Home Renovation FAQs by Category

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.