As world leaders meet in Copenhagen for the UN Climate Change Conference, we should all be seeking ways to minimize our carbon footprint. As the realities of climate change become more apparent, efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and energy use do not only start at home, but also with our homes.
According to the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, more than 17 per cent of the energy consumed in Canada is used to run our homes.
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While modern and efficient homes may cost more, CMHC has programs to help with such purchase transactions. There are also rebates available for those who renovate to improve the efficiency of older homes.
CMHC recently introduced environmentally friendly incentives for the mortgage loan insurance it offers. Those who use CMHC-insured financing to purchase an energy efficient home, or complete renovations to improve energy efficiency, may qualify for a 10-per-cent refund on the Mortgage Loan Insurance premium.
To qualify for the incentive, you must first obtain an energy assessment from a qualified energy advisor through Natural Resources Canada (NRCan). The next step involves increasing the energy efficiency and improving the rating. Following the energy-saving renovations, the energy advisor will reassess the home to calculate the extent of the improvements. The refund may be available if the home’s energy rating improves by the requisite amount.
Even simple upgrades, like installing better insulation or re-caulking around windows, can effectively reduce energy consumption.
– Elias Metlej is a real estate lawyer with the Halifax firm Blois Nickerson & Bryson. You can write to Elias at firstname.lastname@example.org