The Home Renovation Tax Credit 2011, also known as the ecoEnergy Retrofit program, has been renewed and this means that homeowners that have done or are thinking about doing some eco or energy saving home renovations can apply to the federal government for up to $5,000 to offset retrofit costs.
The new program is effective June 6, 2011 and expires March 31, 2012, however the federal government is allowing homeowners who have previously participated in the program (after April 1, 2007), but did not use up all of the $5,000 to get another shot at getting more work done by having another home energy evaluation.
What do you need to do? First you need to get a Home Energy Audit (cost: $350 and you receive a government rebate of $150). Second, after the home renovation you bring back the auditor for a final evaluation (cost: $150) and the auditor files the paperwork for the retrofit.
What does a home energy auditor do? They come to your house and go through your entire house, creating a detailed and intensive report and give you your Energy rating (Energuide Rating).
The report should give you a detailed outline of your energy use that will include:
· A basement to attic assessment of your home’s insulation, heating and cooling systems, and other energy uses.
· A “blower door” test to detect air leaks and drafts.
· A personalized Energy Efficient Evaluation Report and recommendations.
The auditor can tell you what to do to get your grant money and recommend what you should do to get started. Retrofits include new HVAC systems to new toilets to new windows. Your municipality might also offer rebates on your home retrofit alongside the federal ecoEnergy retrofit’s incentive.
What can you get out of a Home Energy Audit?
· You can reduce your annual energy bill up to 30%.
· Improve your home’s re-sale value
· Improve the environment
· Make your home more comfortable.
Stephen Dupuis, President and CEO of Building Industry & Land Development Association (BILD), tells us “to make sure that the Home Energy Auditor is certified. Natural Resources Canada provides a list of Home Energy Auditors, this all accessible online.”
Dupuis recommends doing the eco retrofit at the same time you are doing any home renovation or home improvement instead of doing them separately. “Make it a one shot deal; it’ll save you time and money.” He further stresses using a reliable and professional contractor, recommending ones that are RenoMark members.
The Canadian Home Builders’ Association points out that a key point of this program is the receipt requirement. “By requiring written receipts for expenses eligible for a grant, the ecoENERGY Retrofit – Homes program has the added benefit of encouraging people to work with professional renovators. This will bolster the government’s efforts to combat the underground cash economy in home renovation services,” says CHBA.
Make sure you check with your province and municipality to see if you can get further rebates.
For more information on the ecoEnergy Retrofit you can visit Natural Resources Canada
For a list of retrofits that are covered by the grant you can go to this link here.
For more information on home energy audits go here: Ontario Ministry of Energy