Plan, document and complete your home retrofits
Now that you have had your pre-retrofit EnerGuide evaluation and your energy advisor has provided you with your home’s EnerGuide label, Homeowner Information Sheet and Renovation Upgrade Report, it is time to decide what retrofits you’ll complete.
On this page
Which retrofits should you undertake?
As a homeowner, you can only benefit from grants that are for eligible retrofits recommended by your energy advisor. Your recommended retrofits will be listed in your Renovation Upgrade Report and in your account in the portal. The recommended retrofits are prioritized by:
- your potential energy savings and greenhouse gas emission reductions
- the life expectancy of your home’s components
- the interactions among the components in your home (house-as-a-system)
- occupant health and safety
- your potential renovation plans
What should you consider before you start?
Some retrofits may not be eligible. The Canada Greener Homes Grant Initiative does not provide grants for all recommended retrofits in the Renovation Upgrade Report. Some retrofits recommended by your energy advisor may not be eligible for the grant; however, they can help improve the energy efficiency, indoor air quality and comfort of your home.
Please check which retrofits are eligible for grants. If you live in the Yukon, Northwest Territories, Nunavut, Nunavik, Nunatsiavut or in an off-grid community, find further details on grants for your local context.
Contact us if you have questions about your eligibility.
All mechanical systems, with the exception of thermostats, must be installed by a licensed and trained professional. Mechanical systems include: ground source heat pumps, air source heat pumps, cold climate air source heat pumps, heat pump water heaters, furnaces (eligible for Northern and off-grid community residents only), and boilers (eligible for Northern and off-grid community residents only).
In order to receive a grant for these retrofits, it is highly recommended that you obtain proof of the installer’s qualifications to install equipment (sometimes issued by your province or territory), which you can submit when applying for your grant. We recommend you obtain this documentation before moving ahead with your retrofits. In addition, some retrofits require that you choose an eligible product from the Canada Greener Homes Grant list of eligible products to install in your home in order to be eligible for the grant.
There are no national nor provincial/territorial certifications for solar photovoltaic system designers/installers. You may retain a contractor or design and install the system yourself. For an off-grid system, you should ensure that the system was designed and installed in accordance with local building and electrical codes.
- 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. It is always advisable to consider building envelope measures as the first part of your retrofit journey.
Explore the most common energy efficiency retrofits you can make in your home.
- What is the main objective of your retrofit? Is it improved comfort, saving on energy bills, helping the environment, or all of the above? Knowing what you ultimately want to achieve will help you decide what retrofits to make. Review your Renovation Upgrade Report to understand the potential energy savings.
- Your budget will play a major role in deciding what retrofits you will be able to do. Consider how much you want to invest.
We recognize that homeowners need to be able to access simple and affordable financing to make deeper home energy retrofits.
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. The maximum grant for retrofits under the Canada Greener Homes Grant Initiative is $5,000 total per home. 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. Grant amounts under the Canada Greener Homes Initiative will consider other incentive programs when determining your final grant eligibility.
Planning your retrofits
Whenever possible, we recommend that you have a licensed and trained professional working on your home. For some retrofits, a licensed and trained professional is a requirement.
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
If you decide to implement your own retrofits, note that personal labour costs are not eligible for a grant.
All upgrades or renovations must meet local codes and bylaws. Before undertaking upgrades or renovations, find out about the appropriate products and installation techniques to ensure that your home’s building envelope and indoor air quality will not be compromised.
The Government of Canada does not approve nor endorse any specific product or the services of any contractor and accepts no liability in the selection of materials, products, contractors or performance of workmanship. There is no obligation to purchase products or services from the service organization that performs an energy evaluation or any other company. Be wary of high-pressure sales tactics that claim to have ENERGY STAR or Natural Resources Canada backing. The Government of Canada, Natural Resources Canada and its family of brands (ENERGY STAR, EnerGuide) never go door-to-door asking to enter Canadians’ homes to inspect, sell or rent heating and cooling products. EnerGuide home energy evaluations are performed by licensed service organizations only at the request of homeowners.
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 a 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 and can you provide any available Material Safety Data Sheets?
- What experience do you and your team have with these products and procedures and what challenges have you experienced?
- What steps will you take to protect my home and family during and after the renovation?
It is your responsibility to compare contractors. Be sure to ask for quotes in writing and insist on written contracts before work begins.
Before you begin your retrofit you should:
- get estimates from local contracting and retrofit service providers (this will be a requirement under the grant portion of the initiative) and schedule the work
- plan your work and get the correct permits
- contact your home insurance provider regarding your policy
- when using a licensed and trained professional, it is highly recommended that you obtain proof of their licence to install equipment issued by the province or territory
- 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.
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.
All products must be purchased in Canada. Online purchases are only eligible if they are ordered from a distributor located in Canada.
Get the facts about the products you or your contractor intend to use.
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: