An energy-efficient home will reduce your energy use and save you some money in the process. But upgrading your home can be very costly.
Luckily, the federal government recently announced a new home retrofit program that provides grants to Canadians looking to make energy-efficient upgrades to their homes.
The incentive program is called Canada Greener Homes Grant and provides up to $5,600 to cover the cost of eligible retrofits and upgrades.
This post covers the eligibility for the program, how much you can receive for each retrofit category and more importantly, how to apply for the Canada home retrofit program.
What is the Canada Greener Homes Grant?
Canada Greener Homes Grant is a federal government initiative to help Canadians make their homes more energy-efficient while creating more jobs for energy advisors across the country.
Eligible homeowners can receive up to $5,000 to make energy efficient renovations, and $600 to cover the cost of EnerGuide home evaluations and expert advice for the retrofits.
It is estimated that the initiative will provide up to 700,000 grants to Canadians and cost $2.6 billion over the next 7 years. The home retrofit program will be offered through Natural Resources Canada (NRCan).
In summary, the Canada Greener Homes Grant will provide:
- Up to $5,000 to cover energy efficient retrofits
- $600 for home energy evaluations; and
- Recruitment and training of home advisors to meet the expected increased demand for their services.
Why Canada Greener Homes Grant?
Canada has a goal of achieving a net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. And as part of the 2015 Paris Agreement, it has committed to cut its annual greenhouse gas emissions by 30 percent of the 2005 levels by 2030.
About 18% of the greenhouse gas emissions in Canada are produced by buildings. So making energy efficient retrofits through the Canada Greener Homes Grant will help the country meets its climate change targets and commitments.
Eligibility for Canada Greener Homes Grant
Most homeowners will qualify for the home retrofit program and can apply irrespective of where they live in Canada.
Specifically, interested homeowners must satisfy the following conditions:
1. Be a homeowner
Proof of ownership using your property tax bill number is required. Also you must proof that the house is your primary residence by providing an utility bill, driver’s license or other government issued ID.
Only one person can apply per home.
Housing management bodies and indigenous governments/organizations can also apply and register for multiple homes.
2. Own an eligible property type
Not all homes are eligible, but the majority of property types are covered.
The eligible property types include:
- Single & semi-detached houses
- Row houses
- All-season cottages
- Mobile homes on a permanent foundation
- Permanently moored floating homes
- Residential portion of mixed-use buildings
- Small multi-unit residential buildings*
*Limited to buildings with 3-storeys or less and with footprints of 600 metre squares or less
Note that new homes, that is houses that are six months old or less, are not eligible for the Greener Homes Grant. The age of the home is calculated based on the date of first occupancy.
3. Perform a pre- and post-retrofit EnerGuide evaluation
An evaluation is needed before any retrofit is done and afterwards. Evaluations performed before April 1, 2020 are not eligible.
You can use an home evaluation done between April 1, 2020 and November 30, 2020, but the cost of the evaluation will not be reimbursed to you.
Only EnerGuide evaluations done after December 1, 2020 can be reimbursed.
The government is planning to spend $10 million to recruit and train more energy advisors to meet the increased demand and create more jobs across the country in the process.
4. Complete an eligible retrofit
Finally, you must perform an eligible retrofit that is recommended by an energy advisor.
You’ll only be reimbursed if you complete at least one of the eligible retrofits (see next section for details).
Note that the Thermostat and Resiliency Measures grant are only reimbursed when combined with one other retrofits. In other words, they don’t qualify as stand-alone upgrades.
Eligible Retrofits for Greener Homes Grant
Not all home retrofits are covered by the program. Also, there’s a limit on how much you’ll be reimbursed for the eligible retrofits.
A summary of the eligible retrofits and the limits are shown below:
Home Insulation: Up to $5,000 to increase your home insulation, reduce heat loss and save money. It can be used to upgrade the exterior wall, attic, exposed floor, basement or foundation and so on.
Air-sealing: Receive up to $1,000 to improve the air-tightness of your house. As part of the home assessment, you’ll get a Renovation Upgrade Report (RUR) with a target to achieve.
You’ll receive a grant of $550 if you meet the target, with higher amounts for exceeding it.
Windows & doors: Get up to $5,000 to install high-performance ENERGY STAR® certified windows and doors. There’s a limit of $250 per window/door for up to a total limit of $5,000 for a home.
Thermostats: $50 to replace a manual thermostat or install a new smart or programmable thermostat.
Heating: Up to $5,000 to install more energy-efficient heating equipment like an electrical heat pump.
