The federal government recently announced the re-introduction of the ecoENERGY home retrofit program that provides grants of up to $5,000 to help homeowners make energy-efficient home upgrades.

The Conservatives had discontinued the program but promised in the March budget to bring it back for one year. The government maintained the promise to invest $400 million in the program during the spring election and included it in the revised June budget. The program will be offered until March 31, 2012, but interested homeowners should think about applying for it sooner rather than later. The program is only being offered for a year because it costs the government money at a time when Ottawa is trying to eliminate the deficit by 2014. The government is also warning that the program could be cut off “without notice” if it reaches the $400 million allocated to it.

The reintroduced program has two new requirements. First, those wanting to participate in it must register first. After filling out a form, they will receive a registration number and instructions for the next steps in the process. To qualify for the grant, homeowners must hire a company licensed by Natural Resources Canada to perform home energy audits. An evaluator will perform the inspection, and the government says within about two weeks, homeowners will get a report with a list of eligible energy efficient upgrades. These audits are done at the homeowner’s expense and can cost several hundred dollars each. Once the upgrades are completed, a post-retrofit audit must be done before homeowners can send off their application for a cheque from Ottawa. The second new requirement is that all receipts must be kept and shown to the energy auditor when the post-retrofit evaluation is done.


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