Need-to-know tips before starting home energy renos | Whuff News


As winter approaches and the nine percent increase in electricity prices forecast for spring, many people are thinking about how to save on their electricity bills.

Heat pump installers and energy efficiency advocates say now is the right time to make energy-efficient home improvements.

CBC News spoke to people who run government incentive programs to find out what help is available and how to get it.

Here’s the descent.

Energy saving system

Who can get it:

Live-in homeowners with a gross household income of less than $70,000.

It doesn’t matter if:

  • You receive grants from Community Development.
  • Already use a Home Energy Savings program or start an application for it.

What it includes:

  • Insulation.
  • Air sealing.
  • Heat pumps.

All as recommended by the energy consultant working on the system, Greenfoot Energy Solutions.

How much it pays:

Total cost of renovation. It is reserved for about 2,000 homes a year.

How to get it:

  1. Apply on the saveenergynb.ca website or call NB Power.
  2. An energy consultant will recommend upgrade options and NB Power must agree.
  3. Greenfoot deals with others.

Whole Home Energy Conservation System

Who can get it:

Any homeowner in the province with any income level and any type of heating system.

House:

  • It can be a single-family residence, detached, semi-detached, terraced house or mobile home on a permanent basis.
  • It should be finished with side walls and insulation and have a kitchen, bathroom, insulation and heating system.
  • It must be three stories high and no less than 6,458 feet.

The system can be used:

  • Several times.
  • In addition to the Energy Conservation Program, either before or after completing that program.

What it includes:

  • Heat pump space heaters.
  • Energy Star oil or gas boilers or furnaces.
  • High efficiency pellet stoves, boilers, fireplaces and fireplaces, propane or natural gas fireplaces and wood stoves.
  • Energy Star gas water heaters.
  • Release the water temperature recovery.
  • Heat pump water heaters.
  • Energy Star windows, doors and skylights.
  • Heat recovery ventilators.
  • Energy Star flexible water pumps.
  • Solar water heaters.
  • Solar energy systems.
  • Air sealing.

How much it pays:

A fixed amount to cover a portion of the cost of each eligible item.

Examples:

  • $0.40 to $3 per square foot of insulation, which varies by section of house and the resulting improvement in R value.
  • $50 for the window.
  • $400 heat pump for day difference.
  • $500 oil center.
  • Up to $550 for a 25 percent reduction in air leaks.
  • $2,000 geothermal heat pump.
Beth Pollock, senior manager of energy compliance services at NB Power, says heat pumps can save a home about $500 a year in energy costs. (Provided by NB Power)

The average homeowner who goes through the program gets about $1,700, said Beth Pollock, NB Power’s senior manager of Efficiency Services, but there is no set limit.

Some earn $10,000, depending on how much work is done.

How to get it:

  1. Fill out an application on the saveenergynb.ca website or contact NB Power. You can choose between three approved EnerGuide home inspection providers (Enercheck Solutions, Homesol Building Solutions and ThermalWise Green Building Co-operative), or choose “no choice.”
  2. In about two weeks someone will come to your home to see what improvements have been made. An audit costs $100-$200, depending on whether you file with the state or federal government.
  3. Choose your improvements and your contractor and get the job done.
  4. Get the next audit to measure improvement and show your receipts. The rebate will be sent to you via e-transfer, direct deposit or mail.

Canada Greener Homes Grant

Who can get it:

Homeowners who live in Canada are:

  • Get the EnerGuide test before you start any restoration or have another done since April 1, 2020.
  • Have a home older than six months.
  • Live in a detached, semi-detached or multi-unit apartment building.

*Note: If you received a previous federal rebate for a heat pump, you may still qualify for a grant to upgrade your system.

Two outdoor heating and cooling units installed on the side of the home with blue siding.
These outdoor heat separation pump units are installed by EcoTech Refrigeration and HVAC of Moncton. The Province’s Total Home program offers a $400 split heat pump. The Green Homes Grant offers up to $2,500 each, but only if you have an indoor header on every level of your home. (Posted by EcoTech Refrigeration and HVAC)

What it includes:

  • Air sealing.
  • Insulation.
  • Windows and doors.
  • Smart thermostats (in combination with other upgrades).
  • Heat pump space heaters.
  • Heat pump water heaters.
  • Solar panels and inverter systems.
  • Solar energy storage batteries.
  • Cover the membrane.
  • The foundation of a retaining wall.
  • Apply to the area to ensure moisture.

• Residential buildings with multiple units larger than two units are not covered by heat pumps or thermostats.

How much it pays:

Grants range from $125 to $5,000, with smaller amounts for various other types of improvements.

Examples:

  • Up to $250 per door or window.
  • Up to $1,000 per kw of solar energy system capacity.
  • Up to $2,500 on a heat pump for the day difference.
  • Additional charge of up to $600 before and after energy testing.

The program is earmarked for 700,000 grants over seven years. As of last winter there were over 182,000 applications.

How to get it:

  1. Complete an application on the Natural Resources Canada website or, if necessary, call 1-833-674-8282 or TTY: 1-800-465-7735.
  2. Have your EnerGuide test through the province’s network of energy consultants.
  3. Make it another recommended energy saving feature.
  4. Request a home energy audit after restoration.
  5. Submit your receipts, but hold onto your copies.

Canada Greener Homes Loan

Who is eligible:

  • The same group is eligible for the Green Homes Grant scheme (see above).
  • Traditional groups.

*Note, you cannot be approved if the job has already started.

What’s included:

The same type of renovation listed in Canada’s Greener Homes Grant program, as recommended by the EnerGuide test.

How much is available:

Interest-free loans of $5,000 to $40,000, payable over 10 years. A maximum of one loan is available per eligible property. Up to 15 percent can be obtained in advance of contract payments down, if necessary, 25 percent for traditional groups.

How to get it:

  1. Start a New Homes Grant on the Canadian Natural Resources website or call 1-866-292-9517.
  2. After the audit is done, you will be given the option of applying for a loan through the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, or a grant or a combination of the two.
  3. Once the job is done, get a follow-up energy audit.
  4. Upload your receipts.

If you’ve already gone through the grant process, you can apply for a loan a few months down the road to complete other recommended improvements, said Abla Hanna, Energy Efficiency’s general manager. .

A flow chart with six circles of steps from applying to receiving funds
Illustration from the Natural Resources Canada website showing the Green Homes program. (Natural resources in Canada)

Insider tips for a better experience and higher returns

Fill out the provincial form first, to start the home energy assessment process. You can use the same audit for the federal system. And you can apply for both at the same time.

If you buy any tools or equipment make sure they are approved for each program you would like to use:

  • For federal programs, all equipment must be purchased in Canada.
  • For heat pumps, there may be a federal non-provincial list.
  • In Federal Greener Homes programs, heat pumps must be able to heat the entire house.

Make sure you use a licensed electrician and heat pump installer.

You need a letter of approval from your energy company for a grid-connected solar system.

If you want to get a federal and provincial rebate, make sure you don’t start work until you are at an approved level in the Green Homes program. And check your messages regularly if you are waiting for an acknowledgment. Program staff may request more information.

Take full advantage of your EnerGuide home assessment provider to get tips on the best upgrades and help move the process along, said Louise Comeau, climate change director with the New Brunswick Conservation Council.

A woman with light hair, wearing sunglasses, smiling widely and holding a green basket, with a view of the valley in the background.
Louise Comeau of the Conservation Council recommends going as far as you can with energy upgrades to get the most savings on your heating and energy bills and save the hassle of reapplying for incentive programs. (New Brunswick Conservation Council)

Do as much recommended exercise as you can, Comeau said. The process is not as easy as it could be so you don’t want to go through it again. And the more energy savings, the more inflation-proofing the renovation and paying off in the long run.

If you want to access the Energy Conservation Program, apply now. There are about 35,000 households that could use it, Comeau said, and at the current level of funding not all of them will be able to get it.

Applications are approved on a case-by-case basis, Pollock said, with a new batch sent to a licensed service provider every few days. He hopes that any incoming applications can be approved in the next few years.



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