The Green Investment Fund and Ontario's Climate Change Action Plan
January 18, 2017
The Green Investment Fund is part of Ontario's 5-year Climate Change Action Plan. The initiative is primarily aimed at fighting climate change, while boosting the provincial economy, as well as creating new jobs. Essentially, the province is committed to investing $325 Million in a range of projects that will set the stage for a prosperous low-carbon future. For the average homeowner, the idea is to promote and initiate reduced energy consumption. Through various programs, the Ontario government is going to provide cash rebates (and other incentives) to homeowners who are committed to cutting energy usage by undertaking a variety of retrofits and/or renovations. The programs will make it much easier and far more affordable for homeowners to properly upgrade their homes. The bottom line is to significantly decrease a home's energy bills, and to fight climate change at the same time. In a concerted effort to make homes more energy efficient, cash rebates will be made available through the Green Investment Fund specifically for home energy audits and retrofitting projects. Eligible homeowners could qualify for rebates that range from $500 to $2,000, beginning with a home energy audit, and culminating with retrofits that could include air sealing, weatherization, and insulation. Every retrofit is designed to reduce energy bills. Energy efficiency renovations and retrofits have proven their worth - they simply reduce energy usage, and save money for natural gas consumers year after year. Through Union Gas Limited and Enbridge Gas Distribution, the Green Investment Fund will help homeowners across the province to make their homes more energy efficient. Overall, the programs are made available to homes that are heated with natural gas, oil, propane, and even wood. Responsible energy conservation has proven to be a long-term solution that effectively reduces consumption and therefore lowers costs. But in many cases, energy upgrades and retrofits can be difficult to budget, and for the average homeowner there may be other priorities. Here, rebates and incentives will make it possible for Ontario homeowners to initiate the renovations that will benefit the most, and provide the best return-on-investment. In a typical home energy upgrade, an energy audit will identify areas of the home that are in need of improvement. Then, recommendations will be made for the renovation/retrofit that will best suit the circumstances. There are various energy upgrades available to homeowners across the province - all of them contributing to reduced energy consumption and long term energy savings:
- Comprehensive weatherization in different parts of the home
- Efficient air sealing to prevent air leaks in the building envelope
- Increasing R-Value performance in the attic and/or roof cavity
- Enhancing insulation in the basement (and in the crawl spaces)
Home energy efficiency is going to be fundamental in decades to come. For the most part, homes throughout Ontario will be requiring a Home Energy Rating, which will define the home's energy efficiency, based on a certain set of standards. A home will have a so-called "Label of Proof" to verify energy performance and efficiency, and will be required when the home is put up for sale.