The rising costs of living and increasing energy costs, paired with extreme weather events are making many homeowners think about investing in retrofits.
Retrofits can make homes more energy efficient and comfortable; the upgrades also reduce energy costs and environmental footprint. Yet, regardless of their benefits, the upfront cost of these renovations can be daunting and out of reach for many Canadians.
The City of Ottawa wanted to support residential homeowners with home energy improvement projects to reduce their energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions.
With an investment of $33.9 million, Vancity Community Investment Bank (VCIB) helped make it possible, as private capital was required for the City of Ottawa to access $12.2 million in funding through the Federation of Canadian Municipalities’ Green Municipal Fund.
The City of Ottawa launched the Better Homes Ottawa Loan Program, which offers 20-year, low-interest loans from $15,000 to $125,000 for residential homeowners make retrofits. The loan can be repaid by residents as a local improvement charge attached to their property tax bill.
Eligible upgrades include new windows and doors, heat pumps or other energy efficient HVAC appliances, and solar or geothermal technologies which make use of renewable energy.
Buildings and homes account for 13% of Canada’s greenhouse gas emissions (17% if we include the emissions caused by electricity use). The Better Homes Ottawa Loan Program is estimated to help reduce each household’s greenhouse gas emissions by 30% per year. Depending on the smart upgrades made on each property, homeowners can save from 10% to 48% on energy use and costs.
As part of the Vancity group, VCIB believes the climate crisis requires immediate action and financial institutions have a critical role to play in addressing it. Designed to advance the low-carbon transition, VCIB’s financing for this program supports Vancity’s commitment to be net-zero by 2040 across all mortgages and loans.
For more information about VCIB’s clean energy financing, visit vcib.ca/clean-energy.
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