Ottawa

City of Ottawa to launch its own home retrofit program

The City of Ottawa plans to launch its own home retrofit program this fall aimed at helping owners upgrade older homes to waste less energy.

Ottawa expects to help finance 600 retrofits of about $20,000 each

Window installer Michel Lauzon insulates a window at a job site in Ottawa. New windows would be part of the local retrofit program. (Marc-André Cossette/CBC)

The City of Ottawa plans to launch its own home retrofit program this fall to help owners upgrade older homes to waste less energy.

Residential buildings cause more than a quarter of greenhouse gas emissions in Ottawa when they heat spaces and water inefficiently, city staff say. Ottawa declared a climate emergency in 2019 and has set tougher goals for reducing emissions.

Under the "better homes" loan program, an Ottawa homeowner would get a low-interest loan from the city to help pay for retrofits, such as replacing windows, adding insulation, installing heat pumps or electric vehicle chargers.

The loans would be paid back over 20 years on property tax bills. They would be tied to properties as a lien, so that if an owner sold, new owners would pay the rest while living in the more efficient home.

The city has just over $16 million to use for the program, by way of a grant and interest-free loan from the Federation of Canadian Municipalities, as well as a loan from the credit union VanCity.

City staff expect the program to help finance 600 home energy retrofits valued at $20,000 each over the next three years. Local non-profit organization, EnviroCentre, will run much of the program, from marketing to training contractors to doing the paperwork and reporting on how well it works.

The city aims to market the loans first to rowhouses in areas near the downtown core, as well as single-detached homes built in neighbourhoods such as Beacon Hill, Carlington, and Queensway Terrace North.

This announcement follows a pledge from the federal government in May for its own home retrofit program.

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