Frequently Asked Questions

Understanding Home Evaluations

What are EnerGuide home evaluations?

An EnerGuide home evaluation is a comprehensive service designed by the federal government to help you improve the comfort and energy efficiency of your home. As part of the service, an energy advisor will come to your home and assess its energy performance. Energy advisors are building science professionals who will provide you with unbiased energy saving information, rather than selling any particular products or recommending particular contractors.

Read more on Natural Resources Canada’s EnerGuide Home Evaluation info-graphic.

Did you see a building science or energy efficiency term you did not understand? Check out our glossary.

What is an EnerGuide home label?

After an EnerGuide home evaluation, you will receive an EnerGuide home label to affix to your electrical panel or another location. The EnerGuide label provides summarized information from your energy evaluation.

The label includes:

    • Your EnerGuide rating: the modelled energy consumption of your home measured in gigajoules per year. The lower the rating, the less energy you consume.
    • A typical new house reference: the EnerGuide rating your home would have if it had been built to current building code. Your current home’s rating may be more or less efficient than a brand new home.
    • Breakdown of the rated annual energy consumption: A pie-chart breakdown of the major energy uses within the house and an initial overview of where you can lower home energy costs.
    • Greenhouse gas emissions: the estimated GHGs emitted annually as a result of using energy in your home.

An example of an EnerGuide home label, including a meter with GJ/year, rated annual energy consumption, breakdown of rated annual energy consumption, and a QR code for further details.

For a more detailed explanation of the EnerGuide Label, please view the EnerGuide Label Example and the Guide to the EnerGuide Label for Homes.

Did you see a building science or energy efficiency term you did not understand? Check out our glossary.

What is an EnerGuide Label?

The EnerGuide label on a newly constructed home is the document which summarizes the home’s energy performance information from the EnerGuide home evaluation completed after the home was constructed. The EnerGuide label should be permanently posted in a visible spot in the home, for example in the home’s mechanical room or on the electrical panel.

The label includes:

  • Your EnerGuide rating – the modelled energy consumption of your home measured in gigajoules per year. The lower the rating, the less energy you consume.
  • A typical new house reference – the reference point that shows the estimated energy consumption of a home that is the same size, location and design as yours and built to the current new construction energy efficiency requirements of the National Building Code.
  • Breakdown of the rated annual energy consumption – a pie-chart breakdown of the major energy uses within the home.
  • Greenhouse gas emissions – the estimated GHGs emitted annually as a result of using energy in your home.

For a more detailed explanation see the Natural Resources Canada Guide to the EnerGuide Label for Homes.

When should I have an EnerGuide Evaluation?

There are two EnerGuide Evaluation Services for new homes. The pre-construction evaluation, which is completed during the design stage of the project, and the post-construction evaluation, which is completed once the house has been built.

Pre-Construction EnerGuide Evaluation (Construction Upgrade Service)

Contact a registered energy advisor to perform the pre-construciton EnerGuide evaluation  when you are in the design and planning stage of a new home project.

This service is especially useful when builders are trying to build to minimum performance levels as required by BC Energy Step Code, and other green building certification requirements.

Post-Construction EnerGuide Evaluation (Basic Service)

The post-construction EnerGuide service can be completed for a new home anytime after construction is finished up until it is six months old, based on the date of occupancy by the first homeowner.

To read more about EnerGuide evaluations and their benefits, visit our EnerGuide Home Evaluation FAQs.

What are EnerGuide home evaluations and what are the benefits?

An EnerGuide home evaluation for residential new construction is a comprehensive service designed by the federal government to help builders and developers understand how a home uses energy and what steps you can take to improve the building plans and construction process to maximize the energy efficiency of the home built. The service involves a registered new homes energy advisor assessing your home’s energy performance by collecting information on the following components of your home:

  • Size and geometry of your home
  • Type and efficiency of space and hot water heating systems
  • Insulation levels
  • Windows and doors
  • Ventilation systems
  • Air-leakage (using a blower-door test)

This information is used to generate a pre-construction and as-built EnerGuide rating for the home and a pre-construction builder upgrades options report to outline the options and opportunities to improve the efficiency of the home during the construction process. Registered energy advisors are building science professionals who provide unbiased energy saving information, rather than recommending any particular product.

The key benefits of consulting an energy advisor for your construction project are:

  • Energy Modelling to Improve Design – energy advisors conduct energy modelling to verify how much energy a proposed building is expected to use. Energy advisors also use energy modelling to provide detailed information on how each upgrade option to your building plans can improve the efficiency of the home you are building. This allows the builder to select the upgrade option that best suits the construction budget, the design of the home or the preferences of their clients.
  • BC Energy Step Code Verification Services – energy modelling can confirm the home meets the minimum requirements of the BC Building Code or any step of the BC Energy Step Code. Registered EnerGuide Rating System energy advisors are authorized to provide builders with the service to complete the BC Energy Compliance Report for Part 9 buildings complying with Subsection 9.36.5. or 9.36.6. of the BC Building Code.
  • Access Incentives – using a registered energy advisor can support you to access financial incentives and rebates for building to a higher level of construction. Check out the incentive search tool for information about incentives and rebates.
  • Access a Home Energy Label – a home energy label is an information tool, produced by a trusted and recognized third-party, and designed to provide consumers with recognizable and comparable information about the modeled energy consumption of a home. Having a Home energy label produced for each home constructed represents a marketing opportunity for industry to differentiate themselves as builders of high efficiency homes. The home energy label validates the builder’s investments in energy efficient construction and provides the consumer with the information to make an informed choice when purchasing a home.

Learn more about EnerGuide Evaluations through the other related FAQs on the CleanBC Better Homes website.

What happens during a pre- and post upgrade EnerGuide home evaluation?

During a pre-upgrade evaluation, your energy advisor will:

  • Ask you about your goals for your home and any efficiency or comfort issues you’d like help solving
  • Measure the size and heated volume of your home
  • Document the existing insulation levels throughout your home
  • Record the make and model of your space and water heating systems
  • Perform a blower door test to identify air leakage problems and calculate your air changes per hour and your home’s equivalent leakage area (how big a hole the air leaks in your home would make if all combined together)
  • Use HOT2000 to build an energy model of your home
  • Explain relevant rebate programs
  • Provide you with a Renovation Upgrade Report which gives you customized recommendations about which energy saving upgrades make the most sense for your home, and what energy savings you can expect from each upgrade.
  • Issue you an EnerGuide rating, which demonstrates the energy performance of your home, and the EnerGuide Label which is the proof of that energy rating.

During a post-upgrade evaluation, your energy advisor will:

  • Return to your home and check your home’s energy performance after completing your upgrades and renovations
  • Document the changes in your home since your pre-upgrade evaluation and calculate your new EnerGuide rating. The data will be used to create an updated label and Homeowner Information Sheet.

If you are planning to access rebates, ensure that you have all of the necessary documentation for your application at this stage. If you are selling your home, consider including your EnerGuide rating in the MLS listing for your home to show a third-party verified confirmation of your home’s energy efficiency.

For more details or to schedule an energy evaluation, contact a program-qualified energy advisor.

Did you see a building science or energy efficiency term you did not understand? Check out our glossary.

Eligibility

How do I pre-register?

CleanBC Income Qualified Program participants must pre-register and confirm their eligibility prior to installing upgrades. Pre-register by completing the online form through the participant portal. You will be asked to submit income qualifying documentation and answer questions about your home to help determine which home upgrades are right for you.

If you would like additional support from a CleanBC Income Qualified Program energy coach to pre-register and determine which home upgrades are right for you, you can also pre-register by booking an energy coaching call or virtual assessment of your home. Book these services directly through the participant portal, or contact us at 1-833-856-0333 or IncomeQualified@betterhomesbc.ca.

I am a tenant and do not own my home, am I eligible?

Yes, if you meet the eligibility criteria you can still participate in the CleanBC Income Qualified Program as a tenant. Your landlord will need to complete and sign the Landlord Consent Form. Upload a copy of the signed form when you pre-register.

What is an eligibility code?

An eligibility code is a unique identifier assigned to each participant once they have been confirmed as eligible for the CleanBC Income Qualified Program. Please ensure you provide your contractor with your eligibility code, as they will use it to verify your eligibility and apply for CleanBC Income Qualified Program rebates.

I’m not ready to pre-register, but would like support to determine if I may be eligible. Is this available?

Yes. Use the five-question online pre-screening tool to determine if you may be eligible for the CleanBC Income Qualified Program, or contact the program at 1-833-856-0333 or IncomeQualified@betterhomesbc.ca for assistance. However, please note that eligibility can only be confirmed by completing pre-registration. Participants that have been confirmed as eligible will receive an eligibility code.

Where can I find my eligibility code?

Participants must pre-register for the CleanBC Income Qualified Program. Following pre-registration, eligible participants will receive an eligibility code. It can be found in your Opportunities Report or within the Opportunities section of the participant portal.

How long is an eligibility code valid for?

An eligibility code is valid until CleanBC Income Qualified Program funding is fully allocated or the program ends. Funding is subject to availability and is allocated on a first come, first served basis.

Why am I required to provide income qualifying documentation?

The CleanBC Income Qualified Program offers enhanced rebates to make energy-saving home upgrades more affordable and aims to serve households experiencing energy poverty. To receive enhanced rebates through the program, participants must demonstrate that they meet the income qualifying criteria by submitting appropriate supporting documentation. Participants that do not meet the income qualifying criteria may be eligible to participate in the CleanBC Better Homes and Home Renovation Rebate Program.

I am not comfortable providing income qualifying documentation, can I still participate in the CleanBC Better Homes Income Qualified Program?

We understand that sharing your income qualifying documentation can be uncomfortable. However, we need to collect this documentation to confirm your eligibility for the program.

Income qualifying documentation must be submitted for each member of your household that is over the age of 18 (excluding dependents). Types of income qualifying documentation we accept include:

  • Notice of Assessment (NOA) from the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA). To get your NOA, please contact the CRA at 1-800-959-8281. Ensure that all information on the NOA is redacted except for your name, effective date, and line 150.
  • Verification of income or disability assistance, e.g. your monthly report (cheque stub), or a printed copy of your Confirmation of Assistance if you’re registered for My Self Serve.
  • A Shelter Aid for Elderly Renters (SAFER) cheque stub, acknowledgement letter or benefit change letter from BC Housing.
  • A Rental Assistance Program acknowledgment letter or benefit change letter from BC Housing.
  • National Child Benefit Supplement notice from Canada Revenue Agency.
  • Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS) notice.
  • Bank statement for 3 months, with all information expect name and pay deposits redacted or 3 recent paystubs with all information expect name and payment amounts redacted.
  • Proof of participation or eligibility in the Energy Conservation Assistance Program (ECAP), including eligibility confirmation letters or emails, approval letters or emails or other ECAP documentation that demonstrates proof of participation or eligibility.
  • An Endorsement Form completed by a professional or organization with knowledge of a participant’s financial situation, where they can attest to their income meeting the program criteria.
  • Proof of participation or eligibility in a program that has income qualifying criteria aligned with the CleanBC Better Homes Income Qualified Program. Contact us at 1-833-856-0333 or IncomeQualified@betterhomesbc.ca for further guidance if this applies to you.

I live in a stacked duplex or stacked townhouse, am I eligible?

Stacked duplexes or stacked townhouses are eligible for the CleanBC Better Homes Income Qualified Program if each unit is individually metered and has:

  • its own individual entrance on an exterior wall (e.g. each unit has its own front door);
  • no more than three stories above finished grade;
  • no shared hallways or elevator;
  • two or more exterior walls; and
  • one private outdoor space (front, side, rear or rooftop).

If you are unsure if your home is an eligible building type, contact us at 1-833-856-0333 or IncomeQualified@betterhomesbc.ca.

I live in an apartment or condo building, am I eligible?

Unfortunately, you do not qualify, as multi-unit residential buildings are not an eligible housing type under the CleanBC Better Homes Income Qualified Program. For more information on CleanBC programs for multi-unit residential buildings, visit www.betterbuildingsbc.ca.

If you purchase and install eligible ENERGY STAR® appliances, you may be eligible for rebates through BC Hydro and FortisBC:

  • BC Hydro Appliance Rebate Program: seasonal rebates are available for select ENERGY STAR appliances and products. Visit bchydro.com/deals before you make any purchases to learn about current rebates and requirements.
  • FortisBC Appliance Rebates: receive a rebate between $50-$250 for replacing your clothes washer, clothes dryer, or refrigerator with qualifying ENERGY STAR models. Check the FortisBC website before you make any purchases to determine the status of the program, as well as the eligibility of the model.

CleanBC Better Homes New Construction

What are the documentation requirements for the CleanBC Better Homes New Construction Program?

To access rebates from the CleanBC Better Homes New Construction Program you are required to provide supporting documentation with your rebate application. Be sure to review the Rebate Eligibility Requirements and Terms and Conditions for a complete list of invoice and supporting documentation requirements.

Supporting documentation requirements differ based on your rebate pathway, add-on rebates, and your building permit date.

Pre-registration Form

All applicants must upload a copy of the home’s building permit during pre-registration. In jurisdictions that do not require building permits, proof of the start of construction must be submitted (e.g. invoice for foundation work).

Post-construction Application

Energy Step Code Pathway

  • As-Built BC Energy Compliance Report; and
  • EnerGuide (N) Evaluation Homeowner Information Sheet for each individually modelled home or unit.
    • For Passive House certified homes, submit the Passive House Planning Package and a copy of the home’s Passive House certificate instead.

Heat Pump Pathway

  • Heat pump installation invoice;
  • Heat load calculation that meets the program-approved methodology (required if building permit is issued on or after April 1, 2022); and
  • If applying for the Energy Advisor Support Rebate, the As-Built BC Energy Compliance Report and EnerGuide (N) Evaluation Homeowner Information Sheet.

Heat pump installation invoices must meet these requirements:

  • All service invoices/receipts must indicate details of the work performed and the address where the work was performed.
  • The contractor’s company name, contact information (phone and/or email), address and GST number must be on the invoices.
  • The builder’s company name and contact information (phone and/or email) must be on the invoices.
  • All product purchase invoices/receipts must have the product’s make, model number, and purchase date.
  • All copies of invoices and documentation must be clear and legible.

For detailed documentation requirements by heat pump type see the sample invoices below.

Add-on Rebates

Energy Advisor Support Rebate

  • As-Built BC Energy Compliance Report; and
  • EnerGuide (N) Evaluation Homeowner Information Sheet for each individually modelled home or unit.
  • For Passive House certified homes, submit the Passive House Planning Package and a copy of the home’s Passive House certificate instead).

All-Electric Bonus Rebate (available only if building permit is issued from September 1, 2021 – March 31, 2022)

  • As-Built B.C. Energy Compliance Report. A Program Qualified Energy Advisor must complete the following sections:
    • Section B, Other Impacting Features, indicating that there is no fossil fuel connection or use in the home (i.e. no piping, meter, storage or associated equipment on the property); and
    • Section F, Other Energy Modelling Metrics, indicating that fossil fuel consumption is 0 GJ/year.
  • See the sample report for Section B and F requirements.

Did you see a building science or energy efficiency term you did not understand? Check out our glossary.

My municipality is offering Energy Step Code rebates. Can I access both offers?

Yes, CleanBC Better Homes New Construction Program rebates can be combined with municipal Energy Step Code-related offers.

Did you see a building science or energy efficiency term you did not understand? Check out our glossary.

How do I verify the minimum BC Energy Step Code requirement in my municipality?

Prospective applicants should contact the planning and development department of the municipality where the home is being constructed to verify current and future requirements.

Did you see a building science or energy efficiency term you did not understand? Check out our glossary.

I am building a new home in Fortis Electric’s service area. Can I participate in the CleanBC Better Homes New Construction Program?

No, at this time the CleanBC Better Homes New Construction Program is not available to homes built in FortisBC Electric territory. Homes must be built in BC Hydro’s or New West Electric’s electrical service area.

Did you see a building science or energy efficiency term you did not understand? Check out our glossary.

Can I combine rebates from both ZEBx’s Near Zero program and the CleanBC Better Homes New Construction program?

No, CleanBC Better Homes New Construction Program rebates cannot be combined with rebates from ZEBx’s Near Zero program.

Did you see a building science or energy efficiency term you did not understand? Check out our glossary.

I’m building an eligible home. Can I apply for rebates for both the heat pump pathway and the Energy Step Code pathway?

No, applicants can only participate in and receive rebates for one pathway. You will be prompted to select a pathway when submitting your program application.

Did you see a building science or energy efficiency term you did not understand? Check out our glossary.

I’m building a home with a natural gas appliance (eg. fireplace, cooktop, dryer, etc). Can I participate in the CleanBC Better Homes New Construction Program?

If your building permit was issued on or after April 1, 2022:

  • You can participate in the heat pump pathway if you install gas appliances. However, you cannot participate in the Energy Step Code pathway, which requires homes to be all electric (i.e. use electric primary and secondary space and water heating systems and appliances). A wood or solid fuel heating system (wood or pellet stove, insert or furnace) may be used for back-up heating.

If your building permit was issued from April 1, 2020 – March 31, 2022:

  • Yes, you can still participate in the CleanBC Better Homes New Construction Program, provided that all eligibility requirements are met. However, you will not be eligible for the All-Electric Bonus if you install gas appliances. This optional rebate is only available to builders who construct a home with no fossil fuel (e.g. natural gas, propane, oil) connection or use whatsoever.

Did you see a building science or energy efficiency term you did not understand? Check out our glossary.

Are dual fuel ducted heat pumps eligible to receive a rebate through the heat pump pathway?

No, dual fuel ducted heat pumps are not eligible to receive CleanBC Better Homes New Construction Program rebates. Secondary heating may include other electric systems or wood or solid fuel heating systems.

Did you see a building science or energy efficiency term you did not understand? Check out our glossary.

I am building a new home with a natural gas or propane water heating system. Am I eligible for the CleanBC Better Homes New Construction Program?

Homes with natural gas or propane water heaters are limited to participating in the heat pump pathway and can only apply for an electric heat pump rebate for space heating and the optional Energy Advisor Support Rebate.

Did you see a building science or energy efficiency term you did not understand? Check out our glossary.

I am building a new home with a [natural gas, propane, or wood] primary heating system. Am I eligible for the CleanBC Better Homes New Construction Program?

Homes that are not electrically space heated are limited to participating in the heat pump pathway and can only apply for an electric heat pump water heater rebate and the optional Energy Advisor Support Rebate.

Did you see a building science or energy efficiency term you did not understand? Check out our glossary.

I am constructing a Part 3 building. Can I access rebates through the CleanBC Better Homes New Construction Program?

No, buildings must comply with Part 9 of the BC Building Code to participate in the CleanBC Better Homes New Construction Program. However, your Part 3 project may be eligible for the CleanBC Commercial New Construction Program. For more information, visit betterbuildingsbc.ca.

Did you see a building science or energy efficiency term you did not understand? Check out our glossary.

My home or building did not achieve the BC Energy Step Code step we were targeting. Can I still receive the Energy Step Code rebate?

If your home did not achieve the target step indicated on your pre-registration form, the rebate amount will be determined by the step achieved, given that a minimum of Step 3 was achieved and the home is compliant with applicable municipal BC Energy Step Code requirements.

Did you see a building science or energy efficiency term you did not understand? Check out our glossary.

General Rebates and Upgrades

What is my climate zone?

To identify which climate zone your home is in, reference the city listing or map of BC’s climate zones below. If you are not able to determine your zone please email betterhomesbc@gov.bc.ca for additional support.

A map and table reference of BC Climate Zones per BCBC. The BC Building Code defines the energy performance targets of the Step Code based on the building's climate zone (CZ). The BC climate zones are defined by the average heating degree-days below 18°C (HDD). The BC Building Code states that the authority having jurisdiction (AHJ) can establish climatic values to define climate zones, typically based on information from Environment Canada, and building designers must consult the AHJ before making any assumptions about a building's climate zone. Note that in some locations, there may be several climate zones due to variations in elevation.

What are municipal utility providers?

Municipal utility providers are located within the service territories of BC Hydro or FortisBC. These municipalities sell electricity directly to their customers.

Municipal utility providers within the BC Hydro service territory:

  • New Westminster

Municipal utility providers within the FortisBC service territory:

  • Grand Forks
  • Summerland
  • Penticton
  • Nelson

I live in an apartment/condo and would like to do some energy efficiency upgrades. Are there any rebates available to me?

As a resident in an apartment or condo, there are a few different rebate offers you can consider. If you live in an income-qualifying household you can apply for a Free Energy Saving Kit from BC Hydro, FortisBC, or Pacific Northern Gas.

If you purchase and install eligible ENERGY STAR® appliances, you may be eligible for appliance rebates through BC Hydro and FortisBC:

  • BC Hydro Appliance Rebate Program: receive a rebate of up to $100 for replacing your current clothes washer, refrigerator, and clothes dryer with qualifying ENERGY STAR models. Check the BC Hydro Appliance rebate program before you make any purchases to determine the status of the program, as well as the eligibility of the model.
  • FortisBC Appliance Rebates: receive a rebate between $50-$250 for replacing your clothes washer, clothes dryer, or refrigerator with qualifying ENERGY STAR models. Check the FortisBC website before you make any purchases to determine the status of the program, as well as the eligibility of the model.

Did you see a building science or energy efficiency term you did not understand? Check out our glossary.

Are there rebates for LED lights?

Instant in-store rebates for LED lighting are offered seasonally to BC Hydro and FortisBC customers. Use our rebate search tool and selecting ‘Lighting’ to see if these rebates are currently available.

Income-qualified households may be able to access LED lights and bulbs through the following free programs offered by FortisBC and BC Hydro:

The Energy Conservation Assistance Program is available to income-qualified households and provides an in-home visit with free energy-saving product installation, including energy-saving light-bulbs.

The Free Energy Saving Kits Program is available to income-qualified BC Hydro customers, PNG customers, FortisBC electric customers, and municipal electric customers. Participants in this program can receive LED bulbs, an LED night light, and other energy-efficient products.

Did you see a building science or energy efficiency term you did not understand? Check out our glossary.

General Eligibility

What do the CleanBC Better Homes and Home Renovation Rebate Programs define as my Primary Heating System?

The CleanBC Better Homes and Home Renovation Rebate Program Requirements and Additional Terms and Conditions include primary heating systems as one of the determining factors for eligibility.

To participate in the CleanBC Better Homes and Home Renovation Rebate Programs, the home must be heated by a primary heating system that uses an eligible fuel type.

Eligible fuel types:

  • Electricity supplied by BC Hydro
  • Natural gas supplied by FortisBC Energy Inc.
  • Natural gas supplied by Pacific Northern Gas Ltd.
  • Piped-propane supplied by FortisBC Energy Inc.
  • Electricity supplied by FortisBC Inc.
  • Oil
  • Propane (not supplied by FortisBC)
  • Electricity supplied by a Municipal Utility
  • Wood or other solid fuel (eligible for select upgrades only)

The Terms and Conditions define a Primary Heating System as:

  • A primary heating system is a heating system with the capacity to heat a minimum of 50% of the home for the entire heating season to 21ºC.
  • When the home is heated with electricity supplied by BC Hydro, the home must meet a minimum electricity consumption to be considered primarily electrically heated. See the What does Minimum Electricity Consumption Mean? FAQ for more information and to check your eligibility.
  • Determination of the primary heating type is at the sole discretion of the program partners.

Clarifications and Exceptions for determining your Primary Heating System

  • Open wood fireplaces, natural gas fireplaces, and propane fireplaces are not considered primary heating systems by the CleanBC Better Homes and Home Renovation Rebate Programs even if it is the only heating system in use on the premises or if the system has the capacity and is used to heat a minimum of 50% of the home for the entire heating season.
  • Where both a primary heating system and a fireplace are present, the fireplace will not be considered the primary heating system.
  • If the home does not meet the minimum electricity consumption rates as determined by BC Hydro and the home has no other eligible heating system, the participant will not be eligible to receive rebates through the CleanBC Better Homes and Home Renovation Rebate Program.
  • Homes heated primarily by natural gas from Pacific Northern Gas (PNG) are are eligible for: insulation rebates, window/door rebates, fuel switch heat pump rebates, heat pump water heater rebates, as well as bonus offers and EnerGuide home evaluation rebates. They are currently not eligible for natural gas furnace rebates, natural gas boiler rebates, natural gas fireplace rebates, or natural gas water heater rebates.
  • Homes heated primarily by wood or other solid fuels are eligible for: air source heat pump rebates, heat pump water heater rebate, natural gas water heater rebate, EnerGuide home evaluation rebates, and the Two Upgrade Bonus.

 What is my Primary Heating System?

  • To be considered primarily heated by electricity supplied by BC Hydro, the home must meet minimum electricity consumption rate, calculated by energy use per square foot. Use the BC Hydro Home Renovation Rebate program eligibility tool to determine whether your home meets the minimum electricity consumption rate and can be considered primarily heated by electricity in BC Hydro territory.
  • To be considered primarily heated by electricity supplied by FortisBC, the home must have an electric heating system such as baseboards, furnace, or a heat pump which are primarily used. If a fireplace exists on the premises, the electric heating system is still considered the primary heating system.
  • To be considered primarily heated by oil, the home must have an oil furnace or boiler which is primarily used. If a fireplace exists on the premises, the oil heating system is still considered the primary heating system.
  • To be considered primarily heated by natural gas or propane, the home must have a natural gas or propane furnace or boiler which is primarily used. If a fireplace exists on the premises, the natural gas or propane heating system is still considered the primary heating system.
  • To be considered primarily heated by wood or other solid fuel, the home must have a wood or pellet stove, insert or furnace and no other heating system in the home or have back up electrical heating (e.g. baseboards) that is rarely or not used.

When determining the rebate you may be eligible for, the heating system(s) present on site prior to the installation of the new primary heating system will determine the space heating rebate available to you through the CleanBC Better Homes and Home Renovation Rebate Program.

Primary Heating System Type

System Fuel Type

Available Primary Space Heating Rebates

Notes

Electric Baseboard / Wall Heater Electricity
  • Air source heat pump (convert from electric)
  • No rebates for installing electric baseboards
  • No rebates for installing electric furnaces
  • No rebates for converting from electricity to natural gas primary heating systems
Electric Furnace Electricity
  • Air source heat pump (convert from electric)
  • No rebates for installing electric baseboards
  • No rebates for installing electric furnaces
  • No rebates for converting from electricity to natural gas primary heating systems
Electric Heat Pump Electricity
  •  None
  • There are no rebates for replacing an existing heat pump
Electric Combination Space / Water Heat Pump Electricity
  •  None
  • There are no rebates for replacing an existing heat pump
Electric Air-to-Water Heat Pump Electricity
  •  None
  • There are no rebates for replacing an existing heat pump
Natural Gas Furnace Natural Gas
  • Air source heat pump (convert from fossil fuel)
  • Air source heat pump with fossil fuel back-up (dual fuel system)
  • Air to water heat pump (convert from fossil fuel)
  • Natural Gas Furnace
  • Natural Gas Boiler
  • Homes primarily heated by natural gas supplied by PNG are not eligible for Natural Gas Furnace, Boiler or Combination System rebates
Natural Gas Boiler or Combination System Natural Gas
  • Air source heat pump (convert from fossil fuel)
  • Air source heat pump with fossil fuel back-up (dual fuel system)
  • Air to water heat pump (convert from fossil fuel)
  • Natural Gas Furnace
  • Natural Gas Boiler
  •  Homes primarily heated by natural gas supplied by PNG are not eligible for Natural Gas Furnace, Boiler or Combination System rebates
Propane Furnace Propane
  • Air source heat pump (convert from fossil fuel)
  • Air source heat pump with fossil fuel back-up (dual fuel system)
  • Air to water heat pump (convert from fossil fuel)
Propane Boiler Propane
  • Air source heat pump (convert from fossil fuel)
  • Air source heat pump with fossil fuel back-up (dual fuel system)
  • Air to water heat pump (convert from fossil fuel)
Oil Furnace Oil
  • Air source heat pump (convert from fossil fuel)
  • Air source heat pump with fossil fuel back-up (dual fuel system, northern climates only)
  • Air to water heat pump (convert from fossil fuel)
Oil Boiler Oil
  • Air source heat pump (convert from fossil fuel)
  • Air source heat pump with fossil fuel back-up (dual fuel system, northern climates only)
  • Air to water heat pump (convert from fossil fuel)
Wood stove Wood
(solid fuel)
  • Air source heat pump (convert from wood)

Examples of Determining Primary Heating System: 

  • Electric baseboards and a natural gas fireplace are present in the same home, located within the BC Hydro service area. The home must meet the Minimum Electricity Consumption to be considered primarily heated by BC Hydro Electricity.
  • An electric furnace and a woodstove are present in the same home, located within the BC Hydro service territory. The home meets minimum electricity consumption thresholds. The electric furnace is the primary heating system.
  • Electric baseboards and a woodstove are present in the same home, located within the BC Hydro service territory. The home does not meet minimum electricity consumption thresholds. The woodstove is the primary heating system.
  • An oil boiler or furnace and natural gas fireplace are present in the same home. The oil boiler or furnace is the primary heating system.
  • A natural gas furnace and a natural gas fireplace are present in the same home. The natural gas furnace is the primary heating system.
  • A heat pump and a wood fireplace are present in the same home. The heat pump is the primary heating system.

Heat Pump Rebates are Not Available When:

  • There is a heat pump on the premises already. Replacing an existing heat pump or adding a head to an existing heat pump are not eligible. This applies whether the heat pump is functioning or not functioning.
  • BC Hydro customers want to upgrade their electric heating system to a heat pump but do not meet the Minimum Electricity Consumption.
  • The home is not an eligible home type.
  • The heat pump that is installed does not meet minimum program requirements.

How do I know if my home is substantially reconstructed?

Effective April 01, 2020, the CleanBC Better Homes and Home Renovation Rebate Program (Program) considers “substantially reconstructed” homes as new construction projects and therefore not eligible for the Program’s renovation rebates. This is in alignment with the Homeowner Protection Act’s definition of a new home and BC Housing’s definition of “substantially reconstructed”. Under the Homeowner Protection Act (Act) a home that has been substantially reconstructed is a new home for the purposes of the Act. BC Housing defines substantially reconstructed as a home that has been changed so 25% or less of the original structure above foundation remains, or 75% or more of the reconstructed home is new.

For example, if the foundation remains but more than 75% of the structure above is new, the home is substantially reconstructed and would not be eligible for rebates offered by the CleanBC Better Homes and Home Renovation Rebate Program. A re-build after a large house fire would often be considered substantially reconstructed.

A large majority of renovation projects do not fall under substantially reconstructed. If permits and licensing is required during your renovation project, contact BC Housing for more information.

For full information on the definition, scenario examples, and New Home Registration Form requirements see BC Housing’s Regulatory Bulletin No 6: Substantially Reconstructed Homes and the Homeowner Project Act  and visit the Homeowner Protection Act and Regulations page on BC Housing’s website.

If you are unsure whether your home is considered substantially reconstructed and therefore not eligible for rebates under the Program, please contact the Licensing and Consumer Services branch of BC Housing at licensinginfo@bchousing.org with the details of your project. The BC Housing Bulletin No 6 linked above outlines the specifics that must be addressed in the email.

Please note: CleanBC Energy Coaches cannot determine whether your home has been substantially reconstructed. Final determination of your home’s project is decided by BC Housing.

What rebates are available?

This FAQ speaks specifically to the The CleanBC Better Homes and Homes Renovation Rebate Program, for all rebates currently available, please use the Rebate Search Tool to find offers in your area.

The CleanBC Better Homes and Homes Renovation Rebate Program determines what rebates, bonus offers, and requirements apply to a rebate application based on the Invoice Date for each upgrade you’ve completed.  It is important to understand when, and how, changes to the program may impact your home’s or upgrade’s eligibility.  The chart below provides guidance on what Terms and Conditions were effective during different periods of the program as well as links to the appropriate FAQs to refer to for upgrade requirements and rebate amounts during that period of time.

Upgrade Invoice Date Effective Terms and Conditions Individual Rebates* Bonus Offers Notes
on or after       
Oct 01 2022
Program Requirements and
Terms and Conditions
See current offers $300 Two Upgrade Bonus
or
$750-$2000 Home Energy Improvement Bonus
Individual upgrades have 6 months from the date of the invoice to apply for rebates.
 April 01 2022 – September 30 2022 Program Requirements and
Terms and Conditions
See program requirements. $300 Two Upgrade Bonus
or
$750-$2000 Home Energy Improvement Bonus
October 01 2021 – March 31 2022 Program Requirements and
Terms and Conditions
Deadlines passed. $300 Two Upgrade Bonus
or
$750-$2000 Home Energy Improvement Bonus
April 01 2021 – September 30 2021 Program Requirements and
Terms and Conditions
Deadlines passed. $300 Two Upgrade Bonus
or
$750-$2000 Home Energy Improvement Bonus
October 01 2020 – March 31 2021 Program Requirements and
Terms and Conditions
Deadlines passed. Deadlines passed.
April 01 2020 – September 30 2020 Program Requirements and
Terms and Conditions
Deadlines passed. Deadlines passed.
January 01 2020 – March 31 2020 Terms and Conditions Deadlines passed. Deadlines passed.
October 01 2019 – December 31 2019 Terms and Conditions Deadlines passed. Deadlines passed.
April 01 2019 – September 30 2019 Terms and Conditions Deadlines passed. Deadlines passed
September 29 2018 – March 30 2019 Terms and Conditions Deadlines passed. Deadlines passed.
on or before
September 28 2018
Offers no longer available.

*Individual Rebates are comprised of the following upgrades:

  • Ductless Mini-Split Heat Pump
  • Ductless Multi-Split Heat Pump
  • Central Ducted Heat Pump
  • Combination Space and Water Heat Pump
  • Air-to-Water Heat Pump
  • Electrical Service Upgrade
  • Natural Gas Furnace
  • Natural Gas Boiler or Combination Heating and Hot Water System
  • Natural Gas Fireplace
  • Electric Heat Pump Water Heater
  • Natural Gas Water Heater
  • Insulation
  • Windows and Doors

Is my home eligible for rebates or an EnerGuide home evaluation?

To access rebates through the CleanBC Better Homes and Home Renovation Rebate Program, or to have an EnerGuide home evaluation completed, your home must meet the eligibility criteria outlined below.

CleanBC Better Homes and Home Renovation Rebate Program

To be eligible for this rebate program, homes must meet the following eligibility criteria:

  • Be connected with a current residential utility service account to FortisBC and/or BC Hydro. Electrically heated homes served by local municipal utilities within the service territories of BC Hydro or FortisBC (electricity) are also eligible.
  • Home must be a year-round primary residence that is at least 12 months old, and one of the following types of residential buildings:
    • single family home (detached dwelling);
    • secondary suite in a single-family home (detached dwelling); the home and secondary suite must be individually metered;
    • mobile home that is permanently fixed, sits on a foundation and is structurally complete with installed and connected plumbing, heating, electrical, water and sewer services towing  apparatus and axle must be removed;
    • duplex, triplex, row home or townhome, where each unit has its own natural gas and/or electricity meter. Utility accounts must be in the name of the resident and/or homeowner; utility accounts in the name of a strata corporation are not eligible.

Please note: Multi-unit residential buildings (such as high-rises and apartment buildings), vacation homes or premises that are not year-round primary residences, garages, workshops, and out buildings are not eligible for the CleanBC Better Homes and Home Renovation Rebate Program.  See full Program Requirements for details.

EnerGuide Home Evaluation

To be eligible for an EnerGuide evaluation for existing homes, your home must be one of the following home types:

  • single family detached
  • semi-detached
  • row home or town home
  • mobile home on a permanent foundation
  • permanently moored float home

A home must also be in an ‘eligible state’, which means that:

  • The building is resting on a permanent foundation(s) or is a permanently moored float home.
  • There is a space heating system in place at the time of the evaluation that is capable (or was, in the case of a heating system failure) of keeping the interior living space at 21 degrees Celsius.
  • The envelope is intact, including the exposed ceilings, exterior walls, exposed floors, windows and doors, and interior and exterior finishes (e.g., drywall, and exterior siding).
  • Up to one window or door unit can be missing as long as it is temporarily air sealed (e.g., covered with plywood with seams and edges sealed with caulking). Any broken window panes must also be air sealed (e.g., with taped polyethylene) for the duration of the blower door test. If the temporary air sealing fails during the blower door test, the building will be considered ineligible.
  • Any renovations underway only affect interior partitions of the dwelling and do not perforate the building envelope.
  • There must be a supply of standard AC electrical power available. If power is not available from a utility, the homeowner must come to an agreement with the service organization about arranging for a suitable power supply to operate the blower door test equipment.

For more information on eligibility requirements for energy evaluations for new homes please visit Natural Resources Canada’s Homebuilders webpage. For energy evaluations for mixed-use or multi-unit residential buildings, contact a program-qualified energy advisor or service organization in your area.

Did you see a building science or energy efficiency term you did not understand? Check out our glossary.

Am I required to have an EnerGuide home evaluation in order to apply for rebates?

Some rebate programs require an EnerGuide home evaluation prior to completing upgrades and after upgrades are completed. Other programs recommend but do not require an EnerGuide home evaluation.

Be sure to find out before you start your renovations if you need an energy evaluation. Visit our rebate search tool for program details or click here to locate an energy advisor.

Did you see a building science or energy efficiency term you did not understand? Check out our glossary.

I am not in an eligible home, are there any rebates I can access?

If the home you are upgrading or have upgraded is not eligible for the CleanBC Better Homes and Home Renovation Rebate Program but is heated primarily by FortisBC natural gas that is billed at a residential rate, you may be eligible to receive rebates directly through FortisBC.

  • To apply for these rebates, use the application forms available directly through FortisBC
  • Applications must also be submitted directly to FortisBC.

If the building you are upgrading is a high-rise building, an apartment building, a stacked townhouse, or condominium that is billed at a commercial rate, your building may be considered a Commercial Building in regards to rebate programs.

  • Commercial Rebate Programs are listed in our rebate search tool. Select Commercial Renovation from the Building Type list.
  • Income qualified households may be able to access free Energy Saving Kits

Can I receive a rebate if I already installed the upgrade?

The deadlines and eligibility criteria vary across the different rebate programs, so it is important to check the details for the specific program and upgrade(s) you are pursuing.

Use the rebate search tool to find rebate programs for the energy upgrades that you have completed, and check if you meet the application deadlines. Along with submitting your application on time, it is important to ensure that you have met the program’s eligibility requirements.

Some rebates require you to have completed an EnerGuide home evaluation before you installed your upgrades. If you did not have an evaluation prior to installing the upgrade, you will not be eligible for the rebate.

Did you see a building science or energy efficiency term you did not understand? Check out our glossary.

Step 1: Learn about the Canada Greener Homes Grant

What is the Canada Greener Homes Grant?

The government of Canada is providing $2.6 billion to the sector through this program over the next seven years. It will provide:

  • grants of up to $5,000 for energy efficiency retrofits, supported by an EnerGuide evaluation to up to 700,000 Canadians;
  • up to $600 to support the cost of EnerGuide evaluations; and
  • jobs by supporting recruitment and training of EnerGuide energy advisors to meet the anticipated increased demand.

The Canada Greener Homes Grant will help Canadians make their homes more comfortable and affordable to maintain, support Canada’s environmental objectives and create jobs in communities across the country.

Homeowners will be able to learn about their home’s energy performance and improve its energy efficiency and resiliency by putting in place energy efficient retrofits that they might not otherwise have considered.

Did you see a building science or energy efficiency term you did not understand? Check out our glossary.

Can I access both the Canada Greener Homes Grant and the CleanBC Better Homes and Home Renovation Rebate Programs?

Yes, homeowners can stack funding from multiple programs.

  • The Canada Greener Homes Grant is designed so that homeowners can benefit from federal, provincial, municipal, and utility programs that are available where they live.
  • The sum of the funding from all sources must not exceed 100% of the total cost for any EnerGuide evaluation or eligible retrofit. Participants will be required to declare funding or rebates received from other sources.

