Step 3. Retrofit your home
Now that the pre-retrofit EnerGuide evaluation is complete and you have your home’s EnerGuide label, Homeowner Information Sheet, and Renovation Upgrade Report, it is time to decide what recommended retrofits you will complete.
Which retrofits should you undertake?
Only retrofit work done after December 1, 2020, that includes both a pre- and post-retrofit EnerGuide evaluation can qualify for a grant. Evaluations completed before December 1, 2020, are not eligible.
You must undertake at least one retrofit that is both eligible and recommended by your energy advisor in their report to receive a grant.
For you to be eligible for a grant for a retrofit, the retrofit must have been recommended by your energy advisor. Your recommended retrofits will be listed in your Renovation Upgrade Report. The recommended retrofits are prioritized by:
- your potential energy savings
- the life expectancy of your home’s components
- the interactions among the components in your home
- your potential renovation plans
- the cost
What should you consider before you start?
Your home operates as a system
All of its elements — the walls, roof, ventilation, heating and cooling systems, external environment, and even the activities of the occupants — affect one another. How these elements interact determines your home’s overall performance. For example, poor insulation or ventilation can cancel out an investment in new windows or doors. Explore the most common energy-efficiency retrofits you can make in your home.
Some retrofits may not be eligible
The Canada Greener Homes Grant does not provide grants for all the recommended retrofits in the renovation upgrade report. The energy advisor may recommend some retrofits that are not be eligible for a grant but can help improve the energy efficiency, indoor air quality and comfort of your home.
Be sure to check which retrofits are eligible for grants. If you live in the Yukon, the Northwest Territories, Nunavut, Nunavik, or Nunatsiavut or in an off-grid community, find more details on grants for your region.
To receive a grant for the eligible retrofits
It is highly recommended that you obtain proof of the installer’s qualifications to install equipment (sometimes issued by your province or territory). We recommend you obtain this proof before you start the retrofits. Also, if you decide to replace your windows or heating system, you must choose an eligible product from the list to be eligible for the grant.
There are no national nor provincial certifications for solar photovoltaic system designers or installers. You can retain a contractor or design and install the system yourself. For an off-grid system, ensure that the system was designed and installed in accordance with local building and electrical codes.
Your budget will play a major role in deciding which retrofits you will be able to do
Consider how much you want to invest.
It is important to consider that you will need to pay up front for both EnerGuide evaluations and your retrofits. At the end of your retrofit journey, you may receive up to $600 as a maximum contribution toward the total cost of your pre- and post-retrofit EnerGuide evaluations and anywhere between $125 and $5,000 to get a part of your costs back for eligible home retrofits. Understanding that you need to pay up front and that the grant will not fully cover your expenses can help you when planning which retrofits will work best for you.
We recognize that homeowners need to be able to access simple and affordable financing to make more extensive home energy retrofits.
In addition, you can apply for a loan after the pre-retrofit EnerGuide evaluation is complete if you want to invest in more costly retrofits. The loan of up to $40,000 is interest-free and has a repayment term of 10 years.
Important: You will receive your loan only after the completed work has been verified through a post-retrofit EnerGuide evaluation.
We are committed to collaborating closely with provinces, territories, and industry partners to develop solutions that will benefit Canadians.
Find other affordable housing and financial support resources.
There may be additional incentives available to you
Your retrofits may also be eligible for some provincial, territorial, municipal, or non-governmental organization incentives.
If you want to maximize your savings, you should explore all the available incentives in your region. Grant amounts under the Canada Greener Homes Grant initiative will consider other incentive programs when determining your final grant eligibility.
Planning your retrofits
Document your home retrofit and verify expenses
Ensure that you document your home retrofit, keeping all quotes, invoices, receipts, proof of work done, attestation forms (if required for your retrofit), etc. Make sure that the invoices and receipts show clearly they are paid in full. They must also show other key aspects such as company information, invoice number and invoice date, your name and address, a description of the work done, all information required to confirm product eligibility under the Canada Greener Homes Grant, cost, and proof of payment. Homeowners must keep all documents until March 31, 2028.
- receipts for the pre- and post-retrofit EnerGuide evaluation
- all receipts and invoices, marked paid in full, for products purchased and for installation costs
Other recommended documents
You may upload these documents if you have them and if applicable for your retrofits:
- for grid-connected solar photovoltaic systems: a copy of the letter of approval or permission for interconnection issued by the local electrical or building authority
- It is highly recommended that you have an attestation form (if applicable for your retrofits) confirming that:
Whenever possible, we recommend that you have a licensed and trained professional working on your home. Before you begin, know which retrofits require a licensed and trained professional and which are highly recommended.
If you decide to implement your own retrofits, note that personal labour costs are not eligible for a grant.
