October 24, 2005

Federal package delivers energy cost aid for businesses, homeowners

The federal government has introduced a package of short- and longer-term measures to help Canadian homeowners deal with high energy costs. The more immediate component of the plan will provide direct financial assistance to low-income seniors and low-income families with children. The package also includes funding to help homeowners lower their future household heating costs by making their homes more energy-efficient, and provides for fast-tracking of money to municipalities for investments in public transit.

In addition, the government is renewing and expanding programs targeted at existing buildings, allocating $210 million over five years.

A total of $157 million has been earmarked for the Community and Institutional Buildings (CