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ARCHIVED - Frequently-Asked Questions (FAQ) about ecoENERGY Retrofit – Homes

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These frequently asked questions (FAQs) answer most general inquiries regarding the ecoENERGY Retrofit – Homes grant program which ran from April 2007 to March 2012. Natural Resources Canada’s (NRCan’s) Office of Energy Efficiency (OEE) also offers FAQs for other programs, including one for energy-efficient new homes. To search for specific terms on this page, press Ctrl+F for PCs and Command-F for Macs.

General

Registration

Eligible Homeowners and Properties

Eligible Upgrades

Pre- and Post-Retrofit Evaluations

Cheque Status

Information for Energy Advisors and Service Organizations

Inquiries and Contact Information

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General

Can I still enter the ecoENERGY Retrofit – Homes program?

No. The ecoENERGY Retrofit - Homes program has reached its goal of 250,000 registered homeowners and is no longer accepting new registrations.

This decision demonstrates prudent management by the Government of Canada and will ensure that the program operates within its existing budget during this time of fiscal constraint.

All registered homeowners must have completed their retrofits by March 31, 2012. In order to allow homeowners registered with the program to receive a grant, the Government of Canada has extended the deadline for post-retrofit evaluations to June 30, 2012.

Why are registrations no longer being accepted into the program?

When the program was renewed following Budget 2011, it was clear that there was a limited budget and that homeowners needed to register in order to participate. The government announced that it would help up to 250,000 homeowners to improve the energy efficiency of their homes.

With a goal of 250,000 registrants, the program is confident that all eligible homeowners who previously registered will have the opportunity to apply for and receive a grant.

However, in order to allow homeowners registered with the program to receive a grant, the Government of Canada has extended the deadline for post-retrofit evaluations to June 30, 2012.

I have already registered. Will I still be able to proceed with retrofits and is my grant guaranteed?

Eligible homeowners who have already registered with the program remain eligible to apply for an incentive. Homeowners were required to obtain a pre-retrofit evaluation and complete their renovations by March 31, 2012, and then obtain a post-retrofit evaluation no later than June 30, 2012.

NRCan undertakes ongoing forecasting for participation levels and budget. By ending registrations after reaching its goal of 250,000 registrations, the program is confident that all eligible homeowners who previously registered will still have the opportunity to apply for and receive a grant.

What are the steps to apply for a grant?

You first needed to register each property and receive a registration number. NRCan stopped accepting registrations on January 28, 2012.

Second, if your property  had not had an energy evaluation since April 2007, you needed to  hire a local service organization licensed by NRCan. If you registered as a new participant, and scheduled a pre-retrofit evaluation, the service organization would have arranged to send an energy advisor to your home to perform a pre-retrofit energy evaluation from the basement to the attic, and about two weeks later, you  would have received a homeowner report and an EnerGuide rating label. If the home  had already had an evaluation by a certified energy advisor since April 2007 (and you registered as a past participant), you do not require a new pre-retrofit evaluation for that property. Complementary regional programs establish their own eligibility criteria and may require a new pre-retrofit evaluation for participation in their programs. Homeowners should verify the eligibility criteria of complementary regional programs before beginning their retrofit upgrades. Each service organization sets its own prices for updating your homes baseline information.

Third, homeowners had to choose eligible energy efficient upgrades for their homes according to the program’s Grant Table, and install them by March 31, 2012.  Only products purchased on or after June 6, 2011, and installed after a pre-retrofit evaluation are eligible for a grant.  NRCan recommends that homeowners take photos of work that is difficult to verify, such as insulation of walls or cathedral ceilings. Homeowners can also use the optional Homeowner Record of Upgrades Form to record important information about  products and equipment to give to  the energy advisor. Homeowners must keep all receipts for three years.  If the receipts do not include an installation date, it should be clear from the purchase date that it was feasible to install the upgrades after the pre-retrofit evaluation and by March 31, 2012.

Finally, contact your service organization to schedule an appointment with an energy advisor for a post-retrofit evaluation. If you want to use the same service organization that performed your pre-retrofit evaluation, you should find the phone number on your homeowner report, EnerGuide label, ecoENERGY mini-label on your electrical panel or by using the Find service organizations and energy advisors Web tool. You must have completed all renovations by March 31, 2012, and then also obtain a post-retrofit evaluation and sign a grant application form no later than June 30, 2012. Your service organization may also ask you complete a Homeowner Attestation form to declare that all retrofits were performed within the program deadlines. Do not delay in arranging this last step as energy advisors book up quickly in the final months of the program.

NRCan processes the application and, under normal circumstances, most homeowners receive a cheque within 90 days following the date of the post-retrofit evaluation, but this is not a fixed deadline and delays are possible for a number of reasons. NRCan then transfers your file information to certain complementary regional programs that issue their own cheques. Homeowners should verify the eligibility criteria of complementary regional programs before beginning their retrofit upgrades.

It is ultimately your responsibility as the homeowner to register your property, research program criteria, choose eligible products, ensure proper installation, keep all receipts, and meet deadlines in order to receive your grant.

Will the complementary programs offered by the provinces and territories remain in place?