The Canada Greener Homes Grant recognizes that when it comes to energy in Canada, where you live matters. Canadians are advised to take advantage of existing rebates being offered by other levels of government and utilities in their regions. We have several links on our webpages to help homeowners identify local and regional programs for which they may be eligible.

Did you see a building science or energy efficiency term you did not understand? Check out our glossary.

What if I already had an evaluation and/or completed retrofits?

  • The Canada Greener Homes Grant is retroactive to December 1, 2020. To be eligible for retroactive payment, homeowners must document their retrofit journey. The journey must begin with a pre-retrofit EnerGuide evaluation (which could have been undertaken prior to December 1, 2020), but only work completed after December 1, 2020 that is both eligible and recommended by your energy advisor in their report is reimbursable.

When you register for the Canada Greener Homes Grant, you will have an option to select that you already completed a pre-retrofit evaluation and you will be directed to the next step.

  • If you conducted an EnerGuide evaluation on your home after Dec 1, 2020 – you can be reimbursed for both your evaluations and your retrofits if you complete at least one retrofit that is both eligible and recommended by your energy advisor in their report.
  • If you conducted an EnerGuide evaluation on your home between April 1, 2020 and November 30, 2020 – you can use your evaluation for the program but you won’t be reimbursed for the evaluation itself. To be eligible, your home retrofits must have been completed on or after December 1, 2020 and be both eligible and recommend by an energy advisor in their report.
  • If you conducted an EnerGuide evaluation on your home before April 1, 2020 – you will need a new evaluation.

Only retrofits completed after December 01, 2020, and after a pre-retrofit EnerGuide evaluation qualify for reimbursement.

Did you see a building science or energy efficiency term you did not understand? Check out our glossary.

What are the requirements for the Canada Greener Homes Grant?

To participate in the Canada Greener Homes Grant, homeowners must:

  1. Complete a pre- and post-retrofit EnerGuide evaluation.
  2. Complete at least one retrofit that is both eligible and recommended by your energy advisor in their report. Only homeowners who conduct at least one retrofit will be reimbursed.
  3. Provide and keep copies of all of your documents until March 31, 2028.

All products must be purchased in Canada. Online purchases are only eligible if they are ordered from an online distributor located in Canada.

Did you see a building science or energy efficiency term you did not understand? Check out our glossary.

Who is eligible for the Canada Greener Homes Grant?

  • Homeowners across Canada with a property in Canada that is eligible can register to participate in the Canada Greener Homes Grant. Homeowners will be required to provide documentation demonstrating that the property is their primary residence.
  • For Indigenous housing, Indigenous governments, organizations (e.g., band councils, land claim organizations), housing management bodies and other representative organizations / Indigenous service delivery organizations with formal partnerships with Indigenous governments or organizations are also eligible applicants.
  • These applicants may be eligible to register multiple homes, including homes that are not the owner’s primary residence.

Did you see a building science or energy efficiency term you did not understand? Check out our glossary.

What types of homes are eligible for the Canada Greener Homes Grant?

To participate in the Canada Greener Homes Grant, a homeowner’s primary residence must be eligible for an EnerGuide evaluation. These residences include:

  • Single and semi-detached houses
  • Row housing
  • Townhomes
  • All-season cottages
  • Mobile homes on a permanent foundation
  • Permanently-moored floating homes
  • Small low-rise multi-unit residential building (MURBS) (3 storeys or less with a footprint of 600 m2 or less)*
  • Mixed use buildings (residential portion only)*

* Multi-unit residential buildings (over 3 storeys or over 600 m2 in footprint) are not eligible homes under the Canada Greener Homes Grant.

Did you see a building science or energy efficiency term you did not understand? Check out our glossary.

How is eligibility defined for Indigenous Peoples?

Indigenous Peoples face unique challenges that influence participation in a housing retrofit program. To ensure inclusivity and reflect Indigenous home-ownership models, the following groups are all eligible applicants for the Canada Greener Homes Grant:

  • Individual Indigenous homeowners;
  • Indigenous governments or organizations (e.g., band councils, land claim organizations); and
  • Housing management bodies and other representative organizations / Indigenous service delivery organizations with formal partnerships with Indigenous governments or organizations.

Certain flexibilities may apply to Indigenous governing bodies and organizations, such as:

  • registering multiple homes
  • registering homes that are not the owner’s primary residence
  • reimbursement levels tailored to Northern and off-grid locations, where applicable

Homeowners can find out if their community is considered “off-grid” by consulting the Remote Energy Communities Database.

Did you see a building science or energy efficiency term you did not understand? Check out our glossary.

 What eligible retrofits can access reimbursement from the Canada Greener Homes Grant?

  • The initiative will provide homeowners with up to $5,000 for the purchase and installation of qualifying equipment, or implementation of qualifying retrofits for their primary residence. The details on qualifying retrofits will be available to Canadians on the website at program launch.
  • Homeowners must complete at least one retrofit that is both eligible and recommended by their energy advisor in their report.
  • Reimbursement will occur in Step 5 after the post-retrofit EnerGuide evaluation. Homeowners will have to keep their documents until March 31, 2028.

Did you see a building science or energy efficiency term you did not understand? Check out our glossary.

Are condominiums eligible for the Canada Greener Homes Grant?

  •  Small MURBS, or condominiums are eligible to receive a grant under this initiative.
  • An EnerGuide evaluation must be undertaken of the entire structure as a starting point. This will likely require coordination amongst the owners of units in the building if several owners are interested in participating in the initiative.
  • Grants under this initiative will be based on the multiplier related to the number of dwelling units per MURB up to a maximum amount of $20,000.

Did you see a building science or energy efficiency term you did not understand? Check out our glossary.

My home is newly built. Is it eligible for the Canada Greener Homes Grant?

  • The Canada Greener Homes Grant is targeted at existing homes.
    • Existing homes are defined as homes that are more than six months old, based on the date of occupancy by the first homeowner. This will apply to homeowners at the time of application.
  • New homes are not eligible for the grant.

Did you see a building science or energy efficiency term you did not understand? Check out our glossary.

What is the GCKey?

The GCKey service is provided by the Government of Canada to allow you to securely conduct online business with various governmental programs and services. The GCKey service issues you your GCKey.

  • A GCKey is a unique credential that protects your communications with online Government programs and services. Using your GCKey, you can access the online programs and services listed on our Enabled Services page.
  • More information is available online.
    • For assistance with your GCKey or Sign-In Partner, contact the GCkey service.
    • The CleanBC Energy Coach service does not provide GCKey or Sign-In Partner support.

What is my GCKey used for?

Your GCKey is used to access Enabled Services. However, you must both sign up for a GCKey and then enrol with the online government program or service that you want to access. One GCKey can be used to access multiple departmental programs and services.

More information is available the GCKey website.

Buying or Selling Your Home

What is a new home?

A new home is a house that is six months old or less, based on the date of occupancy by the first homeowner.

How do I find an energy efficient home to buy?

If you’re looking to buy a new home, there are a number of ways to find an energy efficient home. Look for homes that are certified as a Passive House, Built Green, or with Natural Resources Canada’s (NRCan) EnerGuide Rating System or ENERGY STAR® certificate and label (usually placed on the home’s electrical panel). An ENERGY STAR® certified home meets the ENERGY STAR® standard for enhanced energy efficiency. On average, an ENERGY STAR® certified new home will be 20% more efficient than a home built to code.

According to NRCan, typical features of an ENERGY STAR® home include:

  • Efficient heating and cooling systems that use less energy, reduce indoor humidity and improve the overall comfort of your home.
  • High-performance ENERGY STAR® windows, patio doors, and skylights that keep the heat in during the winter and out during the summer.
  • Walls and ceilings insulated beyond what is required by the building code.
  • A variety of ENERGY STAR® products that use less electricity by meeting strict technical specifications.
  • A heat or energy recovery ventilation system (HRV or ERV) that ensures your home has controlled ventilation.

Another way to gauge a home’s energy efficiency is by asking the seller if they’ve conducted an EnerGuide home evaluation. If so, ask to see the EnerGuide home label to get a better sense of the home’s annual energy consumption.  You can also ask the seller if the home has energy efficient or ENERGY STAR® products.

Did you see a building science or energy efficiency term you did not understand? Check out our glossary.

How do I promote the energy efficiency of my home when selling it?

Energy efficiency improvements are not as flashy as kitchen or bathroom renovations or a new coat of paint, which usually top the list of best renovations for home value improvement at time of sale. That being said, third-party energy rating or certification systems do help homes sell for a premium.

If you have completed an EnerGuide home evaluation be sure to inform your REALTOR® so that potential buyers can see your home’s EnerGuide rating and label and learn about the energy efficient features of your home, such as:

  • Insulation levels
  • Heating and cooling systems
  • Windows and doors
  • Water heating systems
  • Appliances
  • Lighting
  • Ventilation
  • Draftproofing

If you haven’t completed an EnerGuide home evaluation, consider having one done by a program-qualified energy advisor. The EnerGuide label can be an important selling point for prospective buyers as it lets them assess the home’s energy performance and see how it might affect their utility bills. Ensure that you have a post-upgrade energy evaluation to verify your upgraded EnerGuide rating and include this on the MLS listing.

Did you see a building science or energy efficiency term you did not understand? Check out our glossary.

Home Improvement

Where do I start to reduce drafts and improve my home?

The first step to reduce drafts is to identify the air leakage areas throughout your home. Although you might feel drafts and see air leakage areas around windows and doors on the main floor, in most homes, the most significant air leaks are often found in the attic/top floor and basement/lowest floor and are often hidden. This is due to the stack effect: In a heated home, less dense warm air rises and expands, creating a higher-pressure area near the top of the house. As cold air pushes into the lower portions of your home it forces the lighter warm air up and out through leaks at the top.

In general, the priorities for air sealing are:

  1. Large holes regardless of location (plumbing or electrical penetrations, ductwork through unconditioned spaces, large gaps under doors, masonry chimney chaseways).
  2. Smaller holes on top floor ceiling/attic (pot lights, ceiling penetrations around fixtures, attic hatch, attic knee walls, service shafts, etc.).
  3. Smaller holes on the bottom floor (hose bib penetrations, cracks on exterior and foundation walls, basement doors, electrical boxes, gas lines or oil fill pipes that go through exterior walls, etc.).
  4. Smaller holes at main floors (windows, doors, top and bottom of baseboards, fireplace dampers, electrical outlets, switches).

Various materials throughout the envelope act as an air barrier. Large-surface building materials such as drywall, baseboards or structural members and windows and doorframes are incorporated into the air barrier by sealing them to the adjoining materials. Caulking, tapes and gaskets are used for joints between materials that do not move, and weatherstripping, for joints that do move.

When choosing draftproofing materials always select premium products for long-term durability. Choosing the proper product and paying attention to the quality of application are crucial.

Materials you may want to use for draftproofing include:

  • Caulking is used to seal joints between building components.
  • Weatherstripping is used to block air leakage around doors and the operable parts of windows.
  • Spray-foam insulation is a plastic resin used to insulate, but also acts as an air barrier.
  • Most solid building components including drywall, plaster, plywood, glass, wood, rigid foam insulation and poured concrete (not concrete blocks) will act as air barriers.
  • House wrap, polyethylene sheeting, and polyamide sheeting typically act as air, vapour, or combination barriers, respectively.

For detailed information on draftproofing materials, see the Natural Resources Canada resource Keeping the Heat In.  Additional guidance is available from BC Housing’s Best Practice Guide Air Sealing and Insulation Retrofits for Single Family Homes.

For a more in depth air sealing analysis of your home, you can have an EnerGuide home evaluation performed on your home to find any obvious or hidden drafts that need sealing. A program-qualified energy advisor will conduct a site visit, perform a blower door fan/depressurization test and look for air leaks. The advisor will also use the data from the depressurization test and calculate the air leakage rate for your home. In the Renovation Upgrade Report, the energy advisor will give a prioritized list of draftproofing measures for your home.

Did you see a building science or energy efficiency term you did not understand? Check out our glossary.

When should I upgrade my heating system?

In general, you should invest in a new heating or cooling system if your system is more than 15 years old or if it’s no longer keeping your home comfortable. Consider having a professional HVAC contractor look at your system if you’re unsure whether it needs to be upgraded or replaced. Prior to installing a new system, you should address your home’s air leaks, insulation deficiencies and improve the ducting system (if necessary).

The time to replace your heating system also depends on your type of heating system and other upgrade indicators that may appear throughout your home. For example:

  • Heat pumps or air conditioners that are more than 15 years old should be checked and if necessary, replaced with higher efficiency units.
  • Furnace or boilers that are more than 15 years old most often times need to be replaced with higher efficiency units. Gas furnaces or boilers should be serviced at least once every two years. Oil furnaces or boilers should be cleaned and serviced every spring. It’s recommended to have a quality service technician or heating contractor conduct these tune-ups.
  • Increased energy bills and frequent repairs of equipment – this may indicate that your heating equipment is not operating optimally.
  • Some rooms in your home are too hot or too cold – this may indicate that your equipment is not operating effectively, you have ducting problems, inadequate insulation, or problems with air leakage.
  • Your heating system is noisy –this may indicate that your home has an oversized heating system, old blower motor or a lack of maintenance.

For more information, visit the ENERGY STAR® website.

Did you see a building science or energy efficiency term you did not understand? Check out our glossary.

What are the symptoms of poor indoor air quality, and how can it be improved?

If your home has insufficient air distribution and ventilation, you may find that your home has poor indoor air quality. Insufficient air distribution and ventilation often results in mould, condensation on windows and mirrors, lingering smells after cooking, and chemical smells (from synthetic fabrics, furnishings, household products, cigarette smoke, burning candles, etc.). If your home has poor indoor air quality, you may also observe the following symptoms: sneezing, coughing, congestion and itchy eyes. If your home’s indoor air is too dry then you may find an increase in static shocks, and drier skin and throat.

To maintain good indoor air quality in your home, there must be a sufficient exchange of indoor air with fresh outdoor air. This air exchange will allow mould spores, toxins, odours, excess moisture and stale air to flow out of your home and prevent health problems that can arise from poor indoor air quality. Below are some helpful tips on how to improve the air quality of your home:

  • Install ventilation fans – to improve the air quality of your home, install appropriately-sized bathrooms fans and kitchen range hoods. These ventilation fans will help reduce the humidity in your home and prevent mould and condensation problems.
  • Use the 10-minute rule – to fully remove humidity, you should run ventilation fans at least 10 minutes after cooking and showering. Running the range hood after cooking will also help eliminate particulates and lingering smells in your home.
  • Maintain regularly – range hood filters and bathroom fans should be cleaned once a month to ensure that they ventilate your home effectively and improve indoor air quality. On average, range hoods will work effectively for 10-12 years before they need to be replaced. If you find that your bathroom fan no longer prevents your mirror from fogging, it should be replaced.
  • Consider installing a balanced ventilation system –  if you have very poor indoor air quality and want to ventilate your house more evenly, you may benefit from a balanced ventilation system. These systems exhaust stale air and replace it with a consistent supply of fresh air. Heat recovery ventilators (HRVs) and energy recovery ventilators (ERVs) also have heat exchangers to recover some of the heat from exhausted air.

Consider hiring a program-qualified energy advisor to perform an EnerGuide home evaluation and assess your home’s ventilation and air quality needs.

For more information about moisture and air quality problems, visit the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation or click here for a booklet.

Did you see a building science or energy efficiency term you did not understand? Check out our glossary.

What are the health and safety considerations of home renovations?

It is important to understand the health and safety considerations of home renovations before undertaking a new project.

Asbestos and vermiculite – building materials containing asbestos may have been used in many buildings and homes built before 1990. This includes materials such as insulation, flooring and ceiling tiles, house siding, and more.

Vermiculite is a type of insulation that may contain asbestos fibres and is commonly found in older homes with insulation installed prior to 1990. If you suspect that there is vermiculite in your home, it is highly recommended that you take precautionary measures due to serious potential health risks. If exposed, asbestos fibres can become airborne in the home’s interior and cause serious harm if inhaled. For more information about the risks associated with asbestos exposure, please visit Health Canada.

If you suspect insulation in your home contains vermiculite, do not disturb it. Contact a certified asbestos removal specialist that will follow BC hazardous waste regulations for options in relation to your renovations. For information about asbestos testing and professional removal, please visit Work Safe BC.

Combustion gases – oil, wood, or gas burning appliances produce heat by burning fuel. This process creates combustion gases, which should be vented to the outdoors through a chimney or vent pipe. If they are not properly vented to the outdoors, or if the home becomes depressurized, combustion spillage occurs. Combustion spillage is the unwanted flow of combustion gases into the home. This occurs when a home becomes depressurized, and harmful combustion gases are sucked back into the home through vents or a flue (backdrafting). Depressurization can happen when a home is very air tight and all exhaust fans, such as range hoods, bathroom fans, the dryer etc. are running at the same time, drawing air from the inside to the outside of the home.

There are a number of ways to prevent combustion spillage, including:

  • Maintaining your combustion appliances
  • Inspect, maintain, and upgrade your chimney if necessary
  • Upgrade your appliances to models that are less prone to combustion spillage
  • Avoid conditions that cause backdrafting. This includes avoiding running several powerful exhaust devices at once.

If you renovate your home to be more air-tight, ensure you have proper ventilation and, if necessary, consider installing a balanced ventilation system such as an HRV.

Mould – if you discover mould in your home, it is essential that the mould is thoroughly removed, the areas cleaned and disinfected, and contaminated materials are properly disposed of. To control and reduce the potential for mould growth, control sources of moisture, maintain indoor humidity at recommended levels, and remedy infiltration and leakage.

Did you see a building science or energy efficiency term you did not understand? Check out our glossary.

What is the difference between a smart and programmable thermostat?

Using either a smart or programmable thermostat in your home is a great way to control your heating system and energy bills, and keep your home consistently comfortable.

Programmable Thermostat

A programmable thermostat is designed to adjust the temperature according to a series of programmed settings that take effect at different times of the day. For instance, you can set it to turn down to 16°C every evening at 10pm and turn back up to 21°C at 6:30 in the morning, and it will continue to adjust the room temperature for you automatically.

Smart thermostat

A smart thermostat is similar to a programmable thermostat in that you can set it to adjust temperatures at different times. The difference is that smart thermostats can learn from your behaviors or sense when you’re home, adjusting temperatures accordingly, and automatically allow you to control the climate of your home remotely. Some smart thermostats allow you to connect with Wi-Fi, giving you control from wherever you may be – the couch, the office, or even the other side of the globe.

Learn more about thermostats with FortisBC and BC Hydro.

Did you see a building science or energy efficiency term you did not understand? Check out our glossary.

Benefits of Home Evaluations

What are the benefits of an EnerGuide home evaluation?

An EnerGuide home evaluation is the first step in a smart home energy renovation. An evaluation will help you make informed decisions about which upgrades would work best for your home, how to prioritize them and which will save you the most on energy costs.

Solutions for your home

  • Lower your energy use and your energy bills
  • Improve indoor air quality and comfort
  • Lower your greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions
  • Explore solutions for drafts, mold, stuffiness, and outside noise

Prioritized upgrade options

  • Speak with a professional energy advisor about the best options for your home to meet your specific goals to improve your home. Tell your energy advisor your goals and let them help you identify upgrade options for accessing rebates, reducing energy bills, improving home comfort, reducing your carbon footprint, improving home resale value, insulating your home from outside noise, or addressing other home issues related to energy efficiency.

Receive money for your upgrades

If you plan to apply for rebates, carefully read the terms and conditions for each rebate. Some rebates require a pre-upgrade EnerGuide home evaluation before installing upgrades and a post-upgrade EnerGuide home evaluation after your upgrades have been completed.

Did you see a building science or energy efficiency term you did not understand? Check out our glossary.

Should I get an EnerGuide label if I’m thinking of selling my home?

If you’re thinking of selling your home, it might be the perfect time to get an EnerGuide evaluation. Home sellers pro-actively obtain EnerGuide ratings for their homes and display the rating online. If you reside in Metro Vancouver, you can post your label on Metro Vancouver’s RateOurHome.ca website and link it directly to your property listing.

If you have an energy efficient home, here’s why you might want to tell potential homebuyers about your EnerGuide label:

Set your product apart from the rest

Displaying an EnerGuide label will set your home apart from the rest. Homes that rate higher than typical should be proudly displayed. This tells the buyer that a new home was built beyond building code requirements in terms of energy efficiency. And for older homes the EnerGuide label can prove the home energy improvement investments made in the home.

Transparency

Consumers may request that an evaluation be conducted as a condition of sale. Taking the initiative to get an EnerGuide label and displaying it on your listing demonstrates transparency. Buyers appreciate listings that provide full disclosure of any potential issues or concerns. Displaying your EnerGuide label answers questions before they are asked and can speed up the transaction process.

Did you see a building science or energy efficiency term you did not understand? Check out our glossary.

Benefits of the EnerGuide Rating Service for REALTORS®

As interest in energy efficiency upgrades increases, there is an increased demand for REALTORS® to have an understanding of the value of the EnerGuide rating system. This is an opportunity for real estate agents to build their brand and differentiate themselves amongst REALTORS. Understanding the energy efficient features of a home elevates conversations with prospective buyers beyond the home’s aesthetic.

The energy performance improvements made to a home and an EnerGuide label to prove it can be an important selling point to prospective buyers. It may show the home’s performance has been improved which in turn reduces the utility costs for any future occupants. An EnerGuide label is an official record of the home’s energy performance, and has potential to increase building value, resulting in a potentially faster sale at a potentially higher price.

Prior to listing, learn about any upgrades made to the home:

  • Has your client had an EnerGuide Home Evaluation done? Did they take steps in improving the energy efficiency of their home? Add their EnerGuide rating to the listing!
  • Give buyers what they want. An improved EnerGuide rating can help your clients improve their comfort, save money on energy bills, and reduce their environmental impact.
  • Find out what these improvements mean. Many energy efficiency upgrades can translate into benefits for the next homeowner.

The benefits of an EnerGuide label go beyond utility costs and energy savings. High-performing homes offer quality of life benefits that buyers can emotionally connect to. For example, energy efficiency upgrades can improve the overall comfort of the home, including noise reduction, temperature regulation, and indoor air quality. These improvements can be important selling or purchasing features for a home.

See our FAQ ‘What is an EnerGuide home label?

Did you see a building science or energy efficiency term you did not understand? Check out our glossary.

Available Rebates

How much of my project cost will the rebate cover?

This will depend on the eligible Income Level that you fall under. If you are eligible for Income Level 1 funding you will receive a discount up to 95% of your project with a maximum that is specific to each upgrade type. If you are eligible for Income Level 2 funding you will receive a discount up to 60% of your project with a maximum that is specific to each upgrade type. If you have received quotes from Registered Contractors and have questions about the calculation, please feel free to call us at 1-833-856-0333 or email us at IncomeQualified@betterhomesbc.ca.

Who are program rebates paid to through the CleanBC Better Homes Income Qualified Program? 

Program rebates are paid to contractors. After installing an upgrade in your home, your contractor will apply for program rebates directly and deduct the rebate from the total amount owed on your invoice. You will only have to pay the discounted amount.

CleanBC Better Homes Program Eligibility FAQs

What is the CleanBC Better Homes and Better Buildings northern top-up offer?

The CleanBC Better Homes and Better Buildings northern top-up offer aims to help northern communities overcome barriers to heat pump adoption, including higher costs and lack of access to contractors, equipment, and energy advisors.

The offer includes incentive top-ups for both new and existing residential and commercial buildings and is applied to existing CleanBC Better Homes and Better Buildings programs.

 Requirements vary by program. See individual rebate pages for more information:

What do the CleanBC Better Homes and Home Renovation Rebate Programs define as my Primary Heating System?

The CleanBC Better Homes and Home Renovation Rebate Program Requirements and Additional Terms and Conditions include primary heating systems as one of the determining factors for eligibility.

To participate in the CleanBC Better Homes and Home Renovation Rebate Programs, the home must be heated by a primary heating system that uses an eligible fuel type.

Eligible fuel types:

  • Electricity supplied by BC Hydro
  • Natural gas supplied by FortisBC Energy Inc.
  • Natural gas supplied by Pacific Northern Gas Ltd.
  • Piped-propane supplied by FortisBC Energy Inc.
  • Electricity supplied by FortisBC Inc.
  • Oil
  • Propane (not supplied by FortisBC)
  • Electricity supplied by a Municipal Utility
  • Wood or other solid fuel (eligible for select upgrades only)

The Terms and Conditions define a Primary Heating System as:

  • A primary heating system is a heating system with the capacity to heat a minimum of 50% of the home for the entire heating season to 21ºC.
  • When the home is heated with electricity supplied by BC Hydro, the home must meet a minimum electricity consumption to be considered primarily electrically heated. See the What does Minimum Electricity Consumption Mean? FAQ for more information and to check your eligibility.
  • Determination of the primary heating type is at the sole discretion of the program partners.

Clarifications and Exceptions for determining your Primary Heating System

  • Open wood fireplaces, natural gas fireplaces, and propane fireplaces are not considered primary heating systems by the CleanBC Better Homes and Home Renovation Rebate Programs even if it is the only heating system in use on the premises or if the system has the capacity and is used to heat a minimum of 50% of the home for the entire heating season.
  • Where both a primary heating system and a fireplace are present, the fireplace will not be considered the primary heating system.
  • If the home does not meet the minimum electricity consumption rates as determined by BC Hydro and the home has no other eligible heating system, the participant will not be eligible to receive rebates through the CleanBC Better Homes and Home Renovation Rebate Program.
  • Homes heated primarily by natural gas from Pacific Northern Gas (PNG) are are eligible for: insulation rebates, window/door rebates, fuel switch heat pump rebates, heat pump water heater rebates, as well as bonus offers and EnerGuide home evaluation rebates. They are currently not eligible for natural gas furnace rebates, natural gas boiler rebates, natural gas fireplace rebates, or natural gas water heater rebates.
  • Homes heated primarily by wood or other solid fuels are eligible for: air source heat pump rebates, heat pump water heater rebate, natural gas water heater rebate, EnerGuide home evaluation rebates, and the Two Upgrade Bonus.

 What is my Primary Heating System?

  • To be considered primarily heated by electricity supplied by BC Hydro, the home must meet minimum electricity consumption rate, calculated by energy use per square foot. Use the BC Hydro Home Renovation Rebate program eligibility tool to determine whether your home meets the minimum electricity consumption rate and can be considered primarily heated by electricity in BC Hydro territory.
  • To be considered primarily heated by electricity supplied by FortisBC, the home must have an electric heating system such as baseboards, furnace, or a heat pump which are primarily used. If a fireplace exists on the premises, the electric heating system is still considered the primary heating system.
  • To be considered primarily heated by oil, the home must have an oil furnace or boiler which is primarily used. If a fireplace exists on the premises, the oil heating system is still considered the primary heating system.
  • To be considered primarily heated by natural gas or propane, the home must have a natural gas or propane furnace or boiler which is primarily used. If a fireplace exists on the premises, the natural gas or propane heating system is still considered the primary heating system.
  • To be considered primarily heated by wood or other solid fuel, the home must have a wood or pellet stove, insert or furnace and no other heating system in the home or have back up electrical heating (e.g. baseboards) that is rarely or not used.

When determining the rebate you may be eligible for, the heating system(s) present on site prior to the installation of the new primary heating system will determine the space heating rebate available to you through the CleanBC Better Homes and Home Renovation Rebate Program.

Primary Heating System Type

System Fuel Type

Available Primary Space Heating Rebates

Notes

Electric Baseboard / Wall Heater Electricity
  • Air source heat pump (convert from electric)
  • No rebates for installing electric baseboards
  • No rebates for installing electric furnaces
  • No rebates for converting from electricity to natural gas primary heating systems
Electric Furnace Electricity
  • Air source heat pump (convert from electric)
  • No rebates for installing electric baseboards
  • No rebates for installing electric furnaces
  • No rebates for converting from electricity to natural gas primary heating systems
Electric Heat Pump Electricity
  •  None
  • There are no rebates for replacing an existing heat pump
Electric Combination Space / Water Heat Pump Electricity
  •  None
  • There are no rebates for replacing an existing heat pump
Electric Air-to-Water Heat Pump Electricity
  •  None
  • There are no rebates for replacing an existing heat pump
Natural Gas Furnace Natural Gas
  • Air source heat pump (convert from fossil fuel)
  • Air source heat pump with fossil fuel back-up (dual fuel system)
  • Air to water heat pump (convert from fossil fuel)
  • Natural Gas Furnace
  • Natural Gas Boiler
  • Homes primarily heated by natural gas supplied by PNG are not eligible for Natural Gas Furnace, Boiler or Combination System rebates
Natural Gas Boiler or Combination System Natural Gas
  • Air source heat pump (convert from fossil fuel)
  • Air source heat pump with fossil fuel back-up (dual fuel system)
  • Air to water heat pump (convert from fossil fuel)
  • Natural Gas Furnace
  • Natural Gas Boiler
  •  Homes primarily heated by natural gas supplied by PNG are not eligible for Natural Gas Furnace, Boiler or Combination System rebates
Propane Furnace Propane
  • Air source heat pump (convert from fossil fuel)
  • Air source heat pump with fossil fuel back-up (dual fuel system)
  • Air to water heat pump (convert from fossil fuel)
Propane Boiler Propane
  • Air source heat pump (convert from fossil fuel)
  • Air source heat pump with fossil fuel back-up (dual fuel system)
  • Air to water heat pump (convert from fossil fuel)
Oil Furnace Oil
  • Air source heat pump (convert from fossil fuel)
  • Air source heat pump with fossil fuel back-up (dual fuel system, northern climates only)
  • Air to water heat pump (convert from fossil fuel)
Oil Boiler Oil
  • Air source heat pump (convert from fossil fuel)
  • Air source heat pump with fossil fuel back-up (dual fuel system, northern climates only)
  • Air to water heat pump (convert from fossil fuel)
Wood stove Wood
(solid fuel)
  • Air source heat pump (convert from wood)

Examples of Determining Primary Heating System: 

  • Electric baseboards and a natural gas fireplace are present in the same home, located within the BC Hydro service area. The home must meet the Minimum Electricity Consumption to be considered primarily heated by BC Hydro Electricity.
  • An electric furnace and a woodstove are present in the same home, located within the BC Hydro service territory. The home meets minimum electricity consumption thresholds. The electric furnace is the primary heating system.
  • Electric baseboards and a woodstove are present in the same home, located within the BC Hydro service territory. The home does not meet minimum electricity consumption thresholds. The woodstove is the primary heating system.
  • An oil boiler or furnace and natural gas fireplace are present in the same home. The oil boiler or furnace is the primary heating system.
  • A natural gas furnace and a natural gas fireplace are present in the same home. The natural gas furnace is the primary heating system.
  • A heat pump and a wood fireplace are present in the same home. The heat pump is the primary heating system.

Heat Pump Rebates are Not Available When:

  • There is a heat pump on the premises already. Replacing an existing heat pump or adding a head to an existing heat pump are not eligible. This applies whether the heat pump is functioning or not functioning.
  • BC Hydro customers want to upgrade their electric heating system to a heat pump but do not meet the Minimum Electricity Consumption.
  • The home is not an eligible home type.
  • The heat pump that is installed does not meet minimum program requirements.

How do I know if my home is substantially reconstructed?

Effective April 01, 2020, the CleanBC Better Homes and Home Renovation Rebate Program (Program) considers “substantially reconstructed” homes as new construction projects and therefore not eligible for the Program’s renovation rebates. This is in alignment with the Homeowner Protection Act’s definition of a new home and BC Housing’s definition of “substantially reconstructed”. Under the Homeowner Protection Act (Act) a home that has been substantially reconstructed is a new home for the purposes of the Act. BC Housing defines substantially reconstructed as a home that has been changed so 25% or less of the original structure above foundation remains, or 75% or more of the reconstructed home is new.

For example, if the foundation remains but more than 75% of the structure above is new, the home is substantially reconstructed and would not be eligible for rebates offered by the CleanBC Better Homes and Home Renovation Rebate Program. A re-build after a large house fire would often be considered substantially reconstructed.

A large majority of renovation projects do not fall under substantially reconstructed. If permits and licensing is required during your renovation project, contact BC Housing for more information.

For full information on the definition, scenario examples, and New Home Registration Form requirements see BC Housing’s Regulatory Bulletin No 6: Substantially Reconstructed Homes and the Homeowner Project Act  and visit the Homeowner Protection Act and Regulations page on BC Housing’s website.

If you are unsure whether your home is considered substantially reconstructed and therefore not eligible for rebates under the Program, please contact the Licensing and Consumer Services branch of BC Housing at licensinginfo@bchousing.org with the details of your project. The BC Housing Bulletin No 6 linked above outlines the specifics that must be addressed in the email.

Please note: CleanBC Energy Coaches cannot determine whether your home has been substantially reconstructed. Final determination of your home’s project is decided by BC Housing.

What does Minimum Electricity Consumption mean?

Starting October 1, 2020, when a home is heated with electricity supplied by BC Hydro, the home must meet a minimum electricity consumption to be considered primarily heated by electricity.

BC Hydro’s Home Renovation Rebate Program provides energy efficient upgrade rebates to customers who have high bills from heating their homes with electric heat. Homes heated by electricity use electric baseboards, heat pumps, or electric furnaces to heat their home.

To determine if a home is using electricity to heat the home, rather than another heating source (i.e. natural gas fireplace or woodstove), it must meet a minimum electrical consumption. Check to see if you meet the minimum electricity consumption requirement by using the BC Hydro eligibility tool before you begin your upgrades. To use the tool, you’ll need your BC Hydro account number and the square footage of your home.

The minimum electricity consumption is determined by the size of the home relative to its annual electricity consumption over three years.

Please visit our What if I do not meet the Minimum Electricity Consumption threshold for BC Hydro rebates FAQ for more information.

Please visit the Who do I contact to discuss my electricity consumption FAQ for more information.

 

What rebates are available?

This FAQ speaks specifically to the The CleanBC Better Homes and Homes Renovation Rebate Program, for all rebates currently available, please use the Rebate Search Tool to find offers in your area.

The CleanBC Better Homes and Homes Renovation Rebate Program determines what rebates, bonus offers, and requirements apply to a rebate application based on the Invoice Date for each upgrade you’ve completed.  It is important to understand when, and how, changes to the program may impact your home’s or upgrade’s eligibility.  The chart below provides guidance on what Terms and Conditions were effective during different periods of the program as well as links to the appropriate FAQs to refer to for upgrade requirements and rebate amounts during that period of time.

Upgrade Invoice Date Effective Terms and Conditions Individual Rebates* Bonus Offers Notes
on or after       
Oct 01 2022
Program Requirements and
Terms and Conditions
See current offers $300 Two Upgrade Bonus
or
$750-$2000 Home Energy Improvement Bonus
Individual upgrades have 6 months from the date of the invoice to apply for rebates.
 April 01 2022 – September 30 2022 Program Requirements and
Terms and Conditions
See program requirements. $300 Two Upgrade Bonus
or
$750-$2000 Home Energy Improvement Bonus
October 01 2021 – March 31 2022 Program Requirements and
Terms and Conditions
Deadlines passed. $300 Two Upgrade Bonus
or
$750-$2000 Home Energy Improvement Bonus
April 01 2021 – September 30 2021 Program Requirements and
Terms and Conditions
Deadlines passed. $300 Two Upgrade Bonus
or
$750-$2000 Home Energy Improvement Bonus
October 01 2020 – March 31 2021 Program Requirements and
Terms and Conditions
Deadlines passed. Deadlines passed.
April 01 2020 – September 30 2020 Program Requirements and
Terms and Conditions
Deadlines passed. Deadlines passed.
January 01 2020 – March 31 2020 Terms and Conditions Deadlines passed. Deadlines passed.
October 01 2019 – December 31 2019 Terms and Conditions Deadlines passed. Deadlines passed.
April 01 2019 – September 30 2019 Terms and Conditions Deadlines passed. Deadlines passed
September 29 2018 – March 30 2019 Terms and Conditions Deadlines passed. Deadlines passed.
on or before
September 28 2018
Offers no longer available.

*Individual Rebates are comprised of the following upgrades:

  • Ductless Mini-Split Heat Pump
  • Ductless Multi-Split Heat Pump
  • Central Ducted Heat Pump
  • Combination Space and Water Heat Pump
  • Air-to-Water Heat Pump
  • Electrical Service Upgrade
  • Natural Gas Furnace
  • Natural Gas Boiler or Combination Heating and Hot Water System
  • Natural Gas Fireplace
  • Electric Heat Pump Water Heater
  • Natural Gas Water Heater
  • Insulation
  • Windows and Doors

What types of wood or solid fuel heating systems are eligible to be replaced with heat pumps?

A wood or pellet stove, insert, or furnace may be replaced with a Central Ducted or Mini-Split heat pump.

I am installing a heat pump and keeping my wood stove for back up heating. What level of WETT inspection report do I need to submit?

Customers keeping their wood or solid fuel heating system in safe and working order may submit a level 1, 2, or 3 WETT inspection report, based on the recommendation from your WETT-certified professional. The inspection report must be dated within the 12 month period before or 6 month period following the date of the heat pump installation invoice and include the inspector’s WETT certification number, the site address of the wood or solid fuel heating system, and whether the installation is compliant with relevant codes.

Why do I need to submit a WETT inspection report if I want to keep my wood stove when I install a heat pump?

Your wood stove must be in safe and working order. A WETT inspection report identifies whether an installation meets or does not meet manufacturer’s installation instructions and appropriate codes. The installation will either be compliant with relevant building and installation codes – and eligible for an air source heat pump (convert from wood) rebate – or not.

Where can I find a WETT-certified professional?

Find a WETT-certified professional at www.wettinc.ca or by calling the WETT National office at 1-888-358-9388.

I am installing a heat pump and removing my old wood stove, what components need to be removed?

The wood stove must be removed. Contact a wood stove installation or service specialist in your area for guidance on how to safely remove and recycle your wood stove.

What type of photos are required to demonstrate that my wood stove has been removed?

Before and after photos indicating that the wood stove has been removed from the home are required.

I am converting my wood or solid fuel heating system to an air source heat pump. Can I also access the Heat Pump Group Purchase Rebate?

No, customers converting their wood or solid fuel heating systems to an air source heat pump are not eligible to access the Heat Pump Group Purchase Rebate. The Heat Pump Group Purchase Rebate is an additional offer that is only available to groups of homeowners who are switching from an oil, natural gas, or propane heating system to an air source heat pump. For more information on the Group Purchase Rebate Program, visit www.betterhomesbc.ca/rebates/gpr.

I am converting my wood or solid fuel heating system to an air source heat pump. Can I also access the Two Upgrade Bonus?

Yes, customers who receive an air source heat pump (converting from wood) rebate can access the Two Upgrade Bonus, provided that they install one additional bonus-eligible home energy upgrade. Use the rebate search tool to learn about other energy efficiency upgrade rebates you may be eligible for. For more information on the Two Upgrade Bonus, visit https://www.betterhomesbc.ca/rebates/two-upgrade-bonus.

I am converting my wood or solid fuel heating system to an air source heat pump. Can I also access the Home Energy Improvement Bonus?

No, customers who have a wood or solid fuel primary heating system can only access two bonus-eligible rebates – the air source heat pump (convert from wood) and water heater rebates. As a result, these customers are not eligible for the Home Energy Improvement Bonus, which is provided to homeowners that complete EnerGuide Rating System evaluations and install three or more bonus-eligible home energy upgrades (If you have electric heating in addition to your wood or solid fuel heat, you may be considered electrically-heated instead, check your consumption at bchydro.com/hero/eligibility).

However, 12 months following the installation of your new heat pump, your primary heating system will switch from wood (or other solid fuel) to electric. At this point in time, you will become eligible for range of new offers available to customers with electric primary heating systems, which will include the Home Energy Improvement Bonus. For more information on the Home Energy Improvement Bonus, visit https://www.betterhomesbc.ca/rebates/home-energy-improvement-bonus.

