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As climate change causes weather changes ranging from wildfires to floods, homeowners are increasingly looking for ways to reduce their carbon footprint. Retrofitting homes to reduce energy consumption leads to long-term savings (both for the residents and the planet). With the rise of technology designed to reduce energy expenses in the home, there are many ways to prevent waste and keep your home comfortable. 

Retrofitting has a plethora of benefits, but the one main drawback is the cost. To address this, the government introduced the Canada Greener Homes Grant, whereby homeowners can receive thousands of dollars for approved renovations. 

What Is The Canada Greener Homes Grant?

According to the Canadian government, buildings (including homes), comprise 18% of our country’s greenhouse gas output. The Canada Greener Homes Grant is a federal program that aims to make homes more energy-efficient, more comfortable, and cost-effective, while also facilitating the nation’s carbon reduction goals. 

Eligible homeowners can receive up to $5,000 back to cover the costs of energy-efficient renovations and $600 to cover the cost of pre and post-retrofit EnerGuide evaluations needed for the program.

Canada Greener Homes Grant Timeline

The initiative is not an open-ended program, rather it’s an initiative that makes available up to 700,000 individual grants. The program launched in May of 2021 and is meant to extend over a period of seven years. According to the most recent data, the program received over 182,400 applicants and issued over a million dollars in grants. 

Eligibility For The Canada Greener Homes Grant

In order to qualify for the Canada Greener Homes Grant, you must meet the necessary criteria. The most important of these criteria include proof of homeownership and that the property be your primary residence. For instance, if you own a house that is your primary residence, but you also own a cottage, your main residence would be the qualifying property. The initiative includes special measures for off-grid and northern areas, accounting for the extra cost of goods. Beyond the residency requirements, the program requires the following:

  1. EnerGuide evaluation prior to any renovations
  2. At least one completed retrofit per the EnerGuide recommendations
  3. Post-renovation EnerGuide evaluation and approval
  4. Property must be an approved type of real estate, including
    1. Single or semi-detached homes
    2. Rowhouses
    3. Townhouses
    4. Mobile homes (with a foundation) 
    5. Permanently-moored floating homes
    6. Residential property within mixed-use structures
    7. Certain multi-unit residences (subject to additional criteria)
  5. All products used for the retrofit must be purchased in Canada or from an online retailer in Canada.

Do you live in Ontario? Check out the Ontario Trillium Benefit.

Documents Required The Canada Greener Homes Grant

To actually receive the grant money, keeping diligent records is important. Ensure that you keep any and all receipts and correspondence related to the Canada Greener Homes Grant. The initiative includes an online portal that allows you to track the process of your application. You can also print out any essential information as either a pdf or a paper document. Among the essential paperwork is:

  1. Receipt for pre-retrofit EnerGuide evaluation
  2. Copy of the pre-retrofit evaluation
  3. Receipt for post-retrofit evaluation
  4. Copy of the post-retrofit EnerGuide evaluation
  5. Receipts for any products you bought for the retrofit
  6. Invoices for any installation costs 

Eligible Retrofits For The Canada Greener Homes Grant

The Greener Homes Grant only approves certain retrofits, the measures allowing the country to track the actual energy reduction results over time. Perhaps the most important thing to keep in mind is that, even if the retrofit is listed here, it only qualifies if it was recommended on your evaluation. You can only receive the money if the EnerGuide professional listed the item on your evaluation, and if you completed that improvement after receiving the assessment. As long as you follow these regulations, you can access many eligible retrofits, each with a capped value. 

Need extra cash for your home renovations? Check out how you can finance your home renovation.

Home Insulation

You can claim home insulation costs of up to $5,000, provided it was a recommended improvement from the EnerGuide professional. The qualifying section of the home include:

  • Basements and foundations
  • Crawlspaces
  • Exposed sections of floor
  • Outer wall insulation
  • Attics and ceiling insulation

Air-Sealing

You can receive up to $1,000 for this retrofit, though the baseline is $550. There are higher amounts available, based on whether you actually exceed the sealing target from the report. Air sealing reduces the air loss from the home, letting heat escape and increasing energy bills.

Windows & Doors

Provided you make a replacement using an energy-efficient model, you can claim up to $125 per window and $250 per door for a total of $5,000. This encompasses both the installation costs and the price of the product itself. 

Thermostats

This product is eligible only when done in conjunction with another retrofit. An accurate and automated thermostat prevents wasted electricity or gas usage by regulating the temperature of the home. You can claim up to $50 for this product (and its setup). 

Space & Water heating

This service is meant to address the specific heating needs of Canada’s cold climate. It’s estimated that over 60% of an average home’s energy use comes from heating. The aim of this grant is to use a more eco-friendly form of heating energy. It offers reimbursement for:

  • Ground source heat pumps. To install a new one you can receive $5,000 and to replace one, you can receive $3,000. 
  • Air source heat pump or cold climate versions. Receive a total of $2,500, provided the pump services to the entire home. There are other restrictions on the technology, with more stringent criteria offering higher incentive values. The closer you adhere to the preferred technology, you can access funding tiers of $4,000 and $5,000.
  • Domestic hot water equipment. Receive up to  $1,000, when you replace your domestic water heater with an ENERGY STAR certified domestic heat pump water heater.

Learn how to get out of a water heater rental contract

Renewable energy

For homes that choose to install solar panels that can generate at least 1.0 kilowatts of energy, you can access $1,000 per kilowatt. The solar panels remain subject to the overall cap of $5,000, so you won’t see a grant-related financial benefit for anything over five kilowatts. 

