Greener Homes for the future?
The federal government’s Greener Homes retrofit program is struggling to keep up with the demand created by consumers that are doing COVID renovations. Consumers are looking for rebates for their projects, but what’s really holding this program back is the lack of energy auditors. As I write this, there are less than 1,300 EAs across Canada and the initial goal was to have 2,000. We have been on many calls with Natural Resources Canada and they are trying to bring that number up as fast as possible. We get calls at the office asking if we know any EAs that can come out to perform an audit. As we talk to these consumers, they are telling us the wait times are really long and extremely long in remote areas – a nine- to 12-month wait! So what is happening is people are just pushing through with their renovation and skipping the Greener Homes program. By doing that, they might not be installing the most efficient products to help reduce greenhouse gasses.
SAWDAC surveyed our membership about this program and one of the key numbers that came out was in response to the question, “Are you selling or promoting the program?” Thirty-eight percent said, “No.” Why is that? The main reason given was the lack of EAs to perform the audit to be approved for the rebate.
In a Jan. 23 article in The Globe and Mail, Kathryn Blaze Baum wrote, “Expected to cost $2.6 billion over seven years, the program is intended to provide as many as 700,000 Canadians with up to $5,000 each for retrofits and up to $600 each for the costs of the energy evaluations, which must be conducted by federally registered advisers before and after the renovations.”
That’s a big number, right? Nope. The Ontario GreenON program in 2018 that ran for five months spent $2.5 billion with $5,000 per home for the same upgrades that are being offered in this program. The main difference between then and now is an EA is needed to qualify and the government is covering that EA cost, so the payout could be a maximum of $5,600 per home. So, (stay with me on these numbers) with what is budgeted that works out to 189 completed jobs a day over seven years across Canada. There are more than 189 jobs completed in the Vancouver area in a day. So where is the money going to come from, as there is no way the budgeted number of $2.7 billion is going to last seven years?
When we get down to it, the renovation industry doesn’t need rebates right now to the homeowner because consumers are saying, “Just take my money and get it done as soon as possible.” What SAWDAC has suggested is giving incentives or rebates to dealers to sell these products, since they drive the bus on recommendations.
Speaking of consumers taking money…
Our RenoPlan financing program was up 39 percent in 2021 compared to 2020. If you are not using RenoPlan, please have a look at it or reach out to us to discuss financing and the other options we have for you and your customers. Remember, when your customers use RenoPlan to finance their project with you, you get your money – all your money – immediately. You don’t have to play the role of a bank, carrying the costs of the project while the customer decides if you’ve hit the milestones to their satisfaction. FinanceIT and Simply Financial have been fantastic partners to work with and your membership allows you access to their programs. If you are not on RenoPlan, you are falling behind as you can see more consumers want to finance – 39 percent more. If you have any questions on how to sell RenoPlan or how to increase your limit, please drop us a line and we would be happy to help.
Greener Homes survey results
Have you heard of the Greener Homes rebate program?
- Yes – 86%
- No – 14%
If yes, are you selling or promoting it?
- Yes – 63%
- No – 37%
If you are promoting it, what percentage of sales is it accounting for?
- Average – 25%
What is holding this program back from increased sales?
- Not enough energy advisors – 6%
- Not enough general information – 10%
- Pricing of Greener Homes-eligible windows – 15%
- All of the above – 53%
- Other – 16%
Responses from 57 SAWDAC members, November, 2021
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