8th June 2016 the Ontario government formerly announced it’s intention to spend $8.3billion on reducing carbon emissions and fighting climate change. Some of this money will be made available to homeowners to upgrade their homes. The governments intent is to offset the increase in gasoline, natural gas, oil and electricity costs resulting from the carbon tax already announced. The mandate of the plan is to reduce carbon emission and home heating is a major element of the plan.
The key takeaways are:
• Household costs will increase, particularly home heating, as a result of the introduction of the carbon tax (Cap and trade system will generate $1.9billion)
• Rebates and subsidies will be introduced to provide homeowners incentives to invest in carbon reducing technologies such as geothermal heating and cooling, air-source heat pumps, and solar.
• The energy efficiency of your home will be measured and available to potential buyers. Inefficient homes will sell for less or sell slower than more energy efficient properties.
Homeowners that do nothing will lose out.
Here are the most significant details of the Climate Change Action Plan from a homeowner’s perspective, these are extracts from the action plan:
1. Mandatory Energy Audits: Energy audits (free) will be required before a new or existing single-family home can be listed for sale, and the energy rating will be included in the real estate listing allocated $200-250million.
2. Heating and cooling existing homes: Ontario will help homeowners purchase and install low-carbon energy technologies such as geothermal heat pumps and air-source heat pumps, solar thermal and solar energy generation systems that reduce reliance on fossil fuels for space and water heating allocated $500-600million.
3. Wood Stoves: A new program targeting northern and rural communities, including Indigenous communities, will encourage households to switch out older polluting wood stoves for new high-efficiency wood stoves allocated $1-4milllion.
4. New Homes: Near Net Zero Carbon Home Incentive: Rebates will go to individuals who purchase or build their own near net zero carbon emission homes, with energy efficiency performance that sufficiently exceeds the requirements of the Building Code allocated $180-220million.
5. Apartment retrofits: Provide incentives for apartment building retrofits: Ontario will offer incentives to install energy efficient technologies, like boiler replacements, adaptive thermostats and lighting retrofits in multi- tenant buildings. $300-$400 million allocated.
What does this mean to the Ontario rural homeowner?
Based on previous incentive schemes, don’t wait ACT NOW, get expert advice sooner rather than later. While the specifics of this action plan have yet to be released experience tells us that the incentives appear for a short time, contractors are in short supply while the incentives are available and completing the application is full or red tape, slow and bureaucratic. Homeowners that have quotes ready prior to the rebates being announced get a head start and avoid disappointment. During the previous retrofit program homeowners that acted early saved thousands in equipment costs and hundreds a year on utility costs.
Ask an expert for advice on how to make your home more energy efficient while simultaneously taking advantage of government rebates.
I will be closely monitoring the rollout of the Ontario Climate Care Action Plan and providing expert advice to our customers throughout the process.