A federal grant program that gives homeowners money to make their homes more energy efficient is running out of money faster than expected, and homeowners are concerned the program will end sooner than expected. This has alarmed both the industry and those involved in the industry.
Natural Resources Minister Jonathan Wilkinson acknowledged that the program was quickly burning through its allocated budget due to high demand for home improvement grants. He did not mention that the Natural Resources Agency of Canada (NRCAN) could abruptly end applications, but suggested the program could be extended.
“Yes, we are actually starting to run out of money faster than expected, but this is largely due to the popularity of the program,” Wilkinson said.
of Greener housing subsidy programis a scheme launched by the federal government in 2021 that provides homeowners with up to $5,000 for energy efficiency retrofits and home energy assessments, and up to $600 in home energy assessment cost assistance.
Homeowners must pay that money upfront and then be reimbursed. The $2.6 billion program was scheduled to run until 2028, but some believe the funding will run out in 2024.
Diana Barsan thought she would have to apply by 2028. She’s been putting off renovation appointments and enrolling in programs because she’s juggling mortgage payments on a new home in Ottawa, she said.
“So for me it was a shock,” Birsan said when CBC told him the show was running out of funding sooner than planned.
Birsan said he hopes the program will help replace gas furnaces with heat pumps and replace leaky windows. Birsan said if the program is canceled, she and her partner may have to invest in a fossil fuel heating system.
“It’s a big shame because I want to be more environmentally friendly,” Birsan said. “But it comes down to what I can do and what is possible with the money that we have.”
She called on Ottawa to extend the program, given that many Canadians are struggling to afford the cost of living.
clock | Ottawa residents show CBC home improvements needed
Natural Resources Canada said more than 124,000 applicants have received funding through the national portal or joint delivery partners in Quebec, Ontario and Nova Scotia. The department paid more than $450 million of the $2.6 billion budgeted for the program.
Mr Wilkinson said heat pumps were the most popular retrofit funded by the program to date.
He left open the possibility of replenishing the program with new funding in the next federal budget.
“We have a certain amount of budget space and we need to use that space or utilize it before we ask the Treasurer for more funding,” Mr Wilkinson said.
“Budgets typically occur in March or April, but at this stage we actually have a few months worth of funding to continue accepting applications.”
“There is significant disruption to the industry.”
Brent Kopperson, executive director of the Durham Windfall Ecology Center, said one of his staff members attended a meeting with NRCAN officials in November and was warned that the program could soon end.
Copsun said the show’s current predicament feels like deja vu. He pointed out that the previous federal government did not solve the problem. Similarly popular Eco Energy 2012 Home Improvement Program.
Copsun said the retrofit program had led to the emergence of new companies specializing in the decarbonization of homes. History could repeat itself, he warned.
“We are in a climate emergency and we cannot pump the brakes. We need to really accelerate our programs,” he said. “Therefore, prematurely ending this program without immediately providing a replacement would cause significant disruption to the sector.”
After starting a retrofit program, Prime Minister Trudeau announced he would offer contracts of up to $10 million. Hire, train, and mentor 2,000 energy auditors to advise homeowners on energy efficiency.
clock | What the end of the Greener Homes Grant means for the energy efficiency industry
Dylan Trebles was one of the trainees who went through the NRCAN program. The 30-year-old quit his corporate technology job in hopes of joining the army of registered energy auditors. Trebles, who calls herself a “climate quitter,” took a pay cut to join the movement to decarbonize and electrify housing.
Greenhouse gas emissions from buildings accounted for 13% (approximately 87 megatonnes) of Canada’s total emissions in 2021, making it the third largest source after oil and gas production and transportation. In its emissions reduction plan, Canada pledges to reduce emissions from buildings by 37% by 2030 and to net-zero by 2050.
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Trebles said she may not be able to continue working if the Greener Homes program ends abruptly.
“I’ve been doing this for about a year now, and it’s about raising the bar a little bit…I knew this program was going to end at some point, but it feels a little early,” he said. .
Others in the energy efficiency industry are asking Ottawa not to stunt the growth of the nascent clean technology sector, which includes registered energy auditors and heat pump installers.
Abhilash Kantamneni, research manager at Carleton University, said: “All these people who entered this field hoping for a better career and livelihood, this kind of start-and-stop funding cycle could put their livelihood at risk.” I am concerned that there is.” Efficiency Canada Advocacy and Research Centre.
He called on the government to move quickly to extend the program and other support to help all Canadians improve their home energy efficiency.
“What governments need to do is meet climate change targets and [do] in a way that leaves no one behind,” Kantamneni said.