Reducing Emissions and Costs Through the New Greener Homes Affordability Program

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In April, the Liberal government released the federal budget for 2024, entitled Fairness for Every Generation. This budget adds to the Liberals’ previous ecological commitments, addressing topics such as the net-zero economy, the electrification of vehicles, clean energy, conservation, Indigenous climate resiliency and sustainable housing.

While most if not all the environmental and climate-based initiatives included in the report will impact Ottawans, the Canada Greener Homes Affordability Program provides a tangible solution for residents seeking to green their homes and reduce energy costs.

The building sector in Ottawa, which includes residential homes, accounts for the largest share of the city’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions at 45 per cent. To reach net-zero emissions by 2050, the Liberal government is investing $160 billion in a net-zero economic plan. For Ottawa to reach this target, 98 per cent of existing homes must undergo a deep energy efficiency retrofit by 2040. The Canada Greener Home Affordability Program is one initiative that can contribute to decreasing Canada’s building sector emissions.

The new program, which has a budget of $800 million over five years, will be launched between 2025 and 2026. It will support the direct installation of energy-efficiency retrofits for Canadian households with low-to-median incomes. Through assessments, homeowners will receive recommendations for energy-efficient upgrades like attic insulation, air sealing and heat pumps. The program is complemented by the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation’s Greener Homes Loan, which provides interest-free loans of up to $40,000 for energy-efficiency home retrofits.

In addition to establishing the new program, the Liberal government is also allocating $30 million over five years to continue the development of a national approach to home energy labelling. The initiative intends to empower prospective home buyers with information about the energy efficiency of their new home, with the support of energy auditors.

Despite the 71 per cent decrease in new climate-related spending from 2023 to 2024—that is, to $14 billion from $63 billion—the introduction of new tools and resources for Canadian homeowners is a welcome addition to the climate change strategy. Ottawans can contribute to Canada’s sustainability efforts and save money. It’s a win-win situation.

For residents looking to go a step further, the Better Homes Ottawa Loan Program provides homeowners with access to loans of up to the lesser of $125,000 or 10 per cent of the current value of their home to cover the cost of home energy improvements. 

For a thorough analysis of the ecological aspects of the federal budget, check out this article from Canada’s National Observer.

Grace McGrenere is a freelance journalist, content writer and volunteer for Council Watch

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