Heating accounts for more than 60% of the average Canadian home’s energy use. So the grant will reduce your monthly energy cost and overall carbon footprint.
Renewable energy systems: Up to $5,000 to make the switch to renewable energy systems like photovoltaic solar panels. The grant pays up to $1,000 per kW for single-family homes.
Resiliency Measure: Receive up to $2,625 for various upgrades meant to protect your home against the environmental damages caused by climate change.
The available upgrades are foundation water-proofing, roofing membrane, buying standby batteries connected to photovoltaic systems and moisture proofing crawl spaces.
In all cases, the equipment must be bought in Canada or online through a Canadian online distributor. There are also recommended specifications for each upgrade and equipment.
Check here to learn more about the eligible renovations, their requirement and the available incentives for multi-unit residential buildings.
How to Apply for the Canada Greener Homes Grant
Here are the step-by-step instructions on how to apply for the Canada Greener Homes Grant for your home.
Step 1: Register for the Canada Greener Homes Grant
Go to the Natural Resources Canada page to register and get started. You can register with a GCKey or use one of the Sign-in Partners.
You’ll need to provide your contact details, proof of residence (government issued ID or utility) and proof of ownership (property tax bill number).
New Brunswick residents can also apply through the NB Total Home Energy Savings Program.
Step 2: Complete your pro-Retrofit EnerGuide Evaluation
Next, you’ll need to book a home energy evaluation. The evaluation will be performed by an NRCan registered energy advisor.
You can find an advisor through one of the service organizations in your area. Simply search using your postal code.
Once the evaluation is completed, you’ll receive an EnerGuide home rating and a Renovation Upgrade Report (RUR) showing the recommended upgrades to your home.
Step 3: Review the Renovation Upgrade Report
Go through the recommendations provided by the EnerGuide advisor and decide on the ones you want to complete.
Step 4: Complete the retrofit upgrades
You’ll have to pay out-of-pocket to complete the upgrades. Ensure you review the requirements for each retrofit and use professionals where required.
Keep details and receipts for all the work done and materials purchased. You’re required to keep copies of all your documents until March 2028.
Check here for resources on how to plan the retrofit and the upgrades that require a license and trained professional.
Step 5: Perform a post-retrofit evaluation
Book the post-retrofit evaluation with an NRCan registered energy advisor. They’ll review all the upgrades you’ve done and provide an updated EnerGuide Rating and label for your home.
Step 6: Apply for the reimbursements
Finally, an NRCan program officer will review your file and provide a recommended grant amount based on the retrofits you’ve done and the limits for each category.
Simply log into the portal to confirm the grant amount and receive your reimbursement.
If you have any questions about the program or help with any of the steps, you can contact NRCan through 1-833-674-8282.
Greener Homes Interest-Free Loan – $40,000
In addition to the $5,600 available as grant, homeowners can also take advantage of the interest-free home retrofit loans of up to $40,000 starting this summer.
The initiative was announced as part of the 2021 Federal Budget. And it is projected to help more than 200,000 homeowners and cost the federal government $4.4 billion over 5 years.
The home retrofit loans will be offered through Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC).
Applications for the loan are not yet open, and more details about the repayment terms and eligibility should be available soon.
You can sign up to our newsletter to be notified when updates are available.
FAQs: Canada Home Retrofit Grant
The initiative reimburses you up to $5,600 for eligible upgrades. There are limits for different retrofit category. Therefore, you need to plan the retrofits and choose the ones with the best energy savings potential.
Reimbursements received under the Canada Home Retrofit Program are completely tax-free. You won’t be taxed on the amounts or have to report them on your income tax returns come tax time.
The Greener Homes initiative is a grant and not a loan. It is a reimbursement for the cost of your eligible retrofits. So you won’t have to repay any amount you receive.
No, you’ll have to pay for the upgrades and renovations out of your pocket. Once you’re done and completed a post-retrofit evaluation, you’ll be able to apply for the reimbursement
The first step is to register on NRCan’s website, then book a pre-retrofit evaluation. Complete the recommended upgrades contained in your Renovation Upgrade Report (RUR) to receive the grant.
The Canada Greener Homes Grants is a great initiative that’ll help Canadians reduce their energy bills and increase the value of your homes.
By taking advantage of the grant, you’ll be helping Canada meet its climate commitments and save some money in the process. Even if you’re not doing it for the cost savings, do it for the environment!
Remember to document all your purchases and costs, and keep the documents till March 2028.
You may also be eligible for other financial incentives depending on where you live. Check this page to check the available programs for your province and how to apply for them.
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