On July 7, Council unanimously approved the Better Homes Loan Program, which will enable homeowners to access financing to pay for home energy improvements and help reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

The program will make it easier and more affordable for you to pay for home improvements over time as you save on your energy bills. 

As a homeowner, you could qualify for up to $125,000 or 10 per cent of their home’s value for eligible improvements, which include upgrades for space and water heating, as well as renewable energy systems. 

For example, you could upgrade your insulation or add daylighting devices and exterior window shadings or films. You could add mechanical systems like energy/heat recovery ventilators or solar hot water systems. Or, you could add low-flow toilets or a hot water circulation system. For a complete list of eligible improvements, visit this page. 

The program will be available to all detached, semi-detached, townhouse or multi-unit resident building (three stories or less) unit owners within the City of Ottawa boundaries. 

The loan is tied to the property, not the owner, which means that if the home is sold before the loan is repaid, the new owner would assume the loan’s balance.

The program will also include an online tool to help homeowners decide which retrofits to implement based on cost-benefit and greenhouse gas reduction potential. It will also help homeowners connect with qualified contractors and include details of rebates and incentives.

To access the loan, you would go through the following steps:

Step 1: Complete the application forms, and if it meets all the requirements, the City will approve it. 

Step 2: Get an EnerGuide energy audit, which identifies what measures are required. You then select a contractor(s) to complete the work. The City provides 30 per cent of funds upfront to cover deposits.

Step 3: The work is completed. A post-work EnerGuide energy audit is carried out. The City provides the balance of the loan.

Step 4: When the work is deemed complete, you pay the contractor(s).

Step 5: You repay the loan over time via your property tax bill.

This program will work in tandem with other rebate and incentive programs like the Canada Greener Homes Grant.

The launch date of this program has yet to be determined as this program is still being developed. However, keep in mind that any work completed before applying for the program will not be eligible for financing. 

If you would like to receive updates on the Better Homes Loan Program and other climate change news subscribe to the climate change e-newsletter.

More information here: https://engage.ottawa.ca/bhlp