If you’re looking to make your home more energy efficient, you’re in luck! There are several programs and rebates available in the Toronto area. This article will discuss some of the federal, municipal, and utility programs that can help you save money on your energy bills.
We will also provide information on how to apply for these programs and what kind of improvements they cover. So whether you’re looking to install a new furnace or want to know about your options, read on for more information.
Table of contents
- Federal Programs
- Municipal Programs
- Toronto’s Green Roof Program
- Utility Company Rebates
- Programs for Low-income Households
- How to Apply for Incentives
The Greener Homes Grant is a federal program that provides funding for energy-efficient home upgrades. The upgrades must meet specific requirements to qualify for the grant, such as being permanently installed and meeting Energy Star standards. The grant provides up to $5,600 in funding, which can be used for various energy-saving upgrades. The Natural Resources Canada website lists several home upgrades that are eligible for the grant, e.g.
- Home insulation (attic, walls, basement)
- Energy-efficient windows and doors
- Smart Thermostats
- Heat pumps (air source, ground source, or hot water)
- Resiliency measures, such as roofing membranes, foundation waterproofing, solar batteries
The Greener Homes Grant also provides funding for solar panel installations. If you’re interested in installing solar panels, the grant can provide up to $5,000 in funding to help you pay for the installation. The amount of the grant depends on how many panels you put on your roof.
The Home Renovation Tax Credit (HRTC) was a temporary measure by the Canadian government in 2009 in response to the global economic downturn. The credit has since been discontinued, but if you completed eligible renovations between January 27, 2009 and February 1, 2010, you might still be able to claim it on your taxes. Eligible renovations include adding or upgrading insulation, windows, doors, furnaces, or air conditioners.
In addition to the federal programs, several municipal plans are available in Toronto. One of these is the Home Energy Loan Program (HELP). It offers low-interest loans of up to $125,000 to help cover the cost of energy-saving renovations. The loan is repaid through your property taxes, generally over a period of ten years. The city website contains all details on interest rates and other applicable conditions.
There are several benefits to the program. Best of all, you enjoy low-interest rates and repayment terms, allowing you to avoid the large upfront costs of home energy improvements. The loan helps you pay down the cost over time as you save money on your energy bills.
Which items are covered under the program?
HELP covers several improvements to your home, including:
- Air-source heat pumps
- Window and door replacements
- Insulation: basement, attic, and exterior wall
- High-efficiency water heaters
- High-efficiency furnaces
- Boilers & hydronic heating systems
- Central air conditioners
- Tankless water heaters
- Solar hot water systems
- Rooftop solar panels
- EV charging stations
How can I take advantage of the HELP program?
The HELP program provides funding for homeowners to make energy-efficient upgrades to their homes, to help residents lower their heating bills. To qualify, homeowners must first book a home energy assessment with an Energy Advisor. The advisor will perform a basement-to-attic evaluation of the house and provide recommendations for specific improvements.
Homeowners then submit a funding request detailing the proposed improvements. If approved, the city will provide up to 30% of the funds needed to get started. Homeowners are responsible for selecting and hiring contractors and obtaining any required permits.
Upon completion of the project, homeowners must submit a completion report and their invoices. The city will then provide the remaining funds. Repayment of the loan is via monthly installments over the term of the loan, which can be paid off at any time without penalty.
Other Benefits of HELP
In addition to the benefits above, participants in the program can also apply to receive incentives in the form of rebates. These include a refund of up to $1000 for installing solar panels, or $2500 for upgrading the home with a new heat pump.
Toronto’s Green Roof Program
Under the Eco-Roof Incentive Program, the City of Toronto offers a variety of grants and incentives to encourage residents to green their roofs. These include financial assistance, technical advice, and support with sourcing materials.
Financial aid may be available through a grant or loan, and technical assistance can help residents determine the best type of green roof for their home and find contractors to install it.
Support with sourcing materials is also available, as many green roofing materials can be expensive.Check out the city website for a complete overview of the program with a list of all the available grants and incentives, eligibility information and how to apply.
Utility Company Rebates
While there are currently no provincial programs to take advantage of, there are a few incentives offered by the utilities. Enbridge, in particular, runs three programs that have gained in popularity.
Great Savings with the Enbridge Home Efficiency Rebate
The Home Efficiency Rebate can help you save money on your energy costs by improving your home’s insulation, air sealing, and energy efficiency. You could receive up to $5,000 in rebates for installing new windows/doors, water heaters, boilers, furnaces and more.
To qualify for rebates, you must complete a home energy assessment with a registered energy advisor. You will then receive a report with a list of recommended upgrades. Once you have completed the required upgrades, you must schedule a follow-up energy assessment within 120 days to receive your rebate cheque.
The benefits can be quite substantial, e.g. for an exterior wall insulation you can get back up to $3000. For an energy-efficient boiler, you can get a refund of up to $1000, and for a new water heater $400, just to name a few.
The program follows the slogan “The more you do, the more you save”, which means you receive an additional rebate of $250 for completing 3 different upgrades. The amount increases to $500 for 4 upgrades and $750 for 4 upgrades.
More Enbridge Incentives
The Enbridge Winterproofing Program is a free program that helps homeowners prepare their homes for winter. Eligible home improvements include insulation, air sealing, caulking, weather stripping and a smart thermostat. The program is intended for low-income households in need.
Programs for Low-income Households
The Ontario Energy Board offers the Low-income Energy Assistance Program (LEAP). Qualified low-income households can apply for a rebate of up to $1200 on their electricity bills and up to $1000 on their natural gas bills.
The Energy Affordability Program supports income-eligible electricity consumers by helping them lower their monthly electricity.
Some participants may qualify for a free home energy needs assessment conducted by a trained energy professional to help identify energy-efficient upgrades available for their homes, such as replacement of inefficient appliances and professionally-installed insulation and draft-proofing.
Other participants may qualify instead for free energy-saving kits. These are customized to meet their energy needs and could include energy-saving LED lighting, timers, faucet aerators and clothes drying lines.
What improvements are covered?
The renovations that qualify for rebates and incentives will vary depending on the program. However, common energy-saving renovations include insulation, air sealing, windows, doors, and heating and cooling systems.
To see if your planned renovations will qualify for a rebate or incentive, visit the website of the government agency or utility company that is offering the program.
How to Apply for Incentives
Now that you know what types of programs are available, you may be wondering how to apply for them. The heating & air conditioning rebate application process will vary depending on the program, but you must provide proof of purchase and installation of the energy-saving renovations in most cases.
You may also be required to submit a copy of your energy bills. For more information on how to apply for specific programs, visit the website of the government agency or utility company that is offering the incentive.
Do I need a home energy evaluation?
A home energy evaluation is a process by which a registered energy advisor inspects a home for sources of energy loss to provide the homeowner with a report that details specific improvements that can be made to increase energy efficiency. Depending on the evaluation results, homeowners may be eligible for rebates and incentives.
For most of the larger incentives like the federal Greener Homes Grant, you need both a pre and post reno evaluation to be eligible for the grant.
Several federal, municipal, and utility programs are available to help Toronto homeowners make their homes more energy efficient. These programs offer rebates and incentives for qualifying energy-saving renovations.
To learn more about these programs and how to apply for them, visit the website of the government agency or utility company that is offering the incentive.
Making your home more energy efficient can save you money on your monthly energy bills, and several programs will help you offset the cost of renovations. So if you’re planning on making some changes to your home, check out the various available programs. You may be surprised at how much you can save!
If you’re considering upgrading your home’s heating & air conditioning system, get free estimates from our Certified Toronto HVAC contractors here.