Incentives for Green Retrofit
Are there any government-funded or sponsored schemes for improving the energy efficiency of existing buildings and, broadly, how do they work?

A number of programs for improving the energy efficiency of existing buildings have been funded or sponsored by the federal, provincial and municipal governments. Examples include:

National Incentive Programs

Natural Resources Canada: New Buildings Program

  1. Natural Resources Canada’s Commercial Building Incentive Program offered financial incentives of up to CAD 60,000 for incorporating energy efficiency features in new commercial/institutional building designs. The program ran from 1 April 1998 to 31 March 2007.
  2. The Industrial Building Incentive Program encouraged energy efficiency in the designs of industrial buildings and offered incentives of up to CAD 80,000. The program ran from 1 April 2002 to 31 March 2006.

Federal House in Order

The Federal House in Order initiative is the Government of Canada’s plan for reducing GHG emissions within its own operations in line with Action Plan 2000 on Climate Change.

Natural Resources Canada: Buildings Group

NRCan’s Buildings Group staff develops new technologies to improve energy efficiency, indoor air quality, durability and comfort. Initiatives include green buildings, eco-efficient houses, the international Super ETM house, simulation software and tools, distributed power and passive solar and related technologies such as windows, daylighting, building systems and indoor environment.

Federal Buildings Initiative

NRCan’s Office of Energy Efficiency offers the Federal Buildings Initiative to assist federal departments and agencies in reducing energy and water consumption and GHG emissions.

The Federal Buildings Initiative promotes private-public sector partnerships to plan and implement cost-effective facility upgrades and retrofits.

Canadian Industry Program for Energy Innovation

The Canadian Industry Program for Energy Conservation (CIPEC) is an industry-government partnership, sponsored by NRCan, that promotes and encourages energy-efficiency improvements and reductions in GHG emissions through voluntary action across Canada’s industrial sectors. CIPEC is made up of 25 sector task forces that involve more than 45 trade associations.

Energy Innovators Initiative

NRCan’s Office of Energy Efficiency works with organizations to lower energy costs and reduce GHG emissions. The Energy Innovators Initiative encourages commercial businesses and public institutions to invest in existing buildings. Financial and other assistance is available from this initiative.

Renewable Energy Deployment Initiative

NRCan’s Renewable and Electrical Energy Division promotes the development of a sustainable renewable energy industry in Canada. The division promotes investments in renewable energy systems for heating and cooling and provides information on renewable energy technologies. NRCan delivers several initiatives to encourage the development and use of emerging renewable energy sources and technologies. Among them are Renewable Energy Deployment Initiative, Wind Power Production Incentive, Market Incentive Program For Distributors of Emerging Renewable Electricity Sources and Government Purchases of Green Power.

Provincial, Municipal and Utility Incentives

There are also a number of provincial , municipal and utility incentive programs to promote green buildings and energy efficiency. As an example, the City of Toronto developed the Better Buildings Partnership (BBP) in 1996 to assist building owners, managers and developers to achieve energy efficiency goals. The BBP programs include an office building program and a commercial building program. The BBP provides financing options to support conservation and demand management projects in the City of Toronto.

The Ontario Power Authority’s Electrical Retrofit Incentive Program (ERIP) offers incentives for owners and managers of commercial buildings, institutional buildings, industrial facilities, agribusinesses and multi-residential buildings. Incentives are available for replacing inefficient equipment with high-efficiency equipment.

Enbridge Gas Distribution, Canada’s largest gas distribution utility, offers retrofit incentive programs for owners of commercial properties. Owners that Implement approved energy-saving measures are eligible for a one-time rebate of CAD 0.10 per m³ of gas saved. The rebate is for an amount of up to CAD 100,000.