Renovating a home to make it more energy efficient can be expensive, but Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. (CMHC) offers a program that could reduce the sticker shock.
CMHC Green Home offers a refund “equivalent to” 10% of CHMC mortgage loan premiums for those who use CMHC-insured financing to pay for a renovation that increases the energy-efficiency of a home.
The program, which dates back to 2004, offers an incentive for homeowners looking to either renovate their homes to be more energy-efficient, buy a home undergoing improvements, or build or buy a new green home.
There are several steps to take in applying for the CMHC Green Home program.
First step - before any renovation work begins you need to have your home inspected by an energy advisor qualified by the Office of Energy Efficiency (part of National Resources Canada) to determine the home’s EnerGuide (energy efficiency) rating at the outset. According to the CMHC, after taking this baseline reading of the home, the advisor will then provide suggestions for improving that rating as part of your upcoming renovation work.
Second step - the main thing is to talk to your lender or your broker to say we’re purchasing a home that we know is green, or we will be renovating a home. At that point, the homeowner can find out what CMHC insurance-related refinancing options might be available.
After that, the saws and hammers come out and work begins on your renovation, addition, teardown and rebuild, or whatever vision you have for your home.
Once the dust settles, and within 24 months of completion, a second inspection by an energy advisor must be conducted to determine whether efficiency has actually been improved.
CMHC’s website says the threshold of improvement for a home reno has to be at least five points and a minimum overall EnerGuide rating of 40. For new homes, the EnerGuide rating minimum ranges from 77 and 82 — the number varies depending on the purchase-closing date and was recently increased to 82 for purchases closing on Jan. 1, 2013, or later. You can apply via an online form or download the application Energy-Efficient Renovations or Purchase of an Energy-Efficient Home and mail it in.
Although the program has been in place for nine years, homeowners are often not aware that it’s available as a potential option when they finance a major renovation.
Whether building new or renovating, people often misunderstand some of the terminology used in building. A lot of people think ‘building to code’ builds you an energy-efficient house, but It builds you a house that is safe — ‘code’ is all about safety, it’s not about energy-efficiency.
Building a house ‘to code’ isn’t energy-efficient house.
For more information visit CMHC Green Home website cmhc-schl.gc.ca/greenhome
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