I reside in a municipality whose municipal top-up funding is fully subscribed and recently completed or applied for an eligible CleanBC Better Homes upgrade. Will I receive a municipal top-up rebate?

CleanBC Better Homes municipal top-up rebates are limited and approved on a first-come, first-served basis, subject to funding availability. Due to the limited nature of this funding, CleanBC cannot guarantee that municipal top-up rebates will be available to homeowners. Homeowners who live in municipalities where the top-ups are fully subscribed will not receive a top-up rebate but are still eligible for the CleanBC Better Homes rebate.

Did you see a building science or energy efficiency term you did not understand? Check out our glossary.

Can I pre-register for a CleanBC Better Homes municipal top-up rebate?

Pre-registration for CleanBC Better Homes municipal top-up rebates is not available.

What if I do not meet the Minimum Electricity Consumption threshold for BC Hydro rebates?

BC Hydro customers must meet the minimum electricity consumption to be considered primarily heat by electricity to be eligible for BC Hydro funded rebates. To check your eligibility for rebates use the eligibility check tool to confirm your electricity consumption.

Customers who don’t meet the minimum electricity consumption will be directed to defining a primary heating system FAQ at betterhomesbc.ca, directed to program partners if heating by fossil fuel and to view their electricity consumption in their MyHydro account.

  • If your home is heated by fossil fuel (natural gas, oil, or propane), wood, or solid fuel, visit the Rebate Search Tool to view what rebates are available to you

Please visit our What does Minimum Electricity Consumption mean FAQ for more information.

Please visit our Who do I contact to discuss my electricity consumption FAQ for more information.

 

Who do I contact to discuss my electricity consumption?

Customers looking to discuss their electricity consumption should visit their MyHydro account to view their electricity consumption or speak to BC Hydro directly at 1-800-224-9376.

Please note, the CleanBC Energy Coach Service does not provide utility billing or electricity metering support.

Please visit our FAQ, What does Minimum Electricity Consumption mean? for more information.

Please visit our FAQ, What if I do not meet the Minimum Electricity Consumption threshold for BC Hydro rebates? for more information.

How can I convert an imperial U-factor to a metric U-factor?

U-factor can be expressed in metric units (W/m2·K) or imperial inch-pound units (Btu/h·ft2·F).

To convert imperial u-factors to metric u-factors, multiply by 5.678.

Example: My contractor has given me a quote for five new windows that I would like to replace. My contractor says they have a U-factor in imperial units (Btu/h·ft2·F) of 0.21 and I want to know what that is in metric units.

0.21 x 5.678 = 1.19 (W/m2·K)

New windows typically have a U-factor between 1.00 and 1.80 (W/m2·K), which converts to between 0.18 and 0.32 (Btu/h·ft2·F).

In order to receive a window rebate through the CleanBC Better Homes and Home Renovation Rebate Program, your windows must have a metric U-factor (W/m2·K) of 1.22 or less and must be listed with one of the following certification bodies:

  • Canadian Standards Association (CSA)
  • Intertek Canada (Intertek)
  • Labtest Certification (LC)
  • QAI Laboratories (QAI)
  • National Fenestration Ratings Council (NFRC)

Learn more about this rebate here.

How much will my rebate be for the Home Energy Improvement Bonus?

The Home Energy Improvement Bonus is a rebate provided to homes that complete EnerGuide Rating System evaluations and install three or more bonus-eligible home energy upgrades. The rebate is calculated as the percentage change between your pre- and post-upgrade EnerGuide rating.* The bigger the percentage change in your EnerGuide rating, the larger the bonus rebate you will receive. Different combinations of bonus eligible upgrades will provide higher rebates than others. Work with a Program-Qualified Energy Advisor to determine the right Home Energy Improvement Plan for your home.

Remember: The Home Energy Improvement Bonus is a rebate you receive in addition to the individual rebates. The chart below shows the potential range of the Home Energy Improvement Bonus amounts based on your heating system and type of upgrades undertaken.

Home Heating System Upgrade Combinations Average Range of Home Energy Improvement Bonus,** 
Natural Gas and Oil Air Source Heat Pump  + 2 eligible upgrades $1100 to $1800
Natural Gas and Oil 3 eligible upgrades $750 to $1100
Electric Air Source Heat Pump + 2 eligible upgrades $900 to $1500
Electric 3 eligible upgrades $750 to $900

 

Important notes:

  • Be sure to follow the Home Energy Improvement Bonus Eligibility Requirements
  • Effective Oct 1, 2020 the Home Energy Improvement Bonus provides a minimum of $750 and a maximum of $2,000 for qualifying applications.
  • If your community provides municipal top-ups, including Electric Heat Pump Space Heating Top-ups, there may be additional rebates available.
  • If your home is older, poorly insulated, drafty, or has less efficient space and water heating systems, it may be easier for you to achieve a greater percentage reduction in your EnerGuide score and receive a rebate in the upper range or even higher than the amounts shown above; if your home is newer, well insulated, well air sealed or has more efficient space and water heating systems, it may be harder for you to achieve a large percentage reduction in your EnerGuide score and you may receive a rebate in the lower range or lower than shown above.
  • Some types of changes to your home will increase the energy consumption of your home and reduce the Home Energy Improvement Bonus you may be eligible for: Switching from electricity to natural gas space or hot water heating systems, adding a new gas fireplace, adding new window or door openings, or expanding the size of your home.
  • Energy improvements that are not bonus eligible but improve the efficiency of your home will still be factored into the bonus rebate amount. For example, draftproofing, insulation upgrades under the eligibility threshold, solar hot water, and other upgrades will all improve the efficiency of your home and help boost your rebate amount

To get started: Schedule an pre-upgrade EnerGuide home evaluation with a Program-Qualified Energy Advisor. The energy advisor will provide you with recommendations to improve the energy efficiency of your home and help you determine which upgrade options are bonus-eligible and what your bonus rebate is likely to be.

* The Home Energy Improvement Bonus amount is calculated as $20 multiplied by the percentage reduction in your home’s EnerGuide rating (in gigajoules per year, or GJ/year) between your pre- and post-upgrade EnerGuide home evaluation. Three eligible upgrades are required. To see an example of how the rebate is calculated, see How does the Home Energy Improvement Bonus Work?

**This Home Energy Improvement Bonus range is provided as an average range of rebates. The actual rebate you will receive will depend upon a wide range of factors.

Is my home eligible for rebates or an EnerGuide home evaluation?

To access rebates through the CleanBC Better Homes and Home Renovation Rebate Program, or to have an EnerGuide home evaluation completed, your home must meet the eligibility criteria outlined below.

CleanBC Better Homes and Home Renovation Rebate Program

To be eligible for this rebate program, homes must meet the following eligibility criteria:

  • Be connected with a current residential utility service account to FortisBC and/or BC Hydro. Electrically heated homes served by local municipal utilities within the service territories of BC Hydro or FortisBC (electricity) are also eligible.
  • Home must be a year-round primary residence that is at least 12 months old, and one of the following types of residential buildings:
    • single family home (detached dwelling);
    • secondary suite in a single-family home (detached dwelling); the home and secondary suite must be individually metered;
    • mobile home that is permanently fixed, sits on a foundation and is structurally complete with installed and connected plumbing, heating, electrical, water and sewer services towing  apparatus and axle must be removed;
    • duplex, triplex, row home or townhome, where each unit has its own natural gas and/or electricity meter. Utility accounts must be in the name of the resident and/or homeowner; utility accounts in the name of a strata corporation are not eligible.

Please note: Multi-unit residential buildings (such as high-rises and apartment buildings), vacation homes or premises that are not year-round primary residences, garages, workshops, and out buildings are not eligible for the CleanBC Better Homes and Home Renovation Rebate Program.  See full Program Requirements for details.

EnerGuide Home Evaluation

To be eligible for an EnerGuide evaluation for existing homes, your home must be one of the following home types:

  • single family detached
  • semi-detached
  • row home or town home
  • mobile home on a permanent foundation
  • permanently moored float home

A home must also be in an ‘eligible state’, which means that:

  • The building is resting on a permanent foundation(s) or is a permanently moored float home.
  • There is a space heating system in place at the time of the evaluation that is capable (or was, in the case of a heating system failure) of keeping the interior living space at 21 degrees Celsius.
  • The envelope is intact, including the exposed ceilings, exterior walls, exposed floors, windows and doors, and interior and exterior finishes (e.g., drywall, and exterior siding).
  • Up to one window or door unit can be missing as long as it is temporarily air sealed (e.g., covered with plywood with seams and edges sealed with caulking). Any broken window panes must also be air sealed (e.g., with taped polyethylene) for the duration of the blower door test. If the temporary air sealing fails during the blower door test, the building will be considered ineligible.
  • Any renovations underway only affect interior partitions of the dwelling and do not perforate the building envelope.
  • There must be a supply of standard AC electrical power available. If power is not available from a utility, the homeowner must come to an agreement with the service organization about arranging for a suitable power supply to operate the blower door test equipment.

For more information on eligibility requirements for energy evaluations for new homes please visit Natural Resources Canada’s Homebuilders webpage. For energy evaluations for mixed-use or multi-unit residential buildings, contact a program-qualified energy advisor or service organization in your area.

Did you see a building science or energy efficiency term you did not understand? Check out our glossary.

Am I required to have an EnerGuide home evaluation in order to apply for rebates?

Some rebate programs require an EnerGuide home evaluation prior to completing upgrades and after upgrades are completed. Other programs recommend but do not require an EnerGuide home evaluation.

Be sure to find out before you start your renovations if you need an energy evaluation. Visit our rebate search tool for program details or click here to locate an energy advisor.

Did you see a building science or energy efficiency term you did not understand? Check out our glossary.

I am not in an eligible home, are there any rebates I can access?

If the home you are upgrading or have upgraded is not eligible for the CleanBC Better Homes and Home Renovation Rebate Program but is heated primarily by FortisBC natural gas that is billed at a residential rate, you may be eligible to receive rebates directly through FortisBC.

  • To apply for these rebates, use the application forms available directly through FortisBC
  • Applications must also be submitted directly to FortisBC.

If the building you are upgrading is a high-rise building, an apartment building, a stacked townhouse, or condominium that is billed at a commercial rate, your building may be considered a Commercial Building in regards to rebate programs.

  • Commercial Rebate Programs are listed in our rebate search tool. Select Commercial Renovation from the Building Type list.
  • Income qualified households may be able to access free Energy Saving Kits

Why does the rebate only apply to windows that are ENERGY STAR® Certified with a maximum U-factor of 1.22 (W/m2·K)?

The window and door rebate is designed to assist with the additional cost of investment in highly energy efficient windows.

ENERGY STAR certification with an U-factor < 1.22 (W/m2·K) is an industry benchmark for above average window performance, as well as Provincial and Federal policies on energy efficient equipment in the building sector.

Why is a variable speed compressor required for many heat pump rebates?

A variable speed compressor is an inverter driven compressor that can adjust its operating speed to match a home’s heat demand. Compared to conventional systems, variable speed systems have higher customer satisfaction rates, increased energy savings and less impact on the electrical grid. For these reasons, a variable speed compressor is required for mini-split, multi-split, and Tier 2 central heat pump rebates.

Variable speed compressors are very common in ductless mini-split systems but are available for mid and high-performance central systems as well. Heat pump installers are advised to speak with their equipment distributors about variable speed product options.

General benefits to a homeowner:

  • More consistent indoor temperatures
  • Quieter start-up of the outdoor unit
  • Quieter operation due to increased time operating at low speeds/airflow
  • Lower energy bills and better return on investment

Performance improvements relative to conventional systems:

  • Higher efficiency at partial loads and significant seasonal energy savings, beyond what is captured in the HSPF and SEER ratings
  • Higher capacity in cold weather and a better match to a home’s heating needs
  • Faster defrost cycles
  • At partial load operation, lower airflow requirements mitigate issues associated with high static pressure in existing ductwork
  • Allows equipment to be sized for heating needs, while maintaining high performance in cooling operation.
  • Gradual start-up is easier on equipment
  • Gradual start-up is easier on local electrical grids
  • Increased performance reduces peak energy demand in the heating season

What Region is used for the HSPF rating requirements for heat pump installations? Region 4 or 5?

The minimum HSPF rating requirements for all heat pump installations are based on Region 4, regardless of location. Unless otherwise specified, manufacturers’ published HSPF ratings and the HSPF ratings published in the Air-Conditioning, Heating, & Refrigeration Institute (AHRI) Directory of Certified Product Performance are based on Region 4. The ratings found in the AHRI directory can be used to fulfill program requirements.

HSPF ratings for Region 5 are sometimes referenced in regulations or shown in reference to a heat pump’s performance in a specific climate. Region 5 metrics come from equipment test data and cannot be directly converted to Region 4 metrics. Region 5 metrics can be requested from manufacturers, but Region 4 metrics should be used for program requirements.

How does the Home Energy Improvement Bonus work?

The Home Energy Improvement Bonus is a rebate of $750 to $2000 for improving your EnerGuide rating by installing three or more bonus-eligible upgrades. A pre-upgrade EnerGuide home evaluation and a post-upgrade EnerGuide home evaluations are required to determine the change in the EnerGuide rating of your home and the rebate amount. The Home Energy Improvement Bonus is paid out in addition to the rebates paid for eligible individual rebates.

Effective Oct 1, 2020 the Home Energy Improvement Bonus provides a minimum of $750 and a maximum of $2,000 for qualifying applications.

Bonus-eligible individual upgrades include:

The Home Energy Improvement Bonus amount is calculated as $20 multiplied by the percentage reduction in your home’s EnerGuide rating (in gigajoules per year, or GJ/year) between your pre- and post-upgrade EnerGuide home evaluation.

Example 1: If your pre-upgrade EnerGuide rating was 250 GJ/year and your post-upgrade EnerGuide rating is 200 GJ/year you would do the following calculations:

  1. 250 GJ/year – 200 GJ/year = 50 GJ/year [This is the change in GJ/year of your EnerGuide rating.]
  2. 50 GJ/year ÷ 250 GJ/year = 0.20
  3. 0.20 x 100 = 20 [You have achieved a 20 percent reduction in your home’s EnerGuide rating.]
  4. $20.00 x 20 = $400.00 [Since the calculated amount is less than the minimum of $750, you will receive $750. This is in addition to the individual rebates.]

Example 2: If your pre-upgrade EnerGuide rating was 250 GJ/year and your post-upgrade EnerGuide rating is 125 GJ/year you would do the following calculations:

  1. 250 GJ/year – 125 GJ/year = 125 GJ/year [This is the change in GJ/year of your EnerGuide rating.]
  2. 125 GJ/year ÷ 250 GJ/year = 0.50
  3. 0.50 x 100 = 50 [You have achieved a 50 percent reduction in your home’s EnerGuide rating.]
  4. $20.00 x 50 = $1000.00 [This is the incentive you will receive, in addition to the individual rebates]

The Energy Efficiency Action Roadmap section of your EnerGuide Renovation Upgrade Report includes an estimate of GJ savings for recommended upgrades. See our FAQ How much will my incentive be for the Home Energy Improvement Bonus? to see the potential range of Home Energy Improvement Bonus rebate amounts based on the upgrades you do.

Keep in mind that not all upgrades recommended in your EnerGuide Renovation Upgrade Report are bonus-eligible. Always review the program terms and conditions before any renovations begin to ensure your upgrades will be eligible.

Even though some energy efficiency upgrades are not bonus-eligible, they may still improve your EnerGuide rating. For example, draftproofing (air sealing) is not a bonus-eligible upgrade but air sealing upgrades will improve (lower) your EnerGuide rating and allow you to access a higher bonus rebate.

If your renovation plans include upgrades that are not bonus eligible, ensure that at least three other upgrades are eligible so you can access the Home Energy Improvement Bonus. Other upgrades that are not bonus eligible but will contribute to lowering your EnerGuide rating and increasing your bonus rebate amount include:

  • Insulation upgrades that have received individual rebates under $500 in value or that are not eligible for the individual rebate (DIY installation)
  • Foundation insulation
  • Exposed floor, floor over crawlspace or basement header insulation
  • Solar hot water upgrades
  • Photovoltaic panels
  • Draftproofing/Air-sealing

To get started: Schedule a pre-upgrade EnerGuide home evaluation with a Program-Qualified Energy Advisor. The energy advisor will provide you with recommendations to improve the energy efficiency of your home and can assist with determining which upgrade options are bonus-eligible.

How do I find eligible heat pump models?

Your HVAC contractor can help you select an eligible heat pump that suits your home’s specific needs. Make sure to tell them you would like to install an eligible model and apply for rebates.

Eligible heat pumps must be found on the Program’s Qualifying Products Lists.

Check our heat pump rebate summary pages for full efficiency requirement:

Am I eligible for a heat pump rebate if it is combined with a natural gas or propane backup?

Yes. Homeowners are eligible for a central air source heat pump rebate if it is integrated with an existing natural gas or propane furnace according to the rebate eligibility requirements for a Dual-fuel Central Heat Pump Rebate.

How does the rebate program count windows/ what is a rough opening?

The number of windows or doors eligible for rebates is based on the number of rough openings in which windows or doors were replaced. A rough opening is the framed opening of a window or door that may be able to hold one or more windows and/or doors. Each rough opening is counted as one window and/or door. For example, a bay window, which may be made up of several window sections, is regarded as one rough opening. Another example would be a patio or french door, both are regarded as one rough opening.

What are the heat load calculation requirements for heat pumps?

CleanBC Better Homes requires that heat load calculations be completed for the following programs:

  • CleanBC Better Homes and Home Renovation Rebate Program requires that heat load calculations be completed to qualify for dual fuel ducted heat pump rebates. While CleanBC strongly recommends heat load calculations be completed for all heat pump installations, at this time, the requirement only applies to air-source heat pumps that are combined with a natural gas or propane furnace as backup.
  • CleanBC Better Homes Income Qualified Program requires that heat load calculations be completed to qualify for dual fuel ducted heat pump rebates.
  • CleanBC Better Homes New Construction Program requires that heat load calculations be completed to qualify for a rebate for all heat pumps used for space heating that are installed through the heat pump pathway.

Heat Load Calculation Requirements

A heat load calculation is required to ensure the heat pump is sized appropriately for the home’s heating load, which helps optimize energy efficiency and GHG emission reductions, and to encourage high-quality installations.

Rule-of-thumb equipment sizing will not be accepted.

Contractors or Energy Advisors can perform the heat load calculation by using any of the following options:

  • the HRAI Residential Heat Loss & Heat Gain technical manual in combination with the Microsoft Excel-based spreadsheets supplied with the CAN/CSA F280-12 standard
  • a software that uses the CAN/CSA F280-12 calculation methodology. Recommended options include TECA’s Quality First software, Right-F280, and EnerGuide HOT2000 Full House Reports.
    • HOT2000: for existing homes, the Pre-Upgrade EnerGuide Evaluation (D) is required and for new homes, the Pre-Construction EnerGuide Evaluation (P) is required.
  • a software or worksheet that uses the CAN/CSA F280-90 calculation methodology.
  • a software or worksheet that uses methodology from Air Conditioning Contractors of America (ACCA) Manual J.
  • a software or worksheet that uses methodology from TECA’s Quality First Forced Air Guidelines (5thedition 2008).

A copy of the load calculation is part of the required documentation. The load calculation can be documented by a submittal sheet from compliant software or by a load calculation worksheet from TECA, HRAI, ACCA or the CSA F280 standard.

If you’re unsure if your current heat load calculation methodology meets these criteria, please contact betterhomesbc@gov.bc.ca.

An EnerGuide Rating System HOT2000 Full House Report is provided by a registered Energy Advisor working with a licensed Service Organization. The EnerGuide report must have been submitted to Natural Resources Canada.

The Heating, Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Institute of Canada (HRAI) and the Thermal Environment Comfort Association (TECA) both offer training courses on CAN/CSA F280-12 load calculations. HRAI offers a 4-day course in Victoria and Vancouver. TECA is currently updating its Forced Air Guidelines Course with CAN/CSA F280-12 material and will be offering it throughout BC. Both organisations also offer technical manuals on residential heat loss and heat gain load calculations. There are a large number of available software solutions and mobile apps that allow you to do Manual J calculations.

How are insulation rebates calculated?

The CleanBC Better Homes and Home Renovation Rebate Program requires the following information to calculate your rebate:

  • The R-value of new insulation added
  • The square feet covered by new insulation

The R-value that you have added is multiplied by the square feet covered, and then by a specific dollar amount that differs for each area of your home, as indicated in the table below.

Location Installed Minimum R-Value Added Dollar amount for rebate calculation Maximum Rebate
Attic (flat and cathedral ceiling) R12 $0.02 $900
Exterior wall cavities R12 $0.09 $1200
Exterior wall sheathing R3.8 $0.09 $1200
Basement/crawlspace Walls R10 $0.09 $1200
Other (exposed floor, floor over crawlspace, basement header) R20 $0.07 $1000

Example: I had R20 of existing insulation in my attic and added R30 for a total of R50. I covered 900 square feet. My rebate is calculated as follows:

R30 × 900 sf x $0.02 = $540

My rebate for this work is $540.

Please note:

  • Rebates are calculated based on the R-value of new insulation added and not the total combined final R-value for new and pre-existing insulation.
  • The insulation added must have a minimum R-value added per location outlined in the table above.
  • A minimum rebate of $500 is required for each insulation location to be eligible for either for both the Two Upgrade Bonus and the Home Energy Improvement Bonus.
  • The insulation rebate amount cannot exceed the installed cost of the eligible upgrade indicated on the invoice.
  • You cannot access a rebate for both crawlspace wall and floor above crawlspace – you must choose one or the other.

Did you see a building science or energy efficiency term you did not understand? Check out our glossary.

Are there any Municipal Offers (local government top-ups)?

Yes.  Some municipalities are offering top-up rebates for heat pumps, heat pump water heaters, windows and doors, and EnerGuide home evaluations. Municipal heat pump rebates are available for homes that are converting from fossil fuel heating (natural gas, oil or propane) to an electric air-source heat pump for space heating. EnerGuide home evaluation rebate top ups are available for all homes, regardless of heating fuel, and apply to the pre-upgrade EnerGuide Home Evaluation..

Municipal top-up rebates are automatically calculated when participants submit their program application online. No additional paperwork is required.

Municipal Offers vary by location, check out our rebate search tool for offers in your area.

Does foil insulation count towards the CleanBC Better Homes and Home Renovation Rebate Program?

The CleanBC Better Homes and Home Renovation Rebate Program terms and conditions state that batts, loose fill, board and spray foam are eligible insulation types. Only products with Canadian R-values provided by the manufacturer are accepted. “System values” or values of materials not tested to Canadian national thermal insulation standards cannot be used for determining the amount of insulation added.

However, your contractor may install insulation that is foil backed. The insulating value of this is obtained by adding the thermal resistance value (R-value) of the insulation to the R-value of the foil insulation. If the R-value of the insulation (excluding the foil) meet the minimum requirements of the rebate program, it will be eligible and you can count it towards the insulation rebate.

Foil insulation is essentially a plastic bubble wrap sheet with a reflective foil layer, belonging to a class of products known as radiant foils. In Canada, these types of insulation often have R-values of R0 to R3.5. If there is no air space or clear bubble layer the R-value is R-0. Keeping the performance attribute of foil insulation in mind when planning insulation upgrades is important to ensure your upgrade maximizes its performance and effectiveness. For more information on the different types of insulation, visit the Natural Resources Canada resource, Keeping The Heat In.

Did you see a building science or energy efficiency term you did not understand? Check out our glossary.

Are there any rebates for draftproofing?

There are currently no individual rebates for draftproofing (air sealing). However, draftproofing can reduce energy use in your home and increase the rebate amount of the Home Energy Improvement Bonus.

The Home Energy Improvement Bonus requires that you complete a minimum of 3 eligible upgrades between a pre- and post-upgrade EnerGuide home evaluation. The rebate amount is calculated based on the percentage reduction in your EnerGuide rating, measured in gigajoules per year (GJ/year). $20 is provided for every percent reduction in your EnerGuide rating.

Draftproofing leads to a more airtight building envelope which means a more energy efficient home and a decrease in your post-upgrade EnerGuide rating. Remember – the lower your EnerGuide rating the more efficient your home!

How much draftproofing may contribute to your Home Energy Improvement Bonus amount is highly variable and depends on how drafty your home was prior to draftproofing and on the quality of installation of the upgrades that are undertaken in your home. It is important to note that well-installed windows, doors, insulation and other upgrades can contribute to making your home less drafty and will provide you with a higher Home Energy Improvement Bonus rebate amount.

To get started: Schedule a pre-upgrade EnerGuide home evaluation with a program-qualified energy advisor. The energy advisor will provide you with a list of draftproofing opportunities and identify the potential for improving your home’s energy efficiency, reducing your EnerGuide rating and accessing the bonus rebate.

Can I receive a rebate if I already installed the upgrade?

The deadlines and eligibility criteria vary across the different rebate programs, so it is important to check the details for the specific program and upgrade(s) you are pursuing.

Use the rebate search tool to find rebate programs for the energy upgrades that you have completed, and check if you meet the application deadlines. Along with submitting your application on time, it is important to ensure that you have met the program’s eligibility requirements.

Some rebates require you to have completed an EnerGuide home evaluation before you installed your upgrades. If you did not have an evaluation prior to installing the upgrade, you will not be eligible for the rebate.

Did you see a building science or energy efficiency term you did not understand? Check out our glossary.

Can I replace my window panes and/or sills but not the frames?

No. You must replace the entire window, including the frame, in order for your window upgrade to be eligible for a rebate or to count toward the Bonus Offers. The whole window assembly must be ENERGY STAR®  certified and must be listed on the ENERGY STAR certified fenestration list for windows and doors. For complete window and door eligibility requirements, see the Window and Door Rebate page.

Did you see a building science or energy efficiency term you did not understand? Check out our glossary.

Heat Pump Eligibility

Why is a variable speed compressor required for many heat pump rebates?

A variable speed compressor is an inverter driven compressor that can adjust its operating speed to match a home’s heat demand. Compared to conventional systems, variable speed systems have higher customer satisfaction rates, increased energy savings and less impact on the electrical grid. For these reasons, a variable speed compressor is required for mini-split, multi-split, and Tier 2 central heat pump rebates.

Variable speed compressors are very common in ductless mini-split systems but are available for mid and high-performance central systems as well. Heat pump installers are advised to speak with their equipment distributors about variable speed product options.

General benefits to a homeowner:

  • More consistent indoor temperatures
  • Quieter start-up of the outdoor unit
  • Quieter operation due to increased time operating at low speeds/airflow
  • Lower energy bills and better return on investment

Performance improvements relative to conventional systems:

  • Higher efficiency at partial loads and significant seasonal energy savings, beyond what is captured in the HSPF and SEER ratings
  • Higher capacity in cold weather and a better match to a home’s heating needs
  • Faster defrost cycles
  • At partial load operation, lower airflow requirements mitigate issues associated with high static pressure in existing ductwork
  • Allows equipment to be sized for heating needs, while maintaining high performance in cooling operation.
  • Gradual start-up is easier on equipment
  • Gradual start-up is easier on local electrical grids
  • Increased performance reduces peak energy demand in the heating season

What Region is used for the HSPF rating requirements for heat pump installations? Region 4 or 5?

The minimum HSPF rating requirements for all heat pump installations are based on Region 4, regardless of location. Unless otherwise specified, manufacturers’ published HSPF ratings and the HSPF ratings published in the Air-Conditioning, Heating, & Refrigeration Institute (AHRI) Directory of Certified Product Performance are based on Region 4. The ratings found in the AHRI directory can be used to fulfill program requirements.

HSPF ratings for Region 5 are sometimes referenced in regulations or shown in reference to a heat pump’s performance in a specific climate. Region 5 metrics come from equipment test data and cannot be directly converted to Region 4 metrics. Region 5 metrics can be requested from manufacturers, but Region 4 metrics should be used for program requirements.

How do I find eligible heat pump models?

Your HVAC contractor can help you select an eligible heat pump that suits your home’s specific needs. Make sure to tell them you would like to install an eligible model and apply for rebates.

Eligible heat pumps must be found on the Program’s Qualifying Products Lists.

Check our heat pump rebate summary pages for full efficiency requirement:

Am I eligible for a heat pump rebate if it is combined with a natural gas or propane backup?

Yes. Homeowners are eligible for a central air source heat pump rebate if it is integrated with an existing natural gas or propane furnace according to the rebate eligibility requirements for a Dual-fuel Central Heat Pump Rebate.

What are the heat load calculation requirements for heat pumps?

CleanBC Better Homes requires that heat load calculations be completed for the following programs:

  • CleanBC Better Homes and Home Renovation Rebate Program requires that heat load calculations be completed to qualify for dual fuel ducted heat pump rebates. While CleanBC strongly recommends heat load calculations be completed for all heat pump installations, at this time, the requirement only applies to air-source heat pumps that are combined with a natural gas or propane furnace as backup.
  • CleanBC Better Homes Income Qualified Program requires that heat load calculations be completed to qualify for dual fuel ducted heat pump rebates.
  • CleanBC Better Homes New Construction Program requires that heat load calculations be completed to qualify for a rebate for all heat pumps used for space heating that are installed through the heat pump pathway.

Heat Load Calculation Requirements

A heat load calculation is required to ensure the heat pump is sized appropriately for the home’s heating load, which helps optimize energy efficiency and GHG emission reductions, and to encourage high-quality installations.

Rule-of-thumb equipment sizing will not be accepted.

Contractors or Energy Advisors can perform the heat load calculation by using any of the following options:

  • the HRAI Residential Heat Loss & Heat Gain technical manual in combination with the Microsoft Excel-based spreadsheets supplied with the CAN/CSA F280-12 standard
  • a software that uses the CAN/CSA F280-12 calculation methodology. Recommended options include TECA’s Quality First software, Right-F280, and EnerGuide HOT2000 Full House Reports.
    • HOT2000: for existing homes, the Pre-Upgrade EnerGuide Evaluation (D) is required and for new homes, the Pre-Construction EnerGuide Evaluation (P) is required.
  • a software or worksheet that uses the CAN/CSA F280-90 calculation methodology.
  • a software or worksheet that uses methodology from Air Conditioning Contractors of America (ACCA) Manual J.
  • a software or worksheet that uses methodology from TECA’s Quality First Forced Air Guidelines (5thedition 2008).

A copy of the load calculation is part of the required documentation. The load calculation can be documented by a submittal sheet from compliant software or by a load calculation worksheet from TECA, HRAI, ACCA or the CSA F280 standard.

If you’re unsure if your current heat load calculation methodology meets these criteria, please contact betterhomesbc@gov.bc.ca.

An EnerGuide Rating System HOT2000 Full House Report is provided by a registered Energy Advisor working with a licensed Service Organization. The EnerGuide report must have been submitted to Natural Resources Canada.

The Heating, Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Institute of Canada (HRAI) and the Thermal Environment Comfort Association (TECA) both offer training courses on CAN/CSA F280-12 load calculations. HRAI offers a 4-day course in Victoria and Vancouver. TECA is currently updating its Forced Air Guidelines Course with CAN/CSA F280-12 material and will be offering it throughout BC. Both organisations also offer technical manuals on residential heat loss and heat gain load calculations. There are a large number of available software solutions and mobile apps that allow you to do Manual J calculations.

Step 2: Register and book your pre-retrofit EnerGuide evaluation

How do I register for the Canada Greener Homes Grant?

Homeowners must register directly through the Canada Greener Homes Grant website.

If you do not have internet access or require assistance registering for the grants, contact the Canada Greener Homes Grant directly:

After a homeowner without access to the Internet is registered, they will be contacted by program staff who will discuss next steps with them, including how to submit proof of ownership requirements.

I have made upgrades to my home that are Canada Greener Homes Grant eligible measures, but I have not undertaken an EnerGuide evaluation. Can I apply for a grant?

 The Canada Greener Homes Grant requires that homeowners:

  • complete a pre- and post-retrofit EnerGuide evaluation;
  • complete at least one retrofit that is both eligible and recommended by your energy advisor in their report. Only homeowners who conduct at least one retrofit will be reimbursed;
  • provide and keep copies of all of your documents until March 31, 2028.

Unfortunately, you cannot be reimbursed unless you undertook a pre-retrofit evaluation and the retrofits were both eligible and recommended by your energy advisor.

What happens if I have completed a pre-retrofit evaluation, but do not intend to pursue any measures?

In order to be reimbursed for the pre-retrofit evaluation you must complete at least one retrofit that is both eligible and recommended by your energy advisor in their report.

The Canada Greener Homes Grant will not be providing reimbursements if you only complete the pre-retrofit evaluation.

Renewable/High Performance Options

I’m interested in solar energy. How do I find out if it’s a good option for me?

Solar energy is an affordable alternative energy source that can be used to help heat and power your home or business. The active solar technology becoming more common is Solar Photovoltaic (Solar PV). Solar PV systems use solar cells to convert sunlight directly into electricity.

Solar PV systems are comprised of solar panels, inverters, breakers and mounting equipment. The solar panel generates power by converting sunlight to direct current electricity. Inverters are then used to convert the direct current electricity into alternating current to be used in your home.

Considerations

  • The potential for solar energy varies across Canada and British Columbia.
  • Before installing a solar system on your home’s roof, consider your roof’s current condition and if rework is needed in the near future.
  • Assessing how much energy your home requires on a daily, monthly, yearly, and seasonal basis will give you an idea of whether solar energy is economically viable for your home.
  • Engage an experienced and reputable solar energy installer to learn more about the right system for your home.

Rebate Programs

The BC Hydro Net Metering Program is designed for those who generate electricity for their own use. When you generate more than you need, you sell it to BC Hydro. When you don’t generate enough to meet your needs, you buy it from them. Any excess electricity is carried over to the following month and applied to that month’s consumption. If any excess power is left over a year from your net metering anniversary date, you will receive a financial credit from BC Hydro.

The Canada Greener Homes Grant offers up to $5,000 in grants when installing solar. This program also offers an up to $40,000 interest-free loan to support energy efficiency upgrades in your home. To access this program, you have to first start with an EnerGuide home evaluation with a energy advisor. Use the program-qualified energy advisor search tool to get started.

Did you see a building science or energy efficiency term you did not understand? Check out our glossary.

What is a net zero energy home? How can I make my home a net zero home?

A net-zero energy (NZE) home produces as much energy as it consumes on a yearly basis and has at least one on-site renewable energy system. NZE homes are not necessarily energy autonomous or off-grid because they can be connected to the electricity grid and supply energy back to the grid when the home produces more energy than it needs. In the span of a year the energy supplied to the grid should balance the energy drawn from the grid to achieve net-zero annual energy consumption.

To make your home a NZE home, there are three steps to consider when designing and building your home:

  1. Reduce the home’s energy requirements.
  2. Include renewable energy systems to provide the amount of energy required to operate the home.
  3. Operate the home efficiently.

For more information on the steps toward a NZE home, visit CMHC’s Net-Zero Energy Housing webpage.

Did you see a building science or energy efficiency term you did not understand? Check out our glossary.

Can you retrofit a building to the Passive House Standard?

Passive House retrofit is becoming a viable and increasingly common option in Europe, especially for low-rise apartment buildings. Canadian houses are generally built without good passive design characteristics:

  • They often have inefficient shapes (i.e. high area to volume ratios).
  • They’re generally not oriented towards the sun or they experience significant winter shading.
  • They may have a lot of north-facing glass as well as serious thermal bridges, and their interior layouts may be difficult to change.
  • Often a significant part of the value of the house may be invested in exterior brick or stonework, making re-insulation from the exterior non-viable.

So, although it can be possible to dramatically cut the energy consumption of a house or building, perhaps close to Passive House levels, it may not be cost-effective to do so, depending on the state, shape, size and age of the house.

For the EnerPHit Standard criteria, visit Passive House Canada.

Did you see a building science or energy efficiency term you did not understand? Check out our glossary.

Energy Efficiency and Reduction

What is the best way to reduce GHG’s emitted by my home?

The best way to reduce the greenhouse gases (GHG) emitted by your home is to switch from a greenhouse gas intensive heating fuel to a more climate friendly fuel type.

Fossil fuels are the most GHG intensive heating fuels, with oil having the highest emissions, followed by propane and natural gas. Other combustion fuels such as biofuels and wood-based fuels emit greenhouse gases as well. Electricity has the lowest GHG emissions, as over 90% of electricity in BC is from renewable hydroelectricity and electric space and hot-water heating systems are more efficient than fossil fuel.

While fuel-switching is the most effective way to reduce to reduce your GHG emissions, upgrading an old heating or hot water system to a more energy-efficient system of the same fuel type will also achieve GHG savings.

In all homes, when upgrading a space heating system it is wise to consider building envelope upgrades, such as draftproofing, insulation, and upgrading windows as well. A well-insulated, draft free  building envelope may allow you to install a smaller and more efficient heating system, will further improve the overall energy efficiency of your home, reduce GHG emissions and maximize the affordability of your heating bills.

Did you see a building science or energy efficiency term you did not understand? Check out our glossary.

How can I tell if my home uses too much energy?

Learn more about what makes a home energy-efficient with Natural Resources Canada.

According to Natural Resources Canada’s 2015 Survey of Household Energy Use (SHEU-2015), a single detached home in British Columbia consumes 106.3 gigajoules (GJ) of energy per year on average. However, this number can vary depending on a number of factors, such as: type of dwelling, year built, heated area and the number of occupants. Refer to the SHEU-2015 Energy Intensity Per Household Data Table for more details. If your energy consumption exceeds the SHEU-2015 benchmarks then your home may be consuming too much energy.

Another way to learn more about your energy consumption is by having an energy advisor come to your home and complete an EnerGuide Home Energy Evaluation. A program-qualified energy advisor will conduct various tests to measure the energy efficiency of your home. After the evaluation, the energy advisor will outline the energy inefficiencies of your home. They will also send you an EnerGuide rating label, a detailed report of your energy evaluation and recommendations for upgrades that will help improve your home’s energy efficiency. The Renovation Upgrade Report will give your current energy rating, and the rating you can achieve by completing the recommended energy efficiency upgrades.

Did you see a building science or energy efficiency term you did not understand? Check out our glossary.

What is a Home Energy Monitor?

A Home Energy Monitor is a device that continuously monitors your electricity usage and displays this information, in both dollar cost and kilowatts, in real time. The Home Energy Monitor will also display your daily, monthly, and accumulated totals, as well as your meter reading.

An image of a Rainforest EMU display showing current energy usage.

Through your BC Hydro MyHydro account, you may already be tracking your electricity use online – a home energy monitor simply allows you to track this information in real time. This helps to understand how and when you’re using electricity, as well as the associated costs, allowing you to take actions to reduce your usage and save money and energy.

To be eligible for a home energy monitor through BC Hydro you must meet these requirements:

  • Create an online MyHydro account with a linked profile. If you do not have one you can sign up;
  • Live in a residential detached or semi-detached home; this includes most townhomes, rowhomes and mobile homes; and
  • Have a connected smart meter with a strong network connection.

Learn more about home energy monitors with BC Hydro. You can purchase a home energy monitor through your BC Hydro MyHydro account.

If you are a FortisBC Electric customer, your advanced electricity meter will display information that will cycle through the advanced meter display every 6 seconds. You can access tools through FortisBC, like in-home displays, to help you better manage your electricity use. For more information on advanced meters, as well as in-home displays, visit your FortisBC Account Online, or contact FortisBC at 1-866-436-7847.

Did you see a building science or energy efficiency term you did not understand? Check out our glossary.

Wood Heated Homes Converting to a Heat Pump

What types of wood or solid fuel heating systems are eligible to be replaced with heat pumps?

A wood or pellet stove, insert, or furnace may be replaced with a Central Ducted or Mini-Split heat pump.

I am installing a heat pump and keeping my wood stove for back up heating. What level of WETT inspection report do I need to submit?

Customers keeping their wood or solid fuel heating system in safe and working order may submit a level 1, 2, or 3 WETT inspection report, based on the recommendation from your WETT-certified professional. The inspection report must be dated within the 12 month period before or 6 month period following the date of the heat pump installation invoice and include the inspector’s WETT certification number, the site address of the wood or solid fuel heating system, and whether the installation is compliant with relevant codes.

