NOTE: THE HOME ENERGY CONSERVATION PROGRAM IS NOT ACCEPTING ANY NEW APPLICANTS FOR THE REMAINDER OF 2015 (EFFECTIVE JUNE 16, 2015). DETAILS ON THE 2016 PROGRAM WILL BE PUBLISHED WHEN THEY BECOME AVAILABLE.
+ City of Toronto: The Home Energy Loan Program (HELP)
The Home Energy Loan Program (HELP) is an innovative financing program offered by the City of Toronto to help homeowners improve energy efficiency and ultimately save money. Replacing an aging furnace system or upgrading existing insulation are two examples of improvements.
The City of Toronto offers Home Energy Loan Program to help finance homeowners who would want to improve energy efficiency and save money. Examples of home improvements that may be financed through this program include upgrading of the insulation and replacement of aging furnaces. Having these kinds of retrofits is able to cut back the energy bills while at the same time enhancing the comfort levels in your home and minimizing harmful emissions.
These types of retrofits can reduce energy bills, enhance home comfort, and lessen harmful emissions. But for many city residents, the upfront investment of retrofits is prohibitive – quite simply, there are other priorities that come first.
The Home Energy Loan Program offers a viable solution for homeowners. Manageable, low interest loans are available to homeowners who are interested in making improvements to the energy efficiency of their home. For those who qualify, HELP can provide funding to complete necessary improvements. Repayment to the City of Toronto is amortized through regular installments on the Property Tax Bill. And the cost savings from the energy retrofits will serve to offset the installment repayments to the City of Toronto.
The benefits of the HELP financing program.
- HELP circumvents the substantial upfront cost of doing the home energy improvements.
- HELP financing is associated with the property, and the tax bill – not the homeowner.
- HELP loans may be paid off at any time during the loan period, and without any penalty.
- HELP has lower interest rates, and longer payment terms, compared to other financing.
- HELP allows homeowners to make use of other incentives like those from Toronto Hydro.
How the HELP financing program works.
Essentially, the Home Energy Loan Program is an alternative to conventional financing. Homeowners apply directly to the City of Toronto, and enter into an agreement to perform the prescribed improvements. The City then levies a charge (the cost of improvements) on the participating property. There are also interest charges and an administrative charge.
Repayment to the City is made over a 15-year period, and appears as a special charge on the Property Tax Bill. Important to note is that repayment is attached to the property, and NOT the owner. If the property changes owners, the new owner assumes responsibility for the loan, and continues to make installment payments to the City.
When it comes to retrofitting, the best return-on-investment comes from improvements like air sealing and insulation. These types of improvements can provide utility savings that can often offset the installment payments. Projects like weather stripping, waterproofing, and insulation will have a demonstrable effect from one season to the next.
In times when the economic situations seem tough for many homeowners, having the extra money to cater for these improvements may be a tall order. That’s why the Home Energy Loan Program comes in to offer financial assistance to homeowners who may feel financially distressed. The loan program offers manageable, low interest credit facilities to willing, eligible homeowners.
+ Union Gas: Home Reno Rebate Program
The most important home renovations and upgrades are the ones that make a home more energy efficient. And Union Gas recognizes those types of improvements with some valuable rebate packages. By expediting so-called “energy smart upgrades”, Union Gas can help you save money on the upgrades, and on long-term utility costs. In fact, the “energy smart” home can add realty value to your home at the same time.
By improving the overall energy efficiency of your home, you could qualify for up to $2,500.00 in rebates for your renovating costs. And when the work is all done, you’ll be reducing your energy bill by upwards of 20% annually. Best of all, your home will be increasing in value – an energy efficient home is attractive to prospective buyers, and offers a distinct advantage over other homes.
To qualify, a homeowner must contact a Certified Energy Advisor, who will perform a pre-renovation energy assessment. The energy assessment must be evaluated, and then followed up with a view to possible renovation options. Two renovations (from the eligibility list) must be executed, using an established and reputable contractor. When renovations are complete, the Advisor will do a post-renovation assessment.
