How and why to claim the Canada greener homes grant

Buildings, including homes, account for 18% of Canada’s greenhouse gas emissions. With the new greener homes grant the Government wants to encourage Canadians to make homes more energy-efficient so they can be more comfortable and more affordable to run, while also supporting the environmental objectives of reducing carbon emissions. Canada also likes selling surplus green hydroelectric power to their neighbours to the south at a premium, so it's a win/win, eh?

The Canada Greener Homes Grants 2021 have been launched to help homeowners make their homes more energy-efficient, create new jobs across Canada for energy advisors, grow domestic green supply chains, and help fight climate change. So, the question remains, what can it pay for and how to apply for the Canada greener homes grant?

What grants are available through the initiative?

  • There are up to 700,000 grants of up to $5,000 to help homeowners make energy efficient retrofits to their homes, such as better insulation, more efficient heating, better windows, solar panels etc
  • EnerGuide evaluations (worth up to $600) and expert advice to homeowners so they can begin to plan their retrofits based on priorities (because while shiny new windows look nice, insulation is the gift that keeps on giving.)
  • Recruitment and training of EnerGuide energy advisors to meet the increased demand; this will create new jobs across Canada, and help training establishments too!

So homeowners are eligible for up to $5,600 total under the initiative and the government is committed to ensuring the concept and reality of Greener Homes reaches diverse Canadians, including those living in remote and northern communities and those with limited internet access. This is where the idea of working on building a diverse network of energy advisors comes from, to provide career opportunities to all Canadians and to help meet the need of our communities to move towards more sustainable homes that use less energy. 

Who is eligible for the Canada greener homes grant?

Eligible homeowners in Canada can apply for a grant up to $5600 to improve the performance of their primary residence. Only one homeowner per home can register. 

However, residents of Quebec and Nova Scotia need to apply directly through their provincial programs to book their EnerGuide evaluation and register with Rénoclimat Quebec, Home Energy Assessment Nova Scotia respectively. Residents of New Brunswick are also encouraged to apply through their provincial programs. Residents of Yukon, Northwest Territories, Nunavut, Nunavik and Nunatsiavut, or anyone in an off-grid community needs to look at the special considerations on their own page here.

Eligible applicants are required to:

  1. Prove home ownership with your property tax bill number (this number can be found on your municipal property documents)
  2. Prove the property is your primary residence through either a drivers licence or government issued ID (with address), or utility bill

The following groups are also eligible for the Canada Greener Homes Grant:

  • Indigenous governments or organizations (e.g., band councils, land claim organizations)
  • Housing management bodies and other representative or Indigenous service delivery organizations with formal partnerships with Indigenous governments or organizations

These applicants may be eligible to register multiple homes, including homes that are not the owner’s primary residence. The home registered must be:

  1. Owned by the applicant, and be
  2. Occupied by an Indigenous family.

What types of homes are included in the Canada Greener Homes Grant scheme?

Eligible property types that are included in the new Grant scheme include:

  • Single and semi-detached houses
  • Row housing
  • Townhomes
  • All-season cottages
  • Mobile homes on a permanent foundation
  • Permanently-moored floating homes
  • Mixed use buildings (residential portion only)
  • Small multi-unit residential building (three storeys or less with a footprint of 600m2 or less), although there are different rules so we would suggest getting guidance from an experienced energy advisor to ensure you comply. 

What types of home improvements are eligible for the Canada Greener Homes Grant?

All the following home upgrades can be eligible for the Canada Greener Homes Grant, but you will need to check the small print because they are pro-rated in relation to the type of home, and the percentage improvement you make, which can cap some of the amounts covered by the grant scheme.

If your home seems to use a lot of energy, or has cold spots or condensation on windows, we would suggest you get the home energy audit done, then follow the guidelines contained within it to be able to work out what areas will benefit most from energy efficiency upgrades. But, we always suggest starting with optimizing the insulation for the building envelope, as insulation is the gift that keeps on giving!  