Many provinces and territories have developed their own energy efficiency programs for homes and will continue to require energy advisors to perform energy evaluations. You can visit the list of complementary regional programs for links to their Web sites

In some cases, NRCan transfers data to these complementary regional programs after approving your federal grant, while other regional programs require you to apply separately. At the time of your post-retrofit evaluation, your energy advisor can advise you about complementary funding, but they are only trained on the delivery of the federal grant and may not have all details about all local programs.

NRCan will continue to provide the system infrastructure for home energy evaluations and to process Canadian’s applications for the jurisdictions that have complementary programs in place.

What is the final deadline to participate in the program?

NRCan maintains a detailed list of dates and deadlines to help homeowners ensure their eligibility.

New and past participants who registered by January 28, 2012, must have obtained their pre-retrofit evaluation (if they have not already received one), purchased eligible upgrades and completed their retrofits no later than March 31, 2012. Homeowners are then required to obtain their post-retrofit evaluation and sign the Application Form no later than June 30, 2012. Since July 2011, this Web page has stated “program registration will close without notice if it appears that funds will be fully expended before that date in order to help ensure that everyone who registered remains eligible to apply.”

You should schedule your post-retrofit evaluation at the earliest possible date since it may be difficult to book an appointment as the program nears the end date. Evaluations taking place after June 30, 2012, will not be eligible for a federal grant. Simply booking an evaluation appointment by the deadline is not sufficient.

What is the ecoENERGY Retrofit – Homes program?

The ecoENERGY Retrofit – Homes program provides financial assistance to encourage owners of existing low-rise properties to make smart energy retrofit decisions that will result in significant energy savings, more comfortable living spaces and a cleaner environment. Natural Resources Canada’s (NRCan’s) Office of Energy Efficiency (OEE) administers the program and provides the grants, but local service organizations across the country perform energy evaluations for homeowners.

The program started on April 1, 2007, and ended as was originally scheduled on March 31, 2011. As part of Budget 2011, the Government of Canada renewed the program from June 6, 2011, to March 31, 2012.

What has changed under the renewed program as of June 6, 2011?

The following are the three most important changes to the program as of June 6, 2011. Please review this FAQ for other program requirements.

Homeowners needed to register directly with the program before booking their pre- or post-retrofit energy evaluation. NRCan stopped accepting new registrations on January 28, 2012, after receiving 250,000 registrations. By tracking and limiting program participation in this way, NRCan aims to ensure that all eligible homeowners who enter the program have the opportunity to apply for and receive a grant. Since July 2011, this Web page has stated “Once the financial limit of the program appears to be reached, NRCan reserves the right to close program registrations without notice.”

Homeowners must also provide receipts to their energy advisor at the time of the post-retrofit evaluation to confirm that products and equipment were purchased between June 6, 2011, and March 31, 2012, and installed after a pre-retrofit evaluation (since April 2007). It must be clear from the receipts that it was feasible to install the upgrades after the pre-retrofit evaluation and by March 31, 2012.

The final deadline to purchase upgrades and complete retrofits was March 31, 2012, and the final date to obtain a post-retrofit evaluation and apply for the grant is June 30, 2012.

Can I apply for a grant multiple times?

Current homeowners can only apply for a federal grant one time per property after June 6, 2011.

How much of a grant will I receive if I complete the recommended retrofits?

The average federal grant for a property is approximately $1,400. The maximum grant available for the current homeowner is $5000 over the life of the program (April 2007 to March 2012) or $5000 per dwelling unit in a multi-unit residential building (MURB). Property owners of multiple residential buildings are eligible for up to $1,000,000 over the life of the program. The grant amounts payable are according to the Grant Table in effect at the time of the post-retrofit evaluation.

For example, if you already received $1,500 for your current property and had a post-retrofit evaluation by March 31, 2011, you are still eligible to receive $3,500 for that property under the renewed program. If you already received $5,000 for one property, you could receive $5,000 for another property.

If you cannot remember how much you received for your current property, contact the service organization that you hired for your previous evaluations. If you cannot contact the previous service organization, you can instead contact the program and provide the names of all current homeowners on the tax bill, your date of possession and your 10-digit file number. Most homeowners receive a response within five business days.

Will homeowners who missed the opportunity to apply for a grant by March 31, 2011, be able to apply under the renewed program?

Yes. Homeowners who participated in the program before April 1, 2011, and did not receive the maximum amount of $5,000 for their current property, can submit another application for additional improvements purchased and installed in that property on or after June 6, 2011, provided they successfully registered the property by January 28, 2012, completed their retrofits no later than March 31, 2012, and obtain a post-retrofit evaluation no later than June 30, 2012.

Why are upgrades purchased or installed before June 6, 2011, not eligible for a grant?

The program aims to encourage homeowners to implement energy efficient retrofits that they might not otherwise have considered, and not to subsidize or act as a rebate for work already completed. Therefore, the program does not offer grants for products and equipment purchased or installed prior to the introduction of Budget 2011 on June 6, 2011.

Can I get an energy evaluation and EnerGuide rating even if I am not seeking funding?

Yes. Energy evaluations are a great investment in your property. You can identify the best opportunities for energy efficiency improvements, improve your home’s energy performance and receive an EnerGuide rating.

What is the total program spending and what has been achieved to date?

The ecoENERGY Retrofit – Homes program successfully created jobs across Canada and helped homeowners save an average of 20 percent on their home energy use. The over 640,000 homeowners who have received a federal incentive since 2007 are saving more than $400 million on their annual energy bills. Expected program spending for 2011-12 is $183 to $190 million, bringing total program spending to over $934 million since the program’s inception in 2007.

