Environment, Infrastructure and Community Services
- The Centre for Climate Change Management at Mohawk College has completed the feasibility study for a home energy efficiency retrofit program in Burlington which also includes some program design elements (Appendix A).
- Based on the results of this study, staff recommend that a small scale home energy efficiency retrofit program be developed to Burlington homeowners supporting the implementation of specific measures to reduce the carbon footprint in the residential sector. The program would make available a virtual delivery centre/ homeowner education and an interest-bearing loan of up to $10,000 per household to cover the cost of an air source heat pump and leak sealing to improve energy efficiency; it would be flexible to coordinate with other incentive programs. Starting with a small scale program will provide staff with the experience and knowledge required to work on scaling up a program to engage more homeowners.
- As part of the 2023 budget process, staff will present a business case to include funding for an FTE (full time employee) to coordinate the program and allocate funding to support retrofit loans to homeowners. From 2022 to early 2023, staff will work on the necessary elements required to support a small scale program including developing a by-law to support a loan through a Local Improvement Charge, the homeowner application, review and approval process, and a loan agreement.
- If council approves the budget to support launching a small scale program, staff will follow up with a report in 2023 to present the necessary program elements for council approval. A website (Better Homes Burlington) will also be launched as a one stop shop for homeowners. The eventual goal is to scale up the program to support Burlington homeowners in completing energy efficiency retrofits of their homes but there are many variables which can impact the next steps:
- Competing priorities to be assessed during the 2023 budget process and final outcome;
- Demand by residents for a city loan (subject to interest) to finance their energy retrofit;
- The extent of interest and commitment of other municipalities to partner with Burlington on a regional program;
- Changes in senior governments which can impact the type and range of energy efficiency programs offered at a federal and/or provincial level; and,
- Interest by local contractor businesses to participate in and support the program.
- The purpose of this program is to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the residential sector by supporting air source heat pumps to reduce the burning of fossil fuels for heat (thermal energy).
- The use of natural gas in Burlington represents a significant source of GHG emissions across the community (for all sectors – residential, industrial, commercial and institutional), as noted in Figure 1. Figure 2 shows that the residential sector is responsible for approximately 26% of GHG emissions across the community.
[Figure 1 – Emissions by Source – Percentage (2020 data): Transportation- Diesel & Gasoline 50%; Natural Gas 46%; and Electricity 4%. Figure 2 – Emissions By Sector – Percentage (2020 data): Transportation – Diesel & Gasoline 44%; Residential 26%; Commercial Institutional 20%; and Industrial 10%.]