Disappointing – ecoENEGY Retrofit Program Extended As Is

Those in Canada know now that the ecoENERGY Residential Retrofit program was extended as is one more year in last week’s Federal Budget with an additional $400 million. However, no program details or eligibility criteria have been announced as of this article.

It looks as though I am amongst the incredibly few that are disappointed.

There are three  aspects to this; let me explain my disappointment.

Too Complex For The Average Household

We went through the ecoENERGY Residential Retrofit program a couple of years ago, including the standard blower test to determine the extent of air leakage in a home as shown in the picture below. If you want to see our own experiences and how it helped us simply go to our ecoENERGY page.

Blower Test Commences Disappointing   ecoENEGY Retrofit Program Extended As Is

Most households do not have time to spend in the details. All they care about is ‘Will this or that product reduce my heating, air conditioning, water heating or electricity usage?’. They are not renovation or construction professionals.

Humans want ease of use; humans want simple. The ecoENERGY Retrofit program in its current state is not easy to use or understand. I know; I went through it, remember?

energy audit report Disappointing   ecoENEGY Retrofit Program Extended As Is

As we explained in this segment of the CBC’s The National back in March 2010, the program is very rigid and does not include grants for proven products like solar air heaters which we installed on our own home (with at least two different types tested by National Resources Canada manufactured by Canadian companies), exterior solar window shades which we also installed on our own south facing windows or window film.

It does not include direct reimbursement for air leakage products such as common tubes of silicone caulking.

And it requires not one but two interruptions of a household’s time by requiring two separate home energy audits.

The first home energy audit defines the home’s EnerGuide rating and general plus some specific remedies.

Home EnerGuide Rating Disappointing   ecoENEGY Retrofit Program Extended As Is

A second home energy audit to verify the accredited energy saving improvements.

 

Too Complex For Natural Resources Canada’s Own Staff

Yes, the current program is to complex for even the professionals who are responsible for managing and controlling the program.

We have been curious about both the extent of participation by eligible Canadian households throughout the ecoENERGY Residential Retrofit program’s existence as well as what different types of energy saving investments were being made under the program.

So within a few days or a couple of weeks following the anniversary dates we received quite a detailed collection of data from Natural Resources Canada. You can read our analysis using the following links:

  1. ecoENERGY First Anniversary Results – spring 2008
  2. ecoENERGY Second Anniversary Results – spring 2009
  3. ecoENERGY Third Anniversary Results – spring 2010

So, what happened to the ecoENERGY Fourth Anniversary Results in the spring of 2011?

We asked but were denied.

To be fair, what we were told was that since the program was being discontinued it would take … and I am not kidding about this … up to a full year in order for reliable and accurate results to be generated!

Why all of a sudden?

The program had not changed.

Yet, now it would take up to a full year after the anniversary date to receive accurate participation?

Was there anything else occurring in Canada in the spring of 2011?

Oh, wait; that’s right.

There was a Federal election in Canada in the spring of 2011, wasn’t there?

Hmmmm.

I am sure there was no connection just as I am sure you are confident there was no connection.

Therefore, the only possible logical conclusion one can draw is that the program in its current state has become too complex for National Resources Canada to administer, manage and control.

First Come First Served

Will a stated dollar limit, this program continues to be on a first come first served approach. Yes, I have heard that there is a financial deficit situation. I have heard this just as much as the Honourable Tony Clement did.

Yet, by placing a ceiling or limit once that money is used up then those who may be in the process of participating could be shut out and not receive the ecoENERGY’s energy conservation grants that they may be otherwise eligible to receive.

Sure, last time it took an act of Parliament I believe to add more money into the program.

Yet there are no guarantees that this will occur again.

Next time I will give you my opinion on how the ecoENERGY retrofit program should be structured.

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