Ottawa investing $3.4 million in energy retrofit program for Whitby and rest of Durham Region

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Published April 28, 2022 at 11:01 am

The Durham Greener Homes Program received a $3.4 million boost Thursday morning from the federal government and the Federation of Canadian Municipalities to help finance its home energy retrofit project.

The Durham Greener Homes Program offers homeowners a home energy retrofit concierge service, which will provide access to a series of supporting services, including a home energy coach, an interactive web portal with personalized renovation roadmaps and rebates. The program will also offer access to financing services from participating lenders to assist homeowners with financing home energy upgrade projects.

“Buildings contribute 18 percent to Canada’s greenhouse gas emissions – building more energy-efficient homes and retrofitting existing homes in communities across the country will help us achieve our climate targets while also making life more affordable for Canadians,” said Natural Resources Minister Jonathan Wilkinson, who was on hand in Whitby for the announcement. “Our government is proud to support the Regional Municipality of Durham and municipalities across Canada to identify and capitalize on opportunities to lower emissions and create more sustainable housing options.”

Wilkinson was joined at the podium by Whitby MP Ryan Turnbull and Rory Nisan, a member of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) Board of Directors and a Halton Regional Councillor.

“Municipalities are on the front lines of climate change and climate action, and communities of all sizes are showing climate leadership at a time when we need it most,” he said. “We deliver results with our federal partners – supporting cities and communities like the Regional Municipality of Durham build a greener, more sustainable community, create jobs and helping Canadians make their homes more comfortable and affordable. Together, we are on the path to net zero.”

The Durham Greener Homes Program will target single-family homes built between 1970 and 2000 (representing 46 percent of single-family homes in the region) because these are understood to have high energy-saving potential. The program will support energy-efficiency upgrades such as high-efficiency heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) equipment, thermal envelope upgrades, lighting upgrades and high-efficiency appliances. Additional eligible measures will include heat pump installation, renewable energy and energy storage systems, electric vehicle charging infrastructure, water conservation measures and indoor air quality measures.

The Durham Greener Homes Program will be hosted by the Regional Municipality of Durham and administered by Windfall Ecology Centre.

“Durham Region residents will benefit greatly from the Durham Greener Homes Program,” said Durham Chair John Henry. “The Program will make it easier and more convenient for residents to make home energy improvements and help with Durham Region’s low carbon transition. We’re thankful for the Federation of Canadian Municipalities’ support in battling climate change.”

The funding, called a Community Efficiency Financing initiative, is offered through the Green Municipal Fund (GMF), delivered by FCM and funded by the Government of Canada. The initiative helps communities of all sizes implement innovative local financing programs that directly help homeowners cut their greenhouse gas emissions, make their homes more energy-efficient, comfortable and affordable, while creating local jobs and keeping the local economy moving.

The Government of Canada has invested $1.65 billion in the GMF since its inception 20 years ago, enabling municipalities to support projects like this that leverage local resources to drive innovative solutions.

“By investing in energy-efficient housing, we are building healthy and sustainable communities,” explained Environment and Climate Change Minister Steven Guilbeault. “Canada’s ongoing transition to a low-carbon economy requires innovative housing solutions that create jobs and climate resilience while making life more affordable through saved energy costs.”

Turnbull echoed his minister’s statement, calling the launch of the local program an “exciting step forward” and a “triple win.”

“This program, combined with federal financing initiatives like the home energy auditors, Greener Homes Grants and zero-interest loans, will make it easier for homeowners across our region to access energy retrofits for their homes,” he said. “This is a triple win; it means reduced energy bills for homeowners, many more good jobs for workers, and reduced emissions to protect our planet for our children and grandchildren. This is how we fight climate change and build a stronger, more sustainable economy.”

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