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Home Renovation Grants

Get home renovation grants for making your home more energy effiecient. Retrofit programs include grants for the following upgrades:

  • Air Sealing
  • Ventiliation
  • Insulation
  • Windows
  • Doors
  • Skylights
  • Heating systems
  • Cooling systems (air conditioning)
  • Water heating
  • Light fixtures
  • Clothes washer & dryer
  • and more!

Home Renovations

Home renovation starts with a plan.  Get written estimates from more than one business. Provide each business with a detailed description of the work you want completed and the materials you want the contractor to use.

A written estimate should include:

  • A complete description of the work that will be done
  • The type and quality of materials that will be used
  • The project start and completion dates
  • Itemized costs and the total price
  • A statement of any guarantees made by the contractor
  • The required method of payment.

The best way to find a home renovation contractor is through other satisfied customers. Ask around. Have any of your friends or neighbours had similar work done? If so, check out the quality and workmanship to decide if it meets your standards.

You may need a building permit for certain home renovations, so check with your city or town hall before work begins. It is your responsibility to obtain the building permit.  If your contractor says you don’t need a permit, get another contractor.

Realistic renovations.  Unless you’re a qualified do-it-yourselfer, hire a contractor. Get references and check warranties and guarantees carefully. The contractor's reputation and length of time in business are important.

Make sure you know exactly what you want.  Changing plans in the middle of a project may add to the cost.

Renovations don’t automatically add to the value of your home. Don’t be talked into unnecessary renovations.

Home renovation estimates.  Get written, detailed estimates from three or four contractors and stay away from the contractor who quotes flat rates before inspecting your house. Determine if the price includes the cost of materials and labour.  Don’t be pressured to sign a contract right away in order to take advantage of a door to-door special.  Keep down payments to a minimum –10 per cent of the total estimate is fair, and never pay the full amount until the work has been completed.  Make sure everything you agree to is in writing – the cost, start and end dates, and who is responsible for the cleanup.  If a large amount of money is involved, you may want to have a lawyer or a friend go over the contract to explain it to you before you sign.  If there is a dispute about whether you owe money to the contractor, the contractor may register a construction lien against your property.

With proper home renovation technique, your basement can be turned into a real gem and gain important competitive advantage for your home on any market.  When thinking resale or rental: The main concern of every buyer when looking at a basement is the problem of water. If your basement is dry and properly insulated from the elements, it’s a big positive. However, if you have some sort of water problems, do something about it because it’ll be a huge negative due to ineffective insulation, musty smell and possibly mould.

Renovating your basement can be a rewarding experience, but it requires a great deal of planning and preparation.  The first problem you’ll find with this type of project is the ceiling height.  The majority of basement ceilings are lower than the other ceilings in your home. This can be solved by finishing the ceiling around your ductwork.

There are many benefits to home renovations centered around energy savings.  In making energy saving improvements in your home.  These improvements can reduce your energy use, minimize moisture and condensation problems, limit outdoor noise and greenhouse gas emissions.  Energy-saving renovations can improve your indoor air quality, humidity levels, and your overall comfort level.

Home Renovation Tier 1 — Estimated Annual Savings = $20–50

Install low–flow faucets and showerheads to reduce water usage and reduce the cost of heating water by up to 50%

  • Choose energy efficient appliances
  • Install outdoor motion detector switches
  • Replace air conditioner and furnace filters regularly

Home Renovation Tier 2 — Estimated Annual Savings = $50–100

  • Use power bars to switch off your electronics
  • Switch to compact fluorescent light bulbs
  • Install a programmable thermostat

Home Renovation Tier 3 — Estimated Annual Savings = $100–250

  • Caulk all windows and make sure your home is properly insulated
  • Use ceiling fans year round to help circulate warm and cool air evenly around a room
  • Replacing an old refrigerator with an energy efficient one can save enough electricity to  light the average home   for more than four and a half months

Home Renovation Tier 4 — Estimated Annual Savings = $250+

  • Replace your existing windows and doors with energy efficient designs that will reduce your home’s energy use (both heating and cooling).
  • Replace your existing furnace with a high efficiency furnace. They have increased safety (for newer airtight homes), longevity and there is no need for a chimney.

Many Canadian homeowners are looking for ways to reduce their utility bills and environmental impact. Small changes like using fluorescent, energy-saving light bulbs or participating in a recycling program are a good start. If you’re looking to make a bigger impact on home energy savings and improve your home at the same time, consider these three environmentally friendly home renovations and upgrades.

Replace old appliances with new, energy-efficient ones.  Using an old refrigerator, dishwasher, clothes washer and dryer can run up your energy bill while creating more waste.  Their older systems, bigger motors, and wear and tear cause them to consume a lot of energy.  If your appliances are at least 10 years old, they’re very likely big energy drains.  Even if they still work, they don’t work as well as newer, energy-efficient models.

