City of Ottawa Launches Green Home Renovation Loan Program

The City of Ottawa has launched its program to help homeowners renovate their homes to become greener, but more staff and resources are needed at the municipal level to reduce Ottawa’s greenhouse gas emissions , according to a local nonprofit.

Sana Badruddin, project coordinator at Ecology Ottawa, says that while grants for renovations exist at all levels of government, it takes people to make them effective.

City staff could be crucial in helping homeowners transition to greener homes and educating various demographic groups about the support available, she said.

Badruddin told CBC Radio host Alan Neal All in one day that 45 percent of Ottawa’s greenhouse gas emissions can be attributed to heating, cooling and electrifying homes and office buildings.

All in one day runs a series called “Climate Change and the City,” which began in August, which examines how the nation’s capital can meet its goal of net zero emissions by 2050.

Listeners submitted ideas, which included home renovations, and environmental organizations and the City of Ottawa agreed it was important.

All in one day10:04Climate change and city n ° 7: What is the city doing about the renovations?

In August, we talked about the need for the City to have better renovation programs. Today, the town’s Janice Ashworth responds. 10:04

Residential buildings alone account for 25 percent of emissions, according to city staff.

The City of Ottawa launched its “Better Homes” interest-free home renovation loan program in mid-November, which it announced in July.

Homeowners can now apply for a low-interest loan from the City to help pay for renovations, such as replacing windows, adding insulation, installing heat pumps or vehicle chargers. electric.

A homeowner can borrow 10 percent of the value of the home up to $ 125,000 and the loans would be repaid over 20 years on property tax bills and tied to the properties as a lien. If the house is sold, the new owners would pay the rest while living in the most efficient house.

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Janice Ashworth, Project Manager for the City of Ottawa Environmental Program, said All in one day there are enough staff to manage the loan program, but this is all fairly new at the municipal level.

“The City has never played an important role in this space before, so it is developing this expertise and working with partners,” she said.

The City has contracted with the non-profit Environmental EnviroCentre to offer energy improvement planners to interested homeowners – the service is free for qualifying low-income homeowners.

The planner can help decide upgrade needs, navigate quotes and oversee contracts, she said.

Janice Ashworth, project manager for the city’s environmental program, would like to see more powers given to the city to adopt programs that could provide greater incentives for renovations. (Matthieu Kupfer / CBC)

Ashworth also said she wanted to see a program for commercial buildings and large residential buildings like apartments and condos.

She said the city’s plan for the next two decades calls for commercial buildings to be between 50% and 60% more energy efficient and homes to be 70% more energy efficient.

Rules for new buildings will be just as important, if not more important, she added, and municipalities are waiting for the federal government to release a new model building code soon.

“The federal government sends out a model code, then the provinces adopt whatever elements of that model code they want, and then the cities regulate that code,” she said.

Ashworth would also like to see more powers given to municipalities to adopt programs that could provide greater incentives for renovations, such as tying a person’s property tax bill to their level of emissions – something the city cannot. not currently do.


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