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Questions answered about the ecoEnergy Program

Gord Brown
MP - Leeds, Grenville

Questions answered about the ecoEnergy Program
Since announcing the renewal of the government’s support for the popular ecoENERGY Retrofit - Homes program, an initiative helping Canadians save on home improvements and energy costs while improving the environment, I have answered a number of questions about the program.
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Brockville - Sep. 12, 2011 - Since announcing the renewal of the government’s support for the popular ecoENERGY Retrofit - Homes program, an initiative helping Canadians save on home improvements and energy costs while improving the environment, I have answered a number of questions about the program.

As I noted in July, constituents across my riding have written me asking for the renewal of this program so they can continue to make energy efficient upgrades to their home so I was pleased to see it included in the budget in June and announced in July.

With this program, we are not only helping Canadians save money but also creating thousands of jobs and protecting our environment.

From July 13, 2011, until March 31, 2012, homeowners may be eligible to receive reimbursements of up to $5,000 to make their homes more energy-efficient. The program could help up to 250,000 Canadian homeowners improve their homes’ energy efficiency and generate as much as $4 billion in economic activity across Canada.

Prior to Budget 2011, the Harper Government provided retrofit incentives to over half a million Canadians. Homeowners who participated in the program saved an average of 20 percent on their energy bills.

The renewal of the ecoENERGY Retrofit - Homes program was first introduced in Budget 2011 and was opposed by all opposition parties. It’s our government that is standing up to provide the support necessary to our families to make their homes more energy efficient.

Program Details
To participate in the program, homeowners must first register online at ecoaction.gc.ca/homes or by calling 1-800-O-CANADA (1-800-622-6232).

Then, they must hire a local service organization to send an energy advisor, licensed by Natural Resources Canada, to perform a pre-retrofit evaluation of the home (unless the property has already had an evaluation since April 2007). All upgrades, and the post-retrofit evaluation, must take place before March 31, 2012.

Homeowners who participated in the program before April 1, 2011, and have not received the maximum amount for their current property, can submit an application for improvements purchased and installed after June 6, 2011.

Only products purchased and installed after June 6, 2011, are eligible for an ecoENERGY grant. All energy retrofits and post-retrofit evaluations must be completed by March 31, 2012, and the grant application must be signed by this date. Homeowners must provide receipts to their energy advisor at the time of the post-retrofit evaluation to confirm their eligibility for the grant.

Following are answers to the most often asked questions about the program.

What has changed under the new program compared with the previous one?
There are two important new changes to the program. First, there is a new requirement for participants to register directly with the program before booking their pre-retrofit evaluation. Mandatory registration will enable the program to closely monitor progress over time. Second, homeowners will now be required to provide receipts to their energy advisor at the time of the post-retrofit evaluation to confirm eligibility for the grant.

If I received a grant from the program in the past, can I participate again?
Yes. The maximum grant for each residential address is $5,000. Since 2007, the average grant payable has been $1,400. Homeowners who participated in the program before April 1, 2011, and who did not receive the maximum amount can submit another application for improvements purchased and installed after June 6, 2011.

Why is registration mandatory?
Natural Resources Canada has allocated $400 million to the ecoENERGY Retrofit " Homes program. Once the financial limit has been reached, the program will close. The registration system allows us to monitor the program uptake. By tracking program participation in this way, we can ensure that all eligible homeowners who enter the program have the opportunity to apply for a grant.

What is the final deadline for the program?
The final deadline to complete retrofits and obtain a post-retrofit evaluation is March 31, 2012. However, program registration will close to new participants if the financial limit has been reached before that date. For this reason, we encourage homeowners to register soon.

Can participants request an extension past March 31, 2012, if they can’t get the work completed or their post-retrofit evaluation done in time?
No. To be eligible for the program, the post-retrofit evaluation must be completed and the homeowner must sign the application form by March 31, 2012.

Why wasn’t the program extended for longer than one year?
Our government is focused on the economy. This program will provide a short-term economic stimulus and help protect the environment. However, our government is committed to getting back into surplus by 2014"15. By extending this program for one year, we are balancing the need for short-term stimulus with the importance of achieving balance. Our government understands the importance of balanced action that will not put an undue burden on future generations.

Will homeowners who already had an evaluation but missed the opportunity to apply for a grant by March 31, 2011, be able to apply under the new program?
Yes. The maximum grant for each residential address is $5,000. Homeowners who participated in the program before April 1, 2011, and did not receive the maximum amount for their property can submit another application but only for improvements purchased and installed after June 6, 2011.

Does the grant cover the full cost of an energy upgrade?
The ecoENERGY Retrofit - Homes grant applies to eligible upgrades and not the actual renovation costs. The amount payable for each upgrade is outlined in the Grant Table in effect at the time of the post-retrofit evaluation.

Will the complementary programs offered by the provinces and territories remain in place?
It is up to the provinces and territories to extend complementary programs, and we cannot comment on their plan. Provincial and territorial governments make decisions about the complementary programs they intend to create or maintain.

Can I obtain more than one grant if I own several properties?
Yes. Under the renewed program, the maximum grant for owners of multiple properties is now $1 million. Eligible properties include single detached and attached homes (e.g. row housing, duplexes and triplexes) and small multi-unit residential buildings.


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