What is changing?
Starting on Jan. 1, 2017, fuel prices will be taxed at a rate of $20/tonne. By Jan 1, 2018, that same tax will go up to $30/tonne. The government has said it will hold off on any further tax increases until Alberta’s economy is stronger. But what does that mean?
Based on average use, the government estimates the carbon tax will cost the average single person $191 per year, and the average family of four $338 per year in 2017. This calculation includes the increase in gas (+4.47 cents/l*) / diesel (+5.35 cents/l* ) and electricity bills. It is important to also note that according to the information released any household earning below $95,000 or a single person earning below $47,500 will be eligible for rebates.
*based on the average 2016 prices.
What can I do to offset this carbon tax?
The idea of the Carbon Tax is to cut emissions, in other words to make the province greener and more environmentally conscious. This might be the perfect time for your home to get more efficient and environmentally friendly — i.e. – a household that uses multiple cars , has an inefficient heating system or bad insulation will be more impacted by this tax than one that favours public transit, has an efficient heating system or installs a smart thermostat for example.
The reality however is that nobody likes to pay more taxes, especially us, Albertans. But instead of focusing on the negative, we decided to list a couple of changes that can offset the carbon tax and even reduce your current energy bill.
- Replace an older low/mid-efficiency furnace with a new high efficiency unit.
Replacing an older furnace should be definitely a priority, ‘older furnaces’ are units usually installed 10 to 15 years ago or older models. Technological advances in the heating industry, like in any other industry, have taken leaps forward in the past decade or so. New units can considerably reduce energy bills. The savings obtained often well surpass the cost of installation and beyond into your energy bill ( learn more about replacing a furnace unit )
- Tune-up your heating system.
A heating system without maintenance is exactly like a car without maintenance. Try and run your car beyond the due oil change date and the longer you wait, the more your fuel consumption will be. The same applies to your home and its heating system. A furnace tune-up is recommended once a year. ( learn more about a furnace tune-up )
- Clean your ducts and replace your dirty air filters.
A clogged air filter or a dirty duct system will be far more energy demanding than a clean duct work and clean filter where air can run through freely and without resistance. Replacing or cleaning your air filter regularly and getting professional furnace and duct cleaning at least every second year is absolutely essential to keep energy costs down. ( learn more about furnace and duct cleaning )
- Install a Smart Thermostat.
Your thermostat is the brain of your heating system. A smart thermostat can often be the best cost effective way to cut costs, it’s a cheap and long term option, start with that. ( learn more about smart thermostats )
- Go Green!
Follow some of the great tips we have published in our website on how to reduce your energy consumption by changing little habits and behavior. ( learn more about energy savings tips )