Deep Energy Retrofit FAQ

Deep energy retrofitting can be a complex process and could trigger some questions among homeowners and residents. Browse through this list for answers to some Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs). If you don’t find what you’re looking for, use the form on our Contact Us page to submit a question.  

Ratings, Labels, and Certifications


What is the EnerGuide Rating System? 

The EnerGuide Rating System (ERS) was developed by Natural Resources Canada (NRCan) to provide transparency to Canadians about how much energy homes and products consume. The rating is expressed in Gigajoules consumed per year, and the lower the rating, the better. Learn more here

Is an EnerGuide Rating of zero possible? 

  • Yes. A rating of zero shows your home is ‘net-zero’, which means it produces as much energy as it consumes. It is not always easy (or cheap) to get to net-zero, but with Passive House strategies, a series of deep energy retrofits, and renewable energy, it is very much within reach. Some homes can go above and beyond zero to become net-positive homes that produce more energy than they consume. 

What is “Energy-use Intensity”? 

  • Energy-use Intensity (EUI) is a more accurate measure of how energy efficient a home is.  A larger home will consume more energy than a smaller home even if they have the same level of efficiency. To calculate EUI, you must divide your EnerGuide Rating (GJ) by metres-squared (m2) of heated living space. 


What does an EnerGuide Label do for my home? 

  • An EnerGuide Label shows how much energy your home consumes over a year. If you are selling your home, it shows potential buyers how much they can expect to pay for monthly energy bills. 

How do I get an EnerGuide Label for my home? 

  • You can get an EnerGuide Label for your home by having an energy evaluation completed by a Registered Energy Advisor (REA). The REA will either send you a sticker, or you can print one yourself (typically, you will receive a digital copy of the sticker). If you’re selling your home, you can add the sticker to your realty listing. 

What is “HERD” and how will it affect me? 

  • “HERD” stands for ‘Home Energy Rating and Disclosure’. It’s a policy movement advocating to make home energy efficiency ratings and the disclosure of ratings to buyers mandatory. HERD allows you to roughly calculate future energy bills and enables home buyers to better predict and budget monthly expenses. HERD provides a better way to compare the energy performance of houses.


What is a “Net-zero Ready” certified home? 

  • A home certified by the Canada Home Builders’ Association (CHBA) as “net-zero” produces as much energy as it consumes. A “net-zero ready” home has increased its energy efficiency through measures such as super-insulation so it consumes a fraction of the energy used by the average home. The addition of a renewable system like solar PV is all that is needed to turn a “net-zero ready” home into a net-zero home. 
  • These homes also have the necessary structural and wiring upgrades to handle the addition of solar energy and the weight of roof panels. 

What does it mean for a home to be EnerPHit Certified? 

  • EnerPHit is a retrofit standard developed by the Passive House Institute that shows a home meets its rigorous standards for energy efficient performance. 

Can I get my home ENERGY STAR or Passive House certified? 

  • ENERGY STAR certification is only for newly constructed homes, as is Passive House certification. 

Can I get my home LEED certified? 

  • This certification is more typically associated with large and newly constructed buildings. LEED certification isn’t as commonly used for existing residential retrofits in Canada.

Incentive Programmes 

Rebates and Grants 

What is the Canada Greener Homes Grant (CGHG)? 

  • The CGHG is a federal rebate program to help Canadian homeowners make energy efficient upgrades to their primary residences. Various rebates are available at varying amounts, up to a maximum total of $5,000. In addition to the $5,000 rebate for upgrades, a $600 rebate is available to help with the cost of the mandatory home energy evaluations. Learn more. 

Am I eligible to enroll in every incentive program available in my area? 

  • The federal, provincial, and regional/municipal programs have different eligibility requirements. 

To check your eligibility for Canada Greener Homes, click here.

To find local programs in your province or municipality, click here.

Can I be enrolled in two different rebate programs? 

  • Yes. However, be aware that some programs may not allow you to double your rebate for the same upgrade. 
    Stacking is primarily done to by-pass program rebate caps (e.g. Canada Greener Homes Grant’s $5,000 absolute maximum being supplemented with $6,000 from BC’s heat-pump rebates). As a reminder: rebates for the same upgrade, like the same four windows, may not stack in certain rebate program combinations. Talk to your Registered Energy Advisor or the body offering the rebate program to make sure. 


What is the Canada Greener Homes Loan (CGHL)? 

  • The CGHL is a no-interest personal loan of up to $40,000 from the federal government to finance home energy retrofits. It works in tandem with the Canada Greener Homes Grant. Interested parties must first apply, and qualify, for the grants before a loan will be approved. Find out more. 

What is a PACE Loan? 

  • “PACE” is an acronym for ‘Property-assessed Clean Energy’ and is a priority tax lien. It is tied to the property and paid back through the property tax bill. If a payment is in arrears, it takes repayment precedence over debts such as mortgage payments. 

What is a Local Improvement Charge (LIC)? 

  • An LIC is used by municipalities to fund local improvements, like sewers and sidewalks, and is imposed on the properties that will benefit from these improvements. Property-assessed Payments for Energy Retrofits (PAPER) are LIC-programs that are specifically designed to promote home energy retrofit projects. Like a PACE loan, it is a priority property tax lien. 

How can I find out what home energy retrofit loans are available to me? 

  • You can find a list of municipal LICs, loans and other incentive programs here.

Retrofit Contractors 

How do I find a good Energy Advisor to start my retrofit project? 

  • All Registered Energy Advisors (REAs) are licensed with NRCan and must work under a licensed Service Organisation (SO) that manages, monitors, and assures the quality of their work. NRCan provides a searchable list of SOs that service your local community.  

    NRCan’s list will not list SOs from Quebec and Nova Scotia as their provincial governments directly administer the Canada Greener Homes Grant. 

    Some provincial and regional programs may require that you choose an REA or SO from a further qualified list. 

What should I expect a Registered Energy Advisor to do on the day of the evaluation? 

  • Information on what you can expect from a Registered Energy Advisor, and what is expected of you is contained here.

How do I find reputable and capable trades contractors? 

  • It’s important to get quotes from at least three different professionals for each service, be it insulation or HVAC. 
  • Some provincial and regional incentive programs provide a registry of qualified contractors from which you must choose. The federal Greener Homes program does not do this. You can find a directory of contractors here.
  • If the incentive program you are applying to does not have a list of program-qualified contractors, you can consult our Contractor Qualification Checklist here. 
Contractor shaking the hand of a homeowner in a kitchen

Learn More

Want to learn more about how to go about undertaking a deep energy retrofit project for your home? Read our Steps page to find out more.

Check the steps in a retrofit process to find out more
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Energy Rebates & Incentives

Canadian Federal and Provincial governments offer many incentives to enable residents to do energy efficient retrofits to their homes.

Check what incentives are available to you