Program reaches 250,000 applicants sooner than expected
Canadians who tarried submitting their application to the popular ecoENERGY Retrofit – Homes program will be disappointed. Ottawa ended the program Sunday after it reached 250,000 applicants.
The official end date of ecoENERGY Retrofit – Homes was supposed to be March 31, 2012. A spokesperson for Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver confirmed that in the 2011 federal budget the government had limited participation to 250,000 registered homeowners and that number had been reached.
“With the Harper government focused on creating jobs and securing Canada’s energy future, we are surprised that Minister Oliver closed such a successful program early,” says Jeff Murdock, VP of Building Insight Technologies, a Vancouver-based energy audit company and Save ecoENERGY Coalition supporter.
“We are shocked that the federal government is cutting back its investment in job-creating and energy saving retrofits at a time of global economic, environmental and energy uncertainty.”
Murdock says industry estimates show that by capping registration the federal government will invest at most $192 million in total ecoENERGY home retrofit grants, less than half of the $400 million committed in Budget 2011.
Home retrofit incentive programs save energy, help families, and are proven low-tax job creation measures, generating $2 in tax revenue for every $1 invested in homeowner grants, says Murdock. These programs are extremely popular with Canadians. For example, according to the Ontario Real Estate Association, 92 per cent of Ontario homeowners think government should create more incentives for homeowners to make environmentally friendly and energy efficient renovations to their homes.
According to the ecoENERGY Retrofit – Homes website, the decision to close the program “demonstrates prudent management by the Government of Canada and will ensure that the program operates within its existing budget during this time of fiscal constraint.”
All registered homeowners must still complete their retrofits by March 31, 2012. In order to allow homeowners registered with the program to receive a grant, the Government of Canada has extended the deadline for post-retrofit evaluations to June 30, 2012.
Eligible homeowners who have already registered with the program remain eligible to apply for an incentive. Homeowners are required to obtain a pre-retrofit evaluation and complete their renovations by March 31, 2012, and then obtain a post-retrofit evaluation no later than June 30, 2012.
The ecoENERGY Retrofit – Homes provided $5,000 grants to owners of single family homes including detached, semi-detached and low rise multi-unit residential buildings to improve the energy efficiency of their homes and reduce the home’s impact on the environment.