55% of greenhouse gas emissions in the city of Vancouver are created by buildings. In an effort to reduce emissions, Vancity and the City of Vancouver are joining forces to offer BC homeowners a HELPing hand. HELP (the Home Energy Loan Program) will provide low interest, long-term loans to homeowners who wish to make their homes more efficient. The loan scheme will not only reduce greenhouse gas emissions and energy consumption, it will also improve the environment while providing economic stimulus and creating green collar jobs.
The loans are part of the city’s drive to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by thirty three percent of 2007 levels by 2020, and gain sustainable city status. 500 loans of up to $10,000 each will be provided at a fixed interest rate of 4.5% over ten years. Homeowners concerned with ever-increasing utility bills are turning to retrofitting as a way to make their homes more efficient.
Energy audits help owners determine which green technologies will help them to save the most. The trend towards greening homes creates jobs and stimulates the city’s economy.
Vancouver mayor, Gregor Robertson had this to say: “We know that energy prices are going to rise, and people across Vancouver are concerned about affordability. It’s a major issue. By partnering with Vancity, we’re making it easier for homeowners to make upgrades that improve the efficiency of their homes and help them save money on their energy bills. It’s an opportunity to reduce pollution and create local jobs at the same time.”
This loan can be used in conjunction with the LiveSmart incentives that offer cash rebates to homeowners that make their homes more energy efficient. Should the pilot project prove successful, loans could be extended to as many as 3,000 homes within three years. The pilot project is set to be launched in July. To get more information, go to Vancouver website.
BC is not the only province to offer incentives to homeowners. Ontario homeowners have many options when building or retrofitting. Get your home insurance from one of Canada’s two leading mortgage insurance brokers (Genworth Financial, and Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation) and you will receive a 10% rebate for energy efficient homes or home improvements.
The ecoENERGY retrofit grants give homeowners a rebate of up to $5,000 on renovations that make your home more efficient. Refunds will depend on the type of renovations including insulation, energy efficient appliances, energy efficient furnaces and sealing doors and windows. An energy audit will help the homeowner to determine which improvement will be the most effective in saving energy. The government will pay for half of your energy audit up to $150.
As an added incentive, the province of Ontario will match your ecoENERGY rebate with up to $5,000.