Home Energy Efficiency – Ottawa Loan Program

home energy efficiency

Home Energy Efficiency – Ottawa Loan Program

The City of Ottawa has a pilot loan program for home energy efficiency retrofits, called the Better Homes Ottawa program.  It aims to support local residents to reduce energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions. Click here to see all the Rebate and Incentive Programs in Ottawa.

About Better Homes Ottawa – Loan Program

This pilot program offers low-interest, 20-year loans of up to $125,000 (or 10 percent of the current value assessment of the home, whichever is less) to cover the cost of home energy improvements like thermal envelope upgrades (basement/attic/exterior wall insulation, window/door replacements), mechanical systems (thermostats and controllers, air/ground source heat pumps, solar hot water systems), renewable energy (solar photovoltaic systems), EV chargers (Level 2), and the addition of rental suites (up to a maximum of 30% of the value of the loan).

With low-interest, 20-year loans that are tied to the property, not the individual, the Better Homes Ottawa – Loan Program makes it easier and more affordable for homeowners to pay for these home improvements over time. The minimum loan amount which will be issued to an applicant is $15,000.

The BHOLP was launched in November 2021 with a total of $8 million in zero-interest loans and $4 million in low interest loans (3.25% interest) – these funds are being disbursed to the first round of applicants. On June 30, 2022, the City of Ottawa recapitalized the Better Homes Ottawa Loan Program by securing a $15 million loan agreement with VanCity Community Investment Bank. This will allow an estimated 500 residents of Ottawa to access fixed rate (4.33% interest), 20-year loans from the City to undertake energy efficiency retrofits and other home improvements.

Eligibility Requirements

Participation in the program is voluntary and homeowner-initiated. Eligibility requirements are as follows:

  • Residential, detached, semi-detached, townhouse, residential multi-unit buildings of 3 stories or less, that fall under Part 9 of the Ontario Building Code.
  • The property must have a property tax account with the City of Ottawa.
  • Property tax, utility bills, and all other payment obligations to the City of Ottawa for the past five years must be in good standing. If it is not, the homeowner must submit a suitable credit check.
  • The property must not be in either CHMC’s Mortgage Deferral Program or the City’s Tax Deferral Program.

All registered owner(s) of the property must sign a consent form agreeing to participate in the Program.

Eligible Measures: 

Financing that is received by a homeowner is designated for capital costs with an expected life expectancy of 20 years or greater and for measures that are permanently affixed to a property. Eligible measures for financing must be Energy Star certified where applicable.

The non-exhaustive list of the categories of measures eligible under the Program, subject to any permitting and regulations, includes:

  • Thermal envelope upgrades: attic, walls, foundation, and basement insulation and associated requirements such as attic ventilation, foundation drainage and waterproofing; air barriers, air sealing, and weather stripping; windows, skylights, tubular daylighting devices, exterior window shadings or films, and exterior door replacements (provided they are around heated space); green roofs.
  • Mechanical systems (space heating, cooling, and ventilation): thermostats and controllers, energy or heat recovery ventilators, air-source heat pumps, ground-source heat pumps, biomass wood heaters, heat distribution systems, duct sealing, fans, associated electrical equipment as required.
  • Mechanical systems (water heating): high-efficiency water heaters (e.g., heat pump, electric water tanks, etc.), drain water heat recovery systems, solar hot water systems.
  • Renewable energy and energy storage and EV chargers: solar photovoltaic systems, electric vehicle charging stations (Level 2), battery storage devices, associated electrical and load management equipment.
  • Water efficiency: low-flow toilets, hot water circulation pump and system, greywater treatment system, closed-loop shower water recovery system, rainwater harvesting system (subject to eligibility criteria).
  • Health and safety measures such as environmental remediation, electrical wiring and panel upgrades are required undertakings to permit energy improvements.
  • Climate adaptation improvements such as back-flow prevention valves, sump pumps, basement waterproofing, permeable pavement, and tree planting.
  • Other items (costs for “other” items combined must not exceed 30% of the total loan value):
    • Audit costs, permit costs, demolition costs, paint and drywall repairs related to insulation improvements, waste or asbestos removal related to retrofits.
    • Additional dwellings such as granny suites or basement apartments.

Get Started with the Better Homes Ottawa – Loan Program

Enroll in the BHOLP to receive the application form for the program and an outline of the next steps.

As experienced realtors®  in Ottawa, we would love to have a discussion with you to determine the best options to increase the value of your property! We have the expertise to help you sell your home for top dollar!

Contact us!