Mike Holmes: To do — book energy audit
Funds from the EcoEnergy Retrofit program can be used on a variety of energy-saving measures, including new insulation and toilets that save water.
Postmedia News](http://life.nationalpost.com/author/postmedianews/)** ** Aug 26, 2011 – 1:06 PM ET
In July, the federal government renewed the EcoEnergy Retrofit program — a great program that had ended earlier this year. For the next eight months — until March 31, 2012 — homeowners can get grants of up to $5,000 to make their homes more energy efficient.
This program was a great success when it ran last time, and it’s good to see government programs that make sense renewed. The EcoEnergy Retrofit program motivates homeowners to choose to put in better windows or higher quality insulation — and rewards them for making the right choice. It’s win-win: The homeowners win by reducing their energy costs and we all win through the economic activity generated and the reduction of GHGs (greenhouse gas emissions). Click here for full grant details.
I’m all about making home improvements that increase energy efficiency, lower energy costs and make your home more durable and sustainable. That’s where you need to spend your money — not on the pretty stuff.
The grant money can be used for anything in your home — from improved insulation and ventilation systems to gas furnaces and low-flush toilets — as long as the expense will reduce energy consumption. The grant can’t be used for cosmetic improvements like hardwood floors or new cabinets, or for non-energy related work, like fixing your leaky roof or basement. It’s about spending your renovation dollars on energy efficiency, in a way that saves you money in the long term, and helps save the environment by reducing GHGs.
There is a process you need to go through to receive the grant, but it is open to all homeowners in the country — even those who’ve received the grant before. The program is operating now, you can apply today, but don’t make any purchases before you’ve registered.
The government has only allocated $400-million to the program, and once that limit is reached it will close without notice.
Once you’ve registered with the program, you have to book a “pre-retrofit evaluation” — an energy audit for your home, before you do any renovations. This means a qualified energy auditor will come to your home and do a series of tests to evaluate its energy efficiency.
The auditor will walk through your home and note the methods of construction and pay particular attention to the building envelope. He’ll look for leakage or areas of heat loss and assess windows and doors and appliances. A blower door test will be done as part of the audit, and this will give your home an energy rating — from 0 to 50 for an old home that has no energy upgrades; 80 to 100 for a highly efficient home that may even generate its own energy.
This audit will give you a guide as to the types of improvements you can make for a more energy efficient home. The rest is then up to you to decide what you’d like to do, based on what you can afford. Once you’ve done the work, you book a “post-retrofit evaluation” where the auditor assesses the improved energy efficiency of your home. You’ll have to present all the receipts for work done and products and materials purchased and installed.
Any of these improvements will save you money on energy in the long term. Some will even pay back in the short term. Participants in the program have seen their energy consumption go down more than 20%. The program ends at the end of March — if not before — so get started on finding the right contractor.
For online versions of the story, the direct link to grant details is http://oee.nrcan.gc.ca/residential/personal/retrofit-homes/retrofit-qualify-grant.cfm?attr=4<](http://oee.nrcan.gc.ca/residential/personal/retrofit-homes/retrofit-qualify-grant.cfm?attr=4)
Catch Mike in his new season of Holmes Inspection, Thurs. Sept. 1 at 8 p.m. on HGTV. For more information, visit hgtv.ca. For more information on home renovations, visit makeitright.ca.