Leading green builders encourage Ontario to improve building rebate program

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An effective green building program will help homeowners save money.

While disappointed that the Ontario government cancelled the newly minted GreenON rebate program, we urge the government to replace it with a reinstated Eco-Energy Audit program, an effective approach that will help homeowners reduce energy bills in addition to greenhouse gas emissions.

The GreenON program provided rebates for insulation, windows, geothermal, and air source heat pumps. While it offered homeowners an opportunity to offset capital costs to save money in the long-term, the program was limited in what it covered and required no third-party verification. Most concerning was the program’s support for high-carbon products rather than healthier, more low carbon and effective alternatives. Had GreenON continued, we would have strongly encouraged specific improvements.

The Ontario PC Party’s platform earmarked more than $500 million for environmental efforts. We encourage the new government to prioritize building retrofits. Buildings are the third largest contributor of greenhouse gas emissions in Ontario due to the energy used for heating and cooling and the embodied energy in building materials. Helping homeowners reduce their homes’ carbon footprint represents an opportunity to help them be part of the solution, while reducing their energy bills and contributing to local economies throughout the province. As the UN has stated: ‘Sustainable Buildings are the most cost effective solution to climate change’”.

By reinstating and modernizing the Eco-Energy Audit program, the province will offer homeowners cost and environmentally effective solutions to improve their home’s energy performance. Trained and certified energy auditors will provide third-party advice on “best-bang-for-your-buck” actions that homeowners share with their contractors to improve energy efficiency, home comfort and health. Work will be confirmed and tested by Energy Auditors to determine the rebate amount. Their oversight will ensure that energy retrofits are implemented effectively.

In addition to the Eco-Energy Audit program, we encourage the government to implement mandatory energy rating as a pre-sale requirement of homes. The Home Energy Rating and Disclosure (or HER&D) is a policy that is supported by the Ontario Home Builders Association among others. 

To reduce the embodied carbon in buildings, we ask the government to start a Life Cycle Assessment, which is a means of carbon accounting, as part of the building permit process.  

We have seen firsthand the effectiveness of Ontario’s former Eco-Energy program as a transparent, accountable and effective means to reduce a home’s carbon footprint and energy bills. We ask the government to reinstate it as soon as possible.

Signed:

Fourth Pig Green & Natural Construction and Greening Homes Ltd.