Retrofits that require a licensed and trained professional:
- heat pumps
- heat pump water heaters
- furnaces (eligible for northern and off-grid community residents only)
- boilers (eligible for northern and off-grid community residents only)
Retrofits for which professionals are strongly recommended (professional installation may be required in some jurisdictions):
- renewable energy (solar photovoltaic systems)
- air sealing
- home insulation
- windows and doors
- resiliency measures
Do your homework
As the homeowner, you are responsible for choosing products and materials and getting the necessary building and utility permits. If a building permit is not required nor issued, you and your contractor are responsible for making sure all products, services and installations meet relevant building codes and standards.
It is your responsibility to compare contractors. Be sure to ask for quotes in writing and insist on written contracts before work begins. It will also be your responsibility to get all the receipts and invoices that you will need to receive your grant.
Hiring a contractor
This may be your preferred option. Your contractor is responsible for complying with local bylaws and relevant municipal, provincial, territorial and federal building codes, legislation and guidelines.
Ask any prospective contractor questions such as:
- May I contact your references?
- Can you provide proof of your licence to install equipment issued by the province or territory where the installation is being completed?
- Will this project comply with local building codes, bylaws and other legislation?
- Will it require building or utility permits?
- Do the products you recommend meet all applicable legislation?
- Can you provide any available Material Safety Data Sheets?
- What experience do you and your team have with these products and procedures?
- What challenges have you experienced?
- What steps will you take to protect my home and family during and after the renovation?
Before you begin your retrofit you should:
- get estimates from local contracting and retrofit service providers and schedule the work
- plan your work and get the correct permits
- contact your home insurance provider regarding your policy
- when using a licensed professional, it is highly recommended that you obtain proof of their licence issued by the province or territory to install equipment
- make sure you purchase and install products that are eligible for a grant
Doing it yourself
If you choose to do the work yourself, always keep health and safety in mind.
- Use tools and products according to the manufacturers’ directions.
- Wear appropriate protective clothing and equipment.
- Protect your home and family from dust, debris and possible contaminants.
- Take precautions when you work in areas that may contain vermin and their droppings as well as mould, lead, asbestos, vermiculite insulation and other hazardous materials.
- Make sure you purchase and install products that are eligible for a grant.
- Personal labour costs are not eligible for a grant.
Note: If you decide to undertake your own retrofits, personal labour costs are not eligible for the grant.
All products must be purchased in Canada. Online purchases are eligible only if they are ordered from an online distributor located in Canada.
Get the facts about the products that you or your contractor intend to use.
- For some retrofits, you must install an eligible product to receive a grant. Make sure you purchase and install products that are eligible for the grant.
- Learn and follow proper installation techniques.
- Ensure that products meet Canadian product standards. Some products carry a compliance mark or stamp. Other product may have an evaluation number issued by the Canadian Construction Materials Centre.
- Find out about any health and safety issues related to these products; request Material Safety Data Sheets if they apply and follow safety guidelines.
Health and safety considerations
If you are planning home improvements, you should be aware of the following:
- Air sealing
Performing renovations, including air sealing of your house, could cause potential problems such as indoor air quality issues or excessive condensation on windows when ventilation is not adequately adjusted or upgraded. Security and safety should always be your prime concern while conducting renovations. Seek additional information from your energy advisor and a qualified ventilation contractor before performing renovations. For more information, read NRCan’s publication entitled Keeping the Heat In.
- Urea-Formaldehyde-Based Foam Insulation (UFFI)
Urea formaldehyde based foam insulation, known as UFFI, was prohibited in Canada in December 1980 under the Hazardous Products Act because it may release formaldehyde gas into indoor air. For more information, read Health Canada’s publication entitled "Canadian Prohibition of Urea Formaldehyde Foam Insulation".
There are several minerals commonly known as asbestos. These minerals were used to make products strong, long-lasting and fire-resistant. Before 1990, asbestos was mainly used for insulating buildings and homes against cold weather and noise. It was also used for fireproofing. Breathing in asbestos fibres can cause cancer and other diseases. You can be exposed to asbestos when a home or building is being renovated or demolished. For more information, read Health Canada's publication entitled "Health Risks of Asbestos".
- Vermiculite insulation
Some vermiculite insulation found in older homes may contain asbestos fibres and as a result a blower door test, that is part of the pre and post-retrofit evaluation cannot be performed. There is currently no evidence of risk to human health if the insulation is sealed behind wallboards and floorboards, isolated in an attic, or otherwise kept from exposure to the interior environment. However, it can cause health risks if it is inhaled. If you suspect vermiculite insulation in your home, there is a test to find out more. For more information visit Health Canada asbestos information.
Radon is a naturally occurring radioactive gas that is colourless, odourless and tasteless. It is formed from the radioactive decay of uranium, a natural material found in some soil, rock and groundwater. When radon is released into the outdoor air, it gets diluted to low concentrations and is not a concern. However, in enclosed spaces like houses, it can sometimes accumulate to high levels, which can pose a risk to both your and your family’s health. Read more about health risks and safety with radon.
For information on other health and safety considerations when renovating your home: