I would be hard pressed to find a client who wouldn’t be interested in getting some money back on their home. After all, with the amount of time, energy and money we invest in them, it’s nice to know that sometimes they give a little back too. As a mortgage broker who deals with numerous first-time homeowners, many of whom don’t know what types of rebates are available to them, I see it as part of my job to help make the unknown known. Here is a brief summary of what’s on offer here in BC.

Rebates for energy efficiency upgrades are available from FortisBC under the Home Energy Rebate Offer. These are meant to help homeowners’ improve their home’s energy efficiency, but also to help make renovations more affordable. A number of rebates include those for natural gas hot water heaters and efficient fireplaces, as well as up to $1,200 for upgrades on insulation, $500 for draft proofing, $800 towards improving your heating system and $50 for improving ventilation. They also contribute up to $750 when you make three or more upgrades through the bonus rebate (check eligibility first).

A newcomer on the scene is FortisBC’s new home energy rebate offer. Applicable to those whose home was built between April 1, 2015 and March 31, 2016 it offers rebates for customers who have built Energy Star homes, as well as those who have installed high-efficiency natural gas appliances. FortisBC will be accepting applications for this rebate until September 30, 2016. Further rebates from FortisBC include $300 for purchase of an EnerChoice fireplace, $1,000 for switching to natural gas from oil or propane, and up to a total amount of $1,800 for an Energy Star water heater. Keep in mind that the total available for rebates per household extends to a maximum of $5,300.

The FortisBC Rental Apartment Efficiency Program provides no-cost services to owners and managers of rental apartment buildings that have nine units or more. Among other things, eligibility requires that you receive commercial rate class natural gas from FortisBC and the building not be slated for demolition. Services include a water-efficient showerhead, and both a kitchen and bathroom faucet aerator, as well as a building energy assessment that can help owners to spot improvements or upgrades and regular access to an energy management expert specializing in rental apartments.

Recently the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) also jumped on the green bus. CMHC now offers Mortgage Loan Insurance for approved lenders to offer borrowers better financing options for purchasing a home that is energy-efficient, and for energy-efficient improvements. This includes a 10% refund of the CMHC Mortgage Loan Insurance premium for those eligible. In order to qualify, an energy-assessment evaluation is required before and after the renovations has been made, and must increase the home’s NRCan energy assessment rating by at least 5 points.

Grants, Rebates & Programs – Did You Know?

  • GST Rebates for new homes allow new homebuyers to apply for a rebate of the 5% GST if the purchase price of the home is $350k or less. Equal to 36% of the GST, it caps at a maximum of $6,300.
  • BC Home Owner Grant provides a reduction of up to $570 in property taxes on residences in urban areas and $750 for homes in more rural areas.
  • BC Hydro and Vancity have partnered together to provide financing for upgrades that focus on energy-efficient renovations with the Vancity Home Energy® Loan.
  • BC Hydro and FortisBC have designed a program called the Energy Conservation Assistance Program (or ECAP) for low-income households that have high energy consumption.
  • To help give you a clear picture of your home’s efficiency and what upgrades would be most beneficial, you can book a home energy audit.
  • The city of Richmond offers a $100 utility rebate for homeowners who choose to install a low-flush toilet.
  • $100 rebates for Energy Star clothes washers are available to residents of North Vancouver, West Vancouver and Richmond.