Regina residential retrofit rebate program under consideration

The City of Regina is considering implementing a rebate program to encourage energy saving and emissions reducing upgrades to residential homes.

Executive committee unanimously voted in favour of the proposed Retrofit Rebate Program moving on for discussion at the next council meeting, during proceedings Wednesday.

The proposed program aims to reduce energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions; and provide financial assistance to residents.

The municipal program would work in conjunction with the federal government’s Greener Homes Grant Program, which provides reimbursements for retrofit energy audits. Retroactive to Dec. 1, 2020, eligible Canadian homeowners can receive grants of up to $5,000, plus an additional $600 for the cost of an EnerGuide home energy evaluation.

The Regina program would match the federal program, offering up to $5,000.

“I think stacking programs that already exist raise the profile of the federal programs, raise the profile of the provincial program and we can tag onto it to make it more affordable for homeowners,” Regina Mayor Sandra Masters said Wednesday.

Masters said the project can serve as a pilot to help determine what similar programs and grants look like in the future.

“Even to take that information back to the province and to the feds in terms of some of our experience. I think that kind of collaboration on stacking programs is good overall in terms of reaching 2050. We know we need these homes retrofitted,” she said.

Eligible retrofits under the program include home insulation, air-sealing, replacing windows and doors; thermostat upgrades, space and water heating; renewable energy, including the installation of solar panels, and “resiliency measures” that protect homes from environmental damages.

Approximately 61,000 residential homes will require retrofits to meet the city’s goal of becoming 100 per cent renewable and net-zero by 2050, according to a city report.

“The speed and intensity of those retrofits are important due to the compounding and lasting effects of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions,” the city report reads.

Funding for the program’s initial implementation was approved in the 2022 budget. Approximately $6 million was set aside for the city’s Seven Big Moves, as part of the Energy & Sustainability Framework, including $200,000 to launch a residential retrofit rebate program.

The initial investment will provide between 40 and 80 rebates, according to the city report. City administration estimates more than 80 people could apply for the rebate program – which could require additional funding.

The motion recommends city council approve administration’s recommendations, which include the creation and implementation of the program, at its meeting on June 1.