Why do I need to submit a WETT inspection report if I want to keep my wood stove when I install a heat pump?

Your wood stove must be in safe and working order. A WETT inspection report identifies whether an installation meets or does not meet manufacturer’s installation instructions and appropriate codes. The installation will either be compliant with relevant building and installation codes – and eligible for an air source heat pump (convert from wood) rebate – or not.

Where can I find a WETT-certified professional?

Find a WETT-certified professional at www.wettinc.ca or by calling the WETT National office at 1-888-358-9388.

I am installing a heat pump and removing my old wood stove, what components need to be removed?

The wood stove must be removed. Contact a wood stove installation or service specialist in your area for guidance on how to safely remove and recycle your wood stove.

What type of photos are required to demonstrate that my wood stove has been removed?

Before and after photos indicating that the wood stove has been removed from the home are required.

I am converting my wood or solid fuel heating system to an air source heat pump. Can I also access the Heat Pump Group Purchase Rebate?

No, customers converting their wood or solid fuel heating systems to an air source heat pump are not eligible to access the Heat Pump Group Purchase Rebate. The Heat Pump Group Purchase Rebate is an additional offer that is only available to groups of homeowners who are switching from an oil, natural gas, or propane heating system to an air source heat pump. For more information on the Group Purchase Rebate Program, visit www.betterhomesbc.ca/rebates/gpr.

I am converting my wood or solid fuel heating system to an air source heat pump. Can I also access the Two Upgrade Bonus?

Yes, customers who receive an air source heat pump (converting from wood) rebate can access the Two Upgrade Bonus, provided that they install one additional bonus-eligible home energy upgrade. Use the rebate search tool to learn about other energy efficiency upgrade rebates you may be eligible for. For more information on the Two Upgrade Bonus, visit https://www.betterhomesbc.ca/rebates/two-upgrade-bonus.

I am converting my wood or solid fuel heating system to an air source heat pump. Can I also access the Home Energy Improvement Bonus?

No, customers who have a wood or solid fuel primary heating system can only access two bonus-eligible rebates – the air source heat pump (convert from wood) and water heater rebates. As a result, these customers are not eligible for the Home Energy Improvement Bonus, which is provided to homeowners that complete EnerGuide Rating System evaluations and install three or more bonus-eligible home energy upgrades (If you have electric heating in addition to your wood or solid fuel heat, you may be considered electrically-heated instead, check your consumption at bchydro.com/hero/eligibility).

However, 12 months following the installation of your new heat pump, your primary heating system will switch from wood (or other solid fuel) to electric. At this point in time, you will become eligible for range of new offers available to customers with electric primary heating systems, which will include the Home Energy Improvement Bonus. For more information on the Home Energy Improvement Bonus, visit https://www.betterhomesbc.ca/rebates/home-energy-improvement-bonus.

How to Participate

How do I get started?

Once you have been confirmed eligible and been assigned an eligibility code, you can use the Contractor Search Tool on the Better Homes Website to find a Registered Contractor.

Where can I find a Registered Contractor in my area, and what should I know before hiring them?

You can find Registered Contractors through the Contractor Search Tool on the Better Homes Website.

When hiring a contractor, it’s important that you are choosing them for the quality of their work and for their training and credentials rather than solely on price. There are a variety of consequences to hiring someone that is going to do a poor job installing your equipment. We recommend calling around to different installers in your area to ensure that they can meet your time frame, the scope of the project, and are well qualified for the job.

Before you hire a contractor, clearly establish the scale of the project and a clear budget to work within. Write a complete description of the work you want done on your home. By doing so you will understand the scope of your project and you can find a contractor that will be the most suitable for the job. This detailed description should be given to potential contractors when you ask for a bid or proposal for your project.

Go through a proper screening process before hiring a contractor:

 For tips on hiring a contractor, visit the Canadian Home Builders’ Association. FortisBC also has some helpful tips on hiring a contractor.

*Disclaimer: The directories and resources listed on this page are for informational purposes only. CleanBC Better Homes and its partners do not endorse or guarantee contractors or their services. It is your responsibility to interview and select a contractor that meets your needs.

Did you see a building science or energy efficiency term you did not understand? Check out our glossary.

Do I have to work with a Registered Contractor?

The use of a Registered Contractor is required in order to have a rebate applied to your home upgrade. Registered Contractors have completed program and technology specific best practice training.

How soon can I expect the equipment to be installed?

Equipment installation time periods are specific to each contractor. Please discuss this with your prospective contractors.

Blower Door Test

What is a Mid-Construction Blower Door Test?

A mid-construction blower door test is a diagnostic test which depressurizes or pressurizes the home to identify unintentional leaks and issues with the air barrier. Importantly, the mid-construction blower door test needs to be scheduled at a point in the construction when it is not too late to effectively remedy identified air leakage issues.

A mid-construction blower door test service may include the following:

  • Measurements required for volume and area calculations;
  • Performing the airtightness test using a blower door fan;
  • Locating and documenting the air leakages – while the home is depressurized or pressurized you can walk around the home and feel air being drawn into the house through unintentional gaps in the building envelope;
  • Determining preliminary blower door metrics using HOT2000 or other software;
  • Air changes per hour (ACH) and/or;
  • Normalized leakage area (NLA) and/or,
  • Normalized leakage rate (NLR)

The mid-construction blower door test service can also include:

  • Blower door guided air sealing (where the energy advisor is on site with the blower door while a crew is conducting air sealing. This allows the builder to benefit from the expertise of the energy advisor and the confirmation that the air leakage target is achieved);
  • Providing a formal mid-construction blower door test report (with narrative and images of air leakage areas);
  • Other tasks agreed to between the two parties (e.g. repeated test to check for improvement).

Benefits of a mid-construction blower door test include:

  • A mid-construction blower door test helps your company avoid surprises and helps you to meet energy efficiency targets early in the process.
  • A home built with minimal levels of air leakage (and right ventilation) can reduce heat loss and energy bills in the winter, keep the home cooler in the summer, improve home comfort, enhance air quality, protect the building structure and other materials from moisture damage, and help prevent dust, noise, and insects from entering from outdoors.
  • A well-built and air sealed home can also shrink the environmental footprint of the home by reducing the greenhouse gas emissions produced by using energy to heat and cool your home.
  • The cost of addressing air leakage issues at the right time in the construction process can be negligible. If you wait until construction has been completed to identify air leakage issues, fixing the problem may be time consuming, expensive, or nearly impossible.
  • The mid-construction blower door test can be a practical teaching tool for your crews and sub trades. Involve them in the process: the test can be an opportunity for them to learn how to identify and address air leakage issues many builders have called the mid-construction blower door test more educational than weekend-long workshops on air tightness.

Contact a professional energy advisor to request a quote for a mid-construction blower door test.Currently, new homes energy advisors can be found on https://energystepcode.ca/energy-advisors/.

Cost Effectiveness

Why are my energy bills so high?

Your home energy consumption and the amount you pay on energy bills is based on many factors: size of home, energy efficiency of the home, type of heating system you use, the fuel type (electricity, gas, oil, propane) you use for space and hot water heating, the number of people living in your home and how house occupants use energy for space and water heating, appliances, lighting, cooking, bathing, etc.

There are many reasons why your energy bills may be higher than expected, or higher than you would like:

  • Insufficient insulation in your walls or attic
  • Air leakage issues
  • Inappropriately sized heating system
  • Inefficient space heating system
  • Inefficient hot water system
  • Heat loss through inefficient windows
  • High consumption of hot water for laundry and bathing
  • Other energy uses: hot tubs, space heaters, water pumps, energy used in workshops or outbuildings, etc.

Winter Energy Bills

During the winter months we experience colder and darker days which can increase your home’s energy consumption. Your bills tend to be higher during colder months because:

  • It takes more energy to maintain a comfortable temperature in your home
  • Space heaters may be used to supplement the home’s primary heating system
  • Lights are left on longer from spending more time in your home and using lighting for longer periods during dark winter months

Changes in Billing and/or Utility Rates

If you notice that your utility bill is higher, even though your energy consumption was similar to your previous bill, then you should look for other changes in your utility bill, such as:

  • An increase in your utility rate (how much you are charged for a given unit of energy consumption compared to your past energy bills).
  • Longer billing period length. You may have been charged for more days in your most recent billing period compared to previous bills.
  • Delayed meter reading. If your utility provider does not read your meter for a given billing period, they will make an estimate of your home’s energy consumption based on your history. The estimate may be higher than expected, but your bill should be adjusted the next time your meter is read.

Changes in Home Dynamics that May Impact Your Energy Bill

Some questions to ask yourself are:

  • Have you had visitors recently or tenants that have moved in?
  • Have you added any new appliances?
  • Are you completing any upgrades or renovations for your home?

Answering yes to any of the above questions could explain why your energy bills have increased.

For more information please visit the BC Hydro and FortisBC.

Solutions to high energy bills include:

  • Draftproof your home – reducing drafts and air leakage into your home you will save energy, improve home comfort and save on your energy bills.
  • Monitor your home energy consumption – installing a home energy meter or signing up for BC Hydro’s MyHydro service to monitor your usage and pinpoint peak energy consumption periods. You may identify a spike in your energy consumption that helps you understand you high energy consumption. For example, does your energy consumption spike on Sunday, the same day you do all your laundry?
  • Complete an EnerGuide Home Evaluation – an energy evaluation helps you identify options to reduce energy bills.
  • Hire a contractor to complete energy efficiency upgrades for your home – depending on your home’s energy upgrade needs – insulation, heating and water systems, and window upgrades can all contribute to reducing energy consumption, which leads to smaller energy bills.
  • Complete simple DIY upgrades – are you handy around the house and have some time for home improvements – Small changes add up and many changes can be done as Do-It-Yourself projects, see our DIY FAQs and Drafproofing FAQs for more information.
  • Alter occupant behaviour – there are many steps you can take to reduce your energy consumption. Reduce the number of laundry loads or use cold water, consider hanging laundry on a clothes line, unplug electronics when not in use, turn off lights when you leave a room, take shorter showers, reduce the use of space heaters in occupied rooms, etc.

Did you see a building science or energy efficiency term you did not understand? Check out our glossary.

I have a heat pump but my hydro bills are still very high

If you heat your home with a heat pump, but are experiencing higher than expected energy bills check out the solutions below.

First read the FAQ, Why are my energy bills so high? as your hydro bill may be high for reasons unrelated to your heat pump

If you feel that you aren’t benefiting from the high efficiency of your heat pump systems, the following operating tips and information should be considered:

  • Building envelope – regardless of what system is used to heat and cool your home, the importance of an airtight and well insulated building envelope cannot be understated. Air leakage caused by cracks and gaps in the building envelope, along with inadequate insulation will force your heating system to work harder in the winter, and your cooling system to work harder in the summer. Heating and cooling systems consume more energy and cost more to operate when they have to work harder to maintain the desired temperature. Draftproofing and upgrading insulation in areas like your attic or basement/ crawlspace is a great place to start and can improve the building envelope and reduce energy loss, resulting in energy and cost savings. Speak with an insulation and air sealing contractor or an EnerGuide Rating System energy advisor to help you understand why your energy bills may be so high.
  • Thermostat location – the location of your thermostat is important. A thermostat that is located in the direct path of a heating register senses that the living area is warm before the area has actually reached the desired temperature. This can cause the unit to short-cycle, which turns the heat pump off before the living space has been conditioned. Conversely, thermostats placed next to drafty windows or doors may not sense when the living space has reached the desired temperature. This can lead to over-heating and increased energy consumption. If you suspect the location of your thermostat is an issue – speak with a professional heat pump contractor about the options and costs of moving the thermostat to a more appropriate location.
  • Setting your thermostat – the air source heat pump indoor thermostat should be set at the desired comfort temperature and not readjusted. Repeatedly adjusting the indoor thermostat, or turning the unit on and off may cause the heat pump system’s supplementary heating system to kick in – causing your heating system to use more energy and increase your energy bills. We recommend checking your heat pump user’s manual for the recommended set point of your heat pump. In the cold winter months it is best to set your heat pump thermostat at your desired temperature and leave it at that temperature, this will reduce the number of times your heat pumps supplementary system will kick in (saving you money). If you wish to set back your thermostat do not set it back more than 2 degrees (for example if your preferred temperature is 21 degrees, do not set back your thermostat to lower than 19 degrees).
  • Emergency heat is only for emergencies – most thermostats have an emergency setting that when selected, forces your supplementary (back-up) heating system to kick in and take over 100% of the heating for the home. This can be expensive as the back-up heating system is less efficient than the heat pump. The emergency setting should only be selected when the heat pump is malfunctioning.
  • Do not use AUTO mode – AUTO mode allows the heat pump to switch from cooling to heat automatically. This can cause the system to switch modes when it is not necessary. It is recommended to keep the heat pump in “Heat” mode in the winter and “Cool” mode in the summer.
  • Review the owner’s manual – not all heat pumps are the same. Each brand and model of heat pump will have its own recommended set point and other operating suggestions to maximize the efficiency of that specific model of heat pump. Review your owner’s manual and discuss with your contractor the best way to operate your heat pump.

Did you see a building science or energy efficiency term you did not understand? Check out our glossary.

Which upgrades typically have the fastest payback period?

When thinking about the payback period for your upgrades, the simple payback is one of the easiest way to look at your investment.

Simple payback is the length of time it takes to recoup the initial investment of the energy upgrade. The basic formula for calculating payback period is:

Payback period (in years) = cost of upgrade / energy savings per year

There are a few factors that should be considered when thinking about simple payback:

  • The life span of the product will determine for how long you will benefit form energy savings before having to replace it.
  • Changes to utility rates will affect the amount of money you save on energy costs.

Upgrades that typically have the fastest payback period are lower cost home energy improvements such as high efficiency aerators and shower heads, draftproofing, lighting, and adding insulation to previously uninsulated exterior walls. However, often it can be a wise financial investment to undertake higher cost home energy improvements that have a longer simple payback – but will save you more each year and over the lifetime of the improvement. While not as straight forward as simple payback – higher cost home energy improvements may have a strong return on investment.

Did you see a building science or energy efficiency term you did not understand? Check out our glossary.

Step 3: Plan, document, and complete your home retrofits

What if the retrofit work was part of my energy advisor’s recommendations but is not eligible for a grant?

The Canada Greener Homes Grant recognizes there are scenarios where homeowners have moved forward between December 2020 and the program launch and their retrofit work may not be included on the list of eligible retrofits detailed on the website at program launch.

  • Only eligible retrofit work completed after December 1, 2020, that includes both a pre- and post-retrofit EnerGuide evaluation qualifies for a grant.

Homeowners with questions on the retrofits they have undertaken are advised to contact the Greener Homes Division for more information:

CleanBC Better Homes Program Application FAQs

What are the documentation requirements for the CleanBC Better Homes and Home Renovation Rebate Program?

To access rebates from the CleanBC Better Homes and Home Renovation Rebate Program you are required to provide supporting documentation (invoices from the contractor) with your rebate application. Please read the Program Requirements and Additional Terms and Conditions for a complete list of invoice and supplementary documentation requirements.

Invoices must meet these requirements:

  • All service invoices/receipts must indicate details of the work performed and the address where the work was performed.
  • The contractor’s company name, contact information (phone and/or email), address and GST number must be on the invoices.
  • All product purchase invoices/receipts must have the product’s brand, model number, and purchase date.
  • Gas installation requires a natural gas permit number and Technical Safety BC  gas contractor licence number.
  • Window invoices must indicate manufacturer model code/number, NRCan reference number or a certified products directory (CPD) number, and must be certified through one of the following certification bodies:
    • Canadian Standards Association (CSA)
    • Intertek Canada (Intertek)
    • Labtest Certification (LC)
    • QAI Laboratories (QAI)
    • National Fenestration Ratings Council (NFRC)
  • All copies of invoices and documentation must be clear and legible.

For detailed documentation requirements by energy upgrade see below for sample invoices that show what the contractor/homeowner should include.

Some rebates require additional supporting documentation. Be sure to go over the program requirements for a complete list of invoice and supplementary documentation requirements.

Did you see a building science or energy efficiency term you did not understand? Check out our glossary.

What do I do if I’m having issues with the online application form?

If you are having issues with your online rebate application form, all application assistance is provided by the CleanBC Better Homes and Home Renovation Rebate Program directly.  Energy coaches provide technical assistance related to improving the efficiency of your home and do not have access to the file submission data, system performance, or other technical aspects of the online application.

For known issues and fixes, please find suggestions below. If these fixes do not work, contact technical assistance at the rebate program for more in-depth aid in solving the issue.

Known issues and suggested work-arounds:

  • PDF file will not upload – Upload a .jpeg file of the supporting document instead
  • No confirmation upon application submission – call Home Renovation Rebate and CleanBC Program directly
  • Very long loading times once application is submitted – call Home Renovation Rebate and CleanBC Program directly

To contact the CleanBC Better Homes and Home Renovation Rebate Program for technical assistance, call:

  • BC Hydro Program Administration: 1-877-338-3347 (option 3)
  • FortisBC Program Administration: 1-855-909-2331 or submit a contact form

Can I submit a bulk application for multiple homes in a large renovation project?

Applications can be made in bulk but the process is slightly different than for a single application. Bulk applications are a good option for projects that are being completed on multiple homes, such as in townhouse or duplex complexes.

Upgrade Eligibility

Bulk Application Information

  • One invoice for the entire project is sufficient
    • Invoice must detail the home unit numbers where the upgrades were completed
    • Refer to the sample invoices for required information
  • Invoices must be paid in full
    • Note: if work is going to take longer than 6 months, multiple applications can be submitted with updated invoicing so that deadlines are met
  • There is no maximum number of units a bulk application can accommodate
  • In some cases, the Home Renovation Rebate Program Utility Account Holder Consent Form may be required

Submitting a Bulk Application

  • The CleanBC Better Homes and Home Renovation Rebate Program process bulk applications on a case-by-case basis
  • If the homes are heated by electricity, contact homerebates@bchydro.com to initiate the Bulk Application process
  • If the homes are heated by natural gas, contact homerebates@fortisbc.com to initiate the Bulk Application process

How long will it take to receive my rebate from the CleanBC Better Homes and Home Renovation Rebate Program?

Processing of applications may take up to 90 days from the date that all required application documents are received. When you submit an online application form you will be provided with a tracking number and confirmation that your application has been received. The status of CleanBC Better Homes and Home Renovation Rebate Program rebate applications can be tracked using the online application tracker.

For questions about the status of your application, contact the program administration directly:

  • BC Hydro Program Administration: 1-877-338-3347
  • FortisBC Program Administration: 1-855-909-2329 or fill out the contact form

Program partners are not responsible for lost, delayed, damaged, ineligible, or incomplete applications.

Rebate payments can be issued either in form of a cheque, credit on bill, or e-transfer to the Participant.

What are the application deadlines for the CleanBC Better Homes and Home Renovation Rebate Program?

In order to be eligible for any of the rebates offered by the CleanBC Better Homes and Home Renovation Rebate Program the upgrades must be installed on or after September 28, 2018.

Individual Upgrades

The program application and all supporting documentation for each upgrade must be submitted within 6 months of the invoice date of the upgrade.

Two Upgrade Bonus

To be eligible for the $300 Two Upgrade Bonus, the first upgrade must be installed on or after September 28, 2018 and the second bonus-eligible upgrades must be installed within 18 months of the installation of the first bonus-eligible upgrade. The Two Upgrade Bonus application must be submitted within 6 months of the invoice date of the second bonus-eligible upgrade.

Home Energy Improvement Bonus

To be eligible for the Home Energy Improvement Bonus, your pre-upgrade evaluation must take place on or after September 28, 2018. You must install three or more bonus-eligible upgrades, and complete a post-upgrade EnerGuide home evaluation within 18 months of your pre-upgrade EnerGuide home evaluation. The Home Energy Improvement Bonus application must be submitted within 6 months of the post-upgrade evaluation.

 

Booking a Home Evaluation

Where can I find an energy advisor?

To find an energy advisor and schedule an energy evaluation, use our list of program-qualified energy advisors. Select your Town or City from the drop-down list and the contact information of nearby energy advisors will be displayed.

Did you see a building science or energy efficiency term you did not understand? Check out our glossary.

What are the costs of an EnerGuide home evaluation?

The range of cost for EnerGuide home evaluations for new construction is broad and depends on many factors:

  • Location of the construction
  • Energy advisor or service organization
  • Size and complexity of the home
  • Project timelines
  • Additional building bylaw requirements
  • Additional services requested, i.e. thermal imaging, mid-construction blower door test, etc.
  • Requirement of multiple blower door tests due to the layout of the building
  • Travel distance / mileage fees

Due to the many factors that affect the cost of an EnerGuide evaluation, we recommend contacting different energy advisors or service organizations in your areato obtain an accurate quote and to ensure that they are able to work within your time frame. Currently new homes energy advisors can be found on https://energystepcode.ca/energy-advisors/.

What can I do if there are no new homes energy advisors currently servicing my location?

A majority of the work involved in delivering an EnerGuide evaluation for new home construction can be completed remotely. If there are no energy advisors located in the area you are building the home, try to connect with an Energy Advisor nearest to your city/town and ask if they’re willing to visit your location to conduct a final site visit after the construction of your home.

Currently new homes energy advisors can be found at https://energystepcode.ca/energy-advisors/.

Not satisfied with your energy advisor or the EnerGuide home evaluation?

Contact your energy advisor’s service organization. The service organization is responsible for training energy advisors, providing supervision and technical support and monitoring that established Natural Resources Canada procedures are followed.

What are the costs of an existing homes EnerGuide evaluation?

The cost of an energy evaluation ranges and highly depends on your location, the energy advisor or service organization you choose, the size and complexity of your home, whether or not you have a secondary suite requiring a second blower door test, additional services requested (thermal imaging) and other factors. We recommend calling at least 3 different service organizations to obtain a quote and ensure that they are able to work within your renovation time frame. Please note that GST and applicable fees may apply.

For an accurate quote, contact a program-qualified energy advisor that services your area.

Did you see a building science or energy efficiency term you did not understand? Check out our glossary.

What types of homes are eligible for EnerGuide home evaluations?

These requirements are specifically for existing homes, for example: single family detached homes, mobile homes on a permanent foundation, permanently moored float homes, low-rise, semi-detached, and row houses.

In order for an EnerGuide evaluation to be conducted in your home, it must be in an eligible state.

According to Natural Resources Canada’s guidelines, an ‘eligible state’ means that:

  • The building is resting on a permanent foundation(s) or is a permanently moored float home.
  • There is a space heating system in place at the time of the evaluation that is capable (or was, in the case of a heating system failure) of keeping the interior living space at 21 degrees Celsius.
  • The envelope is intact, including the exposed ceilings, exterior walls, exposed floors, windows and doors, and interior and exterior finishes (e.g., drywall, and exterior siding).
  • Up to one window or door unit can be missing as long as it is temporarily air sealed (e.g., covered with plywood with seams and edges sealed with caulking). Any broken window panes must also be air sealed (e.g., with taped polyethylene) for the duration of the blower door test. If the temporary air sealing fails during the blower door test, the building will be considered ineligible.
  • Any renovations underway only affect interior partitions of the dwelling and do not perforate the building envelope.
  • There must be a supply of standard AC electrical power available. If power is not available from a utility, the homeowner must come to an agreement with the service organization about arranging for a suitable power supply to operate the blower door test equipment.

For more information on eligibility requirements for energy evaluations for new homes please visit Natural Resources Canada’s Homebuilders webpage; for energy evaluations for mixed-use or multi-unit residential buildings, contact a program-qualified energy advisor or service organization in your area.

For additional home eligibility requirements to access rebates see What types of homes are eligible for the Home Renovation Rebate Program?

Did you see a building science or energy efficiency term you did not understand? Check out our glossary.

Not satisfied with your energy advisor or the EnerGuide home evaluation?

Contact your energy advisor’s service organization. The contact information for the service organization can be found on the program-qualified energy advisor database.

Did you see a building science or energy efficiency term you did not understand? Check out our glossary.

What can I do if there are no Energy Advisors currently servicing my location?

Try to connect with an Energy Advisor nearest to your city/town and ask if they’re willing to visit your location to conduct an energy evaluation. In addition, there are a number of energy upgrades and rebates available that do not require an energy evaluation:

Did you see a building science or energy efficiency term you did not understand? Check out our glossary.

Contractor FAQs

Do contractors need to sign up for the CleanBC Income Qualified Program?

Yes, in order to be eligible to receive rebate payments, all Contractors must sign up to be a Registered Contractor for the CleanBC Income Qualified Program.

I am already a Program Registered Contractor, or a Home Performance Contractor Network member, why do I need to sign up for the Income Qualified Program?

Contractors need to sign up for the CleanBC Income Qualified Program (IQP) so that they can access program specific training, program resources, the IQP contractor portal and submit rebate applications.

If I have an interested participant, how can I help them get registered?

Once you sign up for the CleanBC Income Qualified Program you will have access to program resources, including program marketing material that has next steps for participants, logging onto our website to fill out a pre-registration form, or calling or emailing us with questions.

Can my customer receive more than one rebate from different programs/incentives available?

Your customer can only receive one rebate per upgrade type from the CleanBC Better Homes suite of programs. Your customer can receive rebate funding from the Canada Greener Homes Grant. However, the total of all rebates cannot exceed the invoice total.

My participant heats with electricity, are they eligible to participate in this Program?

Yes, they are eligible for all of the program upgrades. However, since heat pump upgrade maximum rebate values are determined by the original primary heat source, they are only eligible for the electric-to-electric conversions with a maximum rebate of $5,000. In comparison, if your participant were to heat with natural gas and switch to an electric air source heat pump, they would be eligible for a maximum rebate of up to $9,500.

How can I confirm that a participant is eligible?

Once you are signed up for the CleanBC Income Qualified Program as a Registered Contractor you will have access to program resources and support tools. Navigate to the program resources tab and use the eligibility code verification tool to confirm that the eligibility code a participant has given to you is valid. Alternatively, please feel free to call us at 1-833-856-0333 or email us at IQPContractorSupport@betterhomesbc.ca with a participant’s eligibility code to verify that is it valid.

Where can I find the eligibility code?

Once a participant’s eligibility is confirmed, they will be given an eligibility code in an Opportunities Report and have it available under their Opportunities page in the participant portal. When working with a homeowner contractors will need to ask the participant for their eligibility code when completing their quote or invoice.

How do participants with eligibility codes know where to find me?

Once participants have been assigned an eligibility code, they will receive instructions on how to find a contractor, this will include referring participants to the Contractor Search Tool on the Better Homes website or instructing them on how to reach out to us for a list of contractors.

How do I know what rebate percentage to apply to the project cost?

All eligibility codes will start with either a 95 or 60, which will indicate the level of rebate 95% or 60%.

  • For example, the following eligibility code 95-4c5a227b79 starts with a 95 indicating Income Level 1 funding which means up to 95% of costs covered.
  • While the following eligibility code 60-af204bc024 starts with a 60 indicating Income Level 2 funding which means up to 60% of costs covered.

Example invoices are available under the Program Resources tab on the contractor portal that demonstrate the application of the 95% and 60% to invoices. If you have further questions, please feel free to contact us at 1-833-856-0333 or email us at IQPContractorSupport@betterhomesbc.ca.

What materials are available to help me promote this program?

Once you are signed up as a Registered Contractor, you will be able to download the Program Brochure and Heat Pump, Fenestration and Insulation specific cut sheets.

Is there any marketing that can help me understand what rebate to apply?

Program cut sheets outline the percentage of rebates available for each income level group, and the maximum for each Upgrade Category. If you have any questions on if a rebate is being applied correctly, please feel free to call us at 1-833-856-0333 or email us at IQPContractorSupport@betterhomesbc.ca and we are happy to help.

Where can I find what measures/products are eligible for rebates?

The upgrade specific cut sheet lists the specifications that each upgrade requires. The program requirements document includes the qualified product lists available for you to confirm that your model is eligible.

How do I get my heat pump added to the qualified product list?

Program eligible heat pumps that meet HSPF and SEER requirements can be reviewed for addition to the list. Please email those details to betterhomesbc@gov.bc.ca.

To have an air-to-water heat pump reviewed for addition to the air-to-water qualified product list, please contact betterhomesbc@gov.bc.ca.

What is a retrofit enabling measure?

Retrofit enabling measures are measures that support the installation of a heat pump, heat pump water heater, insulation, or windows and doors. There are three types of retrofit enabling measures that are available in the Income Qualified Program (IQP):

  • Electrical service upgrade – Up to $3,500 – In the installation of heat pumps, an electrical service upgrade is commonly needed. This rebate is to help households with the financial burden, and to make the switch to heat pumps easier.
  • Health and safety – Up to $800 – This can be used to remediate pests, mold, asbestos/vermiculite and structural issues found when installing a primary program measure.
  • Ventilation – Up to $1,600 – This can be leveraged to install bathroom fans or heat recovery ventilation systems in an area where a heat pump, heat pump water heater, insulation, or windows and doors were installed.

What do I have to include on my customer’s invoice in order to get my rebate application approved?

Invoices must meet these requirements:

  • All service invoices/receipts must indicate details of the work performed and the address where the work was performed.
  • The contractor’s company name, contact information (phone and/or email), address and GST number must be on the invoices.
  • All product purchase invoices/receipts must have the product’s brand, model number, and purchase date.
  • Window invoices must indicate manufacturer model code/number, NRCan reference number or a certified products directory (CPD) number, and must be certified through one of the following certification bodies:
    • Canadian Standards Association (CSA)
    • Intertek Canada (Intertek)
    • Labtest Certification (LC)
    • QAI Laboratories (QAI)
    • National Fenestration Ratings Council (NFRC)
  • All copies of invoices and documentation must be clear and legible.
  • The Income Qualified Rebate must be clearly listed on the invoice and the total the customer pays must not include the project cost covered by the rebate.

For detailed documentation requirements by energy upgrade, see this FAQ for sample invoices that show what the contractor should include.

Why do I have to list the rebate on the participant’s invoice?

This is a program requirement to ensure that the proper rebate is being applied and subsequently reimbursed back to you. If you have further questions, please feel free to contact us at 1-833-856-0333 or email us at IQPContractorSupport@betterhomesbc.ca.

What is included in “project cost”?

All costs related to installing the upgraded measure. This includes equipment and labour costs.

Where do I apply the rebate on the invoice?

The CleanBC Income Qualified Program rebate should be applied to the total of the invoice (after tax). Please see the for how the rebate should be applied on the invoice. If you have further questions, please feel free to contact us at 1-833-856-0333 or email us at IQPContractorSupport@betterhomesbc.ca.

 

How do I enter a rebate application and invoice?

Once you are signed up to the program as a Registered Contractor, you will be able to access many program resources, one of which is a step-by-step guide for how to submit a rebate application. If you have any questions, please feel free to call us at 1-833-856-0333 or email us at IQPContractorSupport@betterhomesbc.ca and we are happy to help.

How long will it take to receive a rebate payment?

This will depend on the payment method that you select when you create your account. If you selected Electronic Funds Transfer you will receive your funds in 3-5 business days after the rebate application has been approved. If you selected cheque it may take up to 15 days for you to receive your cheque in the mail.

What happens if an issue is found with the installation of my measure?

Once you have submitted your rebate application, a small percentage will then be flagged for an onsite or virtual site visit. The site visit will be arranged in coordination with the homeowner. Once a site visit has been complete, if an issue is found with the installation of the measure, we will notify you through email so that you may go back and remediate the issues. Once completed we will conduct a follow up site visit to confirm the issues have been resolved.

What happens if my rebate application is denied or is ineligible?

A Program rebate application submitted with a Program-ineligible upgrade and/or  for failure to rectify an issue identified during site verification will result in a written warning to the Contractor from the Province. On the second occurrence, a final written warning will be issued. On the third occurrence, the Province may suspend or terminate the Contractor’s participation in the Program.

Window and Door Eligibility

How can I convert an imperial U-factor to a metric U-factor?

U-factor can be expressed in metric units (W/m2·K) or imperial inch-pound units (Btu/h·ft2·F).

To convert imperial u-factors to metric u-factors, multiply by 5.678.

Example: My contractor has given me a quote for five new windows that I would like to replace. My contractor says they have a U-factor in imperial units (Btu/h·ft2·F) of 0.21 and I want to know what that is in metric units.

0.21 x 5.678 = 1.19 (W/m2·K)

New windows typically have a U-factor between 1.00 and 1.80 (W/m2·K), which converts to between 0.18 and 0.32 (Btu/h·ft2·F).

In order to receive a window rebate through the CleanBC Better Homes and Home Renovation Rebate Program, your windows must have a metric U-factor (W/m2·K) of 1.22 or less and must be listed with one of the following certification bodies:

  • Canadian Standards Association (CSA)
  • Intertek Canada (Intertek)
  • Labtest Certification (LC)
  • QAI Laboratories (QAI)
  • National Fenestration Ratings Council (NFRC)

Learn more about this rebate here.

Why does the rebate only apply to windows that are ENERGY STAR® Certified with a maximum U-factor of 1.22 (W/m2·K)?

The window and door rebate is designed to assist with the additional cost of investment in highly energy efficient windows.

ENERGY STAR certification with an U-factor < 1.22 (W/m2·K) is an industry benchmark for above average window performance, as well as Provincial and Federal policies on energy efficient equipment in the building sector.

How does the rebate program count windows/ what is a rough opening?

The number of windows or doors eligible for rebates is based on the number of rough openings in which windows or doors were replaced. A rough opening is the framed opening of a window or door that may be able to hold one or more windows and/or doors. Each rough opening is counted as one window and/or door. For example, a bay window, which may be made up of several window sections, is regarded as one rough opening. Another example would be a patio or french door, both are regarded as one rough opening.

Can I replace my window panes and/or sills but not the frames?

No. You must replace the entire window, including the frame, in order for your window upgrade to be eligible for a rebate or to count toward the Bonus Offers. The whole window assembly must be ENERGY STAR®  certified and must be listed on the ENERGY STAR certified fenestration list for windows and doors. For complete window and door eligibility requirements, see the Window and Door Rebate page.

Did you see a building science or energy efficiency term you did not understand? Check out our glossary.

Step 4: Book your post-retrofit evaluation and apply for reimbursement

Why is a post-retrofit evaluation needed for the Canada Greener Homes Grant?

The post-retrofit evaluation has a number of objectives. It validates that the work has been completed and provides a measure of energy saved and greenhouse gas emissions reduced as a result of the retrofits.

  • The energy advisor has up to 30 days after the post-retrofit EnerGuide evaluation to submit electronic and signed paper documents to Natural Resources Canada (NRCan).
  • This report will be stored in the homeowner’s file to ensure that both the pre- and post-retrofit evaluations are available in the same space.
  • Homeowners will be able to login to access their reports. Once they have reviewed their evaluation, the homeowner will be asked to mark this step as completed in order to move forward and request reimbursement.

 

Is the $600 for the pre- and post-retrofit EnerGuide evaluations part of the total $5,000 grant or in addition to the $5,000 grant?

Homeowners will be able to claim a maximum of $5,600 in total funding from the Canada Greener Homes Grant:

  • the cost of your pre- and post-retrofit EnerGuide evaluations up to a maximum of $600; and
  • up to $5,000 for the purchase and installation of eligible products and/or implementation of eligible retrofits.

What documents need to be provided for reimbursement? And how long do homeowners need to keep their documents?

To ensure that you are properly reimbursed, you must have all of the following documents so we can verify your eligible retrofits for the Canada Greener Homes Grant:

  • receipts for your pre-and post-retrofit EnerGuide evaluation
  • all receipts and invoices for products purchased and for their installation

It is highly recommended that you also have an attestation form (if applicable for your retrofit) confirming that:

  • installation of an electrical or mechanical system has been completed by a trained and licensed professional*
  • a geothermal system was installed in accordance with CSA standards (PDF, size)
  • the heat pump has been sized to your entire home (PDF, size)
  • *When using a licensed professional it is highly recommended that you obtain proof of their license to install equipment in your province or territory.

Note: Program staff will be recommending homeowners use the attestation form, but partner portal will not be able to accept it due to privacy requirements at program launch.

  • Homeowners need to keep copies of their documents until March 31, 2028.

The Canada Greener Homes Grant will never ask for banking information over the phone nor will a Service Organization or Energy Advisor ask for your banking information.

What happens if a homeowner doesn’t have receipts or loses them?

In order to be reimbursed for the retrofit work via the Canada Greener Homes Grant, homeowners must keep all original receipts for the purchase and installation of qualifying equipment, or implementation of qualifying retrofits until March 31, 2028.

Without receipts the homeowner cannot be reimbursed. If the homeowner has lost a receipt, they are advised to contact the store, their contractor, credit card company or bank to determine if they can provide a valid proof of purchase.

Home Comfort

Why is my home so cold in the winter?

Some areas of your home may be difficult to keep warm due to:

  • Insufficient insulation – insufficient insulation can cause heat to escape from your home through your roof, walls, basement, foundation or crawlspace. For example, insufficient insulation in your crawlspace or basement can account for 20-30% of a home’s total heat loss.
  • Air leakage issues – most homes lose warm air to the outside and let cold air in through gaps and cracks in walls and under and around doors and windows. The amount of air leakage in a home can vary dramatically and may make your home feel drafty and cold.
  • Inappropriately sized or inefficient heating system – if interior temperatures are not maintained, your heating system may be too small or inefficient to support your home’s heating demands and keep you comfortable.
  • Inadequate heating system ducts – if your home heating ducts are improperly sized, have leaky joints or have been poorly installed – heat may not be distributed effectively through your home. This may be the reason why some rooms in your home are difficult to keep warm. 
  • Inefficient windows – you may feel cold drafts near your older, single-pane windows. Inefficient windows will result in higher levels of heat loss and contribute to you feeling cold both near your windows, and throughout your home.

Energy efficiency solutions that can help keep your home warm during the winter months include:

  • Insulation – contact a registered energy advisor and/or a professional insulation contractor for recommendations on how to best improve the insulation in your home.
  • Draftproofing – see our FAQ, Where do I start to reduce drafts and improve my home?
  • Inappropriately sized heating system – contact a professional HVAC contractor to discuss options to upgrade your heating system. If your home is under insulated with high levels of air leakage – these are home energy improvements that should be considered prior to installing a new heating system.
  • Inadequate heating system ducts – if your heating system ducts are not functioning effectively, speak with a professional HVAC contractor about the options to fix the ducting or switch to a ductless type heating system.
  • Replace old windows with efficient models – consider new energy efficient windows to block cold air from entering your home, and heat from escaping. See our FAQ Why is it important to select the right windows for my home?

Ask your energy advisor or contractor about which home energy improvements will be most effective for improving the energy efficiency of your home.

Did you see a building science or energy efficiency term you did not understand? Check out our glossary.

Why is my home so hot in the summer?

There are many factors that can cause a home to get too hot in the summer, and many of them are energy efficiency issues:

  • Insufficient attic insulation – in the summer, and on other hot days, radiant heat from the sun can permeate through your roof and heat up your attic like a solar heated oven. If you have insufficient insulation in your attic – the radiant heat will pass through the insulation into your living space causing the air inside your home to become warmer, and sometimes too hot.
  • Inadequate attic ventilation – if there is insufficient attic ventilation, the temperature in the attic can build up due to heat that radiates into the attic. If the attic is under-insulated and/or if there is air leakage between your attic and living space the warm air from the attic will increase the temperature in your home.
  • Insufficient wall insulation – if your south and west facing walls have high exposure to direct sun and are uninsulated or under insulated – the heat from the sun will pass through the walls and heat up your home.
  • Air leakage – if there are gaps and cracks in your home (under doors, around windows, through attic penetrations, around your foundation, etc.) warm air will leak into your home increasing the temperature, and potentially the humidity levels, in your home.
  • Inefficient windows – if you have many windows or large windows that have direct exposure to the sun (your home is facing south/west) and the windows are not energy efficient, heat can easily enter your home on hot days, causing high indoor temperatures.
  • Insufficient ventilation within your home – especially in the summer, homes lacking proper ventilation (bathroom fan/range hood fan) can fill with stale air, and may feel stuffy and humid.