The program also increased homeowners’ understanding of energy efficiency activities and successfully encouraged Canadians to undertake more retrofits than they had planned in order to improve their homes’ efficiency.

Under the program, NRCan developed a delivery infrastructure for home energy assessments and labelling, and over 2,000 energy advisors have been hired and trained by service organizations since the programs’ inception. The program has also triggered more than $9 billion in economic activity and generated thousands of jobs across Canada.

This program is part of a broad suite of initiatives by the Government of Canada to advance clean energy solutions. Since 2006, the federal government has invested more than $10 billion to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and build a more sustainable environment.

Registration

Can I still enter the ecoENERGY Retrofit – Homes program?

No. The ecoENERGY Retrofit - Homes program has reached its goal of 250,000 registered homeowners and is no longer accepting new registrations.

This decision demonstrates prudent management by the Government of Canada and will ensure that the program operates within its existing budget during this time of fiscal constraint.

All registered homeowners must have completed their retrofits by March 31, 2012. In order to allow homeowners registered with the program to receive a grant, the Government of Canada has extended the deadline for post-retrofit evaluations to June 30, 2012.

Why are registrations no longer being accepted into the program?

When the program was renewed following Budget 2011, it was clear that there was a limited budget and that homeowners needed to register in order to participate. The government announced that it would help up to 250,000 homeowners to improve the energy efficiency of their homes.

With a goal of 250,000 registrants, the program is confident that all eligible homeowners who previously registered will have the opportunity to apply for and receive a grant.

However, in order to allow homeowners registered with the program to receive a grant, the Government of Canada has extended the deadline for post-retrofit evaluations to June 30, 2012.

I have already registered. Will I still be able to proceed with retrofits and is my grant guaranteed?

Homeowners who have already registered with the program remain eligible to apply for an incentive. Homeowners were required to obtain a pre-retrofit evaluation and complete their renovations by March 31, 2012. Homeowners are then required to obtain a post-retrofit evaluation no later than June 30, 2012.

NRCan undertakes ongoing forecasting for participation levels and budget. By ending registrations after reaching its goal of 250,000 registrations, the program is confident that all eligible homeowners who previously registered will still have the opportunity to apply for and receive a grant.

What is the difference between a "new participant" and a "past participant"?

You needed to register your property as “new participant” by January 28, 2012, if you or a previous owner did not obtain an energy evaluation by a certified energy advisor between April 1, 2007 and June 5, 2011, even if you received a grant for another property. If you successfully registered, NRCan should have provided you with a number beginning with “CID2” which you will give to your service organization when booking your appointment.

You needed to register your property as a “past participant” by January 28, 2012, if you or a previous owner obtained an energy evaluation by a certified energy advisor between April 1, 2007 and June 5, 2011, even if you did not previously receive a grant. If you successfully registered, NRCan should have provided you with a number beginning with “CID0” which you will give to your service organization when booking your appointment. If the home had an energy evaluation since April 2007, it did not require a new pre-retrofit evaluation.

What if I did not use the correct form or I made an error when completing the form?

If you have submitted the registration request by January 28, 2012, you can report any typographical errors to NRCan using the reg@nrcan.gc.ca e-mail address. Please provide your first and last name, registration or file number and the information that needs to change. Within one to five business days, you should receive a confirmation e-mail after NRCan has made the changes. NRCan is not able to switch registrations between properties.

It is important that you completed the correct form. For example, if you are a past participant and you completed the form for new participants, you would have received instructions to arrange a new pre-retrofit evaluation that you do not need.

Why is registration mandatory?

The registration system allows the program to monitor its uptake. By tracking and limiting program participation in this way, NRCan can ensure that all eligible homeowners who enter the program have the opportunity to apply for and receive a grant.

Only homeowners who have already received a registration number for their properties by January 28, 2012, can obtain an energy evaluation under the program. NRCan has allocated $400 million to the ecoENERGY Retrofit – Homes program. Since July 2011, this Web page has stated “once it appears that the financial limit will be reached, registration for the program will close without notice.”

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Eligible Homeowners and Properties

What types of properties are eligible?

The ecoENERGY Retrofit – Homes program offers grants to owners of low-rise residential properties defined under Part 9 of the National Building Code of Canada. These include the following types of properties:

  • detached and side-by-side attached homes (e.g. single-family homes and row housing,
  • small multi-unit residential buildings (MURBs) and mixed-used buildings(MUBs) as described in the next question,
  • four-season cottages,
  • mobile homes on a permanent foundation as described in a later question, and
  • permanently-moored floating homes.

All properties must be located in Canada and cannot be new construction. In order to have an energy evaluation,  the state of the home must be such that it is possible for your energy advisor to perform a blower-door test.

Which multi-unit residential buildings (MURBs) and mixed-use buildings (MUBs) are eligible?

Most low-rise MURBs and residential/commercial MUBs covered under Part 9 of the National Building Code are eligible for the grant if the building has the following characteristics:

  • two to three stories excluding the basement,
  • a footprint less than 600 square meters,
  • a maximum of 20 residential units,
  • at least 50% of the floor space, including the basement, is used for residential purposes, and
  • no heavy-duty specialized commercial equipment or usage of chemicals (e.g., as found in restaurants, auto-body shops, dry cleaners, medical offices, etc.) as determined by an NRCan licensed energy advisor.

