At Remortgaging.ca, our commitment goes beyond helping Canadians understand mortgages. Today’s homeowners are increasingly concerned about the environment and their energy consumption. If you’re thinking about making your home more energy efficient, there are mortgage rebates and incentives available that could make it more affordable. Let’s dive into the world of energy-efficient homes and the financial benefits tied to them in Canada.
Canada’s commitment to sustainability has birthed various programs to incentivize homeowners to reduce their carbon footprint. These programs can significantly reduce costs for homeowners, making now an excellent time to invest in energy efficiency.
1. What is an Energy-Efficient Home?
Simply put, an energy-efficient home uses less energy than a traditional home, reducing greenhouse gas emissions and utility bills. This is achieved through:
- Improved insulation
- High-efficiency heating and cooling systems
- Energy-efficient windows and doors
- Solar panels and other green technologies
2. The Energy-Efficient Mortgage (EEM) Rebate
The Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) offers a premium refund of up to 25% for borrowers who buy, build, or renovate for energy efficiency using CMHC-insured financing.
- Homes must be assessed and certified by an energy advisor in one of Canada’s EnerGuide’s service organizations.
- The refund amount varies depending on the home’s level of energy efficiency achieved.
3. Genworth Canada Energy-Efficient Housing Program
Similar to the CMHC program, Genworth (now rebranded as Sagen) – Canada’s Energy-Efficient Housing program – offers a 25% refund on the mortgage insurance premium for energy-efficient homes.
- Available for both purchases and refinancing.
- The home’s efficiency is rated using the Natural Resources Canada (NRCan) EnerGuide scale.
4. The Role of EnerGuide
- An energy advisor assesses the home.
- They provide recommendations for improvements.
- Once improvements are made, the advisor returns for a follow-up assessment and provides the final rating.
5. Provincial Rebates and Incentives
Beyond national programs, several provinces in Canada offer rebates and incentives:
- British Columbia: Homeowners can avail rebates through the ‘Better Homes BC’ program for making energy-efficient upgrades.
- Ontario: The Green Ontario Fund offers rebates for insulation, high-efficiency windows, and certain heating systems.
- Alberta: Energy Efficiency Alberta’s Home Improvement Rebates offers funds for insulation, windows, and tankless hot water heaters.
6. Long-Term Savings
While there’s an upfront cost, energy-efficient homes offer long-term savings:
- Reduced Utility Bills: Efficient appliances, insulation, and heating systems reduce the cost of monthly bills.
- Increased Home Value: Energy-efficient homes often command higher resale values.
- Less Maintenance: Efficient appliances and systems tend to be more durable, reducing repair costs.
7. Benefits to the Environment
Investing in energy efficiency isn’t just about saving money:
- Reduced Carbon Footprint: Lower energy consumption means fewer greenhouse gases.
- Sustainable Living: Leveraging renewable resources like solar panels reduces reliance on non-renewable energy sources.
8. Combining Multiple Incentives
One of the key strategies for homeowners is combining national and provincial rebates. For instance, a homeowner in Ontario could use both the CMHC premium refund and the Green Ontario Fund rebates to maximize savings.
9. Before You Begin: Steps to Take
- Assessment: Before any renovation, get an EnerGuide assessment.
- Research: Study the rebates available both at federal and provincial levels.
- Planning: Based on the assessment and potential rebates, plan your energy-efficient upgrades.
10. Pitfalls to Avoid
- Rushing Without Research: Every home is unique. What worked for a neighbor might not work for you.
- Ignoring Maintenance: Even the best systems require regular upkeep. Regular maintenance ensures you continue to enjoy energy savings.
- Overlooking Smaller Upgrades: While big changes can lead to more significant savings, small upgrades (like sealing drafts) can also make a noticeable difference.
Canada’s drive towards sustainability provides homeowners not just an opportunity to contribute positively to the environment but also to enjoy significant financial benefits. With various rebate programs available and the long-term savings associated with energy-efficient homes, there’s never been a better time to invest in green upgrades.
For more insights into mortgages, rebates, and all things related to homeownership in Canada, stay tuned to Remortgaging.ca. Together, we can pave the path to a greener and more sustainable future!