There are loads of reasons to start doing eco-friendly and sustainable home improvements. Not only can you get lower bills, lower taxes, and longer usage life out of your appliances, but you can also feel good about creating a smaller carbon foot print.
The rewarding power of DIY and greener habits.
Leading a more sustainable lifestyle can happen through developing energy-efficient habits. Although most incentive programs rely on purchasing new equipment, options still exist for those not in a position to upgrade. Turning off unused lights and equipment as well as setting thermostats higher when not at home will help save energy and help lower bills.
Maintenance and sustainable DIY practices can help keep your appliances running longer and more efficiently. Dust and debris can clog motors, forcing them to use more energy than necessary. Keeping coils replaced and intakes clear will help your GE appliance (or any home equipment) use far less energy than a unit bogged-down by non-working parts or overcrowded with dust accumulation.
Utility and Product Rebates
Changing your own personal habits can go along way, but there are more financial benefits for homes with more eco-friendly features.
For instance, those who reside in Nova Scotia and purchase alternative forms of home energy can qualify for credits on their bill which equate to the provincial amount of the Harmonized Sales Tax. This credit is automatic on bills from the power company or home fuel distributors. Those who use kerosene, coal, wood pellets, or other self-acquired forms of energy must apply to get in on these rebates.
In Quebec, homeowners who install an Energy Star programmable electronic thermostat can reap a $30 incentive from Gaz Métro. The thermostat must be installed by a Gaz Métro Authorized technician and it helps your unit to become approximately 7% to 10% more energy-efficient. Retailers can benefit from the Energy Efficiency Fund, which offers several sorts of rebates for those who purchase more energy-efficient home items. Qualified windows and storm doors as well as drain water heat recovery systems allow your home to stay comfortable while using less energy.
The Office of Energy Efficiency at Natural Resources Canada sponsors the ecoENERGY Retrofit program which provides credits and tax-based incentives to urge homeowners into investing in energy-efficient and eco-friendly home improvements.
The agency also administers the High Efficiency Home Heating System Cost Relief program, which will contribute up to $300 to homeowners who upgrade their old oil or gas furnace or boiler to a new high-efficiency model.
The Province of Manitoba provides a tax credit for geothermal conversions. The Green Energy Tax gives around $2,000. Further rebates and ecoENERGY sponsored grants (up to an additional $3,500) can be accessed through further energy-efficient retrofitting and construction. Manitoba residents can also utilize the Hydro Power Smart Home Insulation Program wherein Manitoba Hydro will refund up to 100% of the cost it requires to upgrade insulation materials in attics, walls and crawl spaces. The refund-amount is based on the type and quantity of insulation materials used; the property must be a primary residence and work approved by Manitoba Hydro.
In Saskatchewan, the government offers a Provincial Sales Tax exemption for those who purchase Energy Star heating systems and appliances. This includes all major kitchen appliances as well as washers and dryers, furnaces, boilers, and heat pumps. In order to qualify, the product must be considered energy-efficient by Canada’s Office of Energy Efficiency and carry the ENERGY STAR label.
Katei Cranford is a freelance journalist who enjoys green living, saving money, and helping others do the same.