Since energy advisors who have been certified by NRCan to evaluate MURBs and MUBs need to evaluate the structure from the basement to the attic, the entire building must be accessible during the energy evaluation. The building will receive an EnerGuide rating, and units cannot be evaluated individually. The retrofits can benefit both the residential and non-residential portions of the building, as well as common spaces. For example, the location of the heating system (whether it be located in the residential side, commercial side or a common basement) is not an issue as long as it meets program eligibility criteria and it heats at least the residential portion of the building. For a list of service organizations (SO’s) with energy advisors who are certified to evaluate MURBs and MUBs, enter your postal code using the Find service organizations and energy advisors Web tool and look for those listed with an asterisk (*).

The following structures are eligible for the program and are not considered MURBs or MUBs:

  • side-by-side semi-detached residences with their own entrances, attics and basements,
  • single-family homes with a “mother-in-law suite”,
  • homes with rooms rented by boarders which can only be accessed through another living space, and
  • single-family homes used for activities without specialized equipment such as a home office, bed & breakfast or day care facility.

High-rise buildings are not eligible as the entire buildings cannot be evaluated using the EnerGuide Rating System and the HOT2000 software. Certain utilities and provincial programs may offer grants and incentives for energy efficiency upgrades in large buildings.

What is considered a permanent foundation for mobile homes?

A mobile home can be considered permanently fixed if it sits on a foundation of concrete, wood or steel (e.g., a mobile home on wood cribbing with a plywood or vinyl apron would qualify though regional requirements may negate use of aprons); it is structurally complete with entire plumbing, heating and electrical services installed and permanently connected to the appropriate electrical utility service, fuel service, sewer or septic service and water delivery system/service; and its towing apparatus and axle has been removed as per regional requirements.

What state must the home be in to have an energy evaluation?

In order to have an energy evaluation, the energy advisor needs to perform a blower door test which depressurizes the house and measures air leakage. The following are other conditions of the program:

  • Heating: At a minimum, the house must have a space heating system in place at the time of the evaluation and it must be (or have been in the case of heating system failure) capable of keeping the interior living space at 21 degrees C.
  • Windows and doors: The house must have all windows and doors in place. However, a maximum of one window or door unit can be missing as long as it is temporarily air sealed (e.g., covered with plywood and seams and edges sealed with caulking). Any broken window panes must be air sealed (e.g., taped polyethylene) for the duration of the blower door test.
  • Envelope: If the temporary air sealing fails during the blower door test, the house will be considered ineligible. The building envelope, which includes the upper level ceilings, exterior walls, exposed floors, windows and doors, must be intact, including the interior and exterior surfaces (i.e., the interior finish and exterior siding must be in place). Any renovations underway in rooms or sections of the house can only affect interior partitions and not perforate the building envelope.
  • Foundation: The house must rest on its permanent foundation(s).
  • Power: There must be a supply of standard AC electrical power available by which to operate the blower door test equipment. If power is not available from a utility, the homeowner must come to an agreement with the service organization about arranging for a suitable power supply.
  • Water and sewer: There must be a functional supply of domestic water supplied by the municipality or from a private source such as a well or a cistern system. Sewer service must be provided by the municipality, a private septic system or a holding tank (outhouses and bio-toilets are permissible as toilets).
  • Operating kitchen: The kitchen space must include: an operable sink (or appropriate rough-ins); an operating stove (no portable devices) or hook-ups (i.e., rough-in for electrical connection with dedicated breaker, gas appliance rough-in, or solid-fuel fired cook stove chimney); and a minimum of six square feet (0.5 square metres) of counter space or evidence of future intent to install a permanent counter (not just a kitchen table).

Homeowners who have concerns should discuss their specific house issues with a service organization. NRCan reserves the right to make the final decision based on program intent.

What if I added rooms or re-built my home after the pre-retrofit evaluation?

The ecoENERGY Retrofit – Homes program does not apply to new construction. If you have added additions or re-built your home, this is considered a new construction and will not be eligible. However, ask your local service organizations about certain upgrades in the original portion of your house which might be still eligible after a major renovation. NRCan also offers non-incented programs for energy-efficient new homes

Are there incentives available for new houses?

No, new homes are not eligible for the ecoENERGY Retrofit program. The program is designed to stimulate renovation and improvements in Canada’s existing housing stock. For this reason, homeowners need to demonstrate that the home is at least six months old (after the end of construction) at the time of the pre-retrofit evaluation in order to be eligible.

Natural Resources Canada offers other programs that provide information on energy-efficient new building construction, such as the R-2000 Standard, ENERGY STAR for New Homes and the ecoENERGY EnerGuide Rating System. Certain utilities and provincial programs offer grants and incentives for both new and existing homes.

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Eligible Upgrades

What measures or technologies are eligible, and how do I choose?

