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  • Writer's pictureFTFO

Can You Afford to Retrofit?

Updated: Oct 18, 2022

A few thoughts on the Canada Greener Homes Loan.

Last week's announcement of an interest free loan from the federal government up to $40,000 is a welcome addition to the decarbon toolbox.

Tax credits and rebates are always helpful and welcome, but for major expenditures like deep retrofits, many homeowners look at, say, a $25,000 plan that qualifies for $5,000 in rebates and then remark, "ok that's great, but I don't have the $20,000 to pay the balance". The absence of financing has been a huge barrier to many homeowners wanting to move ahead to decarbonize.

A few details: Who------homeowners only and homeowner occupied buildings only. Loan-----up to $40,000 Repayment-----up to 10 years Interest rate------0% Qualification-------need a decent credit score (I'm guessing that a credit score above 600 with no adverse credit events will be the main qualifier)

Paying back with energy savings Well prioritized projects will make the loan payments easily as many items have a payback period of under 10 years. Some will not generate savings in excess of the loan payment.

Here are some ideas that will have a good payback: 1. Drainwater heat recovery system 2. Low flow shower heads. 3. Heat pump hot water tank 4. Condensing/heat pump dryer (not sure if that qualifies for the loan) 5. Improved airtightness. 6. Smart thermostats and smart plugs. 7. Attic insulation 8. Solar panels (about 11-12 years payback)

More challenging for a good payback: 1. Heat pump heating. If you are electrically heated now, the payback will be really good. If you are replacing a gas furnace, the savings will be less pronounced. If the furnace is ready for replacement now, the payback is better but still not 10 years. The big advantage for homeowners is that a heat pump will supply air conditioning which is becoming more necessary as the climate continues to warm up.

2. Windows. It's difficult to evaluate the savings on windows but a straight replacement of windows that are currently in decent shape will take many years to pay off. However, if the existing windows are really bad and need replacement anyway, then upgrading to triple pane and strategically placed LowE glass (some coatings are good for south exposure, some are better for a north exposure) makes sense and the upgrades will pay off quickly and will be well worth it.

East Kootenay Cliimate Hub

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