they wanted to hear our story,” said Jaret Dickie, manager of utilities business support with the city.
Dickie says HATSmart has been growing in popularity since its inception, educating Hatters and working to promote energy conservation in the region. The program has provided financial incentives to Hatters who work to make their home or business green, handing out more than $4.6 million in rebates to customers during its existence.
Dickie says the most popular incentive for the program has been rebates for high-efficiency washing machines, to save money on water and electricity. Solar panels incentives have also proven popular.
“As people get more interested in renewable energy, I think it’s important people understand the technology, how it works, how it’s going to save them money,” he said.
Dickie says educating Hatters about the program needs to continue in order for HATSmart to remain a viable program.
“We need to be more in front of the game and making customers and consumers aware of the little things and habits they can change to save money,” he said, noting the program has updated its information at the Medicine Hat Public Library.
Dickie adds the city will be revising HATSmart in the future to ensure energy targets remain realistic, and adds the program will also keep an eye on provincial and federal government initiatives, to ensure it aligns with them.
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