Home energy plan details coming soon

The federal government says it will release more details this spring of a Home Energy Retrofit Initiative offering grants to Canadian homeowners who perform residential upgrades that reduce energy consumption.

Officials with Natural Resources Canada say the federal retrofit initiative will offer as many as 700,000 grants to Canadian homeowners, each worth as much as $5,000.

If fully subscribed, the program could provide as much as $3.5 billion in grants and subsidies.

Grant money will be delivered through an existing EnerGuide home evaluation program that evaluates the energy efficiency of Canadian homes, makes recommendations on energy-saving retrofits or upgrades, and offers subsidies to homeowners to help offset the costs.

The federal government initiative will augment other energy efficiency programs that are already being offered in provinces across the country.

For a complete list of existing provincial programs across Canada, visit bit.ly/3ea7gXJ.

“It (the Home Energy Retrofit Initiative) is one of these really unique programs that will really balance both our environmental and our economic objectives by creating jobs, reducing emissions through energy efficiency measures that Canadian homeowners will

be able to undertake, and it will also help them save money and make their homes more confortable,” said Ruth Talbot, director of Natural Resources Canada’s buildings and industry division.

“Obviously, it will also help us achieve our 30 percent by 2030 target and get us on a path toward net zero by 2050.”

Talbot said homeowners who wish to receive a grant will be required to get two home energy evaluations — before and after upgrades are carried out.

Grants will be offered only on upgrades that are recommended after the initial EnerGuide evaluation has been conducted.

Evaluation costs are determined by accredited service providers but according to NRC, the combined cost of both evaluations will likely be in the range of $500 to $700.

“It really ranges depending on where you live across the country,” Talbot said.

Evaluation costs may be subsidized as well, although that has yet to be confirmed.

The amount that each registered homeowner receives through the grant program will depend on the types of upgrades undertaken and the subsidy rates that are attached to each upgrade.

Typical upgrades that qualify for subsidies might include the replacement of outdated windows and doors, insulation upgrades and installation of energy saving devices or materials inside or outside the home.

Specific details about grant calculations and the types of upgrades that will qualify have yet to be confirmed, Talbot said.

“These are details that we’re still working on…,” she said.

“We’re still working on program design but what I can say is that these will be measures that can be taken to tighten the building envelope such as insulation and also measures to make the heating and cooling systems of homes more efficient.”

It is unclear how the 700,000 grants will be distributed. Grants could be offered on a first-come, first-served basis, distributed regionally, based on the amount of energy consumed, or based on some other measure.

The EnerGuide home evaluation program has been around for at least two decades and has been offered to homeowners in different provinces at different times.

Some provinces have continued to offer the program in their own jurisdictions.

Full details of the program are expected to be available in spring.

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