Energy efficiency solutions and behaviour changes that can help keep your home cool during the summer include:

  • Attic insulation – ensure your attic is sufficiently insulated. The CleanBC Energy Coach Service recommends that homeowners strive to increase their attic insulation to R40 or R50 levels (if appropriate and recommended by a professional attic insulation contractor). Draftproofing should also be completed in your attic prior to adding insulation.
  • Attic ventilation – if there is insufficient ventilation in your attic, have new air vents installed to meet current building codes ventilation requirements. When replacing roof shingles this is a good time to increase roof ventilation.
  • Wall insulation – sufficient insulation in the walls will slow the movement of heat from the exterior of the home into the interior. Homeowners should work with a professional insulation contractor and have all walls fully insulated. If replacing the siding for your home this is a good opportunity to have insulation blown into the walls and/or added to the exterior of your home.
  • Air leakage – draftproofing can be a cost effective strategy to keep your home cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter. See the FAQ, Where do I start to reduce drafts and improve my home?
  • Windows – installing new, high-performance windows can act as a barrier between indoor and outdoor temperatures, keep the cool air in, and save you up to 8% on your energy bills. Talk to your window installer to help choose the best windows for the comfort of your home.
  • Air conditioning – if air conditioning is required or desired, an air source heat pump is the most energy efficient and most climate friendly form of home heating and cooling currently available. See the FAQ, What are the benefits of mini-ductless air source heat pumps
  • Heat recovery ventilators (HRV) – can improve indoor air quality by removing stale air and circulating clean, fresh air throughout the home.
  • Using appliances less – minimizing the amount of heat you’re generating is a simple way to lower the temperature in your home. For example, on hot days plan for meals that do not require using the oven.
  • Keeping the heat out – keeping the windows and blinds closed during peak hot hours of the day can help to block heat that enters your home through your windows. In the early morning and in the evening when it cools down, open your windows to let cool air in.
  • Improving air flow – using a ceiling fan can lower indoor air temperatures by up to 10%. During the summer, set your ceiling fan to rotate counter-clockwise. When the air is cooler outside than it is inside (for example, in the early morning), you can also place a fan near a window to draw cool air into the home.
  • Landscape for shade – planting the right size tree in the right place can block sunlight and help keep your home cool during the summer months. A deciduous tree will block heat in the summer and allow the heat to pass through in the winter, when the leaves have fallen. Trees planted on the east, west, and northwest sides of the home will provide afternoon shade.
  • Install shading – exterior blinds or shades can block sunlight during the hottest times of the day, keeping the indoors cool.

Ask your energy advisor or contractor about which home energy improvements will be most effective for improving the energy efficiency of your home and maintaining a comfortable temperature all year round.

Did you see a building science or energy efficiency term you did not understand? Check out our glossary.

Which home energy improvements will make my home quieter?

Several home energy improvements will have the added benefit of making your home quieter by creating a sound barrier from outside noise.

  • Upgrade to efficient double or triple pane windows – modern and efficient double or triple pane windows can soundproof outside noise better than single pane windows and older double pane windows. Energy-efficient windows can also reduce your heating and cooling costs and eliminate cold drafts and condensation.
  • Maximizing wall and attic insulation – upgrading to better insulation or adding more insulation not only helps reduce your energy bills and increase the comfort of your home, but also acts a sound barrier to reduce outside noise. The way your insulation is installed plays a large role in its effectiveness. Ensure that you ask your insulation contractor to sufficiently fill cavities and leave no gaps for air leakage.
  • Draftproofing – sealing air leaks throughout your home can also make your home quieter. Ensure that doors and windows fit snugly by applying weatherstripping to all movable joints and around window and door frames.
  • Upgrade older, non-insulated doors – doors made with a hollow core construction do not block sound effectively. By upgrading to insulated, solid core doors, you create a more effective sound barrier and reduce the heat loss of your home.

Ask your energy advisor or contractor which home energy improvements will help soundproof your home and reduce outside noise.

Did you see a building science or energy efficiency term you did not understand? Check out our glossary.

I am a renter, is there anything I can do to make my home more energy efficient?

Whether you live in an apartment building or a suite in a home, as a renter there are many things you can do to improve the energy efficiency of your home. This in turn can improve the comfort of your home, and potentially help to lower your energy bills.

Simple Water Conservation Measures

Installing efficient showerheads and tap aerators will help you cut down on the amount of water you use, without sacrificing water pressure and provide you with the most cost effective option for reducing home energy bills. If you live in an income-qualifying household, you can receive a free Energy Saving Kit, or participate in the Energy Conservation Assistance Program. These programs provide free energy saving products, including water-efficient showerheads and kitchen and bathroom faucet aerators.

Energy Efficient Lighting

LED bulbs use less power and are available in a variety of shades, shapes and sizes, and last 10-25 times longer than traditional bulbs. As you purchase new lights, consider buying the high efficiency LED lighting to save money on your electricity bill. Be sure to keep your bulbs clean, as dust will reduce light output.

Draftproofing for Savings and Comfort

Draftproofing is a home energy upgrade that can be cost effective for lowering home energy bills and improving home comfort. See the FAQs, Where do I start to reduce drafts and improve my home? and What are the benefits of draftproofing?

Tips to Maximize Efficient Heating

Renters are not likely to replace space heating equipment, but there are ways to ensure that your heating system is operating effectively – saving you money and enhancing comfort.

To not restrict the flow of heat in your home (and for safety reasons) do not place beds, drapery and furniture too close to baseboard heaters or radiators and do not cover floor or wall heating vents with furniture. Heat only the rooms you’re using. Lower the thermostat if you have baseboard heaters in rooms you’re not using. A minimum of once per year, vacuum your baseboards to ensure they are working effectively.

Tips to Keep You Cool

There are several cost effective options to help you keep your home cool when the temperature outside rises. In the early morning and once the sun goes down, open your windows and or doors to let cool air in. During the heat of the day, keep your windows, curtains and blinds closed to prevent the sun and warm exterior air from heating up your house. Use a fan to help circulate air. If you have a ceiling fan, set it to summer mode (counter-clockwise as you look up at it) to move the air downward to create a wind chill effect.

Rebate Programs

If you live in an income-qualifying household you can apply for the Energy Conservation Assistance Program or for a Free Energy Saving Kit.

The Energy Conservation Assistance Program provides a free in-home visit with free energy-saving product installation, as well as advice and tips for how you can improve your home’s efficiency. The free Energy Saving Kit Program provides free energy saving products you can install yourself.

Did you see a building science or energy efficiency term you did not understand? Check out our glossary.

CleanBC Income Qualified Program FAQs

How do I get started?

Once you have been confirmed eligible and been assigned an eligibility code, you can use the Contractor Search Tool on the Better Homes Website to find a Registered Contractor.

How do I pre-register?

CleanBC Income Qualified Program participants must pre-register and confirm their eligibility prior to installing upgrades. Pre-register by completing the online form through the participant portal. You will be asked to submit income qualifying documentation and answer questions about your home to help determine which home upgrades are right for you.

If you would like additional support from a CleanBC Income Qualified Program energy coach to pre-register and determine which home upgrades are right for you, you can also pre-register by booking an energy coaching call or virtual assessment of your home. Book these services directly through the participant portal, or contact us at 1-833-856-0333 or IncomeQualified@betterhomesbc.ca.

How much of my project cost will the rebate cover?

This will depend on the eligible Income Level that you fall under. If you are eligible for Income Level 1 funding you will receive a discount up to 95% of your project with a maximum that is specific to each upgrade type. If you are eligible for Income Level 2 funding you will receive a discount up to 60% of your project with a maximum that is specific to each upgrade type. If you have received quotes from Registered Contractors and have questions about the calculation, please feel free to call us at 1-833-856-0333 or email us at IncomeQualified@betterhomesbc.ca.

I am a tenant and do not own my home, am I eligible?

Yes, if you meet the eligibility criteria you can still participate in the CleanBC Income Qualified Program as a tenant. Your landlord will need to complete and sign the Landlord Consent Form. Upload a copy of the signed form when you pre-register.

What is an eligibility code?

An eligibility code is a unique identifier assigned to each participant once they have been confirmed as eligible for the CleanBC Income Qualified Program. Please ensure you provide your contractor with your eligibility code, as they will use it to verify your eligibility and apply for CleanBC Income Qualified Program rebates.

I’m not ready to pre-register, but would like support to determine if I may be eligible. Is this available?

Yes. Use the five-question online pre-screening tool to determine if you may be eligible for the CleanBC Income Qualified Program, or contact the program at 1-833-856-0333 or IncomeQualified@betterhomesbc.ca for assistance. However, please note that eligibility can only be confirmed by completing pre-registration. Participants that have been confirmed as eligible will receive an eligibility code.

Where can I find my eligibility code?

Participants must pre-register for the CleanBC Income Qualified Program. Following pre-registration, eligible participants will receive an eligibility code. It can be found in your Opportunities Report or within the Opportunities section of the participant portal.

How long is an eligibility code valid for?

An eligibility code is valid until CleanBC Income Qualified Program funding is fully allocated or the program ends. Funding is subject to availability and is allocated on a first come, first served basis.

Why am I required to provide income qualifying documentation?

The CleanBC Income Qualified Program offers enhanced rebates to make energy-saving home upgrades more affordable and aims to serve households experiencing energy poverty. To receive enhanced rebates through the program, participants must demonstrate that they meet the income qualifying criteria by submitting appropriate supporting documentation. Participants that do not meet the income qualifying criteria may be eligible to participate in the CleanBC Better Homes and Home Renovation Rebate Program.

I am not comfortable providing income qualifying documentation, can I still participate in the CleanBC Better Homes Income Qualified Program?

We understand that sharing your income qualifying documentation can be uncomfortable. However, we need to collect this documentation to confirm your eligibility for the program.

Income qualifying documentation must be submitted for each member of your household that is over the age of 18 (excluding dependents). Types of income qualifying documentation we accept include:

  • Notice of Assessment (NOA) from the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA). To get your NOA, please contact the CRA at 1-800-959-8281. Ensure that all information on the NOA is redacted except for your name, effective date, and line 150.
  • Verification of income or disability assistance, e.g. your monthly report (cheque stub), or a printed copy of your Confirmation of Assistance if you’re registered for My Self Serve.
  • A Shelter Aid for Elderly Renters (SAFER) cheque stub, acknowledgement letter or benefit change letter from BC Housing.
  • A Rental Assistance Program acknowledgment letter or benefit change letter from BC Housing.
  • National Child Benefit Supplement notice from Canada Revenue Agency.
  • Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS) notice.
  • Bank statement for 3 months, with all information expect name and pay deposits redacted or 3 recent paystubs with all information expect name and payment amounts redacted.
  • Proof of participation or eligibility in the Energy Conservation Assistance Program (ECAP), including eligibility confirmation letters or emails, approval letters or emails or other ECAP documentation that demonstrates proof of participation or eligibility.
  • An Endorsement Form completed by a professional or organization with knowledge of a participant’s financial situation, where they can attest to their income meeting the program criteria.
  • Proof of participation or eligibility in a program that has income qualifying criteria aligned with the CleanBC Better Homes Income Qualified Program. Contact us at 1-833-856-0333 or IncomeQualified@betterhomesbc.ca for further guidance if this applies to you.

I live in a stacked duplex or stacked townhouse, am I eligible?

Stacked duplexes or stacked townhouses are eligible for the CleanBC Better Homes Income Qualified Program if each unit is individually metered and has:

  • its own individual entrance on an exterior wall (e.g. each unit has its own front door);
  • no more than three stories above finished grade;
  • no shared hallways or elevator;
  • two or more exterior walls; and
  • one private outdoor space (front, side, rear or rooftop).

If you are unsure if your home is an eligible building type, contact us at 1-833-856-0333 or IncomeQualified@betterhomesbc.ca.

I live in an apartment or condo building, am I eligible?

Unfortunately, you do not qualify, as multi-unit residential buildings are not an eligible housing type under the CleanBC Better Homes Income Qualified Program. For more information on CleanBC programs for multi-unit residential buildings, visit www.betterbuildingsbc.ca.

If you purchase and install eligible ENERGY STAR® appliances, you may be eligible for rebates through BC Hydro and FortisBC:

  • BC Hydro Appliance Rebate Program: seasonal rebates are available for select ENERGY STAR appliances and products. Visit bchydro.com/deals before you make any purchases to learn about current rebates and requirements.
  • FortisBC Appliance Rebates: receive a rebate between $50-$250 for replacing your clothes washer, clothes dryer, or refrigerator with qualifying ENERGY STAR models. Check the FortisBC website before you make any purchases to determine the status of the program, as well as the eligibility of the model.

Who are program rebates paid to through the CleanBC Better Homes Income Qualified Program? 

Program rebates are paid to contractors. After installing an upgrade in your home, your contractor will apply for program rebates directly and deduct the rebate from the total amount owed on your invoice. You will only have to pay the discounted amount.

Where can I find a Registered Contractor in my area, and what should I know before hiring them?

You can find Registered Contractors through the Contractor Search Tool on the Better Homes Website.

When hiring a contractor, it’s important that you are choosing them for the quality of their work and for their training and credentials rather than solely on price. There are a variety of consequences to hiring someone that is going to do a poor job installing your equipment. We recommend calling around to different installers in your area to ensure that they can meet your time frame, the scope of the project, and are well qualified for the job.

Before you hire a contractor, clearly establish the scale of the project and a clear budget to work within. Write a complete description of the work you want done on your home. By doing so you will understand the scope of your project and you can find a contractor that will be the most suitable for the job. This detailed description should be given to potential contractors when you ask for a bid or proposal for your project.

Go through a proper screening process before hiring a contractor:

 For tips on hiring a contractor, visit the Canadian Home Builders’ Association. FortisBC also has some helpful tips on hiring a contractor.

*Disclaimer: The directories and resources listed on this page are for informational purposes only. CleanBC Better Homes and its partners do not endorse or guarantee contractors or their services. It is your responsibility to interview and select a contractor that meets your needs.

Did you see a building science or energy efficiency term you did not understand? Check out our glossary.

Do I have to work with a Registered Contractor?

The use of a Registered Contractor is required in order to have a rebate applied to your home upgrade. Registered Contractors have completed program and technology specific best practice training.

How soon can I expect the equipment to be installed?

Equipment installation time periods are specific to each contractor. Please discuss this with your prospective contractors.

Do contractors need to sign up for the CleanBC Income Qualified Program?

Yes, in order to be eligible to receive rebate payments, all Contractors must sign up to be a Registered Contractor for the CleanBC Income Qualified Program.

I am already a Program Registered Contractor, or a Home Performance Contractor Network member, why do I need to sign up for the Income Qualified Program?

Contractors need to sign up for the CleanBC Income Qualified Program (IQP) so that they can access program specific training, program resources, the IQP contractor portal and submit rebate applications.

If I have an interested participant, how can I help them get registered?

Once you sign up for the CleanBC Income Qualified Program you will have access to program resources, including program marketing material that has next steps for participants, logging onto our website to fill out a pre-registration form, or calling or emailing us with questions.

Can my customer receive more than one rebate from different programs/incentives available?

Your customer can only receive one rebate per upgrade type from the CleanBC Better Homes suite of programs. Your customer can receive rebate funding from the Canada Greener Homes Grant. However, the total of all rebates cannot exceed the invoice total.

My participant heats with electricity, are they eligible to participate in this Program?

Yes, they are eligible for all of the program upgrades. However, since heat pump upgrade maximum rebate values are determined by the original primary heat source, they are only eligible for the electric-to-electric conversions with a maximum rebate of $5,000. In comparison, if your participant were to heat with natural gas and switch to an electric air source heat pump, they would be eligible for a maximum rebate of up to $9,500.

How can I confirm that a participant is eligible?

Once you are signed up for the CleanBC Income Qualified Program as a Registered Contractor you will have access to program resources and support tools. Navigate to the program resources tab and use the eligibility code verification tool to confirm that the eligibility code a participant has given to you is valid. Alternatively, please feel free to call us at 1-833-856-0333 or email us at IQPContractorSupport@betterhomesbc.ca with a participant’s eligibility code to verify that is it valid.

Where can I find the eligibility code?

Once a participant’s eligibility is confirmed, they will be given an eligibility code in an Opportunities Report and have it available under their Opportunities page in the participant portal. When working with a homeowner contractors will need to ask the participant for their eligibility code when completing their quote or invoice.

How do participants with eligibility codes know where to find me?

Once participants have been assigned an eligibility code, they will receive instructions on how to find a contractor, this will include referring participants to the Contractor Search Tool on the Better Homes website or instructing them on how to reach out to us for a list of contractors.

How do I know what rebate percentage to apply to the project cost?

All eligibility codes will start with either a 95 or 60, which will indicate the level of rebate 95% or 60%.

  • For example, the following eligibility code 95-4c5a227b79 starts with a 95 indicating Income Level 1 funding which means up to 95% of costs covered.
  • While the following eligibility code 60-af204bc024 starts with a 60 indicating Income Level 2 funding which means up to 60% of costs covered.

Example invoices are available under the Program Resources tab on the contractor portal that demonstrate the application of the 95% and 60% to invoices. If you have further questions, please feel free to contact us at 1-833-856-0333 or email us at IQPContractorSupport@betterhomesbc.ca.

What materials are available to help me promote this program?

Once you are signed up as a Registered Contractor, you will be able to download the Program Brochure and Heat Pump, Fenestration and Insulation specific cut sheets.

Is there any marketing that can help me understand what rebate to apply?

Program cut sheets outline the percentage of rebates available for each income level group, and the maximum for each Upgrade Category. If you have any questions on if a rebate is being applied correctly, please feel free to call us at 1-833-856-0333 or email us at IQPContractorSupport@betterhomesbc.ca and we are happy to help.

Where can I find what measures/products are eligible for rebates?

The upgrade specific cut sheet lists the specifications that each upgrade requires. The program requirements document includes the qualified product lists available for you to confirm that your model is eligible.

How do I get my heat pump added to the qualified product list?

Program eligible heat pumps that meet HSPF and SEER requirements can be reviewed for addition to the list. Please email those details to betterhomesbc@gov.bc.ca.

To have an air-to-water heat pump reviewed for addition to the air-to-water qualified product list, please contact betterhomesbc@gov.bc.ca.

What is a retrofit enabling measure?

Retrofit enabling measures are measures that support the installation of a heat pump, heat pump water heater, insulation, or windows and doors. There are three types of retrofit enabling measures that are available in the Income Qualified Program (IQP):

  • Electrical service upgrade – Up to $3,500 – In the installation of heat pumps, an electrical service upgrade is commonly needed. This rebate is to help households with the financial burden, and to make the switch to heat pumps easier.
  • Health and safety – Up to $800 – This can be used to remediate pests, mold, asbestos/vermiculite and structural issues found when installing a primary program measure.
  • Ventilation – Up to $1,600 – This can be leveraged to install bathroom fans or heat recovery ventilation systems in an area where a heat pump, heat pump water heater, insulation, or windows and doors were installed.

What do I have to include on my customer’s invoice in order to get my rebate application approved?

Invoices must meet these requirements:

  • All service invoices/receipts must indicate details of the work performed and the address where the work was performed.
  • The contractor’s company name, contact information (phone and/or email), address and GST number must be on the invoices.
  • All product purchase invoices/receipts must have the product’s brand, model number, and purchase date.
  • Window invoices must indicate manufacturer model code/number, NRCan reference number or a certified products directory (CPD) number, and must be certified through one of the following certification bodies:
    • Canadian Standards Association (CSA)
    • Intertek Canada (Intertek)
    • Labtest Certification (LC)
    • QAI Laboratories (QAI)
    • National Fenestration Ratings Council (NFRC)
  • All copies of invoices and documentation must be clear and legible.
  • The Income Qualified Rebate must be clearly listed on the invoice and the total the customer pays must not include the project cost covered by the rebate.

For detailed documentation requirements by energy upgrade, see this FAQ for sample invoices that show what the contractor should include.

Why do I have to list the rebate on the participant’s invoice?

This is a program requirement to ensure that the proper rebate is being applied and subsequently reimbursed back to you. If you have further questions, please feel free to contact us at 1-833-856-0333 or email us at IQPContractorSupport@betterhomesbc.ca.

What is included in “project cost”?

All costs related to installing the upgraded measure. This includes equipment and labour costs.

Where do I apply the rebate on the invoice?

The CleanBC Income Qualified Program rebate should be applied to the total of the invoice (after tax). Please see the for how the rebate should be applied on the invoice. If you have further questions, please feel free to contact us at 1-833-856-0333 or email us at IQPContractorSupport@betterhomesbc.ca.

 

How do I enter a rebate application and invoice?

Once you are signed up to the program as a Registered Contractor, you will be able to access many program resources, one of which is a step-by-step guide for how to submit a rebate application. If you have any questions, please feel free to call us at 1-833-856-0333 or email us at IQPContractorSupport@betterhomesbc.ca and we are happy to help.

How long will it take to receive a rebate payment?

This will depend on the payment method that you select when you create your account. If you selected Electronic Funds Transfer you will receive your funds in 3-5 business days after the rebate application has been approved. If you selected cheque it may take up to 15 days for you to receive your cheque in the mail.

What happens if an issue is found with the installation of my measure?

Once you have submitted your rebate application, a small percentage will then be flagged for an onsite or virtual site visit. The site visit will be arranged in coordination with the homeowner. Once a site visit has been complete, if an issue is found with the installation of the measure, we will notify you through email so that you may go back and remediate the issues. Once completed we will conduct a follow up site visit to confirm the issues have been resolved.

What happens if my rebate application is denied or is ineligible?

A Program rebate application submitted with a Program-ineligible upgrade and/or  for failure to rectify an issue identified during site verification will result in a written warning to the Contractor from the Province. On the second occurrence, a final written warning will be issued. On the third occurrence, the Province may suspend or terminate the Contractor’s participation in the Program.

Moisture and Condensation

How do I reduce humidity levels in my home?

In order to decrease humidity levels in your home and prevent moisture problems, you will have to produce less humidity and increase the ventilation of your home. The following is a list of suggestions to reduce humidity levels in your home:

  • Be aware of sources of moisture in your home (plants, aquariums, steam showers, cleaning, washing, cooking, etc.) and compensate with sufficient ventilation.
  • Ensure that your home has appropriate exterior water barriers to protect your home from outdoor moisture.
  • Your kitchen and bathrooms should have ventilation fans to expel indoor moisture. Many older ventilation fans make noise but are ineffective at actually ventilating your home. A simple way to test that your fan is functioning sufficiently is to take a single square of toilet paper and place it along the fan vent while the fan is running. If the fan does not hold up the toilet paper, it is not functioning properly.
  • Consider installing a humidistat for your bathroom ventilation fan, or ensure that you run the fan for at least 15-20 minutes after each shower.
  • Fix all water leaks into the basement and do not allow any standing water in the house or against the foundation wall.
  • If necessary, repair or replace the drainage tile around your home or install a sump pump to remove excessive moisture from the soil under the slab. Speak with a knowledgeable contractor about the best option for your home.
  • Disconnect any humidifiers (if unnecessary).
  • If required, use a dehumidifier.
  • Do not store and dry wood in the house, and avoid hang-drying laundry in the house, as it releases moisture into your indoor air.
  • Ask your energy advisor or contractor about which home energy improvements will help reduce the humidity of your home.

Did you see a building science or energy efficiency term you did not understand? Check out our glossary.

How do I reduce the amount of condensation on my windows?

Condensation occurs when water vapour is cooled to the point where it condenses as water droplets on a cold surface. Greater accumulations of condensation will appear on colder window temperatures and homes with high humidity levels. To reduce the amount of condensation on your windows you can:

Reduce the humidity levels in your house

  • Ensure that your home has appropriate exterior water barriers to protect your home from outdoor moisture.
  • Your kitchen and bathrooms should have ventilation fans to expel indoor moisture.
  • Fix all water leaks into the basement and do not allow any standing water in the house or against the foundation wall.
  • If necessary, install a sump pump to remove excessive moisture from the soil under the slab.
  • Disconnect any humidifiers (if not necessary).
  • If required, use a dehumidifier.

Increase the surface temperature of your windows and frames

  • Invest in window frames made out of vinyl, wood or fiberglass.
  • Energy efficient windows made with a double or triple glaze and low-E (low-emissivity) will also increase the temperature of your windows and reduce condensation build-up.
  • Draftproof your windows with weatherstripping tape.

Did you see a building science or energy efficiency term you did not understand? Check out our glossary.

Why is it important to check and possibly upgrade ventilation systems after building envelope upgrades?

Building envelope upgrades such as draftproofing (air sealing), installing new windows and upgrading insulation improve the air tightness of your home and keep the heat in more efficiently. However, an increase in airtightness may also increase the humidity levels of your home. It is important to have an adequate ventilation system to ensure that you have sufficient ventilation through your home to prevent moisture problems (e.g. condensation and mould).

Ask your energy advisor or contractor what ventilation system upgrades you will need for your home.

Did you see a building science or energy efficiency term you did not understand? Check out our glossary.

CleanBC Low Interest Financing Program FAQs

How can I apply for low-interest financing?

You can apply for financing through a Finance Registered Contractor who will help you apply for financing in person, or they’ll send you a private application link so that you can apply on your own.

For more information, check out the Low-Interest Financing Program.

Which costs does the Low-Interest Financing Program cover?

The loan covers the cost of the heat pump installation including equipment and labour. The cost of a new furnace that is installed as part of a dual fuel system is not covered.

For more information, check out the Low-Interest Financing Program.

How can I get approved for financing?

Financeit approves applicants based on their credit reports. Submit a loan application through your Finance Registered Contractor. If your application is declined, there are alternate steps that you can take to get approved. Adding a co-borrower or providing proof of income are potential options. If your application is still declined, check out the equivalent heat pump rebate from the CleanBC Better Homes program.

For more information, check out the Low-Interest Financing Program.

Can Energy Coaches verify if I am eligible for financing?

CleanBC Energy Coaches cannot verify your eligibility for financing. Financing is provided by FinanceIt. When you submit a loan application through your Finance Registered Contractor you will need to provide consent to Financeit to obtain your credit report.

For more information, check out the Low-Interest Financing Program.

Do I have to have a minimum down payment?

No. A down payment is not required.

For more information, check out the Low-Interest Financing Program.

How much money can I borrow?

Loans must be at least $1,000 and not exceed $40,000 and can be amortized for up to 60 months (5 years).

For more information, check out the Low-Interest Financing Program.

What will my interest rate be?

Interest rates are either 0% or 4.99% depending on the efficiency of the heat pump you install. The 0% interest rate is available for higher efficiency equipment. Check with your contractor to determine what interest rate will apply; eligible systems are listed on the Heat Pump Qualifying Product List.

For more information, check out the Low-Interest Financing Program.

What is the amortization period? Can I pay off my loan early? Are there any penalties?

Loans can be amortized for up to 60 months. Customers can repay early at any time without penalty.

For more information, check out the Low-Interest Financing Program.

How much do heat pumps cost? What will my payments be if I use financing?

The installation cost for a heat pump varies based on the type, make and model, size, and efficiency of the heat pump. For a $12,000 loan at 0% interest for 60 months, the payment would be $200/month.

For more information, check out the Low-Interest Financing Program.

What documents will I need to provide to apply for financing?

You’ll need a piece of government-issued photo ID and a void personal cheque to set up automated debit payments. In some cases, you may need to provide proof of income.

For more information, check out the Low-Interest Financing Program.

Can I access financing and receive a rebate for my heat pump installation?

Applicants may apply for the Low-Interest Financing Program or a CleanBC Home Efficiency Rebate for eligible heat pump installations but not both. If you receive financing for your heat pump installation you are no longer eligible for a rebate for the heat pump or for other rebate-eligible primary heating systems.

Regardless of which offer you participate in, eligible heat pump installations will count towards the Two Upgrade Bonus and the Home Energy Improvement Bonus and your application will be assessed for applicable Municipal Top-ups.

For more information, check out the Low-Interest Financing Program.

Which lender can I access the Low-Interest Financing Program through?

The Low-Interest Financing Program is currently only accessible through FinanceIt.  You cannot access the Low-Interest Financing Program through other lenders.  If you decide to access financing through a different lender, you can still apply for the CleanBC Heat Pump rebates.

For more information, check out the Low-Interest Financing Program.

Can I access the Low-Interest Financing Program through a different lender?

No. The Low-Interest Financing Program is only available through Financeit. You can still access rebates from the CleanBC Home Efficiency Rebates program for eligible heat pump installations if you do not participate in the Low-Interest Financing Program or if you use financing from a different lender.

For more information, check out the Low-Interest Financing Program.

Who will have access to my financial information?

All private financial information will be held by Financeit, the lender. Financeit collects financial information in their loan application in order to determine loan eligibility and complete the loan application process. Financeit retains all financial information and will not share financial information with the government, BC Hydro, FortisBC, or Energy Coaches. See www.betterhomesbc.ca/financing-privacy for more information.

For more information, check out the Low-Interest Financing Program.

Insulation Eligibility

How are insulation rebates calculated?

The CleanBC Better Homes and Home Renovation Rebate Program requires the following information to calculate your rebate:

  • The R-value of new insulation added
  • The square feet covered by new insulation

The R-value that you have added is multiplied by the square feet covered, and then by a specific dollar amount that differs for each area of your home, as indicated in the table below.

Location Installed Minimum R-Value Added Dollar amount for rebate calculation Maximum Rebate
Attic (flat and cathedral ceiling) R12 $0.02 $900
Exterior wall cavities R12 $0.09 $1200
Exterior wall sheathing R3.8 $0.09 $1200
Basement/crawlspace Walls R10 $0.09 $1200
Other (exposed floor, floor over crawlspace, basement header) R20 $0.07 $1000

Example: I had R20 of existing insulation in my attic and added R30 for a total of R50. I covered 900 square feet. My rebate is calculated as follows:

R30 × 900 sf x $0.02 = $540

My rebate for this work is $540.

Please note:

  • Rebates are calculated based on the R-value of new insulation added and not the total combined final R-value for new and pre-existing insulation.
  • The insulation added must have a minimum R-value added per location outlined in the table above.
  • A minimum rebate of $500 is required for each insulation location to be eligible for either for both the Two Upgrade Bonus and the Home Energy Improvement Bonus.
  • The insulation rebate amount cannot exceed the installed cost of the eligible upgrade indicated on the invoice.
  • You cannot access a rebate for both crawlspace wall and floor above crawlspace – you must choose one or the other.

Did you see a building science or energy efficiency term you did not understand? Check out our glossary.

Does foil insulation count towards the CleanBC Better Homes and Home Renovation Rebate Program?

The CleanBC Better Homes and Home Renovation Rebate Program terms and conditions state that batts, loose fill, board and spray foam are eligible insulation types. Only products with Canadian R-values provided by the manufacturer are accepted. “System values” or values of materials not tested to Canadian national thermal insulation standards cannot be used for determining the amount of insulation added.

However, your contractor may install insulation that is foil backed. The insulating value of this is obtained by adding the thermal resistance value (R-value) of the insulation to the R-value of the foil insulation. If the R-value of the insulation (excluding the foil) meet the minimum requirements of the rebate program, it will be eligible and you can count it towards the insulation rebate.

Foil insulation is essentially a plastic bubble wrap sheet with a reflective foil layer, belonging to a class of products known as radiant foils. In Canada, these types of insulation often have R-values of R0 to R3.5. If there is no air space or clear bubble layer the R-value is R-0. Keeping the performance attribute of foil insulation in mind when planning insulation upgrades is important to ensure your upgrade maximizes its performance and effectiveness. For more information on the different types of insulation, visit the Natural Resources Canada resource, Keeping The Heat In.

Did you see a building science or energy efficiency term you did not understand? Check out our glossary.

Step 5: Receive your reimbursement

How will I receive my reimbursement?

For the first months after launch, Canada Greener Homes Grant payments will be issued in the form cheques mailed to the address on file. In this case, no banking information will be required. This is being done to ensure the initiative meets the highest standards of security for banking information submitted online.

  • As the final step in the process, once the energy advisor uploads the post-retrofit EnerGuide evaluation, the homeowner will be prompted to provide and confirm their banking information directly into the online system.*

Once NRCan has all the necessary information to complete the file, a cheque payment should be issued within 30 days. Cheques by mail may take more than 30 days.

  • Homeowners can check the status of their paperwork and payment using the program portal or by calling 1-833-674-8282.
  • Homeowners will never be asked for banking information over the phone by Natural Resources Canada, a service organization nor an energy advisor.
    • *This process has been modified for the first months following launch.

When will homeowners receive their Canada Greener Homes Grant reimbursements from the Government of Canada?

Once all steps are completed in retrofit journey, homeowners should receive their payments within 30 calendar days.

  • A cheque will be mailed to the property registered under the program.

Canada Greener Homes Program

I have questions about these FAQs, who do I contact?

The Frequently Asked Questions in the Canada Greener Homes Grant FAQ Category were written and designed by the Canada Greener Homes Grant.  If you have questions about the content, or about the Canada Greener Homes Grant, contact the program via the methods below:

What is the Canada Greener Homes Grant?

The government of Canada is providing $2.6 billion to the sector through this program over the next seven years. It will provide:

  • grants of up to $5,000 for energy efficiency retrofits, supported by an EnerGuide evaluation to up to 700,000 Canadians;
  • up to $600 to support the cost of EnerGuide evaluations; and
  • jobs by supporting recruitment and training of EnerGuide energy advisors to meet the anticipated increased demand.

The Canada Greener Homes Grant will help Canadians make their homes more comfortable and affordable to maintain, support Canada’s environmental objectives and create jobs in communities across the country.

Homeowners will be able to learn about their home’s energy performance and improve its energy efficiency and resiliency by putting in place energy efficient retrofits that they might not otherwise have considered.

Did you see a building science or energy efficiency term you did not understand? Check out our glossary.

How do I participate in the federal Canada Greener Homes Program?

The Canada Greener Homes Program is a federal initiative that launched on May 27, 2021. The program offers up to $600 after completing both the mandatory pre- and post-retrofit EnerGuide home evaluation, as well as up to $5,000 in rebates for energy efficiency upgrades completed between the two evaluations.

For detailed program information and rebates available, please visit the program website or contact the program at 1-833-674-8282 by phone or by email at nrcan.canadagreenerhomesgrant-subventionmaisonsvertes.rncan@canada.ca.

Additional information on the Greener Homes Program will be available on the CleanBC Better Homes website shortly.

Application Steps:

  1. A pre- and post-retrofit EnerGuide home evaluation is required. Find energy advisors in your area with the Energy Advisor Search Tool.
  2. Once you choose an energy advisor, you must register for the Canada Greener Homes Program. You can register online or by calling 1-833-674-8282 to register.
    • It will take 10-15 minutes to complete your registration, make sure you have your property tax bill number and government issued ID or utility bill available.
  3. In the Homeowner Portal you can choose the Service Organization of the energy advisor you would like to work with. You will be contacted by the energy advisor to book your evaluation.
  4. After the pre-retrofit evaluation, you will receive your EnerGuide reports, including the Renovation Upgrade Report and Homeowner Information Sheet. You will need to use these documents to identify eligible upgrades under the program. Learn more about EnerGuide evaluations here.
  5. Complete your recommended energy efficiency upgrades. In addition to the Canada Greener Homes rebates, you can also access provincial and municipal rebates. Check our Rebate Search Tool for rebates available.
  6. Once your renovations are complete, request a post-retrofit EnerGuide Home Evaluation through the Homeowner Portal.
  7. You will also need to provide receipts for all energy efficiency upgrades completed through the Homeowner Portal.

Your energy advisor will upload documentation to the portal before you get reimbursed for your upgrades.

Can I access both the Canada Greener Homes Grant and the CleanBC Better Homes and Home Renovation Rebate Programs?

Yes, homeowners can stack funding from multiple programs.

  • The Canada Greener Homes Grant is designed so that homeowners can benefit from federal, provincial, municipal, and utility programs that are available where they live.
  • The sum of the funding from all sources must not exceed 100% of the total cost for any EnerGuide evaluation or eligible retrofit. Participants will be required to declare funding or rebates received from other sources.

The Canada Greener Homes Grant recognizes that when it comes to energy in Canada, where you live matters. Canadians are advised to take advantage of existing rebates being offered by other levels of government and utilities in their regions. We have several links on our webpages to help homeowners identify local and regional programs for which they may be eligible.

Did you see a building science or energy efficiency term you did not understand? Check out our glossary.

How is the Canada Greener Homes Grant being made accessible to all Canadians?

Natural Resources Canada and the government of Canada are working hard to ensure that the Canada Greener Homes Grant is accessible to all Canadians. For any questions, the call centre can be reached at 1-833-674-8282.

 The call centre includes a TTY number (1-800-465-7735) for Canadians with different hearing abilities. The call centre hours are:

  • Monday to Friday: 5:00am to 5:00pm PST (8:00 am to 8:00 pm EST)
  • Weekends: 5:00am to 2:00pm PST (8:00 am to 5:00 pm EST)

How will the Canada Greener Homes Grant support Canada’s climate change commitments?

  • The home energy retrofits will help Canada meet its 2030 climate change commitments and significantly contribute to Canada’s goal of achieving net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, while increasing the health and wellness of Canadians.
  • The initiative will improve emission reductions and support Canada’s plan to exceed 2030 climate goals and Canada’s goal of net-zero by 2050, by directly delivering up to 1.5 MT annually in GHG reductions beginning in 2027.

What if I already had an evaluation and/or completed retrofits?

  • The Canada Greener Homes Grant is retroactive to December 1, 2020. To be eligible for retroactive payment, homeowners must document their retrofit journey. The journey must begin with a pre-retrofit EnerGuide evaluation (which could have been undertaken prior to December 1, 2020), but only work completed after December 1, 2020 that is both eligible and recommended by your energy advisor in their report is reimbursable.

When you register for the Canada Greener Homes Grant, you will have an option to select that you already completed a pre-retrofit evaluation and you will be directed to the next step.

  • If you conducted an EnerGuide evaluation on your home after Dec 1, 2020 – you can be reimbursed for both your evaluations and your retrofits if you complete at least one retrofit that is both eligible and recommended by your energy advisor in their report.
  • If you conducted an EnerGuide evaluation on your home between April 1, 2020 and November 30, 2020 – you can use your evaluation for the program but you won’t be reimbursed for the evaluation itself. To be eligible, your home retrofits must have been completed on or after December 1, 2020 and be both eligible and recommend by an energy advisor in their report.
  • If you conducted an EnerGuide evaluation on your home before April 1, 2020 – you will need a new evaluation.

Only retrofits completed after December 01, 2020, and after a pre-retrofit EnerGuide evaluation qualify for reimbursement.

Did you see a building science or energy efficiency term you did not understand? Check out our glossary.

What are the requirements for the Canada Greener Homes Grant?

To participate in the Canada Greener Homes Grant, homeowners must:

  1. Complete a pre- and post-retrofit EnerGuide evaluation.
  2. Complete at least one retrofit that is both eligible and recommended by your energy advisor in their report. Only homeowners who conduct at least one retrofit will be reimbursed.
  3. Provide and keep copies of all of your documents until March 31, 2028.

All products must be purchased in Canada. Online purchases are only eligible if they are ordered from an online distributor located in Canada.

Did you see a building science or energy efficiency term you did not understand? Check out our glossary.

Who is eligible for the Canada Greener Homes Grant?

  • Homeowners across Canada with a property in Canada that is eligible can register to participate in the Canada Greener Homes Grant. Homeowners will be required to provide documentation demonstrating that the property is their primary residence.
  • For Indigenous housing, Indigenous governments, organizations (e.g., band councils, land claim organizations), housing management bodies and other representative organizations / Indigenous service delivery organizations with formal partnerships with Indigenous governments or organizations are also eligible applicants.
  • These applicants may be eligible to register multiple homes, including homes that are not the owner’s primary residence.

Did you see a building science or energy efficiency term you did not understand? Check out our glossary.

