By Nathan Sereda
Making energy improvements to your home can save you money, make your home more comfortable, and reduce your impact on the planet, but the upfront financial investment can sometimes be prohibitive. That’s where the Canada Greener Homes Initiative comes in.
Natural Resources Canada (NRCan) has developed a program that allows eligible homeowners to upgrade their homes and reduce their energy footprint through a grant of up to $5K, as well an interest-free loan of up to $40K (with a repayment term of 10 years). The program is very simple to take part in, with just a few steps to keep in mind.
First, homeowners need to register with the Greener Homes Grant and provide all necessary identification documents. This includes proof of residence and ownership. (Funding is only available for older homes; newly built structures are not included.)
Second, an EnerGuide evaluation will need to be carried out by a certified evaluator who will conduct an energy audit of your home and identify areas of improvement. Different amounts of funding are available for eligible upgrades, including insulation, air-sealing, windows and doors, thermostats, and renewable energy (e.g. solar). Once the pre-retrofit evaluation is completed, you may apply for the Canada Greener Homes Loan to help cover the cost of eligible retrofits.
After you choose from the list of recommended improvements, it is time to install the upgrades. Any mechanical or electrical work must be done by a licensed and trained professional. All receipts and records will be submitted to NRCan by your evaluator, however homeowners need to keep copies until March 31, 2028. (Unfortunately, any retrofits or EnerGuide evaluations that you may have completed before Dec. 1, 2020, are not eligible for reimbursement.)
Following completion of your retrofits (which could reduce your energy usage and greenhouse gas emissions by over 50 percent), it is time to have a post-retrofit evaluation of your home. With this you will receive an EnerGuide rating and label for your home. An EnerGuide label is an officially recognized record of your home’s energy performance, which can be a useful document when considering selling your property.
For more information on the Greener Homes Initiative, visit Natural Resources Canada.
Nathan Sereda is an Augustana alumnus and graduate of the alternative-energy-technology program at NAIT who heads Newo’s solar-PV design and installation branch. Ask him your green-energy questions at firstname.lastname@example.org.