SUMMERSIDE — The City of Summerside has launched a new program that offers home buyers incentives when purchasing new homes located in major new subdivisions. Summerside chief administrative officer Bob Ashley said incentives such as smart meters, rebates on electric thermal storage systems and fibre connectivity are a few of the options available for new homeowners. The city has also committed to installing energy efficient light-emitting diode (LED) streetlights in all new subdivisions.
“It’s being done for a couple of reasons,” Ashley said. “One is in response to the developers' forum we had. One of the messages we got from that was to see more co-operation, or opportunities created by the city. The other piece of it is the whole green city, smart city, our living lab component, which is to try to promote newer, modern technologies in the community.”
The smarter homes incentive program (SHIP) addresses key priorities for the city. The city believes smart homes are the way of the future and that adopting new and innovative sustainable technologies fits within the long-term vision for the community as an innovative and environmentally progressive city.
Ashley said along with this, is the city’s attempts to deploy the resources that it has in the wind farm and in fibre optics.
“Admittedly, there’s been a lull in major new subdivision development over the past few years,” Ashley said. “When Robert Duffy got his new (Lefurgey) subdivision approved, we thought this might be an opportunity. So we brought him in, had several meetings and discussions and tried to learn from him. We brought in some builders and real estate people and had a chat about what we thought we could do together and we came up with these programs.”
Duffy welcomes the initiative.
“An incentive we can promote that helps us sell better homes faster is great,” said Duffy, Partner of D&D Developments Ltd. “We’re excited about this initiative and believe new homebuyers are looking for these features. The city recognizes that we need to work together to encourage development in the region.”
Ashley said all homes in new subdivisions will be equipped with fibre optics and smart meters by the city.
“It’s a state of readiness to adopt any new type of technology to help save money with energy and for the environment,” he said. “The Heat for Less program, there’s a cash incentive there which is a major discount - 50 per cent on package furnace and domestic hot water systems and 30 per cent on individual appliances like room heaters.”
Ashley said these major discounts go to the first 30 building permits. The remainder will get a discount of 25 per cent.
He said along with the capital savings, the savings in energy costs “will be substantial.”
“The final piece is the smart home consultation,” Ashley said. “We’re going to track down an expert in smart home use and try to educate perspective buyers and developers in future-proofing your home.”
Initially this new incentive program will be offered to prospective new homebuyers in partnership with local residential developers.
People buying existing homes will not be eligible for this initiative.
“This is part of an experimental piece of the living lab which is specifically targeted at trying to promote major new subdivisions,” the CAO said. “It’s going to a program that’s on the wing and we would hope that eventually we could roll it out for everybody. If we could get a whole neighbourhood on side we would hope we could develop a competitive advantage over other places.”