Home insulation

  • Updating eligible attic/ceiling insulation, exterior wall insulation, exposed floor, basement insulation or foundation, and crawlspace insulation.

Maximum Grant Amount: Up to $5,000

Air-sealing a Home

  • Air sealing to improve the air-tightness of your home to achieve the air-change rate target - which is where the blower door test comes in

Maximum Grant Amount: Up to $1,000

Replacement Windows and doors

  • Replace your windows or glass doors with ENERGY STAR® certified models

Maximum Grant Amount: Up to $5,000

Smart Thermostats

  • Add a smart thermostat to help improve your comfort and save money on your energy bill (must be combined with another retrofit)

Maximum Grant Amount: Up to $50

More efficient Heating like Heat Pumps

  • Make the switch to more energy-efficient heating equipment to save on your utility bill and reduce your carbon footprint

Maximum Grant Amount: Up to $5,000

Installing Photovoltaic Solar Panels 

  • Install photovoltaic solar panels to convert sunlight energy into electricity.

Maximum Grant Amount: Up to $5,000

Adding Resiliency measures

  • Incentives to protect your home and your family from environmental damages (must be combined with another retrofit)

Maximum Grant Amount: Up to $2,625

How to apply for the Canada Greener Homes Grant

Once you've double checked if you are eligible for the Canada Greener Homes Grant and your renovation project is eligible, register, quickly!

  1. Go directly to the government website by clicking either the bank account validation link in the middle here - or sign in with your GCKey here, or if you've no clue what either of those mean create a GCKey here and take things from there. 

We also heard hints about zero interest $40,000 deep energy refit loans being put into place soon for Canadians who really want to take their homes to the next level. Sign up here for a free Ecohome membership, and we will let you know as soon as these are announced and the application process opened.

Documents needed to claim a Canada

Greener Homes Grant

To ensure that you are properly reimbursed, you must have all of the following documents so they can verify your eligible retrofits:

  • Receipts for your pre-and post-retrofit EnerGuide evaluation
  • All receipts and invoices for products purchased and for their installation (if bought online, they must be supplied in Canada)
  • It is highly recommended that you also have an attestation form (if applicable for your retrofit) confirming that:
  • Installation of an electrical or mechanical system has been completed by a trained and licensed professional 
  • Geothermal system was installed in accordance with CSA standards 
  • The heat pump has been sized to your entire home 

Your energy advisor will upload your before and after photos for you.

You need to keep copies of your documents until March 31, 2028. Note that the federal grants are not taxable and do not have to be declared as income.

When using a licensed professional it is highly-recommended that you obtain proof of their licence to install equipment in your province or territory.

Apart from lower bills and better comfort, why use less energy?

Canadians are large consumers of energy, with per capita consumption five times greater than the world average, 29% higher than the US, and nearly triple that of the European Union - that's why!

This grant scheme is great as Canadian Energy use is 5 times higher than the world average per capita and even 29% higher than the US
This grant scheme is a great way of reducing Canadian energy use and stimulating the home renovation industry

 

Canadians may like to think that this is because it's colder up north - which it is - but with more than 90% of Canadians living within 150 miles of the US border, that's not really an excuse to be using so much more energy than just about anywhere else on the planet.

We really do need to improve existing home performance dramatically - which is why we feel this new Canadian grant scheme focused on insulation, building preformance and energy efficiency is a great step in the right direction.

Now you know how to apply for the Canada Greener Homes Grant 2021. Learn more about best practices for energy efficient and durable home construction and renovations in these pages:

Top Tips for Getting a House Ready for Winter

Frost in Attics: What causes Attic Ice? How to Fix it?

When to Replace old Windows and When to Repair Them

What is the Best Insulation for a Home?

Find more about green home building in the Ecohome Green Building Guide pages, and learn more about the benefits of a free Ecohome Network Membership here.