The homeowner report you receive in the weeks after your pre-retrofit evaluation lists recommendations from the energy advisor that visited your home, however, you can choose to implement any upgrades that are listed in the program’s Grant Table within program deadlines. This publication describes the eligibility requirements and grant amounts for the following:

The most popular upgrades to date have been heating systems, air sealing, windows and attic insulation. The document also includes important notes about oil-fired furnaces and boilers, air-source heat pumps and central air-conditioners, combined space and domestic water heating equipment, building envelopes and insulation, and other information

NRCan does not approve or endorse any specific product, or the services of any contractor, and accepts no liability in the selection of materials, products or contractors, and their performance or workmanship. Homeowners are responsible for comparing products and contractors, making the final choice and ensuring that all upgrades and renovations meet building codes, by-laws and regulations. Before undertaking upgrades or renovations, find out about the appropriate products and installation techniques to ensure that your home’s building envelope, indoor air quality and your family’s health will not be compromised.

Note that ENERGY STAR® and other qualified equipment or systems marked with a check mark (v) must appear on lists of models linked from the Web version of the Grant Table. This document also details other grant requirements.

Please note that eligible retrofits must have been completed by March 31, 2012, to qualify for a grant.

Are all ENERGY STAR® products eligible for the grant?

No. ENERGY STAR in Canada is a standard for energy efficient consumer products which generally use 20 to 30 percent less energy than required by federal regulations. Under the ecoENERGY Retrofit - Homes program, only certain models of ENERGY STAR qualified products such as oil furnaces, windows and instantaneous water heaters are listed in the program Grant Table.

Just because a product has an ENERGY STAR logo does not make it eligible for a grant. In some cases, ecoENERGY Retrofit - Homes requirements are higher than ENERGY STAR requirements. Kitchen appliances and even entertainment equipment might be labelled ENERGY STAR, but they are not eligible.

The ENERGY STAR name and symbol are administered and promoted in Canada by NRCan and are registered in Canada by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). ENERGY STAR requirements can vary from Canada and the United States over time. When the Grant Table mentions "ENERGY STAR", it means the eligible upgrade must be qualified as ENERGY STAR in Canada at the time of purchase.

What should I know about windows, doors and skylights?

In addition to what is described about windows, doors and skylights section of the Grant Table, there are a number of important considerations.

Visit NRCan's Windows, Doors and Skylights Web site before purchasing any new windows, doors or skylights, to ensure that they are qualified for their climate zone. As proof of ENERGY STAR qualification, homeowners must provide the ENERGY STAR label or a copy of an invoice indicating the brand/product name, and the NRCan model reference number or the manufacturer's model code, as well as the climate zone for which the windows, doors or skylights are qualified. If possible, do not remove ENERGY STAR stickers before your post-retrofit evaluation or, if they must be removed, keep them as proof.

For purposes of the grant, NRCan defines one unit of window as one rough opening in the wall. A large window consisting of multiple panels of glass is counted as one opening in the wall, regardless of how large the window is, or how many windows is required to fill the rough opening. For example, NRCan considers a typical bay or bow window as one rough opening or one window which would therefore qualify for a single window grant.

Windows in unconditioned spaces such as unheated attics, garages and sun porches are not eligible for a grant.

Technical specifications for ENERGY STAR qualified windows, doors and skylights (fenestration products) became more stringent as of October 1, 2010, and there is now mandatory labelling of all such products in Canada. Visit the ENERGY STAR Qualifications for Fenestration Products Web page which explains the changes in requirements and will direct users to the various eligibility lists.

A window may consist of one or more factory-assembled individual units: multiple units may be connected together at the factory or at the site of installation, and each unit in the assembly must be ENERGY STAR qualified. The new window may be installed within the existing frame of the old window, but you cannot replace only the glass or sash. An ENERGY STAR door system will consist of a door “slab” (with or without glazing) and optional sidelites or transoms fully assembled (“prehung”) within a new frame. Sidelites and transoms are rated separately and must also be ENERGY STAR qualified if included in the door system for one rough opening. Replacement of door slabs without a frame and individual sidelights or transoms are not eligible. Skylights must be factory assembled, as site assembled skylights do not qualify for a grant. Glass or sash replacement only does not qualify for a grant.

Why is there an incentive for wood-burning appliances?

Approximately 3.5 million households in Canada rely on wood combustion as their source of primary and secondary heat. By improving burning practices and implementing better wood-burning technology, we can reduce emissions from these households. In order to reduce emissions, the program allows a grant for the replacement of an existing wood-burning appliance or open-hearth fireplace with a more efficient unit. The use of a high-efficiency, solid-fuel burning appliance that has been certified for low emissions performance will burn most of the smoke right in the firebox and can cut emissions by up to 90 percent. The replacement of a wood-burning appliance or open-hearth fireplace with a gas fireplace is not eligible for a grant.

Other ways to reduce wood-burning emissions both into your home and to the outdoors include: heating only when necessary; using clean, dry, seasoned split firewood; and keeping the fire small and hot while maintaining a good air supply. Never burn garbage or painted/treated wood, wet, green or driftwood. Do not operate your appliance so that it is damped down regularly as this can produce toxic smoke and affect the health of those in and outside the home.

Is there a grant for installing gas-fired fireplaces?

No. Gas fireplaces are not eligible for a grant because they are not an efficient primary heating source (it is better to use an efficient furnace). The efficiency of gas-fired models currently on the market range from only 30 to 70 percent when tested to the Canadian standard CSA P.4.1-02, “Testing Method for Measuring Annual Fireplace Efficiency (FE).”

Are there any health and safety concerns when installing insulation?