What types of homes are eligible for the Canada Greener Homes Grant?

To participate in the Canada Greener Homes Grant, a homeowner’s primary residence must be eligible for an EnerGuide evaluation. These residences include:

  • Single and semi-detached houses
  • Row housing
  • Townhomes
  • All-season cottages
  • Mobile homes on a permanent foundation
  • Permanently-moored floating homes
  • Small low-rise multi-unit residential building (MURBS) (3 storeys or less with a footprint of 600 m2 or less)*
  • Mixed use buildings (residential portion only)*

* Multi-unit residential buildings (over 3 storeys or over 600 m2 in footprint) are not eligible homes under the Canada Greener Homes Grant.

Did you see a building science or energy efficiency term you did not understand? Check out our glossary.

How is eligibility defined for Indigenous Peoples?

Indigenous Peoples face unique challenges that influence participation in a housing retrofit program. To ensure inclusivity and reflect Indigenous home-ownership models, the following groups are all eligible applicants for the Canada Greener Homes Grant:

  • Individual Indigenous homeowners;
  • Indigenous governments or organizations (e.g., band councils, land claim organizations); and
  • Housing management bodies and other representative organizations / Indigenous service delivery organizations with formal partnerships with Indigenous governments or organizations.

Certain flexibilities may apply to Indigenous governing bodies and organizations, such as:

  • registering multiple homes
  • registering homes that are not the owner’s primary residence
  • reimbursement levels tailored to Northern and off-grid locations, where applicable

Homeowners can find out if their community is considered “off-grid” by consulting the Remote Energy Communities Database.

Did you see a building science or energy efficiency term you did not understand? Check out our glossary.

 What eligible retrofits can access reimbursement from the Canada Greener Homes Grant?

  • The initiative will provide homeowners with up to $5,000 for the purchase and installation of qualifying equipment, or implementation of qualifying retrofits for their primary residence. The details on qualifying retrofits will be available to Canadians on the website at program launch.
  • Homeowners must complete at least one retrofit that is both eligible and recommended by their energy advisor in their report.
  • Reimbursement will occur in Step 5 after the post-retrofit EnerGuide evaluation. Homeowners will have to keep their documents until March 31, 2028.

Did you see a building science or energy efficiency term you did not understand? Check out our glossary.

Are condominiums eligible for the Canada Greener Homes Grant?

  •  Small MURBS, or condominiums are eligible to receive a grant under this initiative.
  • An EnerGuide evaluation must be undertaken of the entire structure as a starting point. This will likely require coordination amongst the owners of units in the building if several owners are interested in participating in the initiative.
  • Grants under this initiative will be based on the multiplier related to the number of dwelling units per MURB up to a maximum amount of $20,000.

Did you see a building science or energy efficiency term you did not understand? Check out our glossary.

My home is newly built. Is it eligible for the Canada Greener Homes Grant?

  • The Canada Greener Homes Grant is targeted at existing homes.
    • Existing homes are defined as homes that are more than six months old, based on the date of occupancy by the first homeowner. This will apply to homeowners at the time of application.
  • New homes are not eligible for the grant.

Did you see a building science or energy efficiency term you did not understand? Check out our glossary.

What is the GCKey?

The GCKey service is provided by the Government of Canada to allow you to securely conduct online business with various governmental programs and services. The GCKey service issues you your GCKey.

  • A GCKey is a unique credential that protects your communications with online Government programs and services. Using your GCKey, you can access the online programs and services listed on our Enabled Services page.
  • More information is available online.
    • For assistance with your GCKey or Sign-In Partner, contact the GCkey service.
    • The CleanBC Energy Coach service does not provide GCKey or Sign-In Partner support.

What is my GCKey used for?

Your GCKey is used to access Enabled Services. However, you must both sign up for a GCKey and then enrol with the online government program or service that you want to access. One GCKey can be used to access multiple departmental programs and services.

More information is available the GCKey website.

How do I register for the Canada Greener Homes Grant?

Homeowners must register directly through the Canada Greener Homes Grant website.

If you do not have internet access or require assistance registering for the grants, contact the Canada Greener Homes Grant directly:

After a homeowner without access to the Internet is registered, they will be contacted by program staff who will discuss next steps with them, including how to submit proof of ownership requirements.

I have made upgrades to my home that are Canada Greener Homes Grant eligible measures, but I have not undertaken an EnerGuide evaluation. Can I apply for a grant?

 The Canada Greener Homes Grant requires that homeowners:

  • complete a pre- and post-retrofit EnerGuide evaluation;
  • complete at least one retrofit that is both eligible and recommended by your energy advisor in their report. Only homeowners who conduct at least one retrofit will be reimbursed;
  • provide and keep copies of all of your documents until March 31, 2028.

Unfortunately, you cannot be reimbursed unless you undertook a pre-retrofit evaluation and the retrofits were both eligible and recommended by your energy advisor.

What happens if I have completed a pre-retrofit evaluation, but do not intend to pursue any measures?

In order to be reimbursed for the pre-retrofit evaluation you must complete at least one retrofit that is both eligible and recommended by your energy advisor in their report.

The Canada Greener Homes Grant will not be providing reimbursements if you only complete the pre-retrofit evaluation.

What if the retrofit work was part of my energy advisor’s recommendations but is not eligible for a grant?

The Canada Greener Homes Grant recognizes there are scenarios where homeowners have moved forward between December 2020 and the program launch and their retrofit work may not be included on the list of eligible retrofits detailed on the website at program launch.

  • Only eligible retrofit work completed after December 1, 2020, that includes both a pre- and post-retrofit EnerGuide evaluation qualifies for a grant.

Homeowners with questions on the retrofits they have undertaken are advised to contact the Greener Homes Division for more information:

Why is a post-retrofit evaluation needed for the Canada Greener Homes Grant?

The post-retrofit evaluation has a number of objectives. It validates that the work has been completed and provides a measure of energy saved and greenhouse gas emissions reduced as a result of the retrofits.

  • The energy advisor has up to 30 days after the post-retrofit EnerGuide evaluation to submit electronic and signed paper documents to Natural Resources Canada (NRCan).
  • This report will be stored in the homeowner’s file to ensure that both the pre- and post-retrofit evaluations are available in the same space.
  • Homeowners will be able to login to access their reports. Once they have reviewed their evaluation, the homeowner will be asked to mark this step as completed in order to move forward and request reimbursement.

 

Is the $600 for the pre- and post-retrofit EnerGuide evaluations part of the total $5,000 grant or in addition to the $5,000 grant?

Homeowners will be able to claim a maximum of $5,600 in total funding from the Canada Greener Homes Grant:

  • the cost of your pre- and post-retrofit EnerGuide evaluations up to a maximum of $600; and
  • up to $5,000 for the purchase and installation of eligible products and/or implementation of eligible retrofits.

What documents need to be provided for reimbursement? And how long do homeowners need to keep their documents?

To ensure that you are properly reimbursed, you must have all of the following documents so we can verify your eligible retrofits for the Canada Greener Homes Grant:

  • receipts for your pre-and post-retrofit EnerGuide evaluation
  • all receipts and invoices for products purchased and for their installation

It is highly recommended that you also have an attestation form (if applicable for your retrofit) confirming that:

  • installation of an electrical or mechanical system has been completed by a trained and licensed professional*
  • a geothermal system was installed in accordance with CSA standards (PDF, size)
  • the heat pump has been sized to your entire home (PDF, size)
  • *When using a licensed professional it is highly recommended that you obtain proof of their license to install equipment in your province or territory.

Note: Program staff will be recommending homeowners use the attestation form, but partner portal will not be able to accept it due to privacy requirements at program launch.

  • Homeowners need to keep copies of their documents until March 31, 2028.

The Canada Greener Homes Grant will never ask for banking information over the phone nor will a Service Organization or Energy Advisor ask for your banking information.

What happens if a homeowner doesn’t have receipts or loses them?

In order to be reimbursed for the retrofit work via the Canada Greener Homes Grant, homeowners must keep all original receipts for the purchase and installation of qualifying equipment, or implementation of qualifying retrofits until March 31, 2028.

Without receipts the homeowner cannot be reimbursed. If the homeowner has lost a receipt, they are advised to contact the store, their contractor, credit card company or bank to determine if they can provide a valid proof of purchase.

How will I receive my reimbursement?

For the first months after launch, Canada Greener Homes Grant payments will be issued in the form cheques mailed to the address on file. In this case, no banking information will be required. This is being done to ensure the initiative meets the highest standards of security for banking information submitted online.

  • As the final step in the process, once the energy advisor uploads the post-retrofit EnerGuide evaluation, the homeowner will be prompted to provide and confirm their banking information directly into the online system.*

Once NRCan has all the necessary information to complete the file, a cheque payment should be issued within 30 days. Cheques by mail may take more than 30 days.

  • Homeowners can check the status of their paperwork and payment using the program portal or by calling 1-833-674-8282.
  • Homeowners will never be asked for banking information over the phone by Natural Resources Canada, a service organization nor an energy advisor.
    • *This process has been modified for the first months following launch.

When will homeowners receive their Canada Greener Homes Grant reimbursements from the Government of Canada?

Once all steps are completed in retrofit journey, homeowners should receive their payments within 30 calendar days.

  • A cheque will be mailed to the property registered under the program.

Heritage Home Improvements

Which upgrades are most appropriate for preserving the heritage and character elements of a home and achieving energy savings?

To preserve the architectural heritage of older homes and improve energy efficiency, retrofits should minimize changes to the building’s appearance and focus on repairs rather than replacement. Below are a list of energy saving upgrades appropriate for heritage homes:

  • Draftproofing – comprehensive draftproofing (air sealing) is an effective way to make older homes more energy efficient. (See Where do I start to reduce drafts and improve my home?)
  • Storm Windows – an important aspect of a heritage home’s character is its windows. If original wooden storm windows have been destroyed, you can install custom storm windows made to order. The benefits of installing wood storm windows include improved thermal efficiency, reducing moisture transfer, and compatibility with traditional wood-frame house construction. Avoid metal storm windows and storm-and-screen combinations if you want to preserve the appearance of your heritage home. Interior storm windows are less noticeable and easier to maintain than exterior storm windows.
  • Insulation Upgrades – heritage homes often have little or no insulation; by adding or upgrading insulation levels, you can significantly improve the thermal efficiency of your home. To preserve both the interior and exterior wall finishes, homeowners can have insulation blown into the cavity of a wood frame wall. Basements and attics can often be insulated without affecting the heritage appearance. When upgrading insulation in older homes, it’s also important to have a sufficient vapour and air barrier.
  • Heating System Upgrades – upgrading to a size-appropriate and energy-efficient heating system can help you achieve energy savings without altering the heritage appearance of your home.
  • Domestic Hot Water Upgrades – another cost-effective way to improve the energy efficiency of a heritage home is to upgrade your domestic heating and hot water system to energy efficient models. This retrofit will generally have a short payback period and will not damage the heritage and character elements of your home.

Do you live in the City of Vancouver? Check out the Heritage Energy Retrofit Grant. The Vancouver Heritage Foundation offers grants for energy efficiency upgrades and discounts for EnerGuide home evaluations.

Did you see a building science or energy efficiency term you did not understand? Check out our glossary.

Energy Efficient Buildings

How are Passive house’s more energy efficient and climate-friendly then typical homes?

Passive houses aim to achieve the highest level of energy efficiency and climate-consciousness by designing the homes function and style based on its geographical location, solar orientation, and climatic region. With these aspects in mind, the house is modelled by a Passive House Institute Certified Professional using the Passive House Planning Package (PHPP) to ensure the building will meet the high performance requirements of the Passive House Standard. A Passive House is characterized by having very high insulation levels in all of its assemblies and achieving excellent airtightness, resulting in minimal heat loss through the building envelope. With consideration of the building’s geographical location and orientation, thoughtful placement of windows and overhangs allow Passive Houses to maximize passive solar gains. High-efficiency heating and cooling systems, as well as heat recovery ventilation (HRV) systems, are incorporated to further reduce the amount of energy needed to heat and cool the home. The combination of high R-Value assemblies, passive solar design, and efficient HVAC systems, mean that Passive Houses use very little energy, and thus have very low emissions. Passive Houses consume up to 90 percent less heating and cooling energy than conventional buildings. Renewable energy systems such as solar photovoltaic (solar panels) are often installed so that the building generates all of its energy needs. With all of these features, Passive Houses produce little to no greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, making them sustainable and climate-friendly.

How do I get my home Passive Certified?

A Passive House Certification is internationally recognized as the highest level of building efficiency through all stages of design, construction and livability. Within the BC Building Code, homeowners can voluntarily adopt the Passive House Standard to achieve and exceed the highest step levels of the BC Energy Step Code.

To start the certification process you will need to engage a Passive Certifier approved by the Passive House Institute, ideally at the beginning of a new construction project. To find a Passive House Professional or learn more about where to get started, contact Passive House Canada.

What is a Passive House?

Passive Certified Buildings are residential, commercial and/or industrial buildings that have voluntarily adopted a building design and development that incorporates and implements the highest level of building envelope energy efficiency, comfort and climate-consciousness. Passive House buildings consume up to 90 percent less heating and cooling energy than conventional buildings. Passive houses achieve these high levels of performance by requiring building envelope airtightness of 0.6 air changes per hour (ACH @50Pa) or less, and utilizing renewable energy technologies (ie. Solar Photovoltaic, solar domestic hot water systems, etc.).

What are the benefits of building an energy efficient home?

Buildings built to higher energy-efficiency standards provide multiple benefits to those who live within them and to the community-at-large. A home built with high insulation levels, air-tight construction, high-quality windows, and more efficient mechanical systems are often preferred as they:

  • Improve comfort, by better managing temperature: high insulation levels and air-tight construction and appropriate ventilation controls the air from entering or exiting the home, maintaining warm temperatures in the winter, and cool temperatures in the summer.
  • Improve health, by better managing fresh air throughout the building: building a new home with an HRV provides ample fresh air even when the windows are closed, filtering and pre-warming incoming air for better health and exchanging heat to save energy.
  • Reduce noise: high levels of insulation, air-tightness, and high-efficiency windows can reduce unwanted outdoor noise. This is especially beneficial for homes built in busy or noisy areas or for individuals who enjoy peace and quiet.
  • Require less energy: high-efficiency heating equipment, paired with an efficient building envelope, requires less energy to heat and cool a home, which reduces the ongoing monthly and annual operating costs of the home.
  • Have lower greenhouse gas emissions: buildings are a significant source of energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions in Canada. Building a home to high energy efficiency standards reduces the amount of greenhouse gasses in the atmosphere and reduces your personal household environmental footprint.
  • Are more durable: energy efficient homes are constructed with an enhanced focus on the building envelope with better design and construction practices, which generally enhances the quality of the home.

For more information see BC Housing’s guide Consumer Guide to High Performance Homes.

How do I apply for ENERGY STAR® certification?

Certain building types can achieve ENERGY STAR certification. ENERGY STAR certified commercial and institutional buildings have a high level of energy performance and meet strict standards set by Natural Resources Canada (NRCan). To qualify, you must do the following:

  1. Benchmark your data – Use the ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager to benchmark your building with at least 12 consecutive months of metered energy data.
  2. Run a data quality check – Make sure your data is accurate by running a data quality check in ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager.
  3. Score higher than 75 – Your building needs to earn a 1-100 ENERGY STAR score of at least 75 and meet certain other criteria.
  4. Verify your application – Have a licensed professional confirm that the information provided in the application is accurate before it is submitted to NRCan.

For more information, visit NRCan’s guide on applying for ENERGY STAR certification in Canada.

What are the benefits of energy efficient buildings?

Canada’s commercial building sector is a significant energy user and producer of carbon emissions. It includes a range of building types, including offices, hospitals, schools, and more. Buildings retrofitted to higher energy-efficiency standards provide multiple benefits to those who own and occupy them, including:

  • Long-term energy and cost savings: an energy efficient building will have the advantage of lower energy, water, and maintenance costs.
  • Lower emissions and overall environmental impact: energy efficient buildings have lower greenhouse gas emissions due to their reduced reliance on fossil fuels. Buildings that use primarily clean energy such as hydroelectricity have the lowest emissions.
  • Better thermal comfort: well-designed mechanical systems and building components work together to manage comfortable indoor temperatures.
  • Improved comfort and health: continuous ventilation and fresh air throughout the building can lead to better well-being with occupants and as a result, a more productive workforce.
  • Higher Value: businesses and consumers see the value in energy efficient buildings, and as a result there is a premium associated with buying or leasing space in well-built, energy efficient buildings.

Check out our resources for commercial buildings for more information.

See FortisBC’s Energy-Saving Tips for Business.

CleanBC Nothern Offer

What is the CleanBC Better Homes and Better Buildings northern top-up offer?

The CleanBC Better Homes and Better Buildings northern top-up offer aims to help northern communities overcome barriers to heat pump adoption, including higher costs and lack of access to contractors, equipment, and energy advisors.

The offer includes incentive top-ups for both new and existing residential and commercial buildings and is applied to existing CleanBC Better Homes and Better Buildings programs.

 Requirements vary by program. See individual rebate pages for more information:

Municipal Top-Ups

I reside in a municipality whose municipal top-up funding is fully subscribed and recently completed or applied for an eligible CleanBC Better Homes upgrade. Will I receive a municipal top-up rebate?

CleanBC Better Homes municipal top-up rebates are limited and approved on a first-come, first-served basis, subject to funding availability. Due to the limited nature of this funding, CleanBC cannot guarantee that municipal top-up rebates will be available to homeowners. Homeowners who live in municipalities where the top-ups are fully subscribed will not receive a top-up rebate but are still eligible for the CleanBC Better Homes rebate.

Did you see a building science or energy efficiency term you did not understand? Check out our glossary.

Can I pre-register for a CleanBC Better Homes municipal top-up rebate?

Pre-registration for CleanBC Better Homes municipal top-up rebates is not available.

Are there any Municipal Offers (local government top-ups)?

Yes.  Some municipalities are offering top-up rebates for heat pumps, heat pump water heaters, windows and doors, and EnerGuide home evaluations. Municipal heat pump rebates are available for homes that are converting from fossil fuel heating (natural gas, oil or propane) to an electric air-source heat pump for space heating. EnerGuide home evaluation rebate top ups are available for all homes, regardless of heating fuel, and apply to the pre-upgrade EnerGuide Home Evaluation..

Municipal top-up rebates are automatically calculated when participants submit their program application online. No additional paperwork is required.

Municipal Offers vary by location, check out our rebate search tool for offers in your area.

BC Energy Step Code

What is the BC Energy Step Code?

The BC Energy Step Code is an optional compliance path in the BC Building Code that local governments can voluntarily adopt and use to incentivize or require higher levels of energy efficiency in new construction development. The BC Energy Step Code was introduced as a step-by-step building efficiency strategy designed to help meet the Provincial Government’s target of all new homes being net-zero energy ready by 2032.

For Part 9 homes and buildings, the BC Energy Step code sets five performance levels or “steps” that exceed the base BC Building Code, with the higher steps being more energy efficient. Step 1 indicates a home performs as well as, or better, than a building constructed to meet the minimum prescriptive energy efficiency requirements of the BC Building Code. Step 5 indicates the home has been constructed as net-zero energy ready (NZER), meaning it produces as much energy as it consumes. Local governments can choose to require or incentivize a given step for new home construction in their community. Builders and developers have an opportunity to set themselves apart by building to higher steps than required.

While the BC Energy Step Code is currently adopted by municipalities on a voluntary basis, in future years the Province of BC may require that certain steps must be met in order to meet Provincial targets. By adopting the BC Energy Step code, local governments and their communities will be able to take advantage of the multiple benefits associated with more energy efficient new homes, including:

  • Greenhouse Gas Reductions – High-efficiency homes require less energy to heat, resulting in reduced carbon emissions even if homes heat with fossil fuels. Homes heated with a heat pump will have the lowest carbon emissions.
  • Better Affordability – Reduced energy consumption results in lower energy costs.
  • Increased Comfort – Increased insulation and airtightness within a home means that it is better equipped to maintain a more even temperature throughout, for a more comfortable home.
  • Better Health – Energy efficient homes do a better job of refreshing the indoor air by filtering out unwanted mould, moisture, pollen and other allergens.
  • Improved Durability – A high-efficiency home is less likely to have moisture and condensation issues that can lead to the deterioration of the building envelope.

If you are interested in learning about the Step Code or planning to build to Step Code level 1, 2, 3, 4 or 5, you can find more information at the official website, BC Energy Step Code, or speak with an Energy Coach to find out where to get started or contact an Energy Advisor to start planning your BC Energy Step Code compliant new construction.

How does the BC Energy Step Code compare to other green building labeling and certification programs: PassiveHouse, BUILTGREEN®, ENERGY STAR®, R2000, LEED

Throughout British Columbia there are various green building labeling and certification programs available. In the past, many municipalities had adopted a particular building certification as a mandatory requirement for builders to obtain a building permit, such as:
BUILTGREEN®
 ENERGYSTAR®
R2000
LEED
PassiveHouse

The building and administrative requirements for each green building program vary and not all builders have knowledge about every certification program. This can become complicated and costly to builders when bordering municipalities adopt different green building certification programs. The BC Energy Step Code is a uniform building energy performance standard which allows builders to build in multiple jurisdictions without worrying about different labeling or certification standards.

The BC Energy Step Code is not designed to replace green building program certifications, but rather to provide a consistent energy metric baseline for performance modelling across all municipalities.

The BC Energy Step Code also reduces the need for builders to complete added administrative requirements that are mandatory for many programs listed above. While there is still a cost to work with an energy advisor to obtain an EnerGuide evaluation, the BC Energy Step Code will reduce the administrative workload that many builders need to meet in order to achieve green building certifications.

For more information about the BC Energy Step Code visit: https://energystepcode.ca.

Minimum Electricity Consumption

What does Minimum Electricity Consumption mean?

Starting October 1, 2020, when a home is heated with electricity supplied by BC Hydro, the home must meet a minimum electricity consumption to be considered primarily heated by electricity.

BC Hydro’s Home Renovation Rebate Program provides energy efficient upgrade rebates to customers who have high bills from heating their homes with electric heat. Homes heated by electricity use electric baseboards, heat pumps, or electric furnaces to heat their home.

To determine if a home is using electricity to heat the home, rather than another heating source (i.e. natural gas fireplace or woodstove), it must meet a minimum electrical consumption. Check to see if you meet the minimum electricity consumption requirement by using the BC Hydro eligibility tool before you begin your upgrades. To use the tool, you’ll need your BC Hydro account number and the square footage of your home.

The minimum electricity consumption is determined by the size of the home relative to its annual electricity consumption over three years.

Please visit our What if I do not meet the Minimum Electricity Consumption threshold for BC Hydro rebates FAQ for more information.

Please visit the Who do I contact to discuss my electricity consumption FAQ for more information.

 

What if I do not meet the Minimum Electricity Consumption threshold for BC Hydro rebates?

BC Hydro customers must meet the minimum electricity consumption to be considered primarily heat by electricity to be eligible for BC Hydro funded rebates. To check your eligibility for rebates use the eligibility check tool to confirm your electricity consumption.

Customers who don’t meet the minimum electricity consumption will be directed to defining a primary heating system FAQ at betterhomesbc.ca, directed to program partners if heating by fossil fuel and to view their electricity consumption in their MyHydro account.

  • If your home is heated by fossil fuel (natural gas, oil, or propane), wood, or solid fuel, visit the Rebate Search Tool to view what rebates are available to you

Please visit our What does Minimum Electricity Consumption mean FAQ for more information.

Please visit our Who do I contact to discuss my electricity consumption FAQ for more information.

 

Who do I contact to discuss my electricity consumption?

Customers looking to discuss their electricity consumption should visit their MyHydro account to view their electricity consumption or speak to BC Hydro directly at 1-800-224-9376.

Please note, the CleanBC Energy Coach Service does not provide utility billing or electricity metering support.

Please visit our FAQ, What does Minimum Electricity Consumption mean? for more information.

Please visit our FAQ, What if I do not meet the Minimum Electricity Consumption threshold for BC Hydro rebates? for more information.

General Rebate Questions

What is my climate zone?

To identify which climate zone your home is in, reference the city listing or map of BC’s climate zones below. If you are not able to determine your zone please email betterhomesbc@gov.bc.ca for additional support.

A map and table reference of BC Climate Zones per BCBC. The BC Building Code defines the energy performance targets of the Step Code based on the building's climate zone (CZ). The BC climate zones are defined by the average heating degree-days below 18°C (HDD). The BC Building Code states that the authority having jurisdiction (AHJ) can establish climatic values to define climate zones, typically based on information from Environment Canada, and building designers must consult the AHJ before making any assumptions about a building's climate zone. Note that in some locations, there may be several climate zones due to variations in elevation.

What are municipal utility providers?

Municipal utility providers are located within the service territories of BC Hydro or FortisBC. These municipalities sell electricity directly to their customers.

Municipal utility providers within the BC Hydro service territory:

  • New Westminster

Municipal utility providers within the FortisBC service territory:

  • Grand Forks
  • Summerland
  • Penticton
  • Nelson

I live in an apartment/condo and would like to do some energy efficiency upgrades. Are there any rebates available to me?

As a resident in an apartment or condo, there are a few different rebate offers you can consider. If you live in an income-qualifying household you can apply for a Free Energy Saving Kit from BC Hydro, FortisBC, or Pacific Northern Gas.

If you purchase and install eligible ENERGY STAR® appliances, you may be eligible for appliance rebates through BC Hydro and FortisBC:

  • BC Hydro Appliance Rebate Program: receive a rebate of up to $100 for replacing your current clothes washer, refrigerator, and clothes dryer with qualifying ENERGY STAR models. Check the BC Hydro Appliance rebate program before you make any purchases to determine the status of the program, as well as the eligibility of the model.
  • FortisBC Appliance Rebates: receive a rebate between $50-$250 for replacing your clothes washer, clothes dryer, or refrigerator with qualifying ENERGY STAR models. Check the FortisBC website before you make any purchases to determine the status of the program, as well as the eligibility of the model.

Did you see a building science or energy efficiency term you did not understand? Check out our glossary.

What rebates are available for new homes and how do I access them?

There are a number of rebate programs available for improving the energy efficiency of new homes in BC, and each program is different. Visit the residential new construction rebate search tool to find programs that you may be eligible for.

Some rebates are provided by your energy utilities, some by local, regional, or provincial government, some from lending institutions, and more. Some programs are for specific energy efficient products, some are for having an energy evaluation, and some reward the overall energy performance of the home.

Take the time to thoroughly read about the rebates and incentives you are interested in, as the terms and conditions, and application processes vary from program to program.

Did you see a building science or energy efficiency term you did not understand? Check out our glossary.

Are there rebates for LED lights?

Instant in-store rebates for LED lighting are offered seasonally to BC Hydro and FortisBC customers. Use our rebate search tool and selecting ‘Lighting’ to see if these rebates are currently available.

Income-qualified households may be able to access LED lights and bulbs through the following free programs offered by FortisBC and BC Hydro:

The Energy Conservation Assistance Program is available to income-qualified households and provides an in-home visit with free energy-saving product installation, including energy-saving light-bulbs.

The Free Energy Saving Kits Program is available to income-qualified BC Hydro customers, PNG customers, FortisBC electric customers, and municipal electric customers. Participants in this program can receive LED bulbs, an LED night light, and other energy-efficient products.

Did you see a building science or energy efficiency term you did not understand? Check out our glossary.

Group Purchase Rebate Program

What is the Group Purchase Rebate?

The Heat Pump Group Purchase Rebate (GPR) is a rebate offer that rewards groups of homeowners working together to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by switching from an oil, natural gas, or propane heating system to an air source heat pump.

The Group Purchase Rebate is additional to the individual air-source heat pump rebate of up to $6,000 available from CleanBC and any local government top-ups that may be available. To learn more about the Group Purchase Rebate Program, visit www.betterhomesbc.ca/rebates/GPR.

Participants are encouraged to spread the word about their heat pump purchase group, as the larger each group becomes, the larger the rebate will be. The Group Purchase Rebate ranges from $200 per home, for a group of two homes up to a maximum of $500 for a group of twenty to thirty homes.

How can I maximize my Group Purchase Rebate amount?

A group can be as small as two people or as large as thirty – the more that join and install a qualifying heat pump, the greater the Group Purchase Rebate for each participant.

  1. Talk with friends, family, and colleagues about the offer and share your GPR Code.
  2. Spread the word on social media – we’ve created some suggested content to get you started.
  3. Use these helpful info sheets on Central Heat Pumps and  Mini-Split Heat Pumps to talk about the benefits of heat pumps and how they work.
  4. Are you a member of a community organization? We have materials to post in community centers, municipal halls and other civic spaces. Contact us at gpradmin@betterhomesbc.ca to get started with a customized toolkit!
  5. Interested in other energy efficiency programs and not sure where to start? Contact the Community Energy Coach at cec@betterhomesbc.ca to talk about how you can engage your community!

Where can I find more information about the GPR Program?

  • Registration Form that includes some basic pre-screening such as ensuring only eligible home types register and optional heat pump information to confirm system eligibility.
  • Registration Confirmation email containing a participation guide, graphic support for communications, FAQs, participation requirement reminders, etc.
  • A rebate page on the Better Homes website.
  • Energy Coaches trained to answer general GPR questions.
  • Emails from the GPR admin regarding reminders of GPR Code expiry dates and notices when a GPR Code has expired.

What if my GPR Code has expired?

If your GPR Code has expired before you apply for your heat pump rebate, you have two options:

  1. Join a different, existing group by registering with a GPR Code you’ve received from someone else.
  2. Start a brand new group by requesting a new GPR Code through the registration form and spread the word.

Who registers for the rebate?

  • Every single participant must register whether they are starting a new group or joining an existing group.
  • If you have seeded a group, all of the people who want to use your Code must also make sure to join your group by registering with the Group Purchase Rebate Program.
  • Group members that do not register with the Group Purchase Rebate Program will not be assessed for the rebate.
  • All members of a group must be from the same electricity utility service area.  Groups cannot have members from both electricity service areas.  If you are unsure of which electricity service are you are in, check your electricity bill.
    • Electricity service areas:
      • BC Hydro Territory (including New Westminster) or
      • FortisBC Territory (including Grand Forks, Summerland, Penticton, Nelson)

How is the GPR rebate calculated?

  • Groups are defined by applications with the same GPR Code.
  • All group members must register, install a heat pump, and apply for their rebate before the Code expires. Applications with an expired GPR Code will not count towards the size of the group.
  • The rebate is calculated based on the number of group members that have completed eligible heat pump upgrades and have successfully applied for a CleanBC heat pump rebate. Ineligible applications will not count towards the size of the group.
  • The rebate is calculated after the GPR Code expires, to ensure all group members have an opportunity to submit their heat pump rebate application.
Size of Group Each Participant Receives
2-4 homes $200
5-9 homes $275
10-14 homes $350
15-19 homes $425
20-30 homes $500

How long is the GPR Code good for?

  • 90 days from the date of issue. The date of issue is the date the unique Code was requested when starting a new group.
  • Reminder emails are sent out to group members ahead of the expiration date.
  • All GPR Codes contain the expiry date for clarity and can be read under this format GPRXXXX-EXPDD/MM/YYYY.

How many Codes can a participant have?

A participant can only have 1 active GPR Code at a time. If you fail to use an active Code before it expires and you wish to access the offer, you must wait for the first Code to expire before you join a different group or start a new group.

How does a participant know what the size of their group is?

  • The current group size will be included in the Registration Confirmation and Reminder emails.
  • Participants can call the GPR Administration to ask about the current size of their group at 1-844-877-9790 (ask for the GPR Admin) or email gpradmin@betterhomesbc.ca.
  • When a group hits 30 confirmed registrations, an email is sent to all members of the group indicating the group has potentially grown to its maximum size (and thus the maximum rebate).

What if a participant is deemed ineligible for a heat pump rebate?

The ineligible heat pump would not be counted towards the group size in determining the rebate amount.

Can apartments, condos, and other multi-unit residential buildings participate?

The Group Purchase Rebate Program requires participating homes be eligible home types under the Terms and Conditions of the CleanBC Better Homes and Home Renovation Rebate Program. The following types of premises are not eligible for the Program:

  • Multi-unit residential buildings such as condominiums, high-rises and apartment buildings;
  • Stacked townhomes;
  • Vacation homes or premises that are not year-round primary residences;
  • Garages, workshops, and outbuildings; and
  • Upgrades installed in a newly constructed building or a new addition to an existing building.

How do I submit my GPR Code?

Include the active GPR Code (format GPRXXXX-EXPDD/MM/YYYY) in the “Promotional Code” field of the form when submitting an application for your heat pump rebate via the BC Hydro Online Application Form.

Bonus Offer Clarification

How much will my rebate be for the Home Energy Improvement Bonus?

The Home Energy Improvement Bonus is a rebate provided to homes that complete EnerGuide Rating System evaluations and install three or more bonus-eligible home energy upgrades. The rebate is calculated as the percentage change between your pre- and post-upgrade EnerGuide rating.* The bigger the percentage change in your EnerGuide rating, the larger the bonus rebate you will receive. Different combinations of bonus eligible upgrades will provide higher rebates than others. Work with a Program-Qualified Energy Advisor to determine the right Home Energy Improvement Plan for your home.

Remember: The Home Energy Improvement Bonus is a rebate you receive in addition to the individual rebates. The chart below shows the potential range of the Home Energy Improvement Bonus amounts based on your heating system and type of upgrades undertaken.

Home Heating System Upgrade Combinations Average Range of Home Energy Improvement Bonus,** 
Natural Gas and Oil Air Source Heat Pump  + 2 eligible upgrades $1100 to $1800
Natural Gas and Oil 3 eligible upgrades $750 to $1100
Electric Air Source Heat Pump + 2 eligible upgrades $900 to $1500
Electric 3 eligible upgrades $750 to $900

 

Important notes:

  • Be sure to follow the Home Energy Improvement Bonus Eligibility Requirements
  • Effective Oct 1, 2020 the Home Energy Improvement Bonus provides a minimum of $750 and a maximum of $2,000 for qualifying applications.
  • If your community provides municipal top-ups, including Electric Heat Pump Space Heating Top-ups, there may be additional rebates available.
  • If your home is older, poorly insulated, drafty, or has less efficient space and water heating systems, it may be easier for you to achieve a greater percentage reduction in your EnerGuide score and receive a rebate in the upper range or even higher than the amounts shown above; if your home is newer, well insulated, well air sealed or has more efficient space and water heating systems, it may be harder for you to achieve a large percentage reduction in your EnerGuide score and you may receive a rebate in the lower range or lower than shown above.
  • Some types of changes to your home will increase the energy consumption of your home and reduce the Home Energy Improvement Bonus you may be eligible for: Switching from electricity to natural gas space or hot water heating systems, adding a new gas fireplace, adding new window or door openings, or expanding the size of your home.
  • Energy improvements that are not bonus eligible but improve the efficiency of your home will still be factored into the bonus rebate amount. For example, draftproofing, insulation upgrades under the eligibility threshold, solar hot water, and other upgrades will all improve the efficiency of your home and help boost your rebate amount

To get started: Schedule an pre-upgrade EnerGuide home evaluation with a Program-Qualified Energy Advisor. The energy advisor will provide you with recommendations to improve the energy efficiency of your home and help you determine which upgrade options are bonus-eligible and what your bonus rebate is likely to be.

* The Home Energy Improvement Bonus amount is calculated as $20 multiplied by the percentage reduction in your home’s EnerGuide rating (in gigajoules per year, or GJ/year) between your pre- and post-upgrade EnerGuide home evaluation. Three eligible upgrades are required. To see an example of how the rebate is calculated, see How does the Home Energy Improvement Bonus Work?

**This Home Energy Improvement Bonus range is provided as an average range of rebates. The actual rebate you will receive will depend upon a wide range of factors.

How does the Home Energy Improvement Bonus work?

The Home Energy Improvement Bonus is a rebate of $750 to $2000 for improving your EnerGuide rating by installing three or more bonus-eligible upgrades. A pre-upgrade EnerGuide home evaluation and a post-upgrade EnerGuide home evaluations are required to determine the change in the EnerGuide rating of your home and the rebate amount. The Home Energy Improvement Bonus is paid out in addition to the rebates paid for eligible individual rebates.

Effective Oct 1, 2020 the Home Energy Improvement Bonus provides a minimum of $750 and a maximum of $2,000 for qualifying applications.

Bonus-eligible individual upgrades include:

The Home Energy Improvement Bonus amount is calculated as $20 multiplied by the percentage reduction in your home’s EnerGuide rating (in gigajoules per year, or GJ/year) between your pre- and post-upgrade EnerGuide home evaluation.

Example 1: If your pre-upgrade EnerGuide rating was 250 GJ/year and your post-upgrade EnerGuide rating is 200 GJ/year you would do the following calculations:

  1. 250 GJ/year – 200 GJ/year = 50 GJ/year [This is the change in GJ/year of your EnerGuide rating.]
  2. 50 GJ/year ÷ 250 GJ/year = 0.20
  3. 0.20 x 100 = 20 [You have achieved a 20 percent reduction in your home’s EnerGuide rating.]
  4. $20.00 x 20 = $400.00 [Since the calculated amount is less than the minimum of $750, you will receive $750. This is in addition to the individual rebates.]

Example 2: If your pre-upgrade EnerGuide rating was 250 GJ/year and your post-upgrade EnerGuide rating is 125 GJ/year you would do the following calculations:

  1. 250 GJ/year – 125 GJ/year = 125 GJ/year [This is the change in GJ/year of your EnerGuide rating.]
  2. 125 GJ/year ÷ 250 GJ/year = 0.50
  3. 0.50 x 100 = 50 [You have achieved a 50 percent reduction in your home’s EnerGuide rating.]
  4. $20.00 x 50 = $1000.00 [This is the incentive you will receive, in addition to the individual rebates]

The Energy Efficiency Action Roadmap section of your EnerGuide Renovation Upgrade Report includes an estimate of GJ savings for recommended upgrades. See our FAQ How much will my incentive be for the Home Energy Improvement Bonus? to see the potential range of Home Energy Improvement Bonus rebate amounts based on the upgrades you do.

Keep in mind that not all upgrades recommended in your EnerGuide Renovation Upgrade Report are bonus-eligible. Always review the program terms and conditions before any renovations begin to ensure your upgrades will be eligible.

Even though some energy efficiency upgrades are not bonus-eligible, they may still improve your EnerGuide rating. For example, draftproofing (air sealing) is not a bonus-eligible upgrade but air sealing upgrades will improve (lower) your EnerGuide rating and allow you to access a higher bonus rebate.

If your renovation plans include upgrades that are not bonus eligible, ensure that at least three other upgrades are eligible so you can access the Home Energy Improvement Bonus. Other upgrades that are not bonus eligible but will contribute to lowering your EnerGuide rating and increasing your bonus rebate amount include:

  • Insulation upgrades that have received individual rebates under $500 in value or that are not eligible for the individual rebate (DIY installation)
  • Foundation insulation
  • Exposed floor, floor over crawlspace or basement header insulation
  • Solar hot water upgrades
  • Photovoltaic panels
  • Draftproofing/Air-sealing

To get started: Schedule a pre-upgrade EnerGuide home evaluation with a Program-Qualified Energy Advisor. The energy advisor will provide you with recommendations to improve the energy efficiency of your home and can assist with determining which upgrade options are bonus-eligible.

Are there any rebates for draftproofing?

There are currently no individual rebates for draftproofing (air sealing). However, draftproofing can reduce energy use in your home and increase the rebate amount of the Home Energy Improvement Bonus.

The Home Energy Improvement Bonus requires that you complete a minimum of 3 eligible upgrades between a pre- and post-upgrade EnerGuide home evaluation. The rebate amount is calculated based on the percentage reduction in your EnerGuide rating, measured in gigajoules per year (GJ/year). $20 is provided for every percent reduction in your EnerGuide rating.

