BY ROY NANDRAM
The Government of Canada is supporting retrofit and efficiency upgrades as part of the Emissions Reduction Plan on the road to a prosperous and clean net-zero future.
Beginning in January 2023, qualified homeowners will be able to receive up to $10,000 for retrofits. Enbridge Gas and the Government of Canada’s Greener Homes Grant have partnered to provide rebates towards eligible retrofits such as home insulation, windows and doors, heat pumps, and renewable energy systems.
This new program, called Home Efficiency Rebate Plus (HER+), offered through NRCan and Enbridge Gas, offers enhanced incentives to complete home efficiency upgrades in Ontario, regardless of your heating fuel type or whether you are a customer of Enbridge Gas.
The first step to determine which upgrades are right for your home is an initial home energy assessment with a licensed Registered Energy Advisor. You will be reimbursed up to $600 toward the assessment.
To learn more about the rebates for which you may be eligible, visit nrcan.gc.ca.
One of the incentives has to do with windows and doors.
Windows and doors can account for up to 25 per cent of your home’s heat loss. Even though windows and doors can be repaired or retrofitted with caulking and weatherstripping, at times the better decision is a total window and frame replacement with new high-performance ENERGY STAR certified windows.
Replacing your doors, windows and sliding glass doors with ENERGY STAR certified models will make your home more comfortable while saving energy. Properly installed energy-efficient windows reduce drafts, increase the temperature of the interior side of the window, and reduce condensation. Total window and frame replacements with new, high-performance ENERGY STAR certified windows or sliding doors is eligible for a grant of up to $250 per rough opening, up to a maximum of $5,000. Replacing hinged doors, with or without sidelights or transoms with ENERGY STAR certified models, is eligible for $125 per door.
Energy-efficient windows encompass double, triple or quadruple-glazing, low-emissivity (low-E) glass, inert gas such as argon or krypton in the sealed unit, low conductivity or
warm-edge spacer bars, insulated frames and sashes and good air-tightness.
Selecting high-performance windows for your home
Traditionally, a window was simply an opening in a wall, roof, or door that allowed light, sound, and air to enter or leave and so you could see outside. Today’s windows are complex architectural features that provide protection against wind, rain, and snow; insulation in the exterior envelope (winter and summer); a visual connection to the exterior; ventilation when required; solar heat gain in the winter to reduce heating costs; a decrease of solar heat gain in the summer to lower cooling costs; egress in some cases; and protection against bugs and intruders.
When you are dealing with the energy efficiency of windows, you will need to understand the most important terminology:
U-Factor is a measure of how well a window can prevent heat from escaping from the inside of your home. U-factor is measured as a range of 0.20 to 1.20 BTU/hr x ft² x °F. (or metric equivalent). The lower the U-factor, the better the product insulates.
SHGC: The solar heat gain coefficient is the ability of the glass to absorb energy from the sun. High SHGC helps reduce energy consumption in the winter but could cause overheating in the summer. Low SHGC helps to reduce cooling costs. It is obviously important to determine which windows should have low or high SHGC. The range for SHGC is 0.25 to 0.80. In general, look for lower numbers.
Other factors to investigate are condensation resistance, air leakage, visible transmission, and type of frames and hardware.
ER: Energy rating is a value given to a window based on independent testing. It takes into account U value, air leakage and SHGC ranges from 0-0.50. The higher the number, the more energy efficient the window. More information is available at nrca.gc.ca and energystar.gov.
Consider meeting with an industry professional to plan and cost the best course of action for your home.
Roy Nandram is President of RND Construction Ltd.