Home renovations made simple
Canadian households consumed 24.3% of Canada’s total energy use in 2018 and contributed to 19.1% of greenhouse gas emissions. To promote more sustainable homes, the Canadian government established 700,000 Greener Homes Grants. The grants will be awarded for green home renovations up to $5,000, along with a maximum $600 rebate for pre- and post-retrofit EnerGuide evaluations. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau states that a major goal of the program is making retrofits more affordable for Canadians. Is this federal grant your path to an eco-friendly home?
What is the Greener Homes Grant?
Natural Resources Canada, or NRCan for short, created the Greener Homes Grants to fight climate change, grow domestic green supply chains, and create new jobs for energy advisors. Homeowners can receive up to $5,600 in rebates for energy evaluations and sustainable home renovations. The focus isn’t only on reducing energy use and greenhouse gas emissions—it’s also about giving the economy a boost.
Is it about energy or greenhouse gas emissions?
On the Greener Homes Grant site, greenhouse gas emissions are cited as the primary reason for the program. Energy evaluations are a cornerstone of the program. The ultimate goal is to work towards reducing your home’s energy use while encouraging sustainable practices.
What is EnerGuide?
You may be wondering who EnerGuide is and why they have a say in government energy-saving grants. EnerGuide is the official mark of the Government of Canada for rating and labeling the energy performance of consumer items. Energy advisors registered with Natural Resources Canada can carry out a full home assessment to provide you with an EnerGuide rating and an energy efficiency report.
How can I apply?
You can apply for a Greener Homes Grant even if your eco-home renovations are already underway. The grants apply retroactively for work done after December 1, 2020. For a row house, townhouse, detached home, or even a permanently moored houseboat, the process is the same; however, multi-unit residential homes may or may not be eligible.
Residents of Quebec, Nova Scotia, and New Brunswick
If your primary residence is in Quebec or Nova Scotia, you must apply for your Greener Homes Grant through your provincial agency: Efficiency Nova Scotia or Rénoclimat for residents of Quebec. Residents of New Brunswick can apply straight through the Greener Homes program but may be eligible for additional benefits when going through the New Brunswick Energy Efficiency Programs.
All other Canadian residents
For residents of all other provinces and territories, you can start your application here. Be sure to check eligibility requirements for the Greener Homes Grant before you file.
Home eligibility requirements
To be eligible for a Greener Homes Grant, your home must be at least six months old. Only one homeowner can apply per residence. You will need your tax bill number and proof that your home is your primary residence, such as a government-issued ID or a utility bill.
Only Indigenous or Indigenous-affiliated governments and organizations can submit applications for multiple homes, which must be owned by the applicant and occupied by Indigenous households.
As discussed above, a small multi-unit residential building has different requirements for eligibility than other types of dwelling. If your building is over three stories in height or has a footprint higher than 600 square meters, it will not be eligible. A single EnerGuide evaluation of the entire building must take place before any grants are awarded. If the building is owned by one person only, the maximum reimbursement is $5,600; if cooperative ownership is in place, the most all homeowners can receive in total is $20,000.
Project eligibility requirements
The list of eligible retrofits on the Natural Resources Canada site includes everything from more effective home insulation to installation of renewable energy systems. Even foundation waterproofing or replacing your windows and doors can save energy and help the planet. Booking an EnerGuide evaluation will help you hone in on the most important improvements to make in your home.
How does it benefit me?
Updating your home to be more energy-efficient saves you money as well as helping the planet. The retrofits listed below are just a few of the ways you can improve your home under the Greener Homes Grant:
Seal air leaks
Heating and cooling systems, as well as your clothes dryer and kitchen range hood, work harder and wear out faster when your home doesn’t have a tight seal. Taking care of cracks in your siding, shoring up your ductwork, and improving the seal on your windows and doors are simple pathways to more sustainable homes.
Improve HVAC systems
By increasing the energy efficiency of your furnace, heat pump, or air conditioner, you can reduce carbon emissions and get a slimmer electricity bill each month. You would be surprised by how much extra electricity a failing air conditioner eats up!
Install solar panels
Even if you live in an area that doesn’t get a lot of sun, you can still reduce your electricity bill by supplementing with solar power. Ask your energy advisor about the optimal location for solar panel installation on your property.
Are there other details I should be aware of?
A thorough understanding of eligibility requirements and variations in the application process by province is essential for a successful Greener Homes Grant application. Read through the literature and have your documents ready before you apply. In addition, it’s important to understand when, how, and how much money you may be able to receive, as well as possible scams to watch out for.
You won’t be given the money upfront
Canada’s Greener Homes Grants are awarded for completed retrofits and home evaluations. If you receive a federal grant, you will pay for your renovation yourself and be reimbursed later.
Not all grant recipients will receive $5,600
$5,600 is the maximum amount a homeowner can receive. If the total price of your retrofits is at least $5,000 and your EnerGuide evaluation is $600, you will receive the largest possible grant available. Be sure to keep all receipts and invoices from your project, as well as documents from your pre- and -post retrofit EnerGuide evaluation. Having your paperwork in order may increase the likelihood of receiving a full reimbursement.
Be aware of energy scams
If someone shows up at your door talking about a government energy savings rebate program, and you haven’t booked an EnerGuide appointment, they may be running an energy scam. Don’t let these people into your home, provide them with your personal information, or sign anything they give you. Report uninvited door-to-door salespeople claiming to be EnerGuide advisors or Energy Star ™ representatives to Natural Resources Canada.
Should a Greener Homes Grant fuel your home renovation?
If you’re warming to the idea of a $5,600 grant for energy evaluations and efficiency-driven retrofits, a Greener Homes Grant may be the right choice for you. Remember: this program will be in place for the next seven years, so you don’t have to apply right away. Consider your needs and go over your desired improvements carefully before submitting your project proposal.
While EnerGuide energy advisors will point out ways to make your home more energy-efficient, local contractors will be able to provide the most accurate cost estimate for your desired retrofits.
Submit your project to Smart Reno to find vetted and qualified contractors for your green home renovation.
Calculate the cost of your home renovation project with our cost estimator
This article offers general information only and is not intended as legal, financial or other professional advice. A professional advisor should be consulted regarding your specific situation. While the information presented is believed to be factual and current, its accuracy is not guaranteed and it should not be regarded as a complete analysis of the subjects discussed. All expressions of opinion reflect the judgment of the author(s) as of the date of publication and are subject to change. No endorsement of any third parties or their advice, opinions, information, products or services is expressly given or implied by Royal Bank of Canada or its affiliates.