ecoENERGY Retrofit Grant Program – Regrettably, Time for The Second Assessment?

Well, it has been just over 4 months since we had the first Energy Efficiency Assessment (i.e., energy audit) conducted on our home as part of our participation in the Canadian Federal Government’s ecoENERGY Retrofit program. We have written extensively about the Energy Efficiency Evaluation Report we received from this assessment, and you can find links to all 15 of these articles on our ECOENERGY page.

What have we done? Well, we did replace many (not all) of the windows with ENERGY STAR rated windows. Why not all? Well, you receive (and we will talk just about the Federally available grant money here as any Provincial grants differ from one province to the next) all of $30 for each new ENERGY STAR window, regardless of the size of the actual window.

So for us, we replaced about 25 windows and will receive by my math $750 of Federal Grant money for windows which cost more than $15,000 (and, that is after a 20% winter sale from the manufacturer). No wonder more Canadians are not motivated to participate in the ecoENERGY Retrofit program. I’d rather put $15,000 in my wife’s Registered Retirement Savings Plan and receive an income tax credit of between 30 to 45%, vs the ecoENERGY Retrofit grant of ($750 / $15,000) 5%.

We did take measures to decrease the air leakage over and above the new windows. We installed weather stripping and a door sweep on the door to the cold cellar. We also applied strippable caulking to the opening in the ceiling to the attic. We also ensured that we applied caulking to the window frames once the new windows were installed. More on our window replacement experiences in a series that we have yet to write about (but will once our series on our exterior front door is complete). Our air conditioner broke so we had to call an experienced air conditioning repair company.

We also put weather stripping on the inside of the wood frame containing the electrical panel.

But, that is it. We are not going to invest more money in either the Drain Water Heat Recovery (DWHR) device as much as we like it. Why? Well, after the windows we just don’t have a lot of money left for more home renovations. And, the placement of where the DWHR device would be installed would force a minor bathroom renovation because the main vertical drain pipe is located behind a wall in our basement bathroom. This wall was finished with drywall, as was the ceiling in the basement bathroom, by the prior owners of our house.

As well, we would like to install the solar wall system to supplement our space heating in the winter, but will likely not. Why? These wonderful devices are covered by the ecoENERGY Retrofit program but not for single family homes; as of the writing of this article, installation of these simple devises qualify to receive financial incentives from the ecoENEGY Retrofit program when they are installed on industrial, commercial and institutional buildings only! This does not make sense to me at all.

The estimate we received on a very nice Canadian made unit was in the neighbourhood of $3,300 after the Provincial sales tax rebate. The financial payback without the incentive is just not there for us at that price.

So, with nothing more we can do, we are going ahead and calling the firm who conducted the initial or ‘D’ Energy Efficiency Assessment to return to our home and conduct the second or ‘E’ Energy Efficiency Assessment.

Are we running the risk that the available grant money will be increased in the program or more items will be covered, like the solar wall system? Sure, but we live in the Toronto area. Those who are followers of hockey know that our beloved hockey team has not won the Stanley Cup for more than 41 years and give every indication that it will not be any time soon. Why wait when the future is never certain? icon smile ecoENERGY Retrofit Grant Program   Regrettably, Time for The Second Assessment?

We’d really like to do more to make our home more energy efficient and reduce our consumption of non-renewable resources. But, those are the only available home renovations for which our home qualifies per the first energy audit report. We already increased the attic insulation, replaced the 20 year old air conditioner with one from air conditioner sales and installed low flow toilets before we ever knew that there was the ecoENERGY Retrofit program.

It’s time to call in the auditor. Or is it? What about the water heating device that has been used in Western Europe for over 4 decades, the tank-less water heater? Hmmm, perhaps we have one more energy conservation device to investigate before we call in the auditor.

After all, we do have until May 2009 or 18 months from the initial energy assessment (a.k.a. energy audit) before we have to have the second energy audit to qualify for the financial incentives under the ecoENERGY Retrofit program. And, since they increased the financial incentives once already in January of 2008, perhaps they will do it again in January 2009. Perhaps they will even include the solar space heating device to make it affordable and financially viable for us. HVAC systems can be the most costly repairs on a home. I have a trusted friend who is part of a group of
Fort Myers HVAC contractors, so I get all my inspections from him.

May 2009? Perhaps even the Toronto Maple Leafs will win the Stanley Cup next year. The timing would be just about right!

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Comments

  1. Mrs. Carter says:

    I am very interested in this Grant Program and would like to apply, is also for homeowners in the US?

  2. Dan says:

    Hi Mrs. Carter,

    Thank you for visiting our site.

    This program is unique to Canada.

    However, if you look over on the left side of our site, about 1/2 way down you will see what looks like a lavender color used for a map of the United States. If you click on this graphic, you will be taken to the DSIRE site which maintains a database of energy efficienty incentive programs at the sate, city and county level. You can use the information on the DSIRE site to find the energy efficiency programs in your area.

    You can also contact your local utility who should have information for you as well. They might even perform an energy audit on your home for free.

    Kind Regards,

    Dan

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