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Released December 12, 2008



Energy Efficiency Programming Assists Homeowners Reduce Heating Costs

To assist Newfoundlanders and Labradorians to significantly reduce their home energy usage, the Provincial Government is announcing two new programs that offer incentives and grants for homeowners to improve the energy efficiency of their homes and reduce their heating costs.

The development of energy efficiency and conservation programs that provide cost savings to residents and protect and preserve the environment was a key commitment in the province’s Energy Plan, released in 2007. The two programs announced today are the Newfoundland and Labrador EnerGuide for Houses Program and the Residential Energy Efficiency Program for lower income households.

"These two programs will assist homeowners in this province to become more energy efficient, reducing their energy costs and greenhouse gas emissions," said the Honourable Kathy Dunderdale, Minister of Natural Resources. "Improving the energy efficiency of your house can save significant money on monthly heating bills, while keeping your home warm and comfortable."

The Newfoundland and Labrador EnerGuide for Houses Program will provide $300 towards the cost of a complete home energy efficiency audit and will top up the federal ecoEnergy Retrofit Program grant, to a maximum of an additional $1,500 towards the improvements. This will make energy efficiency home improvements much more affordable and help homeowners reduce their energy costs. The program is effective immediately, with the audit portion retroactive to September 11, 2007.

The Residential Energy Efficiency Program (REEP) for lower income households will be available to homeowners with a household income level of $32,500 or less and who use either home heating fuel or electricity as their source. The program will be administered through Newfoundland Labrador Housing (Housing) and it is expected to assist approximately 1,000 households per year for the next two years. Housing will pay for pre- and post-energy inspections, as well as provide grants of up to a maximum of $3,000 per house on the island and $4,000 in Labrador to make identified improvements. The program will start on January 19, 2009, at which time application forms will also be available.

"As a government, we always need to consider how policies relate and impact the individuals they are meant to assist," said the Honourable Trevor Taylor, Minister of Transportation and Works and Minister Responsible for Newfoundland Labrador Housing. "The new Residential Energy Efficiency Program, coupled with the home heating fuel rebate, is a solid and strategic plan. Through this energy efficiency program, we’re providing options to low-income households that can help reduce energy use and keep home-heating costs affordable."

Retrofitted households should reduce energy costs by up to 30 per cent. For more information on the Newfoundland and Labrador EnerGuide for Houses Program, please visit the website at www.nr.gov.nl.ca/SavingEnergy. For more information on REEP, please visit the Housing website at www.nlhc.nl.ca

Earlier this week, the Provincial Government announced details of its 2008-09 Home Heating Rebate Program which provides financial assistance for eligible residents of the province with family net income of $40,000 or less who incur costs to heat their homes. Application forms and information about the program are available at www.gov.nl.ca/fin/homeheating

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Media contacts:

Tracy Barron
Director of Communications
Department of Natural Resources
709-729-5282, 690-8241

tracybarron@gov.nl.ca

Jenny Bowring
Manager, Corporate Communications
Newfoundland Labrador Housing
709-724-3055

jmbowring@nlhc.nl.ca

 

BACKGROUNDER

Newfoundland and Labrador EnerGuide for Houses Program

  • The province’s Energy Plan: Focusing our Energy, released on September 11, 2007, included a commitment to provide grants to homeowners for pre- and post retrofit residential energy audits. The Newfoundland and Labrador EnerGuide for Houses Program fulfills this commitment and expands it to include funding to help homeowners improve the energy efficiency of their homes.
  • The Newfoundland and Labrador EnerGuide for Houses Program has two key components: 1) a subsidy to help homeowners complete home energy audits; and 2) grants to help homeowners to retrofit their houses to make them more energy efficient.
  • The Provincial Energy Audit Rebate provides $300 toward the cost of a complete home energy efficiency audit. The total cost of a complete audit is approximately $450 to $500 for a home with up to 2,000 square feet of heated space, while an audit on a larger home costs slightly more. Under this program, the Provincial Government will also pay any transportation costs for auditors to ensure that rural customers do not have to pay any travel costs to get a home audit.
  • The audit fee funding is retroactive for pre- and/or post audits completed between September 11, 2007 and December 12, 2008.
  • Under the Newfoundland and Labrador EnerGuide for Houses Program, the province is topping up the federal ecoEnergy Retrofit Program grant to a maximum of an additional $1,500. This will make energy efficiency home improvements much more affordable and help homeowners to reduce their home heating bills. The provincial component of the retrofit grant is available as of December 12, 2008.
  • To access the federal ecoEnergy Retrofit Program homeowners must complete a pre-retrofit audit, complete the retrofit work, and complete a post-retrofit audit. Federal ecoEnergy Retrofit Program grants provide a maximum grant of $5,000, with the average award being just under $1,000.
  • To begin the audit process, a homeowner must contact a certified energy auditor. As of December 2008, two companies are certified in this province to do the audits, Amerispec Canada and Sustainable Housing and Education Consultants.
  • For more information on the program and eligible renovations, please visit the website
  • www.nr.gov.nl.ca/SavingEnergy or call the department toll-free at 1-866-440-4004.

Residential Energy Efficiency Program

  • The Residential Energy Efficiency Program (REEP) will help lower-income homeowners improve the energy efficiency of their homes. Newfoundland Labrador Housing (Housing) is administering the program.
  • REEP will be available as of January 19, 2009, to homeowners with a household income level of $32,500 or less and who use either home heating fuel or electricity as their source. Application forms will be made available at that time.
  • Housing will pay for pre- and post-energy efficiency audits as well as provide grants to make identified improvements.
  • Retrofitted households can expect energy savings of up to 25 per cent.
  • Components of the Residential Energy Efficiency Program include:
    • The cost of pre- and post-energy audits by an independent energy advisor at an approximate cost of $500.
    • Grants of up to $3,000 on the island and up to $4,000 per unit in Labrador for items such as heating system upgrades, basement and attic insulation and draft-proofing.
  • Application forms for REEP will be available on January 19, 2009, from any Housing office around the province, or from the website at
  • www.nlhc.nl.ca.
  • As of that date, a dedicated 1-800 phone line will also be available for inquiries.