Canada Greener Homes Grants, Nobel Prize Summit and More

If you are fortunate to be a homeowner, especially in these times of sheltering in place during successive waves of the pandemic, perhaps you have been looking a little more closely at the walls and windows that surround you, and have decided now is the time to show your home a little (reno) love.

If so, in Canada, the timing just got a boost for benefiting your home, your wallet and Planet Earth in one go. (Well actually, make that a five-step process, with paperwork….)

On May 27, the federal government launched the portal where eligible homeowners may begin registering to access the new Canada Greener Homes Grant.  The goal is to help make Canadian homes more energy-efficient, contributing to Canada’s climate action. “Buildings, including our homes, account for 18% of Canada’s greenhouse gas emissions.” (https://bit.ly/3fFlWyp)

Here are highlights of what we learned at the Natural Resources Canada website for the Canada Greener Homes Grant.

Eligible Property Types

  • Single and semi-detached houses
  • Row housing
  • Townhomes
  • All-season cottages
  • Mobile homes on a permanent foundation
  • Permanently-moored floating homes
  • Mixed use buildings (residential portion only)Footnote1
  • Small multi-unit residential building (three storeys or less with a footprint of 600m2 or less)Footnote1

Grants

‘Up to 700,000 grants of up to $5,000 to help homeowners make energy efficient retrofits to their homes, such as better insulation

EnerGuide evaluations (worth up to $600) and expert advice to homeowners so they can begin to plan their retrofits

Recruitment and training of EnerGuide energy advisors to meet the increased demand; this will create new jobs across Canada.

Participants are eligible for up to $5,600 total under the initiative.’

Five-Step Process

Step 1 – Learn about the initiative, including eligibility criteria (e.g., proof of ownership)

Step 2 – Register and book your pre-retrofit evaluation

Step 3 – Plan, document and complete your home retrofits

Step 4 – Book your post-retrofit evaluation and apply for re-imbursement

Step 5 – $ – Confirm your grant total in the portal, and receive your re-imbursement

Eligible Retrofits

Solar panels spring to mind when we think about Greener Homes.  It is interesting to see the full range of what is eligible for grants and the category limits:

Home insulation
Update your eligible attic/ceiling, exterior wall, exposed floor, basement or foundation, and crawlspaces. (up to $5,000)

Air-sealing
Perform air sealing to improve the air-tightness of your home to achieve the air-change rate target (up to $1,000)

Windows and doors
Replace your windows or glass doors with ENERGY STAR® certified models (up to $5,000)

Thermostats
Add a smart thermostat to help improve your comfort and save money on your energy bill (must be combined with another retrofit) (up to $50)

Heating
Make the switch to more energy-efficient heating equipment to save on your utility bill and reduce your carbon footprint (up to $5,000)

Renewable energy
Install photovoltaic solar panels to convert sunlight energy into electricity (up to $5,000)

Resiliency measures
Incentives to protect your home and your family from environmental damages (must be combined with another retrofit) (up to $2625)”

What qualifies as a resiliency measure we wondered? Answer: Batteries connected to Photovoltaic systems to provide standby power for homes ($1000); Roofing Membrane – self-adhering roofing underlayment applied to entire roof ($150); Foundation water-proofing ($850); and, Moisture proofing crawl space floors, walls and headers 100% ($600)”

Some Finer Points

Readers will want to review the NRC website in detail if considering this grant opportunity.  For example, some of the finer points that caught our eyes include:

  • New homes are not eligible
  • Certain types of retrofits must be installed by a licensed professional
  • All retrofits must be purchased in Canada
  • It is the homeowner’s (and contractor’s) responsibility to ensure necessary building and utility permits are secured and that building codes and standards are being met
  • Detailed documentation is required throughout the process, including e.g., keeping all invoices, receipts, attestations, proof of work, until March 31, 2028
  • Federal grants are not taxable and do not have to be declared as income.

CBC’s article about the Grant program – https://bit.ly/3uLKRVC

Global News’ coverage – https://bit.ly/3cb4NdR

See related 2020 Guest Blog on Solar Panels in February, generously contributed by Randy  https://bit.ly/2xkawMO

For a timely overview of recent developments in solar energy, see this CBC piece on “Solar windows, shingles and cladding. The building itself is now the solar panel” at -https://www.cbc.ca/news/science/bipv-solar-1.6044485

International Climate Action “Urgency and Agency”

Countries begin to meet virtually over the next three weeks, to try to build consensus and sustain momentum for global action on reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions, in preparation for the all-important COP26 meeting in November 2021.

We found this Guardian piece offers a timely, compelling case for what’s at stake for the world. https://bit.ly/34BI3Q6

It includes memorable imagery (we thought) by eminent Earth Scientist, Johan Rockstrom, as he characterizes the momentum for change shown in 2021 as being like a ketchup bottle. Continuing causes for concern (including burning of the Amazon rainforests) are profiled in the Guardian interview with him, together with developments which give Rockstrom optimism, such as behind the scenes alignment by big economies (US, China, EU) on carbon zero; unexpected development for the net zero banking alliance; and, the race to decarbonize in the global car industry. He speaks about the importance of engagement and action by all sectors, not just governments, and a message that resonates with us both is that of “urgency and agency,” balancing the prevailing emphasis on risks (very real) with information and positive messages about solutions at hand.

The article and interview with Rockstrom also put on our radar a new series for Netflix by David Attenborough – Breaking Boundaries: The Science of Our Planet– in addition to Rockstrom’s latest book, Standing Up for a Sustainable World, both of which we will want to check out.

Johan Rockstrom’s Hothouse Earth discussion paper and videoclip (2018) https://bit.ly/3fZC0ds

Latest book (2020), Standing Up For A Sustainable World, Good Reads review – https://bit.ly/3yVO33U

10-minute TED talk (2020) – https://bit.ly/3yRZda6

David Attenborough Netflix series Breaking Boundaries: The Science of Our Planet – https://bit.ly/3vF2RC4

In sum, while there are reasons for hope, Johan Rockstrom provides clarity on what’s at stake for us all.

We have only ten years to cut GHG emissions by half.

Here’s hoping this helps keep everyone laser focused, energized and involved to achieve this milestone, which is so essential to ensuring a livable planet Earth in our lifetime and for generations to come.

It is heartening to know 126 Nobel laureates are lending their voices and championing change from across the disciplines.  (Interestingly, Rockstrom played an important role in spearheading this collaborative effort.) Here is the link to their April 2021 Nobel Prize Summit’s urgent call to action – Our Planet, Our Future https://bit.ly/3fAPNrP

Learn more about the Summit, presentations, papers, videoclips and how to get involved at the Nobel Prize Summit website –https://bit.ly/3ic9Iz0

We are inspired anew to double down on our personal climate action learning, and doing, paths. We hope our Friends4Trees4Life Blog encourages and supports you, our Readers, in your own journey.

How Trees Grow

It is all about the trees after all here at Friends4Trees4Life!

This timely two minute videoclip by One Tree Planted helped replace Catherine’s annoyance about the required daily sweeping of maple tree droppings at this time of the year, with a shift in perspective and renewed wonder and appreciation for the resilient life cycle of a tree….we hope you enjoy and feel uplifted by it too.  Happy spring!

c

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