The insulation renovation.  In Canada, there’s no escaping the cold. For the owners of older homes, the low temperatures can often translate into sky-high heating bills.  A big culprit here can be old insulation.  Today’s fiberglass materials are much more successful at regulating your home’s temperature.  Additionally, old insulation can crumble or compress, becoming less effective over time because it no longer seals your house against the elements. If your home’s insulation is 15 or 20 years old, it may no longer be performing effectively.  If this is the case, contact insulation contractors. They can safely remove old insulation and install new fiberglass insulation, which will last for dozens of years. While you’re assessing your insulation needs, you may also want to pay special attention to rooms like the attic, sunroom and additions. If they were never insulated or properly sealed, they can allow a lot of heat to escape. Have the contractor inspect those walls and ceilings as well.

Invest in new windows and doors.  Following the upgrade to your insulation, investigate replacing old windows and doors.  The outdated technology of storm windows has given way to new, energy-efficient windows that reflect sunlight in the summer and block cold air in the winter.  They also seal tightly to avoid air leaks.  Another perk is that new windows have better locks and are more secure.  Doors can have many of the same problems as windows.  Old doors, especially wooden ones, will expand and contract with the weather.  Over time, this means they won’t seal as tightly as they once did.  If they contain glass, they may have only a single sheet, which does a poor job of keeping the heat inside. If you stand next to your door in the winter and feel a cold draft coming from underneath or around it, you know your door isn’t saving you money on home energy.  Get quotes from several companies that sell windows and doors.  Compare their products to find units that are more energy-efficient than your current windows and doors but also fit your budget. In the long run, you can reduce your heating bills by as much as 10% or 15%. If the costs of replacing all the windows and doors at once is too steep, you could consider doing the renovation in phases by replacing those that the face the street all at once or perhaps just the first floor.       

Winter Home Renovation Tips for the DIY Homeowner

• Install affordable plastic window-sealing kits, especially where you feel drafts.
• Install foam gaskets behind electrical outlets and switches to reduce air leakage.
• Close the fireplace damper tightly when it's not in use. If you use your fireplace regularly, consider adding a well-designed insert.
• Replace or clean furnace filters at least once every three months.

Spring Home Renovation Ideas – Time to Plan

• Consider larger home improvements like replacing windows that are best completed when the weather is nice. Consider adding spray foam insulation (like innovative Icynene) to your attic or in other areas of your home where the summer heat can infiltrate. You can start saving up to 50 per cent in energy costs all year long.
• Is your air conditioner old or on its last legs? Before things heat up, consider investing in an energy efficient Energy Star-rated unit. Consult an expert to ensure the size of the unit is properly matched to the needs of your home.

Summer Home Renovation Tips for the Savvy Homeowner

• Add window coverings to block sunlight during the day, so your air conditioner doesn't have to work as hard.
• Replace inefficient incandescent lighting with more efficient compact fluorescent or LED lighting that also produce less heat.
• Check your hot water tank. If it's warm to the touch it might need some extra insulation. Check your home improvement store for inexpensive pre-cut tank jackets or blankets.

Fall Home Renovation Checklist

• Check insulation levels where you can, like the attic or the floor of a room over the garage. If you didn't get to it in the spring, install spray foam insulation to seal around openings and penetrations that let air flow in and out of your home.
• Use caulking, sealant and weather-stripping to create a barrier against air and water around doorframes, windows and baseboards. Choose the right caulking for the surface.
• Insulate your hot water pipes to reduce heat loss. It may enable you to reduce the temperature setting on your hot water tank.

The survey also revealed that over half of all Canadians (51 per cent) are planning to undertake home renovations over the next 12 months. Of those planning renovations, 88 per cent want to learn more about how to make their homes greener, while 83 per cent are actively looking for ways to reduce their home energy bills. Canadians said that their renovations would include new windows and doors (48 per cent), toilets (36 per cent) and air sealing/draft proofing (34 per cent).

Home renovations can increase property value, reduce energy bills and improve comfort and esthetic, but they're not always easy to manage. Here's how to ensure your renovation goes smoothly.  Your home’s resale value depends on several factors, including the price of comparable homes in the neighbourhood, location and its overall condition.  Though well-planned renovations can dramatically increase the value of some homes, avoid renovating with only resale in mind: it’s impossible to know what buyers are looking for or if the market will change by the time you’re ready to sell. Instead, focus on keeping your home in good condition rather than following trends or blowing your budget on esthetics.

Home Renovation Priorities

Urgent: This includes repairs that are essential for health and safety (e.g. replacing faulty wiring or fixing a leaky roof).

Discretionary: Renovations that enhance your home’s esthetic and comfort fall into this category (e.g. upgrading to energy-efficient equipment or installing skylights).

Wish List: This is the spot for that backyard koi pond or fitness room.