Resiliency Measures

These home upgrades are meant to address the direct impact of climate change on Canadian homes. This may include upgrades to protect your home against power loss, fire, floods, and wind damage. For these upgrades, the program offers:

  • $1,000 for batteries connected to solar energy on standby
  • $150 for a roof membrane (protecting against wind and water)
  • $875 for waterproofing your home’s foundation
  • $600 to moisture-proof the entirety of your crawlspace (including walls, headers, and the floor)

Low-Rise Multi-Unit Residential Buildings (Murbs)

Buildings with fewer than three stories and fewer than 600 square meters, and not serving as a retirement home, fall into this category. The improvements are done by individual homeowners within the building, and the measures must be based on one EnerGuide evaluation for the entire building. Each MURB can receive a maximum of $20,000 from this program. 

All of the products eligible for the retrofit grant must be purchased in Canada. If you use an online service, the distributor of the products must be based in Canada. Each item must meet the performance standards set forth by the EnerGuide protocol. 

Process Of Applying For The Canada Greener Homes Grant

Since its inception, the program has issued over a million dollars in grant funding and seeks to grow engagement. To participate in the incentive program, follow these steps: 

Step 1: Register For The Canada Greener Homes Grant

The first step in participating is to register with the program by navigating to its site online and registering. You can use a secure partner or a GCKey for registration.

Simply supply your contact information, proof of residence (usually through a utility bill or government-issued identification). Next, you’ll need to supply your proof of homeownership, done via the property tax bill number on your annual property tax statement. 

If you reside in either Quebec,  Nova Scotia or New Brunswick, you must complete your registration through the provincial programs associated with the federal initiative: 

  • Quebec – Rénoclimat Quebec
  • Nova Scotia – Home Energy Assessment Nova Scotia
  • New Brunswick – NB Total Home Energy Savings Program. 

Step 2: Submit Your Pro-Retrofit EnerGuide Evaluation

The next step is scheduling an evaluation for your home. This is done by a trained and registered energy advisor. There are organizations local to each section of the country, and you can find a professional through a postal code search. Book your time and, once they complete the evaluation, you will receive: 

  1. EnerGuide Home Rating
  2. Renovation Upgrade Report

Check out these energy tax credits in Ontario.

Step 3: Review And Choose Your Renovations

The Renovation Upgrade Report (RUR) details the specific recommendations supplied by the energy advisor. Only the improvements that appear on this report are eligible for grant funding. Determine the ones (if any) that you wish to complete by assessing the cost of service, accessibility of products, and how much you can recuperate through the program. 

Step 4: Start Your Retrofit Upgrades

All the retrofit renovation upgrades are paid out-of-pocket by the homeowner, meaning it’s imperative to review the requirements and ensure that all upgrades you make are eligible for a refund.  

Be sure to retain any quotes, receipts, product details, company information, and invoices for services. The program strictly states that the items must come from Canada, so be sure to plan ahead so that all your retrofits actually qualify for the grant. Keep copies of all your information for a period of seven years, minimum. 

Step 5: Book Your Post-Retrofit Evaluation 

Once you complete the renovations, schedule a post-retrofit assessment with the NRCan advisor. They will inspect any upgrades you completed, review their efficacy, and issue a new EnerGuide rating for your property. 

Step 6: Receive Your Funds

After that, you simply need to apply for the reimbursements, which involves a program official reviewing all the documentation on your file. Using the change in EnerGuide rating, the source of the products, and the value of the retrofits, the professional will issue a reimbursement. 

To track your file’s status, you can log into your portal online. Once the paperwork gets processed, the amount will either get directly deposited into your bank account or mailed out by cheque. 

What Is The Greener Homes Interest-Free Loan?

The Greener Homes Interest-Free Loan is designed to offer the funding for the retrofits upfront. There is no interest on these loans, issued by the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC). Eligible homeowners can take out a loan of as much as $40,000. 

More details on the program are expected to be announced this year. For more information, click here

Canada Greener Homes Grant FAQS

How much funding can I get through the home retrofit program?

You can receive up to $5,000 for upgrades and $600 for the evaluations. Each different retrofit category has a cap on the eligible refund. Plan your renovations ahead of time to maximize the amount you can recuperate. 

Is the Canada Greener Homes funds taxable?

No, the Canada Greener Homes Grant funds are not taxable. Any money you receive under this grant initiative is entirely tax-free. You don’t need to report them as income and there is no tax taken by the government upfront. 

Is the Canada Greener Homes Grant a loan?

The grant is not a loan. You pay for the retrofits out of pocket, then the program reimburses you according to your eligibility. There is no obligation to repay any grant monies that you receive. 

Will I get the funds for the home retrofit in advance?

No, all of the retrofits you do on your home are out-of-pocket. Ensure that they meet the criteria of the program to remain eligible for a refund after your post-retrofit evaluation. 

How to apply for the Canada Greener Homes Grant?

The application process is straightforward. Simply navigate to the Canada Greener Homes Grant webpage and create an account. Use your postal code to find an evaluator in your area. Book an appointment, get your report, and move forward with retrofitting according to your EnerGuide rating results. 

Bottom Line

The Canada Home Retrofit Program is a multi-faceted initiative that is meant to reduce energy bills and help Canadians increase the value of their homes. Five thousand dollars worth of work on your home can improve its resilience to natural disasters, make you a lower risk for your home insurer, and reduce your energy bills moving forward. Even if you don’t recuperate the entire cost of the retrofit through the grant, it improves your home’s resale value, energy efficiency, and comfort for residents. 

Corrina Murdoch avatar on Loans Canada
Corrina Murdoch

Corrina Murdoch has been a dedicated freelance writer and editor for several years. With an academic background in the sciences and a penchant for mathematics, she seeks to provide readers with accurate, reliable information on important topics. Working as a print journalist for several years, Corrina expanded her reach into the digital sphere to help more people gain insight into the realm of finances. When she's not writing, you can find Corrina swimming and spending time with family.

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