Home Renovation Upgrades/Rebates

Published on June 13, 2018

Written By: Rick Miller, Service Organization Manager

Type this term into any search engine and you will notice that there are several different rebate programs available to homeowners wishing to improve their home’s energy efficiencies. Your next step is to figure out which upgrades you yourself will be eligible for, and how much rebate money you will get back on your upgrades. Depending on the program, you will then need to find a qualified contractor, or in some cases, a Registered Energy Advisor. Let’s follow Pete, a friend of mine, and see how he navigates this renovation ordeal for his own home.

Registered Energy Advisor

Show Me the Money!

It is no secret that given the chance, most folks will want to pick a program that will provide them with the highest amount of return in rebates.  My buddy Pete is a pretty sharp fella who really knows the value of a dollar. Here in Ontario, some of the programs being offered actually include the consultation and testing of your home by an energy advisor. These licensed professionals can provide specific information for your home to help you decide on the best upgrades needed.  Through testing, they can also make sure that your new upgrades will not negatively impact the health and safety of your home. Unfortunately, not all of the current programs include energy assessments for your home even though they may seem more attractive at the monetary rebate level.

What’s at Risk?

Every home should provide a comfortable and healthy space for our families. We are also very concerned about the affordability of making it so. Sometimes however, we can do too much of a good thing and actually make things worse. Let’s take our homeowner Pete for example. Pete wanted to fix up his house in order to both lower his energy bills and make his home even more comfortable. Pete went online and researched available rebate programs, found what he thought was a great program, and proceeded to line up some contractors to do the work. Pete had found a great deal on getting some wall and attic insulation, new windows, and even had his house air sealed. Pete was going to get top dollar on his rebates, his home was going to be more energy efficient, and everything would be perfect.

Bad to Worse!

What Pete didn’t realize is that his home needs to have fresh air exchanged at a rate of once every 3 hours. Before the upgrades, Pete’s home was able to do this naturally due to all the leaks in his home. Once the upgrades were all completed however, Pete’s home became very tight. So tight that now his home was only getting fresh air exchanged once every 12 hours. Making matters worse, Pete had a naturally aspirating water heater and gas fireplace. With such a tight house, whenever some of the exhaust fans in the home were turned on, like the clothes dryer or central vac, the exhaust fumes started to back draft into the house. It wasn’t long after performing all these great upgrades that Pete started feeling ill in his own home.

Who’s to Blame?

Pete thought he was doing the right thing, but no one was made available to test his home and help him understand the implications of indoor air quality and combustion spillage. Even though Pete had hired professional, qualified contractors for all the different upgrades, the only one keeping track of all the work being done on his home was Pete. If Pete had just taken the extra step of having an assessment, a balanced ventilation system would have been suggested and Pete’s home would be better, not worse. Every day, here in Ontario, people just like Pete are researching rebate programs to help pay for their home upgrades. Unfortunately, many people are not following these up with a visit from a Registered Energy Advisor, and have no idea where they are at when it comes to air leakage and air exchange.

It is my belief that we all do more good than harm when it comes to servicing clients. If rebate programs are created to help the public, then they should also be created to do more good than harm. Fortunately, there are licensed service organizations like Barrier Sciences Group ready to help out, and I am especially glad to have been able to help my friend Pete! Our highly trained and licensed advisors are available across Ontario and can be scheduled for a home audit by calling toll free: 1-866-333-3920.

The Canada Greener Homes Grant offers home efficiency renovation grants up to $5,000.

Homeowners Canada-wide are eligible for the Canada Greener Homes Grant, announced on May 27, 2021. This new incentive offers up to $5,000 in grants for home efficiency retrofit renovations, plus a $600 reimbursement for pre- and post-work EnerGuide evaluations. Eligible retrofit scopes include home insulation, heating, doors, windows, photovoltaic solar panels, resiliency measures, and thermostats.

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