New program offers up to $5,000 in grants for home energy improvements

If you own a home and have been considering improving your insulation, buying better doors or windows or making other changes to reduce your energy bills, you could receive up to $5,000 in assistance from a new federal program to help pay for those changes.

The government of Canada announced details May 27 of the Canada Greener Homes Grant Program, to help Canadians retrofit their homes to make them more energy efficient.

The government says the program was created to reduce energy consumption and lower greenhouse gases.

“Buildings, including our homes, account for 18% of Canada’s greenhouse gas emissions. We want to help Canadians make where they live more energy-efficient. This means homes will be more comfortable and more affordable to maintain while also supporting our environmental objectives,” says the homepage about the new program on the website of the Department of Natural Resources Canada.

The site has a step-by-step explanation of the program, including which types of properties are eligible for grants. For example, the property must be your primary residence. Single and semi-detached houses, townhomes, row housing and mobile homes on permanent foundations are among the types of properties covered.

The program requires homeowners to follow specific procedures that are spelled out on the website.

It starts with a request for a visit by one of the consultants from the program to conduct an EnerGuide evaluation of your home and make recommendations for improvements.

To be eligible, homeowners must conduct at least one retrofit that is both eligible under the program and recommended in the evaluation. You would then hire a licensed contractor to conduct the retrofit work. Following a post-retrofit evaluation to ensure the required improvements have been made, the homeowner will be reimbursed for the allowable amount.

Among the energy-saving retrofits that are eligible are heat pumps; improved insulation in the attic, basement and other areas; high-efficiency water heaters and more.

As explained on the Natural Resources site, different retrofits are eligible for different grant amounts.

For example, upgraded insulation is eligible for up to $5,000 in grants. Improving the air tightness of your home with air sealing can receive up to $1,000. If you install new Energy Star-rated windows and doors, you are eligible for up to $5,000, depending how extensive your work is.

But the program says regardless of how many changes a homeowner chooses to make based on the recommendations of the energy evaluation, the maximum total grant a homeowner can receive will be $5,000.

Those who decide to proceed with at least one of the changes recommended following their evaluation will also be eligible for up to $600 to help pay the costs of the energy evaluation.

To read more about how the program works and to apply if you are interested, visit the Natural Resources Canada website, at Canada Greener Homes Grant.

You can also register by phone, at 1-833-674-8282.

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