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GREEN LIVING: Here's how you can benefit from retrofitting your home

City offers workshops for those interested in learning more about retrofitting
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Winter is coming and along with it comes cold floors, drafts, icicles and frosted windows for many of us. These are all signs of an apartment or house that may need to be retrofitted.

Benefits of retrofitting

Retrofitting refers to renovating an existing home to be more energy efficient. Retrofits can make your home more comfortable by reducing drafts and dampness, and improving indoor air temperature. They can also reduce outside noise and provide more peaceful spaces through increased insulation.

Retrofitting also has many financial benefits with energy savings helping to partially or entirely offset the cost of investment . Less energy is needed to maintain space temperatures and heat water which could result in up to 40 per cent savings on home energy and heating bills.

These lower bills and increased comfort can make it easier for seniors to age in place. And many homebuyers are looking for energy-efficient homes. These investments can increase the resale value of a home by up to 6 per cent and energy-efficient homes often sell more quickly than less-efficient homes

In Greater Sudbury, space and water heating produces 68 per cent of building related greenhouse gas emissions. Retrofitting your home will help our city become a net-zero emissions community by 2050, as laid out in the Community Energy and Emissions Plan (CEEP), which was developed after the City joined over 288 Municipal and City Councils in Canada to declare a climate emergency.

Retrofit Ideas

Some retrofit ideas to consider for your home include:

  • Sealing cracks in walls, doors, and windows.
  • Increasing insulation in the attic, basement, and interior/exterior walls.
  • Installing high efficiency heating and cooling systems and water heaters.
  • Installing ENERGY STAR® windows and doors.
  • Developing an energy efficient landscape that can reduce your heating, cooling and lighting costs through shade, windbreak, and stormwater management.
  • Upgrade and maintain other stormwater management elements such as rain barrels, roof leaders, and drainage ditches.

Retrofit Incentives

There are several rebate and installation programs available to help eligible homeowners retrofit their homes, including:

  • Enbridge’s Home Efficiency Rebate Program
  • Enbridge’s Winterproofing Program
  • Save On Energy’s Energy Affordability Program
  • Canada Greener Homes Grant

While rebates help to reduce the cost of higher efficiency equipment, they only cover a portion of the incremental cost (the difference in cost between the higher efficiency equipment and less efficient equipment). The City, with support from Dunsky Energy + Climate Advisors, is investigating different Home Retrofit Financing models to complement these existing programs that could allow more people to improve their homes. A City-supported financing program may encourage more homeowners to undertake larger retrofits by financing the full cost of the project while offering lower interest rates and longer terms to make monthly repayment costs manageable. Homeowners may also pay back the financing using the utility bill savings resulting from the improvements.

Home Retrofit Financing Models

Many communities across North America are developing programs to help residents finance home retrofits where the loan remains with the property instead of with the individual. Here are three examples that will be examined within our community:

  • Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE)
  • Uses the City’s Local Improvement Charge (LIC)
  • Loan is repaid through the municipal property tax bill.
  • Utility On-Bill Repayment Financing
  • Cost of home upgrade is repaid through the homeowner’s utility bill
  • Third-Party Direct Lending
  • A customized financial product from a credit union or bank for home energy upgrades

We want to hear from you!

Do any of these sound attractive to you? What are ways that you want to retrofit your home and what are your barriers? The City wants to hear from you and is encouraging homeowners, landlords, tenants, energy experts, contractors and other interested community members to participate in a series of online workshops.

These workshops are not only for anyone paying utility bills but also home builders and contractors who work in the residential sector to improve/remodel homes. A financing program could put some improvement projects within reach for customers or could influence the equipment and options selected in new building projects.

Previous workshops were held on Oct. 6 and Nov. 3 and the next meeting will be held on Wednesday, Dec. 1 from 6:00-7:30 p.m.

Register in advance for the next meeting: https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZMkdeqgrTksG9amHPi6_Vzw7WRrmu9_qSJU

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting. 

The City is preparing additional information and feedback opportunities regarding home retrofits that will be available in the coming weeks. Contact earthcare@greatersudbury.ca to be notified when these are available. You can also visit https://overtoyou.greatersudbury.ca/netzero/ to see submit questions or ideas.




Riley Smith

About the Author: Riley Smith

Riley Smith is a news editor who has been a member of the Village Media team since November 2018. A graduate of history and political science at Algoma University, these also happen to be her favourite topics to read and write about.
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