Government halts green grants to retrofit homes

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The Canadian government has cut short its financial backing of homeowners retrofitting their homes to save on energy cost.

The federal program is no longer taking applications after Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver announced on Jan. 29 that the ecoEnergy Retrofit – Homes program was done after reaching its goal of 250,000 registered homes.

By March 31 this year, all retrofit renovations will need to be complete, and grant applications will be due by June 30.

In March last year, the government extended the program by adding $400 million. Homeowners were allowed to apply for grants of up to $5,000 toward the cost of improvements such as insulation and energy efficient furnaces and air conditioners. The end of the grant was attributed to budgetary constraints.

“The decision to provide time-limited funding demonstrates prudent management by our government to ensure that we can return to balanced budgets during this time of fiscal constraint,” said Oliver, in a release.

Critics were quick to point out that the amount doled out thus far was likely far from the $400 million set aside, however. Jeff Murdock, vice-president of the Vancouver-based energy audit company, told the Vancouver Sun that the federal government capping the grants will limit them to $192 million at most, less than half the amount set aside last year. He called the decision “shocking.”

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