Here is a post about renovating for greater energy efficiency and how to go about getting rebates to do so.
About 4 years ago, my wife and I bought a house in North Vancouver, BC. It was built in 1959 and was in need of some updates. We gutted the basement to the studs and converted it to a 2 bedroom suite. We put in new insulation (and topped up the existing attic insulation), put in a new furnace/heat pump, got new windows/doors, installed 2 bathroom fans, and got a new hot water tank.
It wasn’t well known at the time (there was hardly any advertising for it), but both the Federal and Provincial governments were offering rebates for making your home more energy efficient. I knew this because of what I do. These are things that we were going to do anyway so why not get some free money for it? Here’s what we did and what you’d have to do in order to take advantage of any rebates:
- hire an energy advisor (around $300) to come to your home BEFORE you start any work. They’ll do an energy assessment of your home and can give you suggestions on what will help improve your energy efficiency
- get the work done
- have the energy advisor come back to your home and document all of the changes that you made (you’ll need to have all of your receipts handy). They look after submitting for your rebate(s)
- deposit your rebate cheque (it’s also tax free which is an added bonus)
In my personal example, we maxed out both the Federal and Provincial rebates which totalled $12,000 at the time and improved our energy efficiency by almost 50% which was huge. We now save (on average) over $100 per month on our energy costs. $12,000 was really nice to get (although our renovation costs were FAR more than what we got back, it’s nice to get something).
Unfortunately, the Federal program is no longer around as it was limited to a certain number of households. Most provinces have their own energy rebate programs. In B.C., you can still receive thousands of dollars in rebates.
Does it make sense to apply for a rebate if you’re looking at changing 1 window or adding 1 bathroom fan? Probably not.
Yes we did do an extensive renovation. Yes it was during the time when rebates were being offered by both governments. My point is that new rebates are always being offered (again not really advertised) and so it’s important to stay in touch with your Dominion Lending Mortgage Broker on what’s available out there. More and more of my clients are renovating the homes that they’re buying, so this is just an added benefit.
Not planning on renovating your home anytime soon? There are other things that you can do to save some money. Do you have a pink or mint green toilet that you want to replace? Many municipalities offer rebates for buying low flush toilets. You can also buy weather-stripping at your local hardware store for about $10 and put it around your doors to help prevent drafts. It’s very easy to do and makes a big difference.
You can check to see what’s available in your province by checking out:
In B.C., please check out Fortis’ rebate offers page.
When in doubt, please consult your local Dominion Lending Centres Mortgage Broker for details on what’s out there and where to find it.
In the future, I believe that 2 things will really help make homes more marketable:
- being more energy efficient (energy costs are always going up)
- having a secondary suite to help pay your mortgage (especially in high priced markets such as Vancouver)