The Greener Homes Grant – Are You Eligible?

Last week, the Canadian government launched the Canada Greener Homes Grant program, which offers up to $5,000 of reimbursement for energy-saving home upgrades. Worth $2.6 billion over the next seven years, the Grant seeks to help Canadians keep the environment healthy by making the retrofit process more affordable and within reach of more homeowners.

The Canada Greener Homes Grant program requirements

The federal government has laid out several general requirements that homeowners must meet to receive a grant under the Program. To comply with the Grant obligations, a homeowner must:

  • Complete a pre- and post-retrofit EnerGuide evaluation;
  • Complete at least one retrofit that is both eligible and recommended by your energy advisor in their report;
  • Provide and keep copies of all documents, including:
    • Receipts for EnerGuide evaluation;
    • Receipts and invoices for products purchased and their installation;
    • Recommended: attestation forms regarding the license of installers and CSA standards; and
  • Purchase all materials in Canada. If materials are purchased online, they must be from an online distributor located in Canada.

What the Canada Greener Homes Grant covers

Homeowners can claim up to $5,000 to implement eligible retrofits done after December 1, 2020, and up to $600 for the cost of the pre- and post-retrofit EnerGuide evaluations, which usually range between $300-750. The reimbursement can be applied for and received once the post-retrofit evaluation has taken place.

The government provides a list of eligible retrofits and the amount available in each case. Here are some key examples:

  • Home insulation, up to $5,000;
  • Air-sealing, up to $1,000;
  • Windows and doors with ENERGY STAR ® certification, up to $5,000 (Patio doors and windows between $125-250 depending on the ENERGY STAR ® certification level, hinged doors up to $125);
  • (Smart) Thermostat, up to $50;
  • Heating, up to $5,000;
  • Renewable energy in the form of photovoltaic solar panels, up to $5,000; and
  • Resiliency measures, including roofing membrane and foundation water-proofing (must be combined with another retrofit), up to $2,625.

Grants do not have to be declared as income and are not taxable.

What types of homes are eligible under the Program?

The government website lists the following properties as eligible under the program:

  • Single and semi-detached houses
  • Row housing
  • Townhomes
  • All-season cottages
  • Mobile homes on a permanent foundation
  • Permanently-moored floating homes
  • Mixed-use buildings (residential portion only)
  • Small multi-unit residential buildings (three storeys or less with a footprint of 600m2 or less) (a “small MURB”).  [The government website says that a small MURB is different from a Townhome in that a MURB “must either be stacked (up/down) or have a common area”.  SO:  According to the website, Townhomes are not MURBs.]

However, the government website goes on to state that new homes are not eligible for the grant. New homes are defined as homes that are six months old or less, based on the date of occupancy by the first homeowner.

If the property in question is a small MURB, there are a number of additional limits and calculations that apply.  So, the applicant (in the case of a small MURB) will also need to take special care to work through all of those limits and calculations.

How does this work in the case of a condominium?

As long as the condominium property is an “eligible property” listed above, the program is available to the owners in the condominium.  So for instance, many condominiums are comprised of townhomes or row housing, or small MURBs (as defined above), or mixed-use buildings, or even single or semi-detached houses.   Again, our understanding is that they all qualify, even if they are condominiums.

THAT SAID, the twist of course is as follows:  In a condominium, the work in question (the energy-saving upgrade and the pre- and post-retrofit evaluations) will often relate to the common elements and will therefore be carried out by the condominium corporation (with the cost incurred as part of the condominium’s common expenses).  HOWEVER, the application for the grant must be made by each owner – not by the condominium corporation.

So, in most cases, each owner would make an application based on his or her “share” of the cost for the eligible upgrade, with the condominium corporation supplying the supporting documentation. Therefore, we expect that – in the case of a condominium – the grant application process will be a “cooperative effort” between the condominium corporation and the owners of the units in the condominium.

For more details, check out the Government’s website

Finally, it appears this is not all that the government has lined up to help Canadians retrofit their homes to be more environmentally friendly. If your home would need a deep retrofit, the Canadian government advises that an interest-free loan program of up to $40,000 will become available this summer.  We don’t yet know if (or how) that might apply to any condominiums.

Stay tuned to Condo Law News to keep up to date on the latest developments on government subsidies for energy retrofits!