Certain products such as asbestos, vermiculite and urea-formaldehyde-based foam insulation (UFFI) could pose health hazards. For more details, visit the health and safety considerations Web page or read the publication entitled Planning Energy Efficiency Renovations for Your Home.

Can I do the work myself and receive a grant?

Yes. Homeowners are responsible for ensuring that they obtain all necessary permits and meet all municipal and provincial requirements. There are exceptions however. For example, if you are planning to install an earth-energy system such as a geothermal or ground source heat pump, CGC-accredited professionals must drill, design and install each system.

Does pre-owned equipment qualify for the grant?

No. If a piece of equipment was previously installed in a home or building and removed, it may no longer meet manufacturer’s specifications. As well, the Government of Canada must take precautions to ensure that another homeowner did not already receive a grant for the same equipment. Your energy advisor will ask you to provide receipts to ensure the equipment is new.

Are renovations I started before my pre-retrofit evaluation eligible?

No. Only products and equipment purchased on or after June 6, 2011, installed after obtaining a pre-retrofit energy evaluation (since April 2007) and completed by March 31, 2012, are eligible for a grant. Energy advisors record baseline information on equipment present at the time of the pre-retrofit evaluation. You can refer to the following questions about energy evaluations for an explanation.

Do I have to have all renovations completed by March 31, 2012?

Yes. Homeowners have until March 31, 2012, to purchase and install eligible upgrades. Other renovations which are not eligible for the federal grant can be completed after March 31, 2012, however, the home must meet the state of home requirement at the time of the post-retrofit evaluation.

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Pre- and Post-Retrofit Evaluations

 

Why do I require both a pre-retrofit and post-retrofit evaluation if I’m only planning one or two measures?

The goal of the program is not to issue rebates for single renovation measures which you previously planned or required, but rather to act as an incentive to encourage you to invest in multiple measures you may not have otherwise considered. The post-retrofit evaluation offers you an updated energy efficiency baseline and a second EnerGuide rating label, and combined with the pre-retrofit evaluation, ensures that the Government of Canada offers a credible, results-based program with demonstrated improvements in energy consumption. In order to maximize your grant, refer to the homeowner report to consider other measures recommended by your energy advisor, or read the program’s Grant Table.

You do not require a new pre-retrofit evaluation by a certified energy advisor if the property has been evaluated since April 1, 2007.

Is there a cost for the evaluations?

Yes, however, NRCan does not set the prices for energy evaluations or related services.

If my heating equipment or water heater breaks down during the heating season, can I replace the equipment before an energy evaluation?

In some cases, furnaces, boilers or domestic hot water equipment cannot be repaired or are deemed unsafe (red-tagged), and so must be replaced for health and safety reasons as soon as possible. Between October 15, 2011, and March 30, 2012, homeowners can purchase and install eligible equipment before obtaining a pre-retrofit evaluation only if they meet the criteria and they carefully follow the instructions on the Emergency Heating Policy Web page. For example, property owners needed to register with the program by January 28, 2012, and call a service organization within five calendar days of the system replacement to schedule a pre-retrofit evaluation, and the evaluation must take place within 30 days of the new heating system installation. New gas-fired furnaces must have a minimum efficiency of 94% AFUE or better. Eligible homeowners will also need to provide detailed documentation about the equipment to the energy advisor during both the pre-retrofit and the post-retrofit evaluation.

What if I cannot find or did not receive a homeowner report?

If you recently purchased the property or you have misplaced your homeowner report, you can contact the head office of the service organization that performed the pre-retrofit evaluation to obtain a new copy. There may be a charge for this service.

What if I lose my receipts?

In order to receive a grant for a particular upgrade, you must keep all receipts for purchase and installation for three years and provide copies to your energy advisor at the post-retrofit evaluation. Without receipts, you cannot receive a grant. If you lose a receipt, contact the store, your contractor, credit card company or bank to determine if they can provide a valid proof of purchase.

Has the program been extended past March 31, 2012?

No, the program has not been extended beyond March 31, 2012.

However, the deadline by which homeowners are required to have their post-retrofit evaluation is now June 30, 2012. This new deadline will help ensure all registered homeowners have the opportunity to obtain their final evaluation and apply for a grant. Homeowners will still need to provide receipts and attest that they purchased upgrades after June 6, 2011, started renovations after a pre-retrofit evaluation and completed renovations by March 31, 2012.

What do I do if I can’t find an available energy advisor or service organization by June 30, 2012?

You are not required to use the same service organization for your post-retrofit evaluation and you can search for a different service organization  that operates in your area. To do so, you will have to provide the new service organization with your registration (CID) number, the file number that is on your evaluation report, your name and address as it appeared on the previous report, as well as your phone number. NRCan will then supply the new service organization with your electronic file so that they have your pre-retrofit data for your post-retrofit evaluation. You can also contact your current service organization and request a different energy advisor to visit your home if one is available. You should schedule your post-retrofit evaluation at the earliest possible date since it may be difficult to book an appointment as the program nears the end date. If you are not able to have your post-retrofit evaluation by June 30, 2012, you will not be eligible to apply for an ecoENERGY Retrofit – Homes grant. Simply obtaining a registration number or booking your evaluation prior to the deadline is not sufficient. You will still need to provide receipts and attest that you purchased and installed eligible upgrades by March 31, 2012.

