Luxury Home Retrofits: How To Save Money With Canada’s Greener Homes Grants

cabin on a lake in canada with mountains and pines in the background
Depending on energy-saving features, the actual price of green home upgrades for luxury properties could even exceed the aforementioned amount.

Luxury home retrofits for a more sustainable house in Canada may cost at least CAD 10,000.

Depending on energy-saving features, the actual price of green home upgrades for luxury properties could even exceed the aforementioned amount.

According to the Canadian Institute for Climate Choices, an average home retrofit ranges from CAD 6,000 to CAD 7,000. Luxury homes require a bigger investment primarily because of their size.

It could also be more expensive to retrofit a high-end property in certain cities such as Toronto. The steep upfront price either compels homeowners to postpone or ultimately abandon a green home upgrade.

For this reason, the Canadian government introduced the Greener Homes Grant in 2021.

aerial view of skyscrapers and river in quebec

Those who live in Quebec and Nova Scotia must submit Greener Homes Grant applications to the respective provincial programs.

Who Are Qualified For Greener Homes Grants?

If you own a luxury single or semi-detached house, the Greener Homes Grant program will reimburse up to CAD 5,000 of expenses on eligible retrofits.

Townhouse owners also qualify for the grant. By definition, the program doesn’t cover retrofits for new homes that are up to six months old.

The date of occupancy by the first homeowner determines the property’s age. Interested homeowners must:

  • Accomplish a pre- and post-retrofit EnerGuide evaluation.
  • Install at least one retrofit project based on the energy advisor’s report.
  • Store all related paperwork until March 31, 2028.

The Greener Homes Grant will also cover up to CAD 600 of EnerGuide evaluations. Qualified homeowners must buy and use products made in Canada. The program allows e-commerce purchases from distributors based in the country.

Those who live in Quebec and Nova Scotia must submit applications to the respective provincial programs. Click here to review the complete details of eligibility requirements.

Which Luxury Home Retrofits Are Eligible?

The program listed as many as seven categories of qualified retrofits for luxury homes. You could only reimburse up to CAD 5,000 in expenses for any one of these four projects:

  • Door and window replacements
  • Home insulation
  • Space and water heating
  • Renewable energy installation

Home insulation includes projects for the attic or ceiling, basements or crawl spaces, exposed flooring, exterior walls and home foundation. Door and window retrofits must be replaced with ENERGY STAR-certified models to qualify for the grant.

In terms of renewable energy installations, you can use photovoltaic (PV) solar panels as recommended by the energy advisor.

toronto skyscrapers overlooking a harbor and boats

It could also be more expensive to retrofit a high-end property in certain cities such as Toronto.

The Fine Print

If you completed a luxury home retrofit before Dec. 1, 2020, the Greener Homes Grant won’t reimburse your expenses. The grant won’t also cover up to CAD 600 in EnerGuide evaluations done before the same date.

In addition, the Canadian government requires applicants to “continue through the full Greener Homes Grant process.”

Otherwise, they won’t qualify for pre-retrofit evaluation reimbursements.

Are There Other Financing Programs?

The Greener Homes Grant is perfect for minor luxury home retrofits, so you should consider other financing programs for large-scale projects.

Major cities in Canada have launched different loan programs for green homes. For example, the Home Energy Loan Program (HELP) in Toronto offers up to CAD 75,000 for retrofit improvements.

HELP also covers 14 types of eligible projects. Fixed interest rates range from 2.05% to 5.26% depending on the terms:

  • 5 years
  • 10 years
  • 15 years
  • 20 years

You would need to install heat pumps, geothermal fixtures, new windows and/or solar PV panels to qualify for a 20-year loan.

In Ottawa, homeowners get a rather better deal with a zero-interest loan worth up to CAD 125,000.

The Better Homes Ottawa Loan Program (BHOLP) may also grant a loan that’s equal to 10% of a home’s current value. The city government launched BHOLP in November 2021.

Some of the eligible retrofits include “electric-vehicle chargers, mechanical systems, renewable energy and thermal envelope upgrades.”

aerial view of canada neighborhood surrounding a lake

The Greener Homes Grant will also cover up to CAD 600 of EnerGuide evaluations. Qualified homeowners must buy and use products made in Canada.

Why Does Canada Have These Retrofit Programs?

The local and national governments launched different home retrofit programs to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

According to Natural Resources Canada (NRCan), an estimated 18% of emissions originate from homes and other buildings. For this reason, the national government aims to invest CAD 2.60 billion (US $2.06 billion) until 2028.

The investment doesn’t include partnerships with third parties to contact homeowners. NRCan advises the public to be wise in recognizing energy scams.

If you plan to buy a luxury green home in Canada, check out a curated list of brokers to ensure a legitimate home purchase.

Author

Randolf Santos has covered different segments of the real estate industry since 2014. He worked at S&P Global Market Intelligence before joining Forbes Global Properties as a contributor. You can reach him at randolf.santos@gmail.com.

Properties You Might Also Like

Related