Now, determine what can realistically fit into your budget. Items in the first category take priority; work your way down, being honest about what you can afford and what can wait.  Include a healthy contingency fund. If you run into problems or go over budget, you don’t want to be scrambling for funds or have to leave a project half-finished.

While making your home energy efficient for winter means you’ll save on those utility bills it also means you’ll be much more comfortable in your home.  Various documentaries and government initiatives over the past few years have seen an ever increasing level of consumer interest in energy efficiency.  But since 2008 economic woes have seemed to stall the green or eco home movement.  Rising energy costs and low or negative returns on their investments have many home owners backing away from or at least putting off home renovations which could make their house more energy efficient. But as a homeowner what you need to be aware of is the link between energy efficiency and how it can save you money – not just now but for many years to come. Not only that but your greatest investment, your home, will benefit from greater comfort and a healthier environment. In simple terms – an energy efficient home not only cuts your energy costs, it is also makes your home a nicer place to live.

It’s true home renovations that make your home easier to heat or cool will maintain comfortable temperatures throughout the house and will save you money.  But there are additional savings you may not have thought about.  The air quality in your home is also improved because moisture, dust and other airborne allergens can be trapped and eliminated before anyone is impacted.  This adds up to health savings for you and your family.  Of course you can also feel good about home renovations that make for greater energy efficiency because it’s not just your indoor environment you’re affecting, those improvements area also good for the outdoor environment – less energy use equals fewer greenhouse gas being emitted and that helps reduce climate change.  Making your home energy efficient isn’t just a winter job.  Living in the northern hemisphere, particularly in Canada, it’s easy to get caught in the trap of thinking energy efficiency is only important in the winter. Because our heating bills shoot up during the colder winter months it’s easy to get fixated on this one aspect of energy use.  In reality having an eco-friendly home is a year round and a home round job.  Home heating is just one part of the picture.

Every home renovation project presents an opportunity for improving energy efficiency.  Although it may not have occurred to you the times you renovate are the times you can incorporate energy savings into your project often with little or sometimes even no additional cost.  Here are some tips and ideas for building energy efficiency into typical home improvements:  When your renovation project includes removing drywall from an exterior wall, a professional renovator can air seal those walls and top up insulation for maximum efficiency. If windows or doors are part of the project area be sure to repair or even replace if they are old or inefficient.

Home renovation on the home’s exterior.  When replacing windows and doors be sure to spend a little extra by choosing high performance products that are designed with energy efficiency in mind. These products will have insulating space filled with inert gas that dramatically increases the ‘R’ insulating value . Today’s best energy efficient windows work with the environment by capturing free solar heat during the day while keeping cold out at night.

If your home renovation includes an addition it’s a good time to invite a home heating specialist to review your current use and your plans for change. Sometimes a new addition, even when it is built to the highest energy efficient standards can actually make your home less energy efficient. Your heating system may not be able to accommodate the extra space forcing it to work hard and less efficiently. This could be a good time to consider installing high efficiency heating for extra long term savings.

One of the most common and popular ways to save energy throughout your house is to replace old incandescent bulbs with energy efficient ones.  It may not just be the bulbs that need changing often replacing the entire fixture with a dimmer will save you even more.  When purchasing new appliances always check the label and compare the data presented.  While it’s true that all new appliances in Canada are now required to carry the EnerGuide label it doesn’t mean they are all best of class when it comes to energy savings.  It’s important to look beyond the label and to actually compare the energy use of the appliances you are considering. 

Before you begin your home renovation project the Canadian Home Builders Association encourages you to invest in a “home energy assessment”. There are government Total Home advisors will come to your home and do a thorough analysis of your homes efficiency.  Upon completion they will provide you with a detailed report showing a complete picture of the energy related aspects of your home. The report includes things like: insulation levels (R Value), windows, heating and cooling systems, air leaks and more.  This detailed assessment will suggest the most cost effective energy upgrades and it even gives an estimate of what your energy savings and payback will be when you invest in the improvements they suggest.  This can be an  invaluable tool for you and your renovation contractor when planning your home improvement project.



Did you know?

If atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations can be stabilized at 450 ppm, it is thought that there will be a 50% chance of avoiding dangerous climate change?

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  • As an owner of an older house, utilizing the ecoENERGY Retrofit Program was one of the wisest decisions we have made. We were amazed to learn how to improve our home comfort while saving money. The energy advisor was very thorough, and able to answer all of our questions.
Byron - Toronto, Ontario
  • I would like to take a moment to say how pleased I was with my audit. Ryan was extremely personable and knowledgeable. He was thorough in his explanations of my issues with the house and what government grants were available to me as the homeowner. Ryan made the audit very easy for me to understand and I now know where my energy consumption can be reduced. Thank you for a great job, I will recommend your organization to anyone who may ask.
Ron - Kelowna, British Columbia