How to: Get government rebates from eco-friendly renovations
1 An audit you’ll like!
Having a professional energy audit done on your home should be the first step in the process of applying for government rebates for your renovation. The audit will tell you the areas where you need to invest first and help you determine which updates will get you the most cash back. Remember that the purpose of the audit is to reward energy-efficient upgrades to the home, not reimburse receipts. If you need a new furnace or air conditioning unit but can’t afford to purchase one outright, you can have rentals installed for a monthly rental fee with no upfront costs, and still receive the full rebate. In other words, you’re basically getting paid to have them installed. Check out the Natural Resources Canada website (nrcan.gc.ca) for information on cash-back programs for the Canada-wide ecoENERGY Retrofit Homes Program. Be sure to read the fine print carefully, because many government programs require you to pre-register. But with the potential to earn as much as $5,000 back from the federal government, it’s time well spent. Act quickly because ecoENERGY plan applications need to be submitted before March 31, 2012.2 Act locally, think globally
Provincial, municipal and local utility providers also offer many incentives to increase the energy efficiency of your home. If you’re buying a new dishwasher in Kelowna, B.C., for example, you can get $75 back if your new appliance qualifies under the BC Hydro Power Smart Appliance Rebate program (bchydro.com/rebates_savings). If a new programmable thermostat is in your future and you live in P.E.I., you can qualify for a grant to get up to 15 percent of your investment back through the PEI Energy Efficiency Grant Program (gov.pe.ca/oee). If installing an air conditioner is on the books for those in Waterloo, Ont., you may qualify for up to $400 cash back through the Ontario Power Authority’s SaveONenergy Heating and Cooling Incentive program (saveonenergy.ca). And Manitobans replacing their old toilets with dual-flush models can qualify for a $60 rebate per toilet for a maximum of two per home (gov.mb. ca/seeinggreen/what_can_you_do/ water_money) – that’s $120 of your money that isn’t getting flushed away!
3 Small jobs mean big savings, too
If a large-scale renovation is not in the plans but replacing your furnace or adding a skylight is, then it’s still worthwhile to check out possible rebates for smaller jobs. By simply replacing an exterior door with one that is EnergyStar rated for your particular climate zone, you can get a rebate of up to $40. Even weatherstripping and caulking can put money back in your pocket in the range of $190 to $430, depending on the original condition of your home. Extensive, easy-to-navigate websites, such as HomePerformance, offer guidelines for determining if an energy audit is required for a rebate and booking an energy audit .