Energy efficiency upgrades help homeowner stay rooted in the Annapolis Valley

As one of Nova Scotia’s premier tourist destinations, Annapolis County has plenty to offer travellers from outside the province. Peak visiting season for the area is summer and fall, leaving residents to deal with the often harsh winters.

Residents like Janet Swansburg, who, despite being retired, still has regular work during the cold months like shoveling her driveway, tending her gardens, and walking her dog Barclay at least twice a day.

But for Janet, she wouldn’t have it any other way. She’s lived in her small home, located in Moschelle, Annapolis County, for over 50 years. She raised three daughters there, built flower and vegetable gardens surrounding her home, and is involved in her community and local church. She’s built her life around her home, and it’s not an option to leave it.


Janet has done a lot of upkeep to the house over the years. Built in the 1800s, the basement has a dirt floor and rock wall, typical of many houses in the area. She explains that the house was always damp.

“There was so much moisture in the cold weather,” says Janet. “The water would run down the window and sit in puddles on the windowsill. I would have to go around and wipe it up two times a day.”

With the basement not insulated, the home was also losing a lot of heat. Janet knew this was the next thing that needed to be done for her to stay.

Janet had heard of the HomeWarming program through her volunteer work running free tax clinics as part of the Community Volunteer Income Tax Program (CVITP), which helps people with lower incomes complete their tax returns. Living on a single retiree’s pension, she knew she qualified for the program.

HomeWarming helps income-qualified homeowners throughout Nova Scotia make their home more comfortable through no-cost energy efficient upgrades. It’s funded by Nova Scotia Power and the Province and administered in partnership by Efficiency Nova Scotia and Clean Foundation.

Janet applied for HomeWarming during the 2017 tax season and the work was completed by July 2017. Her rock wall basement was insulated with spray foam, she received an energy efficient dehumidifier to help with the moisture, as well as a Nest thermostat and carbon monoxide detector.


The difference for Janet was felt immediately that following winter.

“Before, when I went to bed at night, my feet were like chunks of ice,” says Janet. “I had to wear socks to bed and it would take forever for me to warm up. Since having the work done in the basement, I never have to wear socks to bed. It made that much of a difference.”

With the added comfort to her home, Janet can focus more on the things she loves about living there.

She started expanding her gardens and is doing some growing indoors during the off season. She’s joined a local committee at her church called “Church in Action,” and is lobbying local stores to switch from using single use plastic bags to more sustainable options. She’s even making cloth bags of her own to give to others in the community.

Through her work with the CVITP tax clinics, Janet is hopeful to share with others in similar financial situations the difference programs like HomeWarming can make.

“There are a lot of people living with lower incomes in the area,” says Janet. “I’ve been volunteering at the tax clinics for four years, and we’ve helped complete over 1,000 tax returns. It’s important to get the word out about these programs that can really help.”

With newfound comfort in her home, Janet is looking forward to continuing to live and pay it forward in Moschelle.

“You just get rooted in a place,” says Janet. “I’ll stay here as long as I can. As long as I can look after it.”


For more information about the Community Volunteer Income Tax Program, click here.


If you’re looking to improve your home’s efficiency and reduce heating and power bills, you can speak confidentially with a Service Advisor about your eligibility for HomeWarming.

For help getting started, call 1 877 434 2136 (toll free), or email

HomeWarming is a program that provides energy-saving home upgrades to income-qualified homeowners at no cost.

Clean Foundation delivers the electric heat portion of the program through a generous contribution from Nova Scotia Power.

Efficiency Nova Scotia delivers the program to non-electrically heated homes with funding from the Province of Nova Scotia.

Are you eligible?

Efficiency Nova Scotia offers low-income homeowners free energy efficiency improvements that can help them feel more comfortable while reducing heating and power bills. And these upgrades are provided at no-cost thanks to the generous support from the Province of Nova Scotia. Why? Because a house is a structure. A home is warm.

Find out if you're eligible

Contact Us

We’re ready to help.

You can speak confidentially with a Service Advisor about your eligibility by calling HomeWarming at 1-877-434-2136 (toll free) or by filling in the form below. Intake will be completed by Efficiency Nova Scotia to provide an easy process for all applicants.


More info?

If your community group or association would like to learn more about HomeWarming, please email us at to set up a presentation.


If you are a reporter and would like to speak to HomeWarming, please email us at

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