Draftproofing leads to a more airtight building envelope which means a more energy efficient home and a decrease in your post-upgrade EnerGuide rating. Remember – the lower your EnerGuide rating the more efficient your home!

How much draftproofing may contribute to your Home Energy Improvement Bonus amount is highly variable and depends on how drafty your home was prior to draftproofing and on the quality of installation of the upgrades that are undertaken in your home. It is important to note that well-installed windows, doors, insulation and other upgrades can contribute to making your home less drafty and will provide you with a higher Home Energy Improvement Bonus rebate amount.

To get started: Schedule a pre-upgrade EnerGuide home evaluation with a program-qualified energy advisor. The energy advisor will provide you with a list of draftproofing opportunities and identify the potential for improving your home’s energy efficiency, reducing your EnerGuide rating and accessing the bonus rebate.

EnerGuide Home Evaluations

What are EnerGuide home evaluations?

An EnerGuide home evaluation is a comprehensive service designed by the federal government to help you improve the comfort and energy efficiency of your home. As part of the service, an energy advisor will come to your home and assess its energy performance. Energy advisors are building science professionals who will provide you with unbiased energy saving information, rather than selling any particular products or recommending particular contractors.

Read more on Natural Resources Canada’s EnerGuide Home Evaluation info-graphic.

Did you see a building science or energy efficiency term you did not understand? Check out our glossary.

What are the benefits of an EnerGuide home evaluation?

An EnerGuide home evaluation is the first step in a smart home energy renovation. An evaluation will help you make informed decisions about which upgrades would work best for your home, how to prioritize them and which will save you the most on energy costs.

Solutions for your home

  • Lower your energy use and your energy bills
  • Improve indoor air quality and comfort
  • Lower your greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions
  • Explore solutions for drafts, mold, stuffiness, and outside noise

Prioritized upgrade options

  • Speak with a professional energy advisor about the best options for your home to meet your specific goals to improve your home. Tell your energy advisor your goals and let them help you identify upgrade options for accessing rebates, reducing energy bills, improving home comfort, reducing your carbon footprint, improving home resale value, insulating your home from outside noise, or addressing other home issues related to energy efficiency.

Receive money for your upgrades

If you plan to apply for rebates, carefully read the terms and conditions for each rebate. Some rebates require a pre-upgrade EnerGuide home evaluation before installing upgrades and a post-upgrade EnerGuide home evaluation after your upgrades have been completed.

Did you see a building science or energy efficiency term you did not understand? Check out our glossary.

Where can I find an energy advisor?

To find an energy advisor and schedule an energy evaluation, use our list of program-qualified energy advisors. Select your Town or City from the drop-down list and the contact information of nearby energy advisors will be displayed.

Did you see a building science or energy efficiency term you did not understand? Check out our glossary.

What is an EnerGuide home label?

After an EnerGuide home evaluation, you will receive an EnerGuide home label to affix to your electrical panel or another location. The EnerGuide label provides summarized information from your energy evaluation.

The label includes:

    • Your EnerGuide rating: the modelled energy consumption of your home measured in gigajoules per year. The lower the rating, the less energy you consume.
    • A typical new house reference: the EnerGuide rating your home would have if it had been built to current building code. Your current home’s rating may be more or less efficient than a brand new home.
    • Breakdown of the rated annual energy consumption: A pie-chart breakdown of the major energy uses within the house and an initial overview of where you can lower home energy costs.
    • Greenhouse gas emissions: the estimated GHGs emitted annually as a result of using energy in your home.

An example of an EnerGuide home label, including a meter with GJ/year, rated annual energy consumption, breakdown of rated annual energy consumption, and a QR code for further details.

For a more detailed explanation of the EnerGuide Label, please view the EnerGuide Label Example and the Guide to the EnerGuide Label for Homes.

Did you see a building science or energy efficiency term you did not understand? Check out our glossary.

Is my home eligible for rebates or an EnerGuide home evaluation?

To access rebates through the CleanBC Better Homes and Home Renovation Rebate Program, or to have an EnerGuide home evaluation completed, your home must meet the eligibility criteria outlined below.

CleanBC Better Homes and Home Renovation Rebate Program

To be eligible for this rebate program, homes must meet the following eligibility criteria:

  • Be connected with a current residential utility service account to FortisBC and/or BC Hydro. Electrically heated homes served by local municipal utilities within the service territories of BC Hydro or FortisBC (electricity) are also eligible.
  • Home must be a year-round primary residence that is at least 12 months old, and one of the following types of residential buildings:
    • single family home (detached dwelling);
    • secondary suite in a single-family home (detached dwelling); the home and secondary suite must be individually metered;
    • mobile home that is permanently fixed, sits on a foundation and is structurally complete with installed and connected plumbing, heating, electrical, water and sewer services towing  apparatus and axle must be removed;
    • duplex, triplex, row home or townhome, where each unit has its own natural gas and/or electricity meter. Utility accounts must be in the name of the resident and/or homeowner; utility accounts in the name of a strata corporation are not eligible.

Please note: Multi-unit residential buildings (such as high-rises and apartment buildings), vacation homes or premises that are not year-round primary residences, garages, workshops, and out buildings are not eligible for the CleanBC Better Homes and Home Renovation Rebate Program.  See full Program Requirements for details.

EnerGuide Home Evaluation

To be eligible for an EnerGuide evaluation for existing homes, your home must be one of the following home types:

  • single family detached
  • semi-detached
  • row home or town home
  • mobile home on a permanent foundation
  • permanently moored float home

A home must also be in an ‘eligible state’, which means that:

  • The building is resting on a permanent foundation(s) or is a permanently moored float home.
  • There is a space heating system in place at the time of the evaluation that is capable (or was, in the case of a heating system failure) of keeping the interior living space at 21 degrees Celsius.
  • The envelope is intact, including the exposed ceilings, exterior walls, exposed floors, windows and doors, and interior and exterior finishes (e.g., drywall, and exterior siding).
  • Up to one window or door unit can be missing as long as it is temporarily air sealed (e.g., covered with plywood with seams and edges sealed with caulking). Any broken window panes must also be air sealed (e.g., with taped polyethylene) for the duration of the blower door test. If the temporary air sealing fails during the blower door test, the building will be considered ineligible.
  • Any renovations underway only affect interior partitions of the dwelling and do not perforate the building envelope.
  • There must be a supply of standard AC electrical power available. If power is not available from a utility, the homeowner must come to an agreement with the service organization about arranging for a suitable power supply to operate the blower door test equipment.

For more information on eligibility requirements for energy evaluations for new homes please visit Natural Resources Canada’s Homebuilders webpage. For energy evaluations for mixed-use or multi-unit residential buildings, contact a program-qualified energy advisor or service organization in your area.

Did you see a building science or energy efficiency term you did not understand? Check out our glossary.

What is an EnerGuide Label?

The EnerGuide label on a newly constructed home is the document which summarizes the home’s energy performance information from the EnerGuide home evaluation completed after the home was constructed. The EnerGuide label should be permanently posted in a visible spot in the home, for example in the home’s mechanical room or on the electrical panel.

The label includes:

  • Your EnerGuide rating – the modelled energy consumption of your home measured in gigajoules per year. The lower the rating, the less energy you consume.
  • A typical new house reference – the reference point that shows the estimated energy consumption of a home that is the same size, location and design as yours and built to the current new construction energy efficiency requirements of the National Building Code.
  • Breakdown of the rated annual energy consumption – a pie-chart breakdown of the major energy uses within the home.
  • Greenhouse gas emissions – the estimated GHGs emitted annually as a result of using energy in your home.

For a more detailed explanation see the Natural Resources Canada Guide to the EnerGuide Label for Homes.

When should I have an EnerGuide Evaluation?

There are two EnerGuide Evaluation Services for new homes. The pre-construction evaluation, which is completed during the design stage of the project, and the post-construction evaluation, which is completed once the house has been built.

Pre-Construction EnerGuide Evaluation (Construction Upgrade Service)

Contact a registered energy advisor to perform the pre-construciton EnerGuide evaluation  when you are in the design and planning stage of a new home project.

This service is especially useful when builders are trying to build to minimum performance levels as required by BC Energy Step Code, and other green building certification requirements.

Post-Construction EnerGuide Evaluation (Basic Service)

The post-construction EnerGuide service can be completed for a new home anytime after construction is finished up until it is six months old, based on the date of occupancy by the first homeowner.

To read more about EnerGuide evaluations and their benefits, visit our EnerGuide Home Evaluation FAQs.

What are EnerGuide home evaluations and what are the benefits?

An EnerGuide home evaluation for residential new construction is a comprehensive service designed by the federal government to help builders and developers understand how a home uses energy and what steps you can take to improve the building plans and construction process to maximize the energy efficiency of the home built. The service involves a registered new homes energy advisor assessing your home’s energy performance by collecting information on the following components of your home:

  • Size and geometry of your home
  • Type and efficiency of space and hot water heating systems
  • Insulation levels
  • Windows and doors
  • Ventilation systems
  • Air-leakage (using a blower-door test)

This information is used to generate a pre-construction and as-built EnerGuide rating for the home and a pre-construction builder upgrades options report to outline the options and opportunities to improve the efficiency of the home during the construction process. Registered energy advisors are building science professionals who provide unbiased energy saving information, rather than recommending any particular product.

The key benefits of consulting an energy advisor for your construction project are:

  • Energy Modelling to Improve Design – energy advisors conduct energy modelling to verify how much energy a proposed building is expected to use. Energy advisors also use energy modelling to provide detailed information on how each upgrade option to your building plans can improve the efficiency of the home you are building. This allows the builder to select the upgrade option that best suits the construction budget, the design of the home or the preferences of their clients.
  • BC Energy Step Code Verification Services – energy modelling can confirm the home meets the minimum requirements of the BC Building Code or any step of the BC Energy Step Code. Registered EnerGuide Rating System energy advisors are authorized to provide builders with the service to complete the BC Energy Compliance Report for Part 9 buildings complying with Subsection 9.36.5. or 9.36.6. of the BC Building Code.
  • Access Incentives – using a registered energy advisor can support you to access financial incentives and rebates for building to a higher level of construction. Check out the incentive search tool for information about incentives and rebates.
  • Access a Home Energy Label – a home energy label is an information tool, produced by a trusted and recognized third-party, and designed to provide consumers with recognizable and comparable information about the modeled energy consumption of a home. Having a Home energy label produced for each home constructed represents a marketing opportunity for industry to differentiate themselves as builders of high efficiency homes. The home energy label validates the builder’s investments in energy efficient construction and provides the consumer with the information to make an informed choice when purchasing a home.

Learn more about EnerGuide Evaluations through the other related FAQs on the CleanBC Better Homes website.

What is a Mid-Construction Blower Door Test?

A mid-construction blower door test is a diagnostic test which depressurizes or pressurizes the home to identify unintentional leaks and issues with the air barrier. Importantly, the mid-construction blower door test needs to be scheduled at a point in the construction when it is not too late to effectively remedy identified air leakage issues.

A mid-construction blower door test service may include the following:

  • Measurements required for volume and area calculations;
  • Performing the airtightness test using a blower door fan;
  • Locating and documenting the air leakages – while the home is depressurized or pressurized you can walk around the home and feel air being drawn into the house through unintentional gaps in the building envelope;
  • Determining preliminary blower door metrics using HOT2000 or other software;
  • Air changes per hour (ACH) and/or;
  • Normalized leakage area (NLA) and/or,
  • Normalized leakage rate (NLR)

The mid-construction blower door test service can also include:

  • Blower door guided air sealing (where the energy advisor is on site with the blower door while a crew is conducting air sealing. This allows the builder to benefit from the expertise of the energy advisor and the confirmation that the air leakage target is achieved);
  • Providing a formal mid-construction blower door test report (with narrative and images of air leakage areas);
  • Other tasks agreed to between the two parties (e.g. repeated test to check for improvement).

Benefits of a mid-construction blower door test include:

  • A mid-construction blower door test helps your company avoid surprises and helps you to meet energy efficiency targets early in the process.
  • A home built with minimal levels of air leakage (and right ventilation) can reduce heat loss and energy bills in the winter, keep the home cooler in the summer, improve home comfort, enhance air quality, protect the building structure and other materials from moisture damage, and help prevent dust, noise, and insects from entering from outdoors.
  • A well-built and air sealed home can also shrink the environmental footprint of the home by reducing the greenhouse gas emissions produced by using energy to heat and cool your home.
  • The cost of addressing air leakage issues at the right time in the construction process can be negligible. If you wait until construction has been completed to identify air leakage issues, fixing the problem may be time consuming, expensive, or nearly impossible.
  • The mid-construction blower door test can be a practical teaching tool for your crews and sub trades. Involve them in the process: the test can be an opportunity for them to learn how to identify and address air leakage issues many builders have called the mid-construction blower door test more educational than weekend-long workshops on air tightness.

Contact a professional energy advisor to request a quote for a mid-construction blower door test.Currently, new homes energy advisors can be found on https://energystepcode.ca/energy-advisors/.

What are the costs of an EnerGuide home evaluation?

The range of cost for EnerGuide home evaluations for new construction is broad and depends on many factors:

  • Location of the construction
  • Energy advisor or service organization
  • Size and complexity of the home
  • Project timelines
  • Additional building bylaw requirements
  • Additional services requested, i.e. thermal imaging, mid-construction blower door test, etc.
  • Requirement of multiple blower door tests due to the layout of the building
  • Travel distance / mileage fees

Due to the many factors that affect the cost of an EnerGuide evaluation, we recommend contacting different energy advisors or service organizations in your areato obtain an accurate quote and to ensure that they are able to work within your time frame. Currently new homes energy advisors can be found on https://energystepcode.ca/energy-advisors/.

What can I do if there are no new homes energy advisors currently servicing my location?

A majority of the work involved in delivering an EnerGuide evaluation for new home construction can be completed remotely. If there are no energy advisors located in the area you are building the home, try to connect with an Energy Advisor nearest to your city/town and ask if they’re willing to visit your location to conduct a final site visit after the construction of your home.

Currently new homes energy advisors can be found at https://energystepcode.ca/energy-advisors/.

Not satisfied with your energy advisor or the EnerGuide home evaluation?

Contact your energy advisor’s service organization. The service organization is responsible for training energy advisors, providing supervision and technical support and monitoring that established Natural Resources Canada procedures are followed.

What happens during a pre- and post upgrade EnerGuide home evaluation?

During a pre-upgrade evaluation, your energy advisor will:

  • Ask you about your goals for your home and any efficiency or comfort issues you’d like help solving
  • Measure the size and heated volume of your home
  • Document the existing insulation levels throughout your home
  • Record the make and model of your space and water heating systems
  • Perform a blower door test to identify air leakage problems and calculate your air changes per hour and your home’s equivalent leakage area (how big a hole the air leaks in your home would make if all combined together)
  • Use HOT2000 to build an energy model of your home
  • Explain relevant rebate programs
  • Provide you with a Renovation Upgrade Report which gives you customized recommendations about which energy saving upgrades make the most sense for your home, and what energy savings you can expect from each upgrade.
  • Issue you an EnerGuide rating, which demonstrates the energy performance of your home, and the EnerGuide Label which is the proof of that energy rating.

During a post-upgrade evaluation, your energy advisor will:

  • Return to your home and check your home’s energy performance after completing your upgrades and renovations
  • Document the changes in your home since your pre-upgrade evaluation and calculate your new EnerGuide rating. The data will be used to create an updated label and Homeowner Information Sheet.

If you are planning to access rebates, ensure that you have all of the necessary documentation for your application at this stage. If you are selling your home, consider including your EnerGuide rating in the MLS listing for your home to show a third-party verified confirmation of your home’s energy efficiency.

For more details or to schedule an energy evaluation, contact a program-qualified energy advisor.

Did you see a building science or energy efficiency term you did not understand? Check out our glossary.

Should I get an EnerGuide label if I’m thinking of selling my home?

If you’re thinking of selling your home, it might be the perfect time to get an EnerGuide evaluation. Home sellers pro-actively obtain EnerGuide ratings for their homes and display the rating online. If you reside in Metro Vancouver, you can post your label on Metro Vancouver’s RateOurHome.ca website and link it directly to your property listing.

If you have an energy efficient home, here’s why you might want to tell potential homebuyers about your EnerGuide label:

Set your product apart from the rest

Displaying an EnerGuide label will set your home apart from the rest. Homes that rate higher than typical should be proudly displayed. This tells the buyer that a new home was built beyond building code requirements in terms of energy efficiency. And for older homes the EnerGuide label can prove the home energy improvement investments made in the home.

Transparency

Consumers may request that an evaluation be conducted as a condition of sale. Taking the initiative to get an EnerGuide label and displaying it on your listing demonstrates transparency. Buyers appreciate listings that provide full disclosure of any potential issues or concerns. Displaying your EnerGuide label answers questions before they are asked and can speed up the transaction process.

Did you see a building science or energy efficiency term you did not understand? Check out our glossary.

Benefits of the EnerGuide Rating Service for REALTORS®

As interest in energy efficiency upgrades increases, there is an increased demand for REALTORS® to have an understanding of the value of the EnerGuide rating system. This is an opportunity for real estate agents to build their brand and differentiate themselves amongst REALTORS. Understanding the energy efficient features of a home elevates conversations with prospective buyers beyond the home’s aesthetic.

The energy performance improvements made to a home and an EnerGuide label to prove it can be an important selling point to prospective buyers. It may show the home’s performance has been improved which in turn reduces the utility costs for any future occupants. An EnerGuide label is an official record of the home’s energy performance, and has potential to increase building value, resulting in a potentially faster sale at a potentially higher price.

Prior to listing, learn about any upgrades made to the home:

  • Has your client had an EnerGuide Home Evaluation done? Did they take steps in improving the energy efficiency of their home? Add their EnerGuide rating to the listing!
  • Give buyers what they want. An improved EnerGuide rating can help your clients improve their comfort, save money on energy bills, and reduce their environmental impact.
  • Find out what these improvements mean. Many energy efficiency upgrades can translate into benefits for the next homeowner.

The benefits of an EnerGuide label go beyond utility costs and energy savings. High-performing homes offer quality of life benefits that buyers can emotionally connect to. For example, energy efficiency upgrades can improve the overall comfort of the home, including noise reduction, temperature regulation, and indoor air quality. These improvements can be important selling or purchasing features for a home.

See our FAQ ‘What is an EnerGuide home label?

Did you see a building science or energy efficiency term you did not understand? Check out our glossary.

What are the costs of an existing homes EnerGuide evaluation?

The cost of an energy evaluation ranges and highly depends on your location, the energy advisor or service organization you choose, the size and complexity of your home, whether or not you have a secondary suite requiring a second blower door test, additional services requested (thermal imaging) and other factors. We recommend calling at least 3 different service organizations to obtain a quote and ensure that they are able to work within your renovation time frame. Please note that GST and applicable fees may apply.

For an accurate quote, contact a program-qualified energy advisor that services your area.

Did you see a building science or energy efficiency term you did not understand? Check out our glossary.

What types of homes are eligible for EnerGuide home evaluations?

These requirements are specifically for existing homes, for example: single family detached homes, mobile homes on a permanent foundation, permanently moored float homes, low-rise, semi-detached, and row houses.

In order for an EnerGuide evaluation to be conducted in your home, it must be in an eligible state.

According to Natural Resources Canada’s guidelines, an ‘eligible state’ means that:

  • The building is resting on a permanent foundation(s) or is a permanently moored float home.
  • There is a space heating system in place at the time of the evaluation that is capable (or was, in the case of a heating system failure) of keeping the interior living space at 21 degrees Celsius.
  • The envelope is intact, including the exposed ceilings, exterior walls, exposed floors, windows and doors, and interior and exterior finishes (e.g., drywall, and exterior siding).
  • Up to one window or door unit can be missing as long as it is temporarily air sealed (e.g., covered with plywood with seams and edges sealed with caulking). Any broken window panes must also be air sealed (e.g., with taped polyethylene) for the duration of the blower door test. If the temporary air sealing fails during the blower door test, the building will be considered ineligible.
  • Any renovations underway only affect interior partitions of the dwelling and do not perforate the building envelope.
  • There must be a supply of standard AC electrical power available. If power is not available from a utility, the homeowner must come to an agreement with the service organization about arranging for a suitable power supply to operate the blower door test equipment.

For more information on eligibility requirements for energy evaluations for new homes please visit Natural Resources Canada’s Homebuilders webpage; for energy evaluations for mixed-use or multi-unit residential buildings, contact a program-qualified energy advisor or service organization in your area.

For additional home eligibility requirements to access rebates see What types of homes are eligible for the Home Renovation Rebate Program?

Did you see a building science or energy efficiency term you did not understand? Check out our glossary.

Not satisfied with your energy advisor or the EnerGuide home evaluation?

Contact your energy advisor’s service organization. The contact information for the service organization can be found on the program-qualified energy advisor database.

Did you see a building science or energy efficiency term you did not understand? Check out our glossary.

What can I do if there are no Energy Advisors currently servicing my location?

Try to connect with an Energy Advisor nearest to your city/town and ask if they’re willing to visit your location to conduct an energy evaluation. In addition, there are a number of energy upgrades and rebates available that do not require an energy evaluation:

Did you see a building science or energy efficiency term you did not understand? Check out our glossary.

Energy Issues and Concerns

Where do I start to reduce drafts and improve my home?

The first step to reduce drafts is to identify the air leakage areas throughout your home. Although you might feel drafts and see air leakage areas around windows and doors on the main floor, in most homes, the most significant air leaks are often found in the attic/top floor and basement/lowest floor and are often hidden. This is due to the stack effect: In a heated home, less dense warm air rises and expands, creating a higher-pressure area near the top of the house. As cold air pushes into the lower portions of your home it forces the lighter warm air up and out through leaks at the top.

In general, the priorities for air sealing are:

  1. Large holes regardless of location (plumbing or electrical penetrations, ductwork through unconditioned spaces, large gaps under doors, masonry chimney chaseways).
  2. Smaller holes on top floor ceiling/attic (pot lights, ceiling penetrations around fixtures, attic hatch, attic knee walls, service shafts, etc.).
  3. Smaller holes on the bottom floor (hose bib penetrations, cracks on exterior and foundation walls, basement doors, electrical boxes, gas lines or oil fill pipes that go through exterior walls, etc.).
  4. Smaller holes at main floors (windows, doors, top and bottom of baseboards, fireplace dampers, electrical outlets, switches).

Various materials throughout the envelope act as an air barrier. Large-surface building materials such as drywall, baseboards or structural members and windows and doorframes are incorporated into the air barrier by sealing them to the adjoining materials. Caulking, tapes and gaskets are used for joints between materials that do not move, and weatherstripping, for joints that do move.

When choosing draftproofing materials always select premium products for long-term durability. Choosing the proper product and paying attention to the quality of application are crucial.

Materials you may want to use for draftproofing include:

  • Caulking is used to seal joints between building components.
  • Weatherstripping is used to block air leakage around doors and the operable parts of windows.
  • Spray-foam insulation is a plastic resin used to insulate, but also acts as an air barrier.
  • Most solid building components including drywall, plaster, plywood, glass, wood, rigid foam insulation and poured concrete (not concrete blocks) will act as air barriers.
  • House wrap, polyethylene sheeting, and polyamide sheeting typically act as air, vapour, or combination barriers, respectively.

For detailed information on draftproofing materials, see the Natural Resources Canada resource Keeping the Heat In.  Additional guidance is available from BC Housing’s Best Practice Guide Air Sealing and Insulation Retrofits for Single Family Homes.

For a more in depth air sealing analysis of your home, you can have an EnerGuide home evaluation performed on your home to find any obvious or hidden drafts that need sealing. A program-qualified energy advisor will conduct a site visit, perform a blower door fan/depressurization test and look for air leaks. The advisor will also use the data from the depressurization test and calculate the air leakage rate for your home. In the Renovation Upgrade Report, the energy advisor will give a prioritized list of draftproofing measures for your home.

Did you see a building science or energy efficiency term you did not understand? Check out our glossary.

When should I upgrade my heating system?

In general, you should invest in a new heating or cooling system if your system is more than 15 years old or if it’s no longer keeping your home comfortable. Consider having a professional HVAC contractor look at your system if you’re unsure whether it needs to be upgraded or replaced. Prior to installing a new system, you should address your home’s air leaks, insulation deficiencies and improve the ducting system (if necessary).

The time to replace your heating system also depends on your type of heating system and other upgrade indicators that may appear throughout your home. For example:

  • Heat pumps or air conditioners that are more than 15 years old should be checked and if necessary, replaced with higher efficiency units.
  • Furnace or boilers that are more than 15 years old most often times need to be replaced with higher efficiency units. Gas furnaces or boilers should be serviced at least once every two years. Oil furnaces or boilers should be cleaned and serviced every spring. It’s recommended to have a quality service technician or heating contractor conduct these tune-ups.
  • Increased energy bills and frequent repairs of equipment – this may indicate that your heating equipment is not operating optimally.
  • Some rooms in your home are too hot or too cold – this may indicate that your equipment is not operating effectively, you have ducting problems, inadequate insulation, or problems with air leakage.
  • Your heating system is noisy –this may indicate that your home has an oversized heating system, old blower motor or a lack of maintenance.

For more information, visit the ENERGY STAR® website.

Did you see a building science or energy efficiency term you did not understand? Check out our glossary.

What are the symptoms of poor indoor air quality, and how can it be improved?

If your home has insufficient air distribution and ventilation, you may find that your home has poor indoor air quality. Insufficient air distribution and ventilation often results in mould, condensation on windows and mirrors, lingering smells after cooking, and chemical smells (from synthetic fabrics, furnishings, household products, cigarette smoke, burning candles, etc.). If your home has poor indoor air quality, you may also observe the following symptoms: sneezing, coughing, congestion and itchy eyes. If your home’s indoor air is too dry then you may find an increase in static shocks, and drier skin and throat.

To maintain good indoor air quality in your home, there must be a sufficient exchange of indoor air with fresh outdoor air. This air exchange will allow mould spores, toxins, odours, excess moisture and stale air to flow out of your home and prevent health problems that can arise from poor indoor air quality. Below are some helpful tips on how to improve the air quality of your home:

  • Install ventilation fans – to improve the air quality of your home, install appropriately-sized bathrooms fans and kitchen range hoods. These ventilation fans will help reduce the humidity in your home and prevent mould and condensation problems.
  • Use the 10-minute rule – to fully remove humidity, you should run ventilation fans at least 10 minutes after cooking and showering. Running the range hood after cooking will also help eliminate particulates and lingering smells in your home.
  • Maintain regularly – range hood filters and bathroom fans should be cleaned once a month to ensure that they ventilate your home effectively and improve indoor air quality. On average, range hoods will work effectively for 10-12 years before they need to be replaced. If you find that your bathroom fan no longer prevents your mirror from fogging, it should be replaced.
  • Consider installing a balanced ventilation system –  if you have very poor indoor air quality and want to ventilate your house more evenly, you may benefit from a balanced ventilation system. These systems exhaust stale air and replace it with a consistent supply of fresh air. Heat recovery ventilators (HRVs) and energy recovery ventilators (ERVs) also have heat exchangers to recover some of the heat from exhausted air.

Consider hiring a program-qualified energy advisor to perform an EnerGuide home evaluation and assess your home’s ventilation and air quality needs.

For more information about moisture and air quality problems, visit the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation or click here for a booklet.

Did you see a building science or energy efficiency term you did not understand? Check out our glossary.

What are the health and safety considerations of home renovations?

It is important to understand the health and safety considerations of home renovations before undertaking a new project.

Asbestos and vermiculite – building materials containing asbestos may have been used in many buildings and homes built before 1990. This includes materials such as insulation, flooring and ceiling tiles, house siding, and more.

Vermiculite is a type of insulation that may contain asbestos fibres and is commonly found in older homes with insulation installed prior to 1990. If you suspect that there is vermiculite in your home, it is highly recommended that you take precautionary measures due to serious potential health risks. If exposed, asbestos fibres can become airborne in the home’s interior and cause serious harm if inhaled. For more information about the risks associated with asbestos exposure, please visit Health Canada.

If you suspect insulation in your home contains vermiculite, do not disturb it. Contact a certified asbestos removal specialist that will follow BC hazardous waste regulations for options in relation to your renovations. For information about asbestos testing and professional removal, please visit Work Safe BC.

Combustion gases – oil, wood, or gas burning appliances produce heat by burning fuel. This process creates combustion gases, which should be vented to the outdoors through a chimney or vent pipe. If they are not properly vented to the outdoors, or if the home becomes depressurized, combustion spillage occurs. Combustion spillage is the unwanted flow of combustion gases into the home. This occurs when a home becomes depressurized, and harmful combustion gases are sucked back into the home through vents or a flue (backdrafting). Depressurization can happen when a home is very air tight and all exhaust fans, such as range hoods, bathroom fans, the dryer etc. are running at the same time, drawing air from the inside to the outside of the home.

There are a number of ways to prevent combustion spillage, including:

  • Maintaining your combustion appliances
  • Inspect, maintain, and upgrade your chimney if necessary
  • Upgrade your appliances to models that are less prone to combustion spillage
  • Avoid conditions that cause backdrafting. This includes avoiding running several powerful exhaust devices at once.

If you renovate your home to be more air-tight, ensure you have proper ventilation and, if necessary, consider installing a balanced ventilation system such as an HRV.

Mould – if you discover mould in your home, it is essential that the mould is thoroughly removed, the areas cleaned and disinfected, and contaminated materials are properly disposed of. To control and reduce the potential for mould growth, control sources of moisture, maintain indoor humidity at recommended levels, and remedy infiltration and leakage.

Did you see a building science or energy efficiency term you did not understand? Check out our glossary.

What is the difference between a smart and programmable thermostat?

Using either a smart or programmable thermostat in your home is a great way to control your heating system and energy bills, and keep your home consistently comfortable.

Programmable Thermostat

A programmable thermostat is designed to adjust the temperature according to a series of programmed settings that take effect at different times of the day. For instance, you can set it to turn down to 16°C every evening at 10pm and turn back up to 21°C at 6:30 in the morning, and it will continue to adjust the room temperature for you automatically.

Smart thermostat

A smart thermostat is similar to a programmable thermostat in that you can set it to adjust temperatures at different times. The difference is that smart thermostats can learn from your behaviors or sense when you’re home, adjusting temperatures accordingly, and automatically allow you to control the climate of your home remotely. Some smart thermostats allow you to connect with Wi-Fi, giving you control from wherever you may be – the couch, the office, or even the other side of the globe.

Learn more about thermostats with FortisBC and BC Hydro.

Did you see a building science or energy efficiency term you did not understand? Check out our glossary.

What is the best way to reduce GHG’s emitted by my home?

The best way to reduce the greenhouse gases (GHG) emitted by your home is to switch from a greenhouse gas intensive heating fuel to a more climate friendly fuel type.

Fossil fuels are the most GHG intensive heating fuels, with oil having the highest emissions, followed by propane and natural gas. Other combustion fuels such as biofuels and wood-based fuels emit greenhouse gases as well. Electricity has the lowest GHG emissions, as over 90% of electricity in BC is from renewable hydroelectricity and electric space and hot-water heating systems are more efficient than fossil fuel.

While fuel-switching is the most effective way to reduce to reduce your GHG emissions, upgrading an old heating or hot water system to a more energy-efficient system of the same fuel type will also achieve GHG savings.

In all homes, when upgrading a space heating system it is wise to consider building envelope upgrades, such as draftproofing, insulation, and upgrading windows as well. A well-insulated, draft free  building envelope may allow you to install a smaller and more efficient heating system, will further improve the overall energy efficiency of your home, reduce GHG emissions and maximize the affordability of your heating bills.

Did you see a building science or energy efficiency term you did not understand? Check out our glossary.

How can I tell if my home uses too much energy?

Learn more about what makes a home energy-efficient with Natural Resources Canada.

According to Natural Resources Canada’s 2015 Survey of Household Energy Use (SHEU-2015), a single detached home in British Columbia consumes 106.3 gigajoules (GJ) of energy per year on average. However, this number can vary depending on a number of factors, such as: type of dwelling, year built, heated area and the number of occupants. Refer to the SHEU-2015 Energy Intensity Per Household Data Table for more details. If your energy consumption exceeds the SHEU-2015 benchmarks then your home may be consuming too much energy.

Another way to learn more about your energy consumption is by having an energy advisor come to your home and complete an EnerGuide Home Energy Evaluation. A program-qualified energy advisor will conduct various tests to measure the energy efficiency of your home. After the evaluation, the energy advisor will outline the energy inefficiencies of your home. They will also send you an EnerGuide rating label, a detailed report of your energy evaluation and recommendations for upgrades that will help improve your home’s energy efficiency. The Renovation Upgrade Report will give your current energy rating, and the rating you can achieve by completing the recommended energy efficiency upgrades.

Did you see a building science or energy efficiency term you did not understand? Check out our glossary.

What is a Home Energy Monitor?

A Home Energy Monitor is a device that continuously monitors your electricity usage and displays this information, in both dollar cost and kilowatts, in real time. The Home Energy Monitor will also display your daily, monthly, and accumulated totals, as well as your meter reading.

An image of a Rainforest EMU display showing current energy usage.

Through your BC Hydro MyHydro account, you may already be tracking your electricity use online – a home energy monitor simply allows you to track this information in real time. This helps to understand how and when you’re using electricity, as well as the associated costs, allowing you to take actions to reduce your usage and save money and energy.

To be eligible for a home energy monitor through BC Hydro you must meet these requirements:

  • Create an online MyHydro account with a linked profile. If you do not have one you can sign up;
  • Live in a residential detached or semi-detached home; this includes most townhomes, rowhomes and mobile homes; and
  • Have a connected smart meter with a strong network connection.

Learn more about home energy monitors with BC Hydro. You can purchase a home energy monitor through your BC Hydro MyHydro account.

If you are a FortisBC Electric customer, your advanced electricity meter will display information that will cycle through the advanced meter display every 6 seconds. You can access tools through FortisBC, like in-home displays, to help you better manage your electricity use. For more information on advanced meters, as well as in-home displays, visit your FortisBC Account Online, or contact FortisBC at 1-866-436-7847.

Did you see a building science or energy efficiency term you did not understand? Check out our glossary.

Why are my energy bills so high?

Your home energy consumption and the amount you pay on energy bills is based on many factors: size of home, energy efficiency of the home, type of heating system you use, the fuel type (electricity, gas, oil, propane) you use for space and hot water heating, the number of people living in your home and how house occupants use energy for space and water heating, appliances, lighting, cooking, bathing, etc.

There are many reasons why your energy bills may be higher than expected, or higher than you would like:

  • Insufficient insulation in your walls or attic
  • Air leakage issues
  • Inappropriately sized heating system
  • Inefficient space heating system
  • Inefficient hot water system
  • Heat loss through inefficient windows
  • High consumption of hot water for laundry and bathing
  • Other energy uses: hot tubs, space heaters, water pumps, energy used in workshops or outbuildings, etc.

Winter Energy Bills

During the winter months we experience colder and darker days which can increase your home’s energy consumption. Your bills tend to be higher during colder months because:

  • It takes more energy to maintain a comfortable temperature in your home
  • Space heaters may be used to supplement the home’s primary heating system
  • Lights are left on longer from spending more time in your home and using lighting for longer periods during dark winter months

Changes in Billing and/or Utility Rates

If you notice that your utility bill is higher, even though your energy consumption was similar to your previous bill, then you should look for other changes in your utility bill, such as:

  • An increase in your utility rate (how much you are charged for a given unit of energy consumption compared to your past energy bills).
  • Longer billing period length. You may have been charged for more days in your most recent billing period compared to previous bills.
  • Delayed meter reading. If your utility provider does not read your meter for a given billing period, they will make an estimate of your home’s energy consumption based on your history. The estimate may be higher than expected, but your bill should be adjusted the next time your meter is read.

Changes in Home Dynamics that May Impact Your Energy Bill

Some questions to ask yourself are:

  • Have you had visitors recently or tenants that have moved in?
  • Have you added any new appliances?
  • Are you completing any upgrades or renovations for your home?

Answering yes to any of the above questions could explain why your energy bills have increased.

For more information please visit the BC Hydro and FortisBC.

Solutions to high energy bills include:

  • Draftproof your home – reducing drafts and air leakage into your home you will save energy, improve home comfort and save on your energy bills.
  • Monitor your home energy consumption – installing a home energy meter or signing up for BC Hydro’s MyHydro service to monitor your usage and pinpoint peak energy consumption periods. You may identify a spike in your energy consumption that helps you understand you high energy consumption. For example, does your energy consumption spike on Sunday, the same day you do all your laundry?
  • Complete an EnerGuide Home Evaluation – an energy evaluation helps you identify options to reduce energy bills.
  • Hire a contractor to complete energy efficiency upgrades for your home – depending on your home’s energy upgrade needs – insulation, heating and water systems, and window upgrades can all contribute to reducing energy consumption, which leads to smaller energy bills.
  • Complete simple DIY upgrades – are you handy around the house and have some time for home improvements – Small changes add up and many changes can be done as Do-It-Yourself projects, see our DIY FAQs and Drafproofing FAQs for more information.
  • Alter occupant behaviour – there are many steps you can take to reduce your energy consumption. Reduce the number of laundry loads or use cold water, consider hanging laundry on a clothes line, unplug electronics when not in use, turn off lights when you leave a room, take shorter showers, reduce the use of space heaters in occupied rooms, etc.

Did you see a building science or energy efficiency term you did not understand? Check out our glossary.

I have a heat pump but my hydro bills are still very high

If you heat your home with a heat pump, but are experiencing higher than expected energy bills check out the solutions below.

First read the FAQ, Why are my energy bills so high? as your hydro bill may be high for reasons unrelated to your heat pump

If you feel that you aren’t benefiting from the high efficiency of your heat pump systems, the following operating tips and information should be considered:

  • Building envelope – regardless of what system is used to heat and cool your home, the importance of an airtight and well insulated building envelope cannot be understated. Air leakage caused by cracks and gaps in the building envelope, along with inadequate insulation will force your heating system to work harder in the winter, and your cooling system to work harder in the summer. Heating and cooling systems consume more energy and cost more to operate when they have to work harder to maintain the desired temperature. Draftproofing and upgrading insulation in areas like your attic or basement/ crawlspace is a great place to start and can improve the building envelope and reduce energy loss, resulting in energy and cost savings. Speak with an insulation and air sealing contractor or an EnerGuide Rating System energy advisor to help you understand why your energy bills may be so high.
  • Thermostat location – the location of your thermostat is important. A thermostat that is located in the direct path of a heating register senses that the living area is warm before the area has actually reached the desired temperature. This can cause the unit to short-cycle, which turns the heat pump off before the living space has been conditioned. Conversely, thermostats placed next to drafty windows or doors may not sense when the living space has reached the desired temperature. This can lead to over-heating and increased energy consumption. If you suspect the location of your thermostat is an issue – speak with a professional heat pump contractor about the options and costs of moving the thermostat to a more appropriate location.
  • Setting your thermostat – the air source heat pump indoor thermostat should be set at the desired comfort temperature and not readjusted. Repeatedly adjusting the indoor thermostat, or turning the unit on and off may cause the heat pump system’s supplementary heating system to kick in – causing your heating system to use more energy and increase your energy bills. We recommend checking your heat pump user’s manual for the recommended set point of your heat pump. In the cold winter months it is best to set your heat pump thermostat at your desired temperature and leave it at that temperature, this will reduce the number of times your heat pumps supplementary system will kick in (saving you money). If you wish to set back your thermostat do not set it back more than 2 degrees (for example if your preferred temperature is 21 degrees, do not set back your thermostat to lower than 19 degrees).
  • Emergency heat is only for emergencies – most thermostats have an emergency setting that when selected, forces your supplementary (back-up) heating system to kick in and take over 100% of the heating for the home. This can be expensive as the back-up heating system is less efficient than the heat pump. The emergency setting should only be selected when the heat pump is malfunctioning.
  • Do not use AUTO mode – AUTO mode allows the heat pump to switch from cooling to heat automatically. This can cause the system to switch modes when it is not necessary. It is recommended to keep the heat pump in “Heat” mode in the winter and “Cool” mode in the summer.
  • Review the owner’s manual – not all heat pumps are the same. Each brand and model of heat pump will have its own recommended set point and other operating suggestions to maximize the efficiency of that specific model of heat pump. Review your owner’s manual and discuss with your contractor the best way to operate your heat pump.

