Federal government launches interest-free loan program for green renovations

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Written by
Laura Hanrahan

Thanks to a new program launched by the federal government, Canadians can now apply for interest-free loans of up to $40,000 to green their homes.

Aiming to help up to 175,000 Canadians make their living spaces more energy efficient, the Canadian Greener Homes Initiative will now provide loans between $5,000 and $40,000 per household for major green renovations. This is a new addition to the initiative, which was launched in May 2021 and initially only offered grants ranging from $125 to $5,000 to households making eco-friendly upgrades.

Canadian homeowners whose principal residence is a single or semi-detached house, townhouse or townhouse, mixed-use building, mobile home on a permanent foundation, permanently moored floating home, or three-unit multi-unit residential building floors or less may apply. Depending on program rules, specific types of renovations may be covered, and the list may vary from home to home depending on the results of an assessment required by an energy advisor. They can include changes such as improving insulation, windows, doors, thermostats, space and water heating, and implementing a renewable energy source such as a solar panel system.

But there are also a number of retrofits that aren’t eligible for anyone who requests them, including air conditioners, skylights, tankless water heaters, and rooftops. The cost of heaters and boilers will also not be covered for anyone who does not live in a northern or off-grid community. Grants and loans are also not available to homeowners, tenants, or anyone who has already started or completed their renovations. Houses built less than six months ago are also not eligible.

This is the first phase of the Greener Homes loan program and is open to homeowners who are applying for the first time or who already have an application open. The second phase, which will begin in the fall, will be open to homeowners who have already received a grant but still have eligible renovations they would like to make.

The launch comes two months after the federal government announced an additional investment of $458.5 million in the Canada Greener Homes program as part of its 2030 Emissions Reduction Plan.

Canadians interested in applying for a grant or loan can do so online. Applications are then reviewed and approved by Natural Resources Canada. A pre-retrofit assessment is conducted — the cost of which may be covered by a $600 grant from the Greener Homes Initiative — and applicants can decide, based on the assessment report, which approved renovations they would like to complete. Once the work is completed, a post-renovation evaluation is then carried out. And for those who have taken out a loan, there is a 10-year repayment period.

As of June 8, the Greener Homes initiative has already received 171,000 applications and awarded $38,000,000 in grants to 10,300 homeowners.

“This represents grants in the hands of three-quarters of all homeowners who have completed their renovations to date,” read a June 17 update on the program. “We have worked hard to issue payments within our service standard of 40 business days from the time we receive final receipts and required documents from the owner. We’re currently meeting that standard 92% of the time, exceeding our target of 90%, and we’re getting faster as we go. »

Written by
Laura Hanrahan

Laura has covered real estate in Toronto, New York, Miami and Los Angeles. Before coming to STOREYS as an editor, she worked as an urbanized editor in Toronto for Daily Hive.

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