Finally, on behalf of Union Gas, the Advisor submits the necessary paperwork to receive a rebate cheque (it comes within 60 days of submission). However, there are a number of pre-qualifications for every homeowner:
- you must have a current, active Union Gas account
- the home must have a furnace or boiler (natural gas)
- you must own a home (either detached or semi-detached)
- you must live in central or southwest Ontario
- In addition, on an annual basis, the energy upgrades must save 550 m3 (minimum) of natural gas or 740 m3 (with a furnace upgrade). The maximum rebate under the program is $2,500.00 including up to $500.00 for both required energy assessments. The homeowner must pay the HST on the invoice cost of the assessments.
In terms of eligible renovation projects, in-depth insulation work will deliver both short-term and long-term benefits for the homeowner. Substantial rebates are offered for basement insulation, for insulating crawl spaces, for insulating exterior walls, and for enhancing R-Values in the attic and roof insulation.
Union Gas understands the need for homeowners to make their home energy efficient.
It offers some valuable rebate products to homeowners who would like to make renovations and upgrades to increase energy efficiency. Doing energy smart upgrades can allow Union Gas to offer you rebates for the costs. Homeowners can qualify for an amount of up to $2,500 in rebates. This way, you can start reducing your bills by about 20 percent every year. Again, your home will have increased value because buyers are seeking for homes that are energy efficient or installed with energy saving systems like insulations.
To take advantage of this rebate program, each homeowner must be responsible for ensuring their personal eligibility; for choosing a Certified Energy Advisor; for hiring an authorized contractor; for keeping billings; and for attending to the deadlines.
+ Enbridge Gas: Home Energy Conservation Program
Throughout 2015, Enbridge Gas Distribution is offering homeowners valuable incentives through the Home Energy Conservation Program. With savings of up to $2,000.00, the program is available in York Region; in the City of Toronto (includes the GTA); and in selected pockets of Ottawa, Peel, Durham, and Niagara. It’s a 3-pronged approach to conservation: improving the home’s energy efficiency; lowering seasonal energy bills; and lessening the impact on the environment. Overall, it’s a program that makes conservation easy to implement and affordable.
Occasionally, Enbridge Gas Distribution offers incentives via the Home Energy Conservation Program. The program can offer a saving of up to about $2,000 and is available to some regions of Toronto City including the GTA, Peel, Niagara, and Ottawa. The program focuses on conservation by providing incentives to help in keeping seasonal energy bills low, enhancing energy efficiency of homes, and lessening environmental impact.
A pre-retrofit energy audit is performed to help assess the existing energy efficiencies in your home. If it is revealed that there are weaknesses where improvements can be made so as to increase energy efficiency, save on yearly utility costs, and conserve energy, then the homeowner may be considered for the incentives.
As a company, Enbridge Gas Distribution is dedicated to helping consumers reduce annual consumption of natural gas. More than ever, energy conservation is important, and making the appropriate upgrades today will set the stage for the future. For those customers who qualify, the Home Energy Conservation Program offers a straightforward, step-by-step process that is easy to follow and easy to implement. When the energy conservation retrofits are completed, the results are measured, and clearly show the changes between the before-and-after scenarios.
Qualifying for the program The homeowner must be a current Enbridge customer Enbridge accounts must be active and in good standing The home’s primary heat source must be natural gas Homeowners must reside in a qualifying community The pre-retrofit energy audit The pre-retrofit audit assesses the home’s existing energy efficiencies. The audit reveals the specific weaknesses where positive improvements can be made to enhance energy efficiency, conserve energy, and save on annual utility costs.
The homeowner must employ a Certified Energy Auditor who will assess the HVAC equipment, check the “building envelope”, and initiate a “blower door” test. An “energy score” is assigned to the property using the EnerGuide Rating System.
As part of the audit, recommendations are provided for the type of improvements than can be made. These retrofits are the basis for the upgrades that qualify for rebates. Upgrades are intended to optimize the home’s overall energy efficiency.
