Homeowner: One Tonne Challenge

Canada has ratified the Kyoto agreement to try to reduce emissions of greenhouse gasses that are known to affect the climate of our surroundings (the environment).

In Canada you can apply for a grant when you improve the heat efficiency of your home, whether by changing the heating system or by increasing insulation or probably even if you just replace the windows.

Note: the conservative government under Steven Harper dismantled all of previous Liberal the government's programmes to reduce emissions and many other environmental programmes; later, some of them returned.

The process involves these phases:

  1. Initial home inspection
  2. Receive report
  3. Upgrade your house
  4. Final home inspection

First, a government-accredited inspector comes to your home and measures the approximate efficiency of your home and heating. You should have the home inspection done before doing any work, because then the measurements will include all the improvements.

We used the governmnet Web page for the EnerGuide for Houses programme. You can get a brochure about EnerGuide from Natural Resources Canada; we got our copy of the brochure from the people who installed our new heating system.

The government Web site gives a list of licensed inspectors; we used HomePerformance.com but you should check the government site for one near you. The inspection costs approximately $300, plus travel, but the government pays half of it, so we ended up paying $175 (half the inspection fee and all of the travel).

The inspector came and looked around the house, writing down information about our old wood stoves and the state of our insulation. He then sealed our front door with a device he brought with him, and ran a giant fan sucking air out of our house until the pressure stayed constant. This showed him our rate of air loss.

We received the report, and also a usercode to use a grant calculator on the homeperformance Web site. This tells us that our estimated grant is between $1,695 and 2,300; $1,000 of that is for reducing air leakage. The average grant is over $600, so if you are going to be doing anything to your heating, insulation, sealing cracks around windows or doors, or otherwise reducing air leakage, you should certainly look into this programme.

We have not yet had the final report or possible grant; look for it here towards the end of 2006.