Guest post courtesy of Zoocasa
We all try to be environmentally friendly. We choose to take transit or bike when possible, shun single-use coffee pods and avoid bottled water (don’t we?!). So why not bring that spirit into our homes? Buildings, and the energy they consume, after all, account for almost one-quarter of Ontario’s total greenhouse gas pollution. If we extrapolate that across Canada, the residential carbon footprint is huge!
If we can help reduce that figure, we may have a chance to slow down climate change and its likely drastic consequences.
The government thinks so too, and that’s why it’s doing a big push to incentive homeowners to retrofit their homes to become more energy efficient.
Ontario, British Columbia and Alberta each have province-wide initiatives to rebate homeowners for retrofits, most commonly for insulation, windows and EnergyStar appliances.
(Additional municipal rebate plans exist, but are too numerous to detail here.)
Zoocasa went through each of these provincial programs to detail exactly how they work and figure out how much you can get back.
*All rebates amount vary depending on exact retrofit and the following amounts represent that maximum available rebate.
The Green Ontario Fund
Funded from proceeds of the cap-and-trade program, this brand-new program offers an extensive list of rebates. The process is simple: You work with a select list of contractors to renovate. You pay the contractor directly, and he submits a rebate application on your behalf. After proving the work has actually been completed through before and after photos, you submit proof of purchase to the government and get a rebate cheque in the mail in two-to-three months.
- $100 for a smart thermostat
- $5,800 for an air-source heat pump
- $7,200 for insulation:
- $20,000 for a geothermal system
Ontario Home Energy Conservation Incentive Program
Ontario’s Green Investment Fund partnered with Enbridge and Union Gas to deliver these rebates as part of the province’s five-year climate change action plan. Each homeowner is eligible for up to $5,000 of rebates as long as they do two upgrades from the list below. At that point, homeowners are also eligible for some smaller electrical rebates (such as $75 off a new EnergyStar appliance).
This process is more involved than the previous set of rebates. You must get an in-person pre-and post-energy assessment which costs $600, plus HST. You get the $600 back, minus HST, at the same time as your rebate, within three months.
- $1,750 for exterior wall insulation
- $1,250 for basement insulation
- $1,000 for upgrading to a high-efficiency furnace or boiler
- $750 for replacing a wood-burning appliance
- $500 for an air source heat pump
- $500 for attic insulation
- $500 towards a new water heater
- $150 for air sealing
- $80 per energy efficient window, door or skylight
Electric retrofits (only available after two or more gas upgrades):
- $5,800 for both interior and exterior electric air source heat pumps
- $500 for EnergyStar central air system
- $75 for various EnergyStar appliances
BC Hydro Home and Fortis Renovation Rebates
British Columbia, unlike Ontario, doesn’t have a government led environmental initiative. Instead, all their rebates are offered through utility companies and municipalities, making the process more cumbersome. BC tries to offset this by offering a “Home Energy Coach,” which is an informative website and free telephone hotline that provides science-based information on how to improve the energy efficiency of your home.
For some of the rebates (noted by an astrix) you must first pay over $500 for a pre and post energy evaluation.
To obtain rebates homeowners should fill out an online application and include supporting documents like invoices and receipts.
Rebates for EnergyStar appliances are not currently available but are set to return sometime this spring, at $25-$100 per appliance.
- $300 for a natural gas fireplace
- $500 for natural gas furnace and boiler
- $500 draft proofing*
- $750 for three or more improvements*
- $800 for Space heating
- $1,000 for an energy efficient water heater
- $1,200 insulation
Like Ontario, Alberta has a government led rebate program: Energy Efficiency Alberta. They offer some unique initiatives unavailable in other provinces, like ones for solar panels and drain water heat recovery systems.
They also offer a simple, online process for getting EnergyStar appliance rebates. Once you buy an appliance from the qualified list, you simply snap a picture of the receipt and upload it to the website with a rebate application.
To get your rebate you must first get three quotes from registered contractors. The contractor you choose will submit the rebate application, which includes before and after photos, on your behalf. You should receive all rebate cheques in the mail within two months.
- $75 furnace with a high-efficiency motor
- $100 refrigerator
- $100 washing machine
- $100 smart thermostat
- $500 drain water heat recovery
- $1,000 for a hot water heater
- $1,500 for windows
- $3,500 for insulation
- $10,000 for solar panels
There’s no need, however, to limit yourself to these province-wide rebates. Many municipalities within these provinces also offer money-back. With a bit of online sleuthing, research and labour, you can both reduce your utility bills and do your small bit to help combat climate change.