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Province Adding Tools for Green Homes

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TORONTO – As we have mentioned here before, green home upgrades — such as upgrading your furnace, installing LED lights, or investing in high-efficiency windows — can carry a dual benefit of increasing your home value while saving some money on energy costs.

Finding out about those retrofits, and helping finance them, is about to get even easier, with the help of the Province of Ontario’s new Climate Change Action Plan (2016-2020), which was unveiled by the Office of the Premier on June 8.

Of the new plan’s eight key focus areas, two new initiatives are likely to be of the most interest to homeowners with an interest in DIY projects.

“Green Bank” will ease access to retrofit resources

Based on the example set by Efficiency Vermont and the New York Green Bank, one of the Action Plan’s most ambitious components is the formation of Ontario’s own green bank that will “deploy and finance readily available low-carbon energy technologies,” such as solar panels, air-source heat pumps, and energy storage systems.

At the residential level, the green bank will have two key responsibilities:

  • Helping households find out which grants are available for specific projects, and assist with calculating return on investment.
  • Providing homes with help securing flexible, low-interest financing for improvements that help lower greenhouse gas emissions.

The green bank will also provide assistance to commercial and industrial interests that are looking to make their buildings greener.

New initiatives to make greener home technologies accessible

Another key component of the Action Plan will involve giving homeowners the “tools and resources to help make the right choice” when it comes to home improvements. Some of the newer choices the government intends to encourage include:

  • Installing relatively new technologies, such as air-source heat pumps.
  • Replacing rural communities’ older wood stoves with newer, more energy-efficient models.
  • Introducing rebates for individuals who “purchase or build their own near net zero carbon emission homes,” in order to provide a green incentive not only for buyers, but for developers as well.

“Ontario’s Climate Change Action Plan will […] help people and businesses reduce their carbon footprint, save money and accelerate a shift to a more sustainable society,” explained Glen Murray, Ontario’s Minister of the Environment and Climate Change.

“Through the plan, Ontarians and the government are doing their part in the global effort to fight climate change.”

For those interested in viewing the full text of the Action Plan, it can be viewed online or downloaded in .PDF form by clicking here.

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