Enbridge pays $150 of the $350 audit cost. (HST not included)
Improvements and upgrades
The homeowner is required to implement at least 2 upgrades:
- Installation of newly added attic insulation
- Installation of basement wall insulation
- Window installation and/or replacement
- Installation of insulation for exposed floors
- Air sealing (with minimum requirements)
- Installation of high efficiency furnace/boiler
- Installation of approved heat recovery system
The post-retrofit energy audit
The post-retrofit audit allows for a comparison of “before and after”. The “after” energy score will be compared with the “before” energy score (prior to upgrades). To fully qualify for the Enbridge incentive there must be 25% in annual gas savings. Depending on the extent of upgrades, incentives are available for up to $2,000.00. These are designed to help offset the upfront costs of the recommended upgrades.
+ The Investment in Affordable Housing for Ontario Program
The Investment in Affordable Housing for Ontario Program is a government funded initiative that will provide over $800 Million (federal and provincial funds) in an effort to improve access to affordable housing. The program will extend for some 6 years, and will end March 31, 2020. Prospective applicants will be required to contact their local Municipal Housing Department in order to determine their eligibility for the funding, and the geographic area of funding coverage.
The Investment in Affordable Housing for Ontario Program is sponsored by the government and provides hundreds of millions of dollars consisting of both federal and provincial funds to help in improving access to affordable housing. Applicants are required to check with their local Municipal Housing Department to find out if they are eligible for the funding. The program is intended to run until March 31, 2020 and will give out $800 million to prospective applicants. Among the aspects that are supported in the program include incorporating energy efficiencies as well as accessibility features right into affordable housing.
You may want to consider some of these rebates to help you reduce the cost of upgrading and renovating your home to make it more energy efficient. If you are installing insulation systems in your home, you may benefit from some of these rebates and incentives.
The IAH Program is built on the successes of previous housing programs that delivered results. The program is designed to provide continued support, and with similar objectives. There are a number of initiatives that are being encouraged through the program:
- improving access to safe and sustainable affordable housing throughout Ontario. providing implementation to meet regional needs with respect to “Housing Plans”.
- addressing affordable housing needs of defined groups throughout the province. contributing to Ontario’s future housing plans for senior citizens and the disabled.
- offering funding for those housing options that address affordable housing needs.
- incorporating energy efficiencies and accessibility features into affordable housing.
- promoting and supporting apprentice labor, as well as training skilled laborers.
The IAH Program offers a number of different components, each one designed to fulfill a specific need in the market. Details can be obtained from the local Municipal Housing Department, with notable mention to:
- the Rental Housing Component;
- the Home Ownership Component;
- the Ontario Renovates Component. Additionally,
- there is a special “Off-Reserve” Aboriginal Housing Component” which will be implemented with Aboriginal Program Administrators.
In particular, the Ontario Renovates component offers significant rebates that can be applied to projects that involve insulation upgrades. With an emphasis on promoting energy efficiency, the IAH Program strongly encourages the installation of energy-saving products when repairs or renovations are implemented. One of the highlighted funding options includes the installation of attic insulation that ensures a minimum R-Value of R40.
Funding wise, the province-wide aim is to create and repair about 11,000 housing units. Of this, some 1,650 housing units (15%) will be earmarked for senior citizens, and approximately 1,100 units (10%) for people with disabilities. In principle, the objective is to meet these targets over the life of the program. And in terms of dollar allocation, the funding is provided on a so-called “use it – lose it” basis. Again, specifics are obtainable from each Municipal Housing Department.
The IAH Program has its focus on affordable housing, and along with suitable support services, the long-term objective is to significantly improve health outcomes for seniors and those with disabilities. Those living with mental health problems, addiction/dependence issues, or at risk of homelessness, are the ones who are targeted to benefit. As such, working with local health networks, community-care centers and support services agencies is highly recommended.
The Investment in Affordable Housing for Ontario Program is government driven, and therefore comprises specific protocols and procedures. Program particulars and clarifications are best addressed in collaboration with each local Municipal Housing Department. This might include information about important dates and deadlines; edibility criteria; submission processes; project approval and funding; and any other additional rules and regulations that may apply.