The City of Toronto has enhanced its Home Energy Loan Program (HELP), offering zero-interest loans and incentives to help homeowners make their properties more energy-efficient.
For a limited time, Toronto homeowners can access interest-free loans of up to $125,000 for terms of up to 15 years. Twenty-year terms are available for deeper retrofits that significantly reduce a home’s carbon emissions.
Home improvements eligible for financing include electric heat pumps; insulation (attic, exterior walls, basement); upgraded windows and doors; toilet replacements; high-efficiency water heaters, furnaces, boilers and air conditioners; air sealing (weather stripping or caulking); geothermal systems; rooftop solar photovoltaic panel systems; tankless water heaters; drain water heat recovery systems; solar hot water systems; electric vehicle charging stations; and battery storage.
Homeowners of detached, semi-detached, row/townhouses, and duplex and triplex apartment buildings are eligible for financing. The program has also been expanded to include tax-exempt properties like non-profit homes, supportive housing and rooming houses.
The no-interest loans and incentives are available until the funding allocated for each is fully subscribed, after which homeowners can access low-interest loans that the City of Toronto has been offering since 2014.
Once City funding has been approved, homeowners can hire the contractor of their choice to complete their upgrade projects.
In addition to the loans and incentives available through HELP, homeowners may also be eligible for the federal government’s Canada Greener Homes Grant of up to $5,000.
Improving the energy efficiency of homes is one of the most substantial things that homeowners can do to help address the climate emergency. The highest impact measures include replacing a home’s furnace with an electric heat pump (which can provide both heating and cooling), insulating from attic to basement, and upgrading windows and doors.
Currently, homes and buildings are the largest sources of carbon emissions in Toronto, generating approximately 57% of total community-wide emissions, primarily from the burning of fossil fuels (natural gas) for heating and hot water.