People who heat their homes with oil or wood can now use Efficiency Nova Scotia programs that were previously restricted to electrically heated homes.

The federal government will provide $56 million over five years to expand the energy saving programs, Scott Brison, MP for Kings Hants, said Friday in Dartmouth.

He said the expanded programs would help the environment, create jobs and lead to social benefits.  

"A lot of Nova Scotians live in older housing that is energy inefficient by nature and there is a high rate of energy poverty as a result," said Brison. "So these kinds of investments are good social policy as well."

In 2016, Efficiency Nova Scotia helped 2,300 people cut their heating bills. Expanding programs to include oil- and wood-heated homes will "dramatically increase the impact of the work of Efficiency Nova Scotia," Brison said.

Brison said all provinces will receive similar funding under the low carbon economy fund, but Nova Scotia will have a leg up because of the foundation Efficiency Nova Scotia has created.

$150M saved on energy bills

"We haven't worked out how many more people this money will help, but it will be in the hundreds, maybe even a thousand annually," said Steven MacDonald, CEO of Efficiency One, the independent non-profit organization that oversees Efficiency Nova Scotia.

Efficiency Nova Scotia said people have saved $150 million on their energy bills by taking part in its various programs.

The new federal funding is part of a national program to help reduce Canada's carbon emissions. MacDonald said energy efficiency is a low-cost, low-risk way to reduce emissions and create green jobs.

He said about 1,000 people in Nova Scotia work in the green energy industry.