NRCan and certain provinces licenses service organizations across the country to perform energy evaluations deliver the program on the government's behalf, and if their name appears when you search for a service organization using your postal code, they should be able to send an energy advisor to your home. However, due to the popularity of the program and the large geographical area of some postal codes in Canada, or there may be delays or additional travel costs. NRCan works closely with provinces, territories and service organizations to help ensure availability of energy advisors to perform energy evaluations across the country. In some parts of the country, unfortunately, it can take more time for homeowners to participate in the program. If a service organization tells you they no longer service your postal code, please contact the program so NRCan can update the Web site.

Why are homeowners required to fill out a Homeowner Attestation?

After March 31, 2012, homeowners are required to complete a Homeowner Attestation form to declare that their retrofits were purchased on or after June 6, 2011, installed after a pre-retrofit evaluation, and were both purchased and installed no later than March 31, 2012.

What if I was unable to complete my renovations prior to March 31, 2012?

All upgrades must have been purchased and renovations must have been completed by March 31, 2012 and you have until June 30, 2012, to obtain a post-retrofit evaluation. Homeowners will not be eligible for a federal grant if their post-retrofit evaluation takes place after June 30, 2012, even if they obtained a registration number. The grant is based on upgrades completed between the first and last evaluations, and if you were unable to complete a retrofit prior to March 31, 2012, that measure will not be eligible. For example, if your renovations include a new gas furnace and it was impossible for your gas utility to dig in the frozen ground in time for you to complete the installation by March 31, 2012, then you would not be eligible for this grant. However, if you have other retrofits which may be grant eligible, NRCan recommends that you proceed with your post-retrofit evaluation well before the deadline to ensure that you remain eligible to apply for these other upgrades.

Do I have to make any preparations before the energy advisor visits my home?

The energy advisor will need access to every room in the house, including the attic and any crawl spaces. Be sure to clear the area around these access points before the energy advisor arrives. In addition, please make sure not to use any wood-burning appliances, such as fireplaces or wood stoves, at least 24 hours prior to the evaluation and clean these appliances before the evaluation. In the case of post-retrofit evaluations, show your energy advisor all receipts for purchase and installation of eligible measures, as well as photos and other documentation including your tax roll or bill. Installed equipment must be connected. You can also use the optional Homeowner Record of Upgrades Form to record important information about your products and equipment to give to your energy advisor.

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Cheque Status

How long does it take to receive my cheque?

After your post-retrofit evaluation, your local service organization and their energy advisor who evaluated your home have 30 days to submit your electronic and signed paper documents to NRCan. NRCan reviews files, approves, processes and mails most payments within 90 days. The 90 days is not a firm timeline, and there can be delays for a number of reasons. For example, certain types of files require a manual review from NRCan technical officers. In addition, if the project includes an earth-energy system such as a geothermal or ground source heat pump, NRCan must receive certification from the Canadian GeoExchange Coalition before processing the application. Please do not contact NRCan for any cheque status request if it has been less than 90 days since your post-retrofit evaluation. If it has been more than 90 days since your post-retrofit evaluation, you can contact the program for the status of your federal cheque. Please provide your name, phone number, property address and ecoENERGY file or registration number. Most homeowners receive a response from NRCan within one to five business days.

After approval of your federal grant, NRCan transfers the data to partner programs across the country. These external organizations send out their own cheques, and you should contact their offices if the cheque is delayed more than a month after you receive your cheque from the Government of Canada. To find their contact information, visit the regional complementary programs Web page.

How do I obtain a final report or a cheque breakdown?

Service organizations and their energy advisors are not obligated to prepare a formal report for homeowners following the post-retrofit evaluations, and the cheques from the Government of Canada only give the total amount of the federal grant. After you receive your federal cheque, you can contact the program for a breakdown of your federal cheque. Please provide your name, phone number, property address and file number as it appears on the back of the cheque. Most homeowners receive a response from NRCan within one to five business days.

What do I do if I disagree with the amount that I received?

The energy advisor that visited your home is trained and employed by a service organization licensed perform evaluations in your area, and NRCan bases the grant amount on information provided by these service organizations. If you have questions about the amount of grant monies you received, you need to contact the head office for your service organization. You should find the phone number in your homeowner report, on your EnerGuide label, on the ecoENERGY mini-label on your electrical panel, or by using the Find service organizations and energy advisors Web tool.

What do I do if I am moving or want to change the recipient name before receiving the cheque?

If NRCan has not yet processed your cheque and you need to make changes to the name or address, contact your service organization or their energy advisor since they will need to obtain your signature on a new grant application form, update your file and re-send the information to NRCan. You should find the phone number in your homeowner report, on your EnerGuide label, on the ecoENERGY mini-label on your electrical panel, or by using the Find service organizations and energy advisors Web tool.

What do I do if the name on the cheque I received is wrong?

If you received your cheque and the name is incorrect, NRCan can arrange to issue you a new cheque, but there could be significant delays. First speak with a representative of your bank that you normally deal with, and show them evidence that you are the intended recipient of the cheque such as your grant application form. If the bank will still not redeem it, send the original cheque, along with the cheque stub, and a copy of your municipal tax bill confirming your are the homeowner to:

ecoENERGY Retrofit – Homes Program
Natural Resources Canada
1 Observatory Crescent
Ottawa, Ontario  K1A 0E4

What do I do if I suspect my federal cheque was lost?

