Incentive programs for BC home renovations

Are There any Incentive Programs for BC Home Renovations?

Yes, British Columbia homeowners have quite a few incentive programs available to them, in the form of rebates and grants. The most popular are the Home Renovation Rebate Program by BC Hydro, CleanBC and FortisBC; the FortisBC Home renovation bonus rebates; BC Government’s Home Improvement Assistance Programs; the Canada Greener Homes Initiative and local government Municipal Top-up Rebates.

These programs apply to eligible upgrades like sealing the building envelope, insulation, and windows and doors. There are also incentives for upgrading components like heat pumps, water heaters and EnerChoice® fireplaces.

BC Hydro / CleanBC / FortisBC Home Renovation Rebate Program

BC Hydro recommends a whole home approach when planning an energy-efficient upgrade. It’s the most effective way for your family to enjoy greater comfort, while saving on your electrical bills. A whole home approach looks at all of your home’s components, and how they work together as a system.

When looking at your home as a system, there are two primary aspects to consider: the building envelope and mechanical systems. If you’re planning a big renovation, the best place to start is the building envelope. Sealing the envelope and upgrading the windows and doors will ensure that when you upgrade the heating, cooling and ventilation they will work at maximum efficiency and save you money on energy costs.

However, depending on the extent of your renovations, your resulting electrical bills may be high. Working in partnership with CleanBC, the Home Renovation Rebate Program offers several energy savings rebates to help BC homeowners.

To be eligible for this program:

  1. Your renovated home must be heated primarily by electricity with electric baseboards, heat pumps, electric radiant ceilings or floors, or an electric forced-air furnace.
  2. Your usage of electricity must meet BC Hydro’s minimum requirement for electricity usage. This rebate program is designed to assist customers with high bills from heating their homes.
  3. You need to be a BC Hydro residential customer and be the utility account holder.
  4. Your home type must be eligible:
    • a single-family detached home,
    • a single-family detached home with a secondary suite, both individually metered,
    • a mobile home that is permanently fixed on a foundation, or
    • a side-by-side or stacked duplex or side-by-side row home or townhouse, each with its own meter

To get started, you’ll want to confirm that your home renovation is eligible for this program by reviewing the application requirements and terms and conditions. If you believe you qualify, the application will take about 20 minutes to complete online. After you fill in the application you will be able to check on its status with the Status Tracker.

Also check the eligibility criteria for the specific upgrades you’re considering:

FortisBC Home renovation bonus rebates

If your renovation includes making two or more high-efficiency upgrades such as insulation, windows and doors, space and water heating and fireplaces, you could be eligible for a bonus rebate.

To be eligible the incentive programs, your home must:

  1. have a residential FortisBC natural gas account (does not include strata unit owners installing EnerChoice® fireplaces). If the registered owner of the property to which upgrades were made is not the utility account holder, the account holder must complete a Utility Account Holder Consent form.
  2. be a year-round primary residence, at least 12 months old, and be either a single-family, duplex, triplex, row home, townhouse or mobile home on a permanent foundation.

Your application must be submitted within 6 months of the paid invoice date. The rebate applied for cannot exceed the paid cost on that invoice. Only one rebate can be requested per home for a primary space heating system and a water heater.

The two-upgrade bonus rebate is $300, and you must choose 2 or more eligible upgrades from the list below. However, if you hire a program-qualified energy advisor to complete a pre- and post-upgrade EnerGuide home evaluation, and then make 3 or more upgrades, you could be eligible for a home energy improvement bonus from $750 up to $2,000.

Eligible upgrades include:

  • insulation (minimum rebate value of $500):
    • attic
    • exterior wall sheathing
    • exterior wall cavity
    • basement
    • other
  • windows and doors (minimum rebate value of $250)
  • space heating, with one of the following:
    • an air source heat pump,
    • a natural gas ENERGY STAR® furnace,
    • a natural gas ENERGY STAR boiler, or
    • a natural gas ENERGY STAR or P9 combination heating and hot water system
  • water heating, with one of the following:
    • electric heat pump water heater,
    • a natural gas ENERGY STAR water heater
  • an EnerChoice® fireplace

If you need advice on the options and incentives available for energy-efficiency upgrades to homes, and would like to speak with a trained energy-efficiency specialist, a CleanBC Energy Coach is there to help.

BC Government’s Home Improvement Assistance Programs

The Government of British Columbia offers several programs to help seniors and people with disabilities make their homes more energy efficient, accessible and safe.

The Home Adaptations for Independence (HAFI) program provides assistance to low-income seniors and people with disabilities to arrange financing for adapting their home to improve accessibility and promote safe and independent living. If eligible, homeowners, renters and landlords can receive up to $20,000 per home in the form of a forgivable loan.

The BC Seniors’ Home Renovation Tax Credit assists individuals aged 65 and over with the cost of certain permanent home renovations, in the form of a refundable personal income tax credit.

CleanBC Better Homes Program helps British Columbians find rebates that
save energy and lower greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Rebates are available to householders to help them switch to high-efficiency heating equipment and make building-envelope improvements.

The Residential Rehabilitation Assistance Program On-Reserve offers financial assistance to Band Councils and Band members, for repairing substandard homes to a minimum level of health and safety and to improve the accessibility of homes for people with disabilities. Individual homeowners and Band Councils requiring repairs to their homes may be eligible to apply.

The Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) Eco Plus Program helps make energy-efficient and low carbon housing choices more affordable to homeowners. You can apply for a partial premium refund of 25% if you’re CMHC insured and have an qualifying energy efficient home. To qualify, your home must have an energy certificate or meet the required energy efficiency or greenhouse gas targets.

The Canada Greener Homes Initiative

The Canada Greener Homes Initiative helps homeowners save money, while fighting climate change. The initiative offers:

  • grants from $125 to $5,000, to get a portion of your costs back for eligible home retrofits
  • Up to $600, as a maximum contribution toward the total costs of your pre- and post-retrofit EnerGuide evaluations
  • From $5,000 to $40,000 in interest-free loans, with a repayment term of 10 years to help you undertake major home retrofits

To be eligible for the grant you must meet the following criteria:

  • you are a Canadian homeowner and not a landlord who rents out the property,
  • you are not a renter of the property,
  • you must receive an EnerGuide home evaluation before starting or completing your retrofits,
  • completion of the home must have been at least 6 months ago, and
  • it must be your primary residence, and you must have moved into it already

You can check your eligibility for the Canada Greener Homes Grant on the Government of Canada website.

Municipal Top-up Rebates

A growing number of BC municipalities are offering top-up rebates to the CleanBC Better Homes and Home Renovation Rebate Program. Municipal top-up rebates will be approved on a first come first serve basis. When you submit a CleanBC Better Homes and Home Renovation Rebate application your eligibility will be automatically assessed.

Local West Coast governments offering rebates include the City of North Vancouver, District of North Vancouver, District of West Vancouver, District of Squamish and Resort Municipality of Whistler. The full list of municipal offers can be found on the CleanBC Better Homes website, with rebate amounts.

Reid Madiuk

Reid Madiuk's been putting on a toolbelt since he was twelve years old, alongside his father, one of Whistler's first residential builders. As a third-generation Squamish and Whistler builder, Reid brings over 20 years of carpentry expertise to designing and constructing exceptional homes.

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