As climate change worsens, more people are doing their part to limit its effects. Governments have taken note of the benefits of making climate-change-friendly shifts and are incentivizing people to do what they can to be more environmentally friendly. In fact, there are several tax credits, grants, and rebates available to those looking to make eco-friendly home improvements.
Not only can making these changes lower your carbon footprint, but they can help you get lower home insurance rates, too. Though of course, comparing home insurance rates is still the best way to ensure you’re getting the most affordable premium. Here are just some of the rebates available for climate-change-friendly upgrades to your home.
Sump pump subsidy
Depending on where you live, you could get a subsidy for installing a sump pump in your basement. A sump pump works by collecting water from your interior drainage system (usually weeping tile) into a pit and pumping it outside your home. It’s useful for preventing your basement from flooding. The City of Toronto offers homeowners up to 80% of the invoice amount (up to a maximum of $1,750) to help cover the installation. Check with your local municipality as there are many other programs. And be sure to inspect and maintain your sump pump to ensure it’s working. A sump pump helps protect your home from damage due to flooding, but you can also consider having a backwater valve installed – another basement flood prevention tool.
Backwater valve subsidy
Many municipalities also offer subsidies for installing backwater valves. Backwater valves are designed to close the sewer line during periods of heavy rain to prevent water from entering your home. But make sure you don’t use your shower or dishwasher at the same time while the valve is closed, or water can back up into your home. The City of Toronto offers a subsidy of up to 80% of the installation cost, up to a maximum of $1,250. Enercare also makes it easy to search for plumbing rebates in your area. Because a backwater valve helps protect your home from damage due to sewer backup, you may be eligible for a home insurance discount. Speak with your insurance company to confirm.
Canada Greener Homes Initiative
As part of the Canada Greener Homes Grant Initiative, you can get grants for making climate-change-friendly upgrades to your home.
Heat pump installation
In Canada, over 60% of the energy used in the average home goes towards heating. Switching to more energy-efficient heating equipment such as a heat pump can help you save energy and lower your carbon footprint, in addition to reducing your utility bills. A heat pump uses technology similar to a refrigerator or an air conditioner. It takes heat from a source (such as the surrounding air) and transfers it to where it's needed.
As part of the program, you could get a grant of up to $5,000 for installing a heat pump in your home. As a bonus, insurance providers see heat pumps as less of a risk than oil or wood heating, so let your insurance provider know if you upgrade your home’s HVAC system.
By implementing measures to protect your home from environmental damages such as fire, flood, or extreme wind, you can also get additional rebates of up to $2,625 through the Canada Greener Homes Grant Initiative (though resiliency upgrades must be combined with another energy efficiency retrofit). The grant will cover things like batteries hooked up to a solar power system, roofing membrane, basement wall waterproofing, and other moisture proofing measures.
Other eligible retrofits
Additionally, as part of the Canada Greener Homes Initiative, homeowners have access to grants for the following climate-change-friendly upgrades:
- Improving your home’s insulation (attic, basement, etc.)
- Air sealing improvements (door sweep, weather stripping, etc.)
- Replacing windows and doors with ENERGY STAR certified models
- Installing a smart thermostat
- Installing a solar panel system
On top of these grants, the Government of Canada also offers interest-free loans (repaid over 10 years) for people wanting to make energy-efficient upgrades to their homes.
Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC)’s Eco Plus Program
Another way to save with climate-change-friendly home improvements is the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC)’s Eco Plus program. Through the program, eligible homeowners can get a rebate of 25% of their mortgage insurance premium. To qualify, your home must have an energy efficiency certificate or meet specific energy efficiency or greenhouse gas targets. You’ll then need to complete a two-step application process with supporting documentation.
Keep in mind that home insurance is based on a number of factors, and while there are climate-change-friendly upgrades you can make that may help you save on your premium, green technology is often more expensive to replace, which could also impact what you pay. That’s why it’s important to compare home insurance rates at least once a year to ensure you’re getting the best rate, and always let your insurance provider know if you make any improvements to your home so you don’t miss out on potential savings.
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