If you have received your provincial cheque but your federal portion has not arrived after two weeks, contact your bank to ensure that the cheque was never redeemed by you or your spouse. You should then contact the program and include the name of the person who signed the application form at the post-retrofit evaluation, your full address and phone number, and your 10-digit file number. If NRCan determines that the cheque has not been cashed, NRCan will send you a form which attests that you will not cash the cheque if found, and will then issue you a new cheque. If the cheque has been cashed by someone else, NRCan will proceed with a full investigation in conjunction with Public Works with the objective of ensuring you receive your grant as soon as possible.

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Information for Energy Advisors and Service Organizations

 

Does NRCan offer Web resources for energy advisors and service organizations?

NRCan hosts a resources page for program stakeholders involved with existing houses. This includes important links, as well as to links to password-protected sites for HOT2000, publications ordering site and the file exchange extranet.

How do I become an energy advisor?

NRCan is not responsible for hiring or providing training for energy advisors (EA's). Instead, ecoENERGY Retrofit – Homes licenses service organizations across the country to perform EnerGuide evaluations.

If you are interested in becoming a residential EA, you can contact an existing service organization to inquire if they are hiring more EA's. In order to be considered for an EA position, you must possess and demonstrate, as a minimum, knowledge and skills in areas such as construction practices for existing low-rise housing; energy-efficient renovation practices; residential building materials; residential heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems; building science, including the principles of the “house as a system”; basic arithmetic and geometry; the use of computers, the Internet and e-mail; and good client relations.

Can I start my own service organization?

There are currently no opportunities to start your own service organization (SO) to perform evaluations under the ecoENERGY Retrofit – Homes program. NRCan and certain provinces chooses these organizations through a Request for Proposals (RFP) process, which is a competitive and transparent selection method. NRCan determines if it requires an RFP process by evaluating the capacity of existing service organizations to perform evaluations under the program in under-served areas across the country. There are currently no plans for a new RFP as the program ended on March 31, 2012.

I am an energy advisor — how long will the program be operating?

While the registration for this program ended on January 28, 2012, the Government will continue to pay grants to homeowners who registered by that date, obtained their pre-retrofit evaluation and completed work by March 31, 2012, and obtained a post-retrofit evaluation by June 30, 2012.

NRCan encourages homeowners to have home energy evaluations to identify best opportunities for energy efficiency improvements, improve their home’s energy performance and receive an EnerGuide rating label. In addition, NRCan has launched the development of its next generation EnerGuide Rating System, which underpins the home energy evaluations in Canada, including those of the ecoENERGY program, provincial and territorial programs, and initiatives by other stakeholders.

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Inquiries and Contact Information

 

What if I have a question or complaint about my evaluation?

If you have questions about your energy evaluation, you should first contact the energy advisor who visited your home and prepared your report. If you have a complaint about your energy advisor, you should contact the head office of the service organization (SO) that you hired and that employs the energy advisor. The SO can contact NRCan on your behalf if it is a technical or policy question they cannot answer. You can usually find the phone number of your service organization and your 10-digit file number on your homeowner report, EnerGuide label, ecoENERGY mini-label on your electrical panel, or by using the Find service organizations and energy advisors Web tool.

If you are still not satisfied after exhausting this approach, you can contact the program to make a formal complaint in writing detailing your concerns. Please include your full address, phone number and your 10-digit file number as well as the name of the individual at your SO’s head office with whom you spoke. Most homeowners receive a response from NRCan within one to five business days.

SO’s are private companies and/or non-profit organizations that have obtained a license to perform evaluations of behalf of the program after successfully qualifying through a competitive process, and they hire and train the EA’s who perform the evaluations. SO's are responsible for their file errors, and if they agree they have made an error in your submission, they can re-submit your file to NRCan which can start the process to issue a supplementary cheque if warranted. NRCan does not mediate financial settlements among homeowners, energy advisors and SO’s. However, NRCan regularly conducts quality assurance audits of SOs and their energy advisors to help assure that errors are minimized.

What if I have a general question or questions about my grant status or cheque breakdown?

NRCan approves, processes and mails cheques for most applications within 90 days. If it has been less than 90 days since your post-retrofit evaluation, please do not contact NRCan yet about your cheque status. If it has been more than 90 days since your post-retrofit evaluation, you can contact the program for an update on the status of your federal cheque by providing your name, phone number, property address and file number. For a faster response, provide your e-mail address and the 10-digit ecoENERGY file number which you can find on your homeowner evaluation report, EnerGuide label or the ecoENERGY mini-label on your electrical panel. Most homeowners receive a response from NRCan within one to five business days.

For general questions about energy efficiency programs provided by the Government of Canada, visit the OEE Web page for Homes the ecoACTION Web site or call the 1 800 O-Canada (1-800-622-6232) toll free line from 8:00 am to 8:00 pm Monday to Friday.

Almost 1 in 15 households in Canada have participated in ecoENERGY Retrofit - Homes, and the Government of Canada receives hundreds of inquiries per week about this popular program. NRCan apologizes in advance for any delays you may experience. If you do not receive a response from a program officer after 2 weeks, please contact us again and NRCan will elevate your inquiry to a program manager.

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