Did you see a building science or energy efficiency term you did not understand? Check out our glossary.

Which upgrades typically have the fastest payback period?

When thinking about the payback period for your upgrades, the simple payback is one of the easiest way to look at your investment.

Simple payback is the length of time it takes to recoup the initial investment of the energy upgrade. The basic formula for calculating payback period is:

Payback period (in years) = cost of upgrade / energy savings per year

There are a few factors that should be considered when thinking about simple payback:

  • The life span of the product will determine for how long you will benefit form energy savings before having to replace it.
  • Changes to utility rates will affect the amount of money you save on energy costs.

Upgrades that typically have the fastest payback period are lower cost home energy improvements such as high efficiency aerators and shower heads, draftproofing, lighting, and adding insulation to previously uninsulated exterior walls. However, often it can be a wise financial investment to undertake higher cost home energy improvements that have a longer simple payback – but will save you more each year and over the lifetime of the improvement. While not as straight forward as simple payback – higher cost home energy improvements may have a strong return on investment.

Did you see a building science or energy efficiency term you did not understand? Check out our glossary.

Why is my home so cold in the winter?

Some areas of your home may be difficult to keep warm due to:

  • Insufficient insulation – insufficient insulation can cause heat to escape from your home through your roof, walls, basement, foundation or crawlspace. For example, insufficient insulation in your crawlspace or basement can account for 20-30% of a home’s total heat loss.
  • Air leakage issues – most homes lose warm air to the outside and let cold air in through gaps and cracks in walls and under and around doors and windows. The amount of air leakage in a home can vary dramatically and may make your home feel drafty and cold.
  • Inappropriately sized or inefficient heating system – if interior temperatures are not maintained, your heating system may be too small or inefficient to support your home’s heating demands and keep you comfortable.
  • Inadequate heating system ducts – if your home heating ducts are improperly sized, have leaky joints or have been poorly installed – heat may not be distributed effectively through your home. This may be the reason why some rooms in your home are difficult to keep warm. 
  • Inefficient windows – you may feel cold drafts near your older, single-pane windows. Inefficient windows will result in higher levels of heat loss and contribute to you feeling cold both near your windows, and throughout your home.

Energy efficiency solutions that can help keep your home warm during the winter months include:

  • Insulation – contact a registered energy advisor and/or a professional insulation contractor for recommendations on how to best improve the insulation in your home.
  • Draftproofing – see our FAQ, Where do I start to reduce drafts and improve my home?
  • Inappropriately sized heating system – contact a professional HVAC contractor to discuss options to upgrade your heating system. If your home is under insulated with high levels of air leakage – these are home energy improvements that should be considered prior to installing a new heating system.
  • Inadequate heating system ducts – if your heating system ducts are not functioning effectively, speak with a professional HVAC contractor about the options to fix the ducting or switch to a ductless type heating system.
  • Replace old windows with efficient models – consider new energy efficient windows to block cold air from entering your home, and heat from escaping. See our FAQ Why is it important to select the right windows for my home?

Ask your energy advisor or contractor about which home energy improvements will be most effective for improving the energy efficiency of your home.

Did you see a building science or energy efficiency term you did not understand? Check out our glossary.

Why is my home so hot in the summer?

There are many factors that can cause a home to get too hot in the summer, and many of them are energy efficiency issues:

  • Insufficient attic insulation – in the summer, and on other hot days, radiant heat from the sun can permeate through your roof and heat up your attic like a solar heated oven. If you have insufficient insulation in your attic – the radiant heat will pass through the insulation into your living space causing the air inside your home to become warmer, and sometimes too hot.
  • Inadequate attic ventilation – if there is insufficient attic ventilation, the temperature in the attic can build up due to heat that radiates into the attic. If the attic is under-insulated and/or if there is air leakage between your attic and living space the warm air from the attic will increase the temperature in your home.
  • Insufficient wall insulation – if your south and west facing walls have high exposure to direct sun and are uninsulated or under insulated – the heat from the sun will pass through the walls and heat up your home.
  • Air leakage – if there are gaps and cracks in your home (under doors, around windows, through attic penetrations, around your foundation, etc.) warm air will leak into your home increasing the temperature, and potentially the humidity levels, in your home.
  • Inefficient windows – if you have many windows or large windows that have direct exposure to the sun (your home is facing south/west) and the windows are not energy efficient, heat can easily enter your home on hot days, causing high indoor temperatures.
  • Insufficient ventilation within your home – especially in the summer, homes lacking proper ventilation (bathroom fan/range hood fan) can fill with stale air, and may feel stuffy and humid.

Energy efficiency solutions and behaviour changes that can help keep your home cool during the summer include:

  • Attic insulation – ensure your attic is sufficiently insulated. The CleanBC Energy Coach Service recommends that homeowners strive to increase their attic insulation to R40 or R50 levels (if appropriate and recommended by a professional attic insulation contractor). Draftproofing should also be completed in your attic prior to adding insulation.
  • Attic ventilation – if there is insufficient ventilation in your attic, have new air vents installed to meet current building codes ventilation requirements. When replacing roof shingles this is a good time to increase roof ventilation.
  • Wall insulation – sufficient insulation in the walls will slow the movement of heat from the exterior of the home into the interior. Homeowners should work with a professional insulation contractor and have all walls fully insulated. If replacing the siding for your home this is a good opportunity to have insulation blown into the walls and/or added to the exterior of your home.
  • Air leakage – draftproofing can be a cost effective strategy to keep your home cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter. See the FAQ, Where do I start to reduce drafts and improve my home?
  • Windows – installing new, high-performance windows can act as a barrier between indoor and outdoor temperatures, keep the cool air in, and save you up to 8% on your energy bills. Talk to your window installer to help choose the best windows for the comfort of your home.
  • Air conditioning – if air conditioning is required or desired, an air source heat pump is the most energy efficient and most climate friendly form of home heating and cooling currently available. See the FAQ, What are the benefits of mini-ductless air source heat pumps
  • Heat recovery ventilators (HRV) – can improve indoor air quality by removing stale air and circulating clean, fresh air throughout the home.
  • Using appliances less – minimizing the amount of heat you’re generating is a simple way to lower the temperature in your home. For example, on hot days plan for meals that do not require using the oven.
  • Keeping the heat out – keeping the windows and blinds closed during peak hot hours of the day can help to block heat that enters your home through your windows. In the early morning and in the evening when it cools down, open your windows to let cool air in.
  • Improving air flow – using a ceiling fan can lower indoor air temperatures by up to 10%. During the summer, set your ceiling fan to rotate counter-clockwise. When the air is cooler outside than it is inside (for example, in the early morning), you can also place a fan near a window to draw cool air into the home.
  • Landscape for shade – planting the right size tree in the right place can block sunlight and help keep your home cool during the summer months. A deciduous tree will block heat in the summer and allow the heat to pass through in the winter, when the leaves have fallen. Trees planted on the east, west, and northwest sides of the home will provide afternoon shade.
  • Install shading – exterior blinds or shades can block sunlight during the hottest times of the day, keeping the indoors cool.

Ask your energy advisor or contractor about which home energy improvements will be most effective for improving the energy efficiency of your home and maintaining a comfortable temperature all year round.

Did you see a building science or energy efficiency term you did not understand? Check out our glossary.

Which home energy improvements will make my home quieter?

Several home energy improvements will have the added benefit of making your home quieter by creating a sound barrier from outside noise.

  • Upgrade to efficient double or triple pane windows – modern and efficient double or triple pane windows can soundproof outside noise better than single pane windows and older double pane windows. Energy-efficient windows can also reduce your heating and cooling costs and eliminate cold drafts and condensation.
  • Maximizing wall and attic insulation – upgrading to better insulation or adding more insulation not only helps reduce your energy bills and increase the comfort of your home, but also acts a sound barrier to reduce outside noise. The way your insulation is installed plays a large role in its effectiveness. Ensure that you ask your insulation contractor to sufficiently fill cavities and leave no gaps for air leakage.
  • Draftproofing – sealing air leaks throughout your home can also make your home quieter. Ensure that doors and windows fit snugly by applying weatherstripping to all movable joints and around window and door frames.
  • Upgrade older, non-insulated doors – doors made with a hollow core construction do not block sound effectively. By upgrading to insulated, solid core doors, you create a more effective sound barrier and reduce the heat loss of your home.

Ask your energy advisor or contractor which home energy improvements will help soundproof your home and reduce outside noise.

Did you see a building science or energy efficiency term you did not understand? Check out our glossary.

I am a renter, is there anything I can do to make my home more energy efficient?

Whether you live in an apartment building or a suite in a home, as a renter there are many things you can do to improve the energy efficiency of your home. This in turn can improve the comfort of your home, and potentially help to lower your energy bills.

Simple Water Conservation Measures

Installing efficient showerheads and tap aerators will help you cut down on the amount of water you use, without sacrificing water pressure and provide you with the most cost effective option for reducing home energy bills. If you live in an income-qualifying household, you can receive a free Energy Saving Kit, or participate in the Energy Conservation Assistance Program. These programs provide free energy saving products, including water-efficient showerheads and kitchen and bathroom faucet aerators.

Energy Efficient Lighting

LED bulbs use less power and are available in a variety of shades, shapes and sizes, and last 10-25 times longer than traditional bulbs. As you purchase new lights, consider buying the high efficiency LED lighting to save money on your electricity bill. Be sure to keep your bulbs clean, as dust will reduce light output.

Draftproofing for Savings and Comfort

Draftproofing is a home energy upgrade that can be cost effective for lowering home energy bills and improving home comfort. See the FAQs, Where do I start to reduce drafts and improve my home? and What are the benefits of draftproofing?

Tips to Maximize Efficient Heating

Renters are not likely to replace space heating equipment, but there are ways to ensure that your heating system is operating effectively – saving you money and enhancing comfort.

To not restrict the flow of heat in your home (and for safety reasons) do not place beds, drapery and furniture too close to baseboard heaters or radiators and do not cover floor or wall heating vents with furniture. Heat only the rooms you’re using. Lower the thermostat if you have baseboard heaters in rooms you’re not using. A minimum of once per year, vacuum your baseboards to ensure they are working effectively.

Tips to Keep You Cool

There are several cost effective options to help you keep your home cool when the temperature outside rises. In the early morning and once the sun goes down, open your windows and or doors to let cool air in. During the heat of the day, keep your windows, curtains and blinds closed to prevent the sun and warm exterior air from heating up your house. Use a fan to help circulate air. If you have a ceiling fan, set it to summer mode (counter-clockwise as you look up at it) to move the air downward to create a wind chill effect.

Rebate Programs

If you live in an income-qualifying household you can apply for the Energy Conservation Assistance Program or for a Free Energy Saving Kit.

The Energy Conservation Assistance Program provides a free in-home visit with free energy-saving product installation, as well as advice and tips for how you can improve your home’s efficiency. The free Energy Saving Kit Program provides free energy saving products you can install yourself.

Did you see a building science or energy efficiency term you did not understand? Check out our glossary.

How do I reduce humidity levels in my home?

In order to decrease humidity levels in your home and prevent moisture problems, you will have to produce less humidity and increase the ventilation of your home. The following is a list of suggestions to reduce humidity levels in your home:

  • Be aware of sources of moisture in your home (plants, aquariums, steam showers, cleaning, washing, cooking, etc.) and compensate with sufficient ventilation.
  • Ensure that your home has appropriate exterior water barriers to protect your home from outdoor moisture.
  • Your kitchen and bathrooms should have ventilation fans to expel indoor moisture. Many older ventilation fans make noise but are ineffective at actually ventilating your home. A simple way to test that your fan is functioning sufficiently is to take a single square of toilet paper and place it along the fan vent while the fan is running. If the fan does not hold up the toilet paper, it is not functioning properly.
  • Consider installing a humidistat for your bathroom ventilation fan, or ensure that you run the fan for at least 15-20 minutes after each shower.
  • Fix all water leaks into the basement and do not allow any standing water in the house or against the foundation wall.
  • If necessary, repair or replace the drainage tile around your home or install a sump pump to remove excessive moisture from the soil under the slab. Speak with a knowledgeable contractor about the best option for your home.
  • Disconnect any humidifiers (if unnecessary).
  • If required, use a dehumidifier.
  • Do not store and dry wood in the house, and avoid hang-drying laundry in the house, as it releases moisture into your indoor air.
  • Ask your energy advisor or contractor about which home energy improvements will help reduce the humidity of your home.

Did you see a building science or energy efficiency term you did not understand? Check out our glossary.

How do I reduce the amount of condensation on my windows?

Condensation occurs when water vapour is cooled to the point where it condenses as water droplets on a cold surface. Greater accumulations of condensation will appear on colder window temperatures and homes with high humidity levels. To reduce the amount of condensation on your windows you can:

Reduce the humidity levels in your house

  • Ensure that your home has appropriate exterior water barriers to protect your home from outdoor moisture.
  • Your kitchen and bathrooms should have ventilation fans to expel indoor moisture.
  • Fix all water leaks into the basement and do not allow any standing water in the house or against the foundation wall.
  • If necessary, install a sump pump to remove excessive moisture from the soil under the slab.
  • Disconnect any humidifiers (if not necessary).
  • If required, use a dehumidifier.

Increase the surface temperature of your windows and frames

  • Invest in window frames made out of vinyl, wood or fiberglass.
  • Energy efficient windows made with a double or triple glaze and low-E (low-emissivity) will also increase the temperature of your windows and reduce condensation build-up.
  • Draftproof your windows with weatherstripping tape.

Did you see a building science or energy efficiency term you did not understand? Check out our glossary.

Why is it important to check and possibly upgrade ventilation systems after building envelope upgrades?

Building envelope upgrades such as draftproofing (air sealing), installing new windows and upgrading insulation improve the air tightness of your home and keep the heat in more efficiently. However, an increase in airtightness may also increase the humidity levels of your home. It is important to have an adequate ventilation system to ensure that you have sufficient ventilation through your home to prevent moisture problems (e.g. condensation and mould).

Ask your energy advisor or contractor what ventilation system upgrades you will need for your home.

Did you see a building science or energy efficiency term you did not understand? Check out our glossary.

Which upgrades are most appropriate for preserving the heritage and character elements of a home and achieving energy savings?

To preserve the architectural heritage of older homes and improve energy efficiency, retrofits should minimize changes to the building’s appearance and focus on repairs rather than replacement. Below are a list of energy saving upgrades appropriate for heritage homes:

  • Draftproofing – comprehensive draftproofing (air sealing) is an effective way to make older homes more energy efficient. (See Where do I start to reduce drafts and improve my home?)
  • Storm Windows – an important aspect of a heritage home’s character is its windows. If original wooden storm windows have been destroyed, you can install custom storm windows made to order. The benefits of installing wood storm windows include improved thermal efficiency, reducing moisture transfer, and compatibility with traditional wood-frame house construction. Avoid metal storm windows and storm-and-screen combinations if you want to preserve the appearance of your heritage home. Interior storm windows are less noticeable and easier to maintain than exterior storm windows.
  • Insulation Upgrades – heritage homes often have little or no insulation; by adding or upgrading insulation levels, you can significantly improve the thermal efficiency of your home. To preserve both the interior and exterior wall finishes, homeowners can have insulation blown into the cavity of a wood frame wall. Basements and attics can often be insulated without affecting the heritage appearance. When upgrading insulation in older homes, it’s also important to have a sufficient vapour and air barrier.
  • Heating System Upgrades – upgrading to a size-appropriate and energy-efficient heating system can help you achieve energy savings without altering the heritage appearance of your home.
  • Domestic Hot Water Upgrades – another cost-effective way to improve the energy efficiency of a heritage home is to upgrade your domestic heating and hot water system to energy efficient models. This retrofit will generally have a short payback period and will not damage the heritage and character elements of your home.

Do you live in the City of Vancouver? Check out the Heritage Energy Retrofit Grant. The Vancouver Heritage Foundation offers grants for energy efficiency upgrades and discounts for EnerGuide home evaluations.

Did you see a building science or energy efficiency term you did not understand? Check out our glossary.

Hiring a Contractor

Where can I find a contractor that is right for the job, and what should I know before hiring them?

When hiring a contractor, it’s important that you are choosing them for the quality of their work and for their training and credentials rather than solely on price. There are a variety of consequences to hiring someone that is going to do a poor job installing your equipment. We recommend calling around to different installers in your area to ensure that they can meet your time frame, the scope of the project, and are well qualified for the job.

Before you hire a contractor, clearly establish the scale of the project and a clear budget to work within. Write a complete description of the work you want done on your home. By doing so you will understand the scope of your project and you can find a contractor that will be the most suitable for the job. This detailed description should be given to potential contractors when you ask for a bid or proposal for your project.

Go through a proper screening process before hiring a contractor:

FortisBC also has some helpful tips on hiring a contractor.

Find a Contractor*

Use the following directories to help you find a contractor for your project. We recommend calling multiple contractors to ensure that they can meet your time frame, the scope of the project, and are well qualified for the job.

Many people have success finding contractors based on recommendations from family, friends and neighbours, or by searching the directories below.

For tips on hiring a contractor, visit the Canadian Home Builders’ Association.

For tips on hiring a gas contractor, visit FortisBC.

Find a Builder/Renovator*

If you are looking for an Energy Advisor, visit the Program-Qualified Energy Advisor list.

*Disclaimer: The directories and resources listed on this page are for informational purposes only. CleanBC Better Homes and its partners do not endorse or guarantee contractors or their services. It is your responsibility to interview and select a contractor that meets your needs.

 

Did you see a building science or energy efficiency term you did not understand? Check out our glossary.

Do I have to work with a Program Registered Contractor to access rebates through the CleanBC Better Homes and Home Renovation Rebate Programs?

  • You are not required to work with a Program Registered Contractor to access Heat Pump rebates from the CleanBC Better Homes and Home Renovation Rebate Programs.
  • The use of a Program Registered Contractor (PRC) will be required to receive a rebate on an insulation upgrade completed and invoiced on or after April 1, 2021.

When hiring an installer for your energy efficiency upgrades and renovations, it’s a good practice to look for an installer’s certifications and credentials.  Check out our Hiring a Contractor FAQs for tips and advice when hiring a contractor.

Program Registered Contractors have completed:

  • Training with FortisBC and BC Hydro on the Home Renovation Rebate Program and CleanBC Home Efficiency Rebates.
  • Completed best practice training: Insulation contractors complete additional air sealing and insulation best practice training. Heat pump contractors complete additional heat pump installation best practice and building science fundamentals training.
  • Registered with WorkSafeBC. Confirm the business’ current standing with WorkSafeBC prior to choosing a Program Registered Contractor.

To find a Program Registered Contractor near you, check out our Program Registered Contractor search tool.

Did you see a building science or energy efficiency term you did not understand? Check out our glossary.

How do I ensure that I am getting a fair price for my requested services from a contractor?

Obtain at least three estimates, quotes, or proposals from different contractors. In order to receive accurate estimates from a contractor, you need to give a description of the work that needs to be done on your home. Give contractors a detailed description of the job and any specifications you have for equipment or materials.

Assess each bid or proposal. After you have at least three bids or proposals, compare them carefully to ensure that everything you asked for is in the estimate. Always assume that anything not listed in the proposal is not included in the price given.

Do not automatically choose the contractor who gives you the lowest bid. Estimates that are significantly lower than their competitors may indicate that the contractor misunderstood the scope of the project. They may have also lowered costs by substituting lower quality materials or by having a lower quality installation of the product. You can follow-up with contractors if there is any information that is missing or unclear.

Check contractor references. Get in touch with each of the contractor’s references and check their Better Business Bureau rating to help you make an informed decision. This will help you get a better sense of a contractor’s work performance and quality of materials used. Overall, you should choose the contractor that you feel will give you the best overall value for your money.

Did you see a building science or energy efficiency term you did not understand? Check out our glossary.

What if I’m not satisfied with my contractor’s service?

If you are not satisfied with the service that your contractor has provided, there are a few actions that you can take:

  • Discuss your issues and concerns with the contractor. They may willing to work with you to find solutions for any issues you have with their service.
  • File a complaint. The Better Business Bureau (BBB) has an online complaint system that can help you handle your dispute.
  • Leave a review. By sharing your experience and leaving a review of your contractor, you help to inform potential customers and clients about what they can expect when dealing with that contractor. The Better Business Bureau allows you to review local businesses and contractors. The BBB also gives businesses a rating based on a number of factors, including how they respond to customer complaints.

Did you see a building science or energy efficiency term you did not understand? Check out our glossary.

What accreditations do I look for when hiring contractors/installers?

When hiring an installer for your energy efficiency upgrades and renovations, it’s a good practice to look for an installer’s certifications and credentials.

Accreditations you should look for include:

  • A business license that ensures they have met the licensing requirements for British Columbia.
  • Trade membership with trade associations such as the Heating, Refrigerating, and Air Conditioning Institute of Canada (HRAI), the National Energy Conservation Association (NECA), and the Canadian Home Builders’ Association (CHBA). Association memberships are often an indication that contractors are concerned about the quality of work in the industry.
  • Better Business Bureau records to see if they are accredited, how long they’ve been in business and if there are complaints filed against them.
  • Technical qualifications specific to the work you would like a contractor to complete. Ask prospective installers what technical education and qualifications they possess and how regularly they update them.

Did you see a building science or energy efficiency term you did not understand? Check out our glossary.

What questions should I ask a contractor during the interview process?

During your first interview with a potential contractor it’s important to obtain as much information as possible. This will help you determine the contractor’s credibility and capacity to carry out your home-building or renovation project. Below are a list of key questions to ask contractors:

  • What is the history of your company?
  • What services do you offer?
  • What work are you, and/or your subcontractors licensed to do?
  • Have you done a job similar to ours before?
  • Can we talk to some of your past clients?
  • Can we visit one of your current projects?
  • Do you carry Workers’ Compensation and business liability insurance?
  • What kind of warranty do you offer and what does it cover?
  • Will you take out all required permits for the job?
  • Will we get a written contract?
  • How would you deal with our project?

It will be useful to record the answers during each interview because it allows you to compare the contractors and help you choose the right one for the job.

Did you see a building science or energy efficiency term you did not understand? Check out our glossary.

What should be included in my written contract with a contractor?

When hiring a contractor for a larger home renovation, it’s important to get everything in writing. The Canadian Home Builders’ Association recommends that your written contract should include the following:

  • The parties to the contract (e.g. you and the contractor), including street addresses, telephone and fax numbers, email addresses and the contractor’s business or GST number.
  • Addendums. The main contract must also identify all attachments that are part of the contract, such as:
    • Drawings/blueprints/plans
    • Specifications: description of work and a precise list of materials and products (e.g. types, brands, grades, thickness, colour, model)
    • Other documents signed by both parties in the course of the contract (e.g. change order forms)
  • Description of work to be done by the contractor, as well as work not to be done under the contract, or to be done by you or others outside the terms of the contract.
  • Start and completion dates often include a statement indicating that the contractor cannot be responsible for delays due to circumstances beyond the contractor’s control (changes to the work, adverse weather conditions, etc.).
  • Terms of payment set out the total amount of the contract and a payment schedule: deposit upon signing the contract; how and when the remainder will be paid (at regular intervals or specific milestones), and the treatment of taxes.
  • Holdbacks are a provincial legislative requirement that protects you against subcontractors who may place a lien on your property in the event the contractor doesn’t pay them. On each payment you make to your contractor, you must hold back a certain percentage for a specified length of time.
  • Changes in work once the building or renovation project is in progress (also called extras and deletions) must be written up as “change orders,” signed by both parties and attached to the contract. Any change to the contract price and schedule should be clearly noted on the order.
  • Allowances refer to a lump sum in the contract price, allocated for items to be selected directly by the homeowners, such as flooring, fixtures or cabinets.
  • Contingencies refer to an amount set aside to deal with the unexpected or items that the contractor cannot gauge accurately until work is in progress. If not needed, you won’t be invoiced for it.
  • Standards of work describe the contractor’s commitment to performing the work in accordance with the contract documents and in a diligent and workmanlike manner with minimum inconvenience to your household, to protect your property as well as neighbouring properties and to comply with regulatory requirements. Includes responsibility for daily clean-up.
  • The contractor’s liability insurance and workers’ compensation coverage must be paid up to date and proof of coverage provided and attached to the contract.
  • Municipal and/or utility permits, inspections and approvals are usually arranged by professional contractors as part of their service (note that homeowners are ultimately responsible for complying with these regulations). The contract should specify who is going to obtain them.
  • The contractor’s warranty describes what is covered and for how long. It should include a statement of the contractor’s intent to hand over manufacturers’ product warranties to you upon completion of work.
  • Subcontractors scheduled to work on your home may be listed.
  • Use of facilities and utilities should be outlined-water, electricity, washroom and storage for materials.
  • Signage. A statement that you will permit the contractor to display a promotional sign on your property during the project.
  • Dispute resolution in the event of a conflict – may include the name of a third party arbitrator, or state that both parties agree to binding arbitration.

Fill in any blank spaces on the contract with N/A (not applicable), strike out anything you don’t agree with, and make sure that you and the contractor initial any changes. Don’t sign the contract until you have reviewed it and are fully satisfied. You may wish to consider having the contract reviewed by your lawyer. If the deal sounds too good to be true, it might be.

Did you see a building science or energy efficiency term you did not understand? Check out our glossary.

How do I protect myself against fraud and deception?

  • Go through the proper screening process before hiring a contractor. Look for reputable contractors, interview potential contractors, learn about their credentials and certifications, obtain at least three written bids or proposals from potential contractors, and follow-up with their references. See the FAQ, “Where can I find a qualified contractor that is right for the job, and what should I know before hiring them?
  • Avoid cash deals. A cash deal is when a contractor offers a lower price for their services in exchange for a cash payment and no written contract or receipts. Cash deals can result in incomplete or poor-quality work, accidents or injuries in your home, injured workers and no warranty.
  • Take precaution with door-to-door contractors. Be wary of businesses that rely on door-to-door sales because they may be unreliable and lack a permanent office location or phone number that you can call if problems occur with products or installations. Always insist on seeing the sales representative’s business card. Door-to-door sales contractors have also been implicated in fraudulent activities.
  • Have a written contract. Once you hire a contractor, make sure that the contract includes detailed instructions of the project and clear expectations for the contractors. Have it checked by your lawyer and carefully read the fine print. See the FAQ, “What should be included in my written contract with a contractor?
  • Follow up with your contractor throughout the building and renovation process. As a homeowner it’s your responsibility to make sure that the job is done on time and on budget.

For more information on fraud and deception, visit Natural Resources Canada’s Consumer Caution webpage.

Did you see a building science or energy efficiency term you did not understand? Check out our glossary.

How do I locate someone to remove my oil tank safely?

Oil tanks can represent a hazard to the local environment and a significant financial liability for you if they leak or spill. Cleanup costs for oil tank leaks are the responsibility of the homeowner, and your private home insurance likely does not cover these costs. Check with your local government whether they require you to obtain a permit for removing your oil tank. Whether or not a permit is required, in order to access the CleanBC Better Homes and Home Renovation Rebate Program you must:

  • Remove and dispose of your oil heating equipment in accordance with all relevant regulations, including the BC Fire Code.
  • Provide required documentation.

Your private house insurance provider may also require oil tank removal documentation, which may be different than what the CleanBC Better Homes and Home Renovation Rebate Program requires. Please check directly with your insurance company before removing your oil tank. Similarly, if removal of an oil tank is a condition of sale for your home, please also ensure you have adequate documentation for those purposes, which may be different than the documentation requirements for this rebate program.

The person that removes your oil tank can be a local contractor or handyperson, however it is important to ensure that it is done safely, and with the appropriate permit if required. If you are located within the Capital Regional District, visit their website to learn how to safely dispose of your oil tank.

Did you see a building science or energy efficiency term you did not understand? Check out our glossary.

What are some of the consequences of hiring a contractor who doesn’t sell quality products or provide a professional installation?

If you don’t take the time to select a professional contractor with the expertise to complete your home renovation or installation, you may have to deal with unforeseen consequences. Below is a partial list of problems that can arise if a contractor uses lower-quality products and/or does not complete a professional installation:

  • Paying a higher or lower price for a lower quality product and installation resulting in higher annual energy bills and potentially a shorter lifespan requiring another upgrade sooner than anticipated.
  • Installation of a heating system that is not working effectively causing comfort issues, higher noise levels in the home, higher energy bills and other issues.
  • Installation of a poorly designed heating system resulting in uneven heating, oversized or undersized system, comfort issues, higher energy bills, and/or louder operation.
  • Installation of insulation without adequate draftproofing prior to installation potentially causing issues with moisture and mould in your home.
  • Installation of insulation that is compressed or with gaps, reducing the effectiveness of the insulation, resulting in home comfort issues and higher utility bills than anticipated.
  • Installation of upgrades without resolving underlying issues first (e.g. water leaks), resulting in more expenses later to correct the issues and redo the upgrades.
  • Installing products that improve the air tightness of your home without improving ventilation, causing condensation on windows, issues with mould and negatively impacting indoor air quality.
  • Installation of the wrong type of South and West facing windows, resulting in overheating, comfort issues and potentially extra energy consumption for air conditioning.

Did you see a building science or energy efficiency term you did not understand? Check out our glossary.

DIY

Can I do my energy efficiency upgrades myself?

There are many home energy upgrades that homeowners can complete themselves. With a few special tools, the right materials, and careful execution, do-it-yourselfers can reap the benefits of cost savings and a more energy efficient home. See the FAQ, “What are the most cost effective DIY home energy improvements?

BC Hydro and FortisBC provide helpful resources and videos for projects you can do yourself to improve the energy efficiency of your home. Please note that some rebate programs require energy efficiency products to be installed by a licensed contractor.

Some types of energy upgrades are best done by a licensed contractor with experience and specialized equipment. It’s also important to keep in mind that some rebate programs require licensed contractors to install energy upgrades in order for homeowners to be eligible.

Consider hiring a contractor for the following upgrades:

  • Insulation
  • New windows and doors
  • Heating system upgrades
  • Hot water heater upgrades

Did you see a building science or energy efficiency term you did not understand? Check out our glossary.

What are the most cost effective DIY home energy improvements?

Depending on how handy you are with home improvements there are a variety of DIY home energy improvements you can implement.

Hot Water Savings

  • Fix leaky faucets by replacing worn-out washers and tightening valves.
  • Install high efficiency kitchen and bathroom tap aerators and water-saving showerheads.

Lighting Upgrades

  • Where possible, upgrade your lights to ENERGY STAR® LEDs that provide long-lasting energy savings. A great place to start is replacing the most frequently frequently used lights in your home.
  • Use motion sensors for outdoor lights.
  • Invest in lighting controls that have dimmers or timers.

Draftproofing

Heating and Cooling

  • Follow manufacture recommendations for changing or cleaning furnace filters.
  • Maintain your fireplace by closing the damper tightly when not in use. If you no longer use your fireplace, fill the chimney with insulation and tightly seal the damper with weatherstripping.
  • Check your heating duct system regularly for visible leaks in common leakage sites such as the heating unit, floor joists, duct connections and space around air registers and grilles. Surface leaks can be sealed with duct mastic or foil tape and once sealed, insulation can be installed.
  • Install programmable/smart thermostats that can be programmed to appropriate temperatures.
  • Cover bare floors with rugs for warmer feet, especially with floors that have insufficient insulation.
  • If your home heats up too much in the summer, consider installing  an ENERGY STAR ceiling fan with summer mode (spins counter-clockwise) to create a wind chill effect and move air downwards.
  • Ensure that your attic is well-ventilated so that hot air can escape during the summer months and keep your home cooler.

Appliances and Electronics

  • Use power bars/strips to plug in printers, computers and monitors, DVD players, TVs, game consoles and other electronics. The power strips will switch off power to these devices when they’re not in use or if you’re away from home.
  • Ensure that your fridge or freezer door is tightly sealed and replace the gasket or seal when needed.

To find the most energy-efficient models for your home, visit the Natural Resources Canada searchable product list or BC Hydro’s list of energy-efficient products.

Did you see a building science or energy efficiency term you did not understand? Check out our glossary.

What resources are available for DIY home energy improvements?

Other

What is a new home?

A new home is a house that is six months old or less, based on the date of occupancy by the first homeowner.

Do I need a permit for my upgrade?

The purpose of the permit process and related inspections is to ensure that the work on your home is structurally sound and meets provincial and/or municipal requirements for health and safety. During the planning stage of your building project or renovations, it’s important to check with the building department of your municipality directly to confirm permit requirements.

Ask your contractor to confirm the permits required for home energy improvements. Contractors committed to quality installations and good customer service will not try to talk you out of upgrading your home without the required permits.

In addition, we recommend that you contact your municipality and inquire about their permitting requirements. Generally, only extensive renovations that include modifying the layout of your home, such as adding an addition or moving walls, may require a permit. It is always best practice to inquire with your municipality before starting any work on the home.

If you live within the City of Vancouver there are additional bylaws for renovation permits. Visit our FAQ on the City of Vancouver’s permit requirements.

Did you see a building science or energy efficiency term you did not understand? Check out our glossary.

What are the permit requirements in the City of Vancouver?

If you are located in the City of Vancouver (COV) and you are planning renovations in your home you might need a renovation permit to be in compliance with the Vancouver Building Bylaw. When applying for a renovation permit and the value of the renovation is more than $20,000, you’re required to have an EnerGuide evaluation and submit a Renovation Energy Upgrade Proposal to the City of Vancouver.

Depending on the total value of the project, the COV has specific energy efficiency upgrade requirements. Check with the permitting office for the Vancouver Building By-Law to confirm the specific requirements for your project if your renovation is unable to comply with specific upgrade requirements. Speak with the Energy Advisor who conducted your EnerGuide home evaluation about Alternative Upgrades to the prescribed requirements.

If you have any questions about your renovation plans, speak with the City of Vancouver directly at 604-873-7611 or submit an online contact form to confirm whether you require a renovation permit and specific upgrade requirements.

Did you see a building science or energy efficiency term you did not understand? Check out our glossary.

How do I find an energy efficient home to buy?

If you’re looking to buy a new home, there are a number of ways to find an energy efficient home. Look for homes that are certified as a Passive House, Built Green, or with Natural Resources Canada’s (NRCan) EnerGuide Rating System or ENERGY STAR® certificate and label (usually placed on the home’s electrical panel). An ENERGY STAR® certified home meets the ENERGY STAR® standard for enhanced energy efficiency. On average, an ENERGY STAR® certified new home will be 20% more efficient than a home built to code.

According to NRCan, typical features of an ENERGY STAR® home include:

  • Efficient heating and cooling systems that use less energy, reduce indoor humidity and improve the overall comfort of your home.
  • High-performance ENERGY STAR® windows, patio doors, and skylights that keep the heat in during the winter and out during the summer.
  • Walls and ceilings insulated beyond what is required by the building code.
  • A variety of ENERGY STAR® products that use less electricity by meeting strict technical specifications.
  • A heat or energy recovery ventilation system (HRV or ERV) that ensures your home has controlled ventilation.

Another way to gauge a home’s energy efficiency is by asking the seller if they’ve conducted an EnerGuide home evaluation. If so, ask to see the EnerGuide home label to get a better sense of the home’s annual energy consumption.  You can also ask the seller if the home has energy efficient or ENERGY STAR® products.

Did you see a building science or energy efficiency term you did not understand? Check out our glossary.

I’m interested in solar energy. How do I find out if it’s a good option for me?

Solar energy is an affordable alternative energy source that can be used to help heat and power your home or business. The active solar technology becoming more common is Solar Photovoltaic (Solar PV). Solar PV systems use solar cells to convert sunlight directly into electricity.

Solar PV systems are comprised of solar panels, inverters, breakers and mounting equipment. The solar panel generates power by converting sunlight to direct current electricity. Inverters are then used to convert the direct current electricity into alternating current to be used in your home.

Considerations

  • The potential for solar energy varies across Canada and British Columbia.
  • Before installing a solar system on your home’s roof, consider your roof’s current condition and if rework is needed in the near future.
  • Assessing how much energy your home requires on a daily, monthly, yearly, and seasonal basis will give you an idea of whether solar energy is economically viable for your home.
  • Engage an experienced and reputable solar energy installer to learn more about the right system for your home.

Rebate Programs

The BC Hydro Net Metering Program is designed for those who generate electricity for their own use. When you generate more than you need, you sell it to BC Hydro. When you don’t generate enough to meet your needs, you buy it from them. Any excess electricity is carried over to the following month and applied to that month’s consumption. If any excess power is left over a year from your net metering anniversary date, you will receive a financial credit from BC Hydro.

The Canada Greener Homes Grant offers up to $5,000 in grants when installing solar. This program also offers an up to $40,000 interest-free loan to support energy efficiency upgrades in your home. To access this program, you have to first start with an EnerGuide home evaluation with a energy advisor. Use the program-qualified energy advisor search tool to get started.

Did you see a building science or energy efficiency term you did not understand? Check out our glossary.

Is the BC Home Energy Coach still available?

While the name “BC Home Energy Coach” is not being used, the same Energy Coaching service is still available through CleanBC. Visit the Contact Us page to get connected with an Energy Coach!

How do I promote the energy efficiency of my home when selling it?

Energy efficiency improvements are not as flashy as kitchen or bathroom renovations or a new coat of paint, which usually top the list of best renovations for home value improvement at time of sale. That being said, third-party energy rating or certification systems do help homes sell for a premium.

If you have completed an EnerGuide home evaluation be sure to inform your REALTOR® so that potential buyers can see your home’s EnerGuide rating and label and learn about the energy efficient features of your home, such as:

  • Insulation levels
  • Heating and cooling systems
  • Windows and doors
  • Water heating systems
  • Appliances
  • Lighting
  • Ventilation
  • Draftproofing

If you haven’t completed an EnerGuide home evaluation, consider having one done by a program-qualified energy advisor. The EnerGuide label can be an important selling point for prospective buyers as it lets them assess the home’s energy performance and see how it might affect their utility bills. Ensure that you have a post-upgrade energy evaluation to verify your upgraded EnerGuide rating and include this on the MLS listing.

Did you see a building science or energy efficiency term you did not understand? Check out our glossary.

What is a net zero energy home? How can I make my home a net zero home?

A net-zero energy (NZE) home produces as much energy as it consumes on a yearly basis and has at least one on-site renewable energy system. NZE homes are not necessarily energy autonomous or off-grid because they can be connected to the electricity grid and supply energy back to the grid when the home produces more energy than it needs. In the span of a year the energy supplied to the grid should balance the energy drawn from the grid to achieve net-zero annual energy consumption.

To make your home a NZE home, there are three steps to consider when designing and building your home:

  1. Reduce the home’s energy requirements.
  2. Include renewable energy systems to provide the amount of energy required to operate the home.
  3. Operate the home efficiently.

For more information on the steps toward a NZE home, visit CMHC’s Net-Zero Energy Housing webpage.

Did you see a building science or energy efficiency term you did not understand? Check out our glossary.

Can you retrofit a building to the Passive House Standard?

Passive House retrofit is becoming a viable and increasingly common option in Europe, especially for low-rise apartment buildings. Canadian houses are generally built without good passive design characteristics:

  • They often have inefficient shapes (i.e. high area to volume ratios).
  • They’re generally not oriented towards the sun or they experience significant winter shading.
  • They may have a lot of north-facing glass as well as serious thermal bridges, and their interior layouts may be difficult to change.
  • Often a significant part of the value of the house may be invested in exterior brick or stonework, making re-insulation from the exterior non-viable.

So, although it can be possible to dramatically cut the energy consumption of a house or building, perhaps close to Passive House levels, it may not be cost-effective to do so, depending on the state, shape, size and age of the house.

For the EnerPHit Standard criteria, visit Passive House Canada.

Did you see a building science or energy efficiency term you did not understand? Check out our glossary.