What to know about the greener homes grant in Canada
Canada’s government recently introduced the “Canada Greener Homes Grant Initiative,” which aims to provide grants to make your home more energy-efficient. And the program already has thousands of applications: Canadians have taken note, visiting the official website in such numbers that it crashed for several hours.
The Canadian Government has committed to achieving net-zero emissions by the year 2050, introducing the Canadian Net-Zero Emissions Accountability Act in late 2020, which if passed, “formalizes Canada’s 2050 target, and establishes a series of interim emissions reduction targets at 5-year milestones towards that goal”. Despite the Act’s long-term goal, the time to think about our emissions is now.
Climate change is a serious issue facing everyone. While greenhouse emissions from cars and the food we eat are trending topics, it is not the whole story. It is estimated that 18% of Canada’s total Greenhouse Gas emissions are the result of the homes we live in.
The Canada Greener Homes Grant arrives at a perfect time and could help thousands of homeowners make their homes more energy-efficient, which is both cost- and eco-friendly.
So, what is the Greener Homes Grant?
The Canadian Greener Homes Grant initiative is a multi-faceted initiative that aims to improve the energy efficiency of our homes while promoting job growth in Energy Advisor careers.
One part of this initiative is over 700,000 grants allocated for Canadians to add energy-efficient home improvements to their current homes – up to a $5000 retrofit grant for each household. An additional $600 is allocated for pre- and post-retrofit evaluations for homeowners. These evaluations aim to provide Canadians with expert advice to make the best use of the retrofit grants, but also improve the knowledge of Canadians on how to be more energy-efficient.
To support this initiative, the second aspect of the Canadian Greener Homes Grant is to promote careers for Energy Advisor positions, particularly for under-represented groups: Indigenous and racialized individuals, individuals who identify as LGBTQ+ and in underserved areas, including Canada’s lesser populated provinces and territories and in rural, remote, or Indigenous communities.
How does the Canada Greener Homes Grant work?
As we broke down in the last section, the three sections of the Canada Greener Homes Grant are
- Grants for retrofits up to $5,000.
- Grants for pre- and post-retrofit evaluations up to $600.
- Expansion of Energy Advisors throughout Canada.
Homeowners who live in a new home older than 6 months are eligible for up to $600 for the cost of pre- and post-retrofit EnerGuide evaluations. The pre-retrofit EnerGuide evaluations aims to highlight inefficiencies in your home, and things that can be done to improve the energy efficiency of your home.
Once your EnerGuide pre-retrofit evaluation is completed, you will receive a report about which retrofit options will be effective at improving the efficiency of your home. Then you can begin retrofitting your home, using at least one of the recommended retrofits according to the pre-retrofit EnerGuide evaluation. Upon completion of the retrofits to the standards and restrictions highlighted on the government website, you will then schedule your post-retrofit evaluation, which will record the improvements in emissions, which can determine how much money you can be reimbursed for on your retrofits.
So why should you think about retrofitting your home? Reducing your carbon emissions is always a good thing, especially as we see more of the impacts of global warming. However, these retrofits can save you on energy costs and can save you money long term.
The third aspect of this grant is grants to improve the training, recruitment, and opportunity for Energy Advisor roles throughout Canada, particularly for underserviced areas and underrepresented people. The Canadian government has allocated $10 Million dollars over the next 5 years to support Service Organizations, Indigenous governments or organizations, or other legal entities can be eligible for grants for their projects that fit these criteria, encouraging job growth in the Energy Advisor sector.
Who can apply for the green home retrofit grant?
Canadian homeowners can apply to be a part of this initiative. You will be required to provide proof of ownership, using your property tax bill number, and you will also need to demonstrate that the property is your primary residence, through government issued ID with address or a utility bill. Only one homeowner per residence can register for the grants.
Other owners of buildings that house many people, like owners of small, multi-unit residential buildings, Indigenous governments or organizations, or other bodies that own homes that house Indigenous households can apply for multiple home retrofits.
Indigenous governments or organizations, or housing management bodies, representative bodies or Indigenous service delivery organizations with formal partnerships with Indigenous governments or organizations can also apply for the grant, up to multiple homes, as long as the home is owned by the applicant and is home to an Indigenous household.
New homes, defined as homes that are six months old or less based on the date of occupancy by the first homeowner, are exempt from this grant.
How to apply for the Greener Homes Grant?
1. First, we recommend researching the CGHG website to double-check eligibility criteria for the grant. Reading this entire article will be a good start, however certain restrictions, requirements, or criteria will be more extensively detailed on the government page.
2. The first step you will need to take in the application process is to registering and booking a pre-retrofit evaluation of your home, which can be done in the Greener Homes portal here. Residents of Quebec and Nova Scotia have provincial programs that they will need to book though for their EnerGuide evaluation. New Brunswick is also encouraged to apply through its provincial program. Once registered and booked, your pre-retrofit EnerGuide evaluation will be performed by an NRCan registered energy advisor.
3. Your pre-retrofit EnerGuide evaluation will come with recommendations of what you can do to improve the energy efficiency in your home. You can decide which of these recommendations will work best, but you will need to complete at least one retrofit recommended in your pre-retrofit evaluation.
4. Once your retrofits have been completed, you can book your post-retrofit evaluation to begin the reimbursement process. You will also need to submit any required documents to the government. Your post-retrofitted home will be evaluated to determine the impact the retrofits have resulted in making your home more energy-efficient, and the degree that your home has become more energy efficient.
Finally, in the Greener homes portal, you will need to confirm your grant total before receiving your reimbursement cheque.
Residents of Quebec and Nova Scotia need to apply directly through their provincial programs to book their EnerGuide evaluation and register. Residents of New Brunswick are also encouraged to apply through their provincial programs.
Contact a registered energy advisor in your area
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What are the eligible home upgrades and retrofits?
There are a number of funding opportunities and retrofits that the loans offered by the Canada Greener Homes Grant can reimburse. The grants all have conditions regarding the effectiveness of the retrofits, and conditions like any retrofit equipment needing to be purchased in Canada, or if purchased online, purchased through a Canadian online retailer.
The eligible retrofits you can add to your home include:
- Home insulation: The Canada Greener Homes Grant initiative enables homeowners to improve their home insulation, reducing heat loss, which could mean lower energy bills down the line. The goal of this aspect of the grant aims to improve the R-value or RSI (Résistance Système International) of the insulation of your home. While eligibility and reimbursement vary between different types of insulation retrofits, Canadians can be reimbursed up to $5000 for improving their Attic/Ceiling Insulation, Exterior Wall insulation, Exposed floor insulation, Basement / Foundation Insulation and Crawlspace insulation.
- Air-sealing: One of the most important retrofits you can make is improving the loss of energy from air leaving your house, which can mean loss of heat. Air-sealing is important, the Government of Canada suggests that improving the Air-sealing of your house should be first in any retrofit strategy. Upon completion of your Renovation Upgrade Report (RUR), you will be given a target to improve the airtightness of your home. Meeting said target will gain a grant of $550, improvements upon the target amount can net a grant up to $1000. Professional air sealing is recommended to improve the airtightness of your home. Your post-retrofit report will provide more details regarding your target value.
- Windows and Doors: Another tactic that reduces heat loss in your home is improving the energy efficiency of your windows and doors – which can be a huge source of heat loss. Replacing your windows and their frames with high-performance Energy Star certified window, or replacing your doors with Energy Star certified doors, can reduce heat loss and save you money. Replacing your windows or glass doors with the Energy Star Most Efficient models can be reimbursed up to $250 per opening, whereas replacing your windows or doors with Energy Certified models can be reimbursed up to $125 per opening. For the specific eligible models, check the government page.
- Thermostats: Smart thermostats are impactful: they allow you to improve your carbon footprint while improving comfort and the amount you save on heating, allowing you to remotely adjust your temperature. They are also inexpensive too. The Canada Greener Homes Grant initiative offers a reimbursement of up to $50 dollars if you add a smart thermostat. However, this must be combined with another retrofit measure from the CGHG, except for new heat pumps, which often already come installed with new thermostats.
- Heating: Canada’s winters mean energy-efficient heating is important. It is estimated that space heating is the source of 60% of the energy used in the average Canadian home each year. Retrofitting your home to utilize more energy-efficient equipment like heat pumps are included in the Canada Greener Homes Grant initiative.
Heat pumps are devices that can extract heat and move it where its needed, extracting heat available to warm the house in the winter, or extracting heat from inside the house to cool it in the summer.
Heat pumps can be expensive due to the number of components in the system. Depending on where you live in Canada and your home, the cost-savings of these systems may vary, however since more thermal energy is produced with these systems than the electricity used to transfer that energy, it is thought that these systems are over 100% efficient.
Grants for adding a ground source heat pump are available up to $5,000, or for replacing a ground source heat pump are available up to $3,000. Grants for adding an air source heat pump are available up to $4,000, or adding a cold climate heat pumps up to $5,000. Grants for replacing your domestic water heater with an Energy Star certified model are available up to $1,000. Your heat pump unit must be installed by a licensed professional, and be on a list of eligible products, found on the official Government of Canada home retrofit page.
- Renewable energy: Solar is a growing source of renewable energy, and the Canada Greener Homes Grant initiative allows homeowners to receive energy grants to install solar photovoltaic technology that converts sunlight into electricity. Grants are available up to $1,000 dollars per 1.0 kW of peak power capacity of the system installed. The system installed must be made up of a photovoltaic panel and inverter and be certified to CSA standards.
- Resiliency measures: As climate change impacts our weather and climate, more environmental factors can pose a substantial risk to the safety of your home. Resiliency to fire, floods, storms, and power loss are aspects that the Canadian Greener Homes Grant can improve upon. The following reimbursements to improve resiliency must be combined with another energy efficiency retrofit. These measures include grants for connecting batteries to a solar-powered photovoltaic system, (up to $1,000), adding a roofing membrane underlayment to protect from moisture (up to $150), foundational waterproofing (up to $875), and moisture-proofing crawl space floor, walls and headers (up to $600).
If you want extra ideas on what you can do to improve the energy efficiency of your home and lifestyle, check out this article with 35 ways you can be more energy efficient.
Canada Greener Homes Grant Deadlines
The Canadian federal government is aiming to invest $2.6 billion over seven years in the Canada Greener Homes Grant initiative, with up to 700,000 grants available. While no deadlines are currently listed on the website, over 30,000 applications have been received by the government.
If you missed your opportunity, do not worry: the Canada Greener Homes Grant initiative is one step in many commitments the government is planning to improve the energy efficiency of our homes. One such program is an interest-free loan program to assist homeowners complete deep home retrofits, hinted at being unveiled later this summer. If you wish to receive updates for when this loan initiative becomes available, register here.
How does the energy advisor recruitment, training, and mentorship project work?
One aspect of the Canadian Greener Homes Grant Initiative is to improve recruitment, training and mentorship for energy advisors. The Canadian government is looking to recruit and train 2,000 people to do energy audits for this program, and future environmentally conscious initiatives that will be happening in the upcoming years.
This initiative seeks to increase the number of energy advisors available, particularly in underserved areas (including the North, prairie provinces, Newfoundland and Labrador, and rural, remote and Indigenous communities) and under-represented groups, including women, Indigenous individuals, racialized individuals, individuals with disabilities, and individuals who identify as LGBTQ+.
The government is currently accepting proposals for the task for training and recruiting these new workers, until July 8th, 2021. These proposals must include one of the following aspects:
Training and improving accessibility of training for energy advisor opportunities (funded up to $200,000 per year), mentorship and improving accessibility to mentorship opportunities to under-represented groups (funded up to $150,000 per year), recruitment and awareness of opportunities of energy advisors or service organizations (funded up to $100,000 per year), upskilling and professional development of current energy advisors (up to $100,000 per year), or improving the accessibility of EnerGuide evaluations for underserved areas or under represented groups (funded up to $100,000 per year).
Eligible applicants include governments and their departments or agencies of all levels below federal, Indigenous governments or organizations, and legal entities incorporated or registered in Canada, including for-profit and not-for-profit organizations.
What does retrofit mean?
Retrofitting simply means to add something new to something that did not have it before. In terms of the Canadian Greener Homes Grant initiative, this means adding new improvements to your home that can improve how energy efficient it is.
What is an energy advisor?
An Energy Advisor, or EA, is a designation that is registered with Natural Resource Canada, which certifies the qualification to deliver EnerGuide ratings for eligible homes in Canada. The profession of EA in Canada requires, among other aspects, knowledge and experience in the EnerGuide Rating system, building science and practices, energy efficiency renovation practices, as well as data collection.
On top of this skillset, successful EA candidates will pass two qualification exams – the Foundation Level Exam and the Energy Advisor Exam, and be affiliated with an NRCan-licenced service organization.
What is EnerGuide?
EnerGuide might be recognizable to you by the black-and-white label found on your appliances. These labels show how much energy a product uses, allowing you to compare between different models. The Canadian black and white EnerGuide label details annual energy consumption in kilowatt-hours (kWh), as well as a scale that highlights how the model compares to other models in its class, from those that use the most energy to those that uses the least.
Similar to how fridges to lightbulbs and many things in between can have an EnerGuide rating, your home can too. An EnerGuide label for your home is an official record of the energy performance, which can be used to help increase your home’s resale value. Using similar metrics, the Canadian Greener Homes Grant initiative will identify how much energy your house uses yearly in gigajoules, as well as graphs that highlight where the most energy is consumed in your house, details the sources of your energy use, and details your impact on the environment.
What is the contact information for the Canada Greener Homes Grant?
Due to higher-than-normal call volumes, the Government recommends registering for the Canadian Greener Homes Grant online.
- Website: nrcan.gc.ca/energy-efficiency/homes/canada-greener-homes-grant/23441
- Phone: 1-833-674-8282
- TTY: 1 800-465-7735
What is the best way to compare energy rates in my area?
While retrofitting your home to be more energy efficient is one way to reduce your energy costs, another potential way to save on your energy bills is by comparing the rates for electricity and natural gas providers in your area.
EnergyRates.ca is a free and unbiased tool that can help you compare energy rates between all the providers in your area and help you find the right one. Plus, it has useful resources such as this guide that will walk you through switching energy providers.
Whether looking for the best energy prices for large commercial sites, your small local business, or your residential home, EnergyRates.ca can help you find the best energy rates. Just fill in your postal code and what kind of energy service you are looking for, and you will be able to compare rates in seconds.
Registered energy advisors in Alberta
- Hometech Energy Solutions Inc.
- 3D Energy
- CoEfficient Building Science
Registered energy advisors in Ontario
- Enertest Corporation
- Acumen Energy Consultants
- AmeriSpec Inspection Services
- Eco Advantage Energy Advisors Inc.
Registered energy advisors in British Columbia
- Hometech Energy Solutions Inc.
- EnerTech Solutions Ltd
- Total Home Solutions Inc.
Registered energy advisors in Quebec
- Contact Transition énergétique Québec
Registered energy advisors in Nova Scotia
- Homesol Building Solutions Inc.
- Trinity Inspection Services
- Sustainable Housing
Registered energy advisors in the Northwest Territories
Registered energy advisors in New Brunswick
- Enercheck Solutions
- Canadian Home Builders’ Assoc. NB
Registered energy advisors in Yukon
Registered energy advisors in Manitoba
Registered energy advisors in Saskatchewan
- Amerispec of Canada
- Sun Ridge Residential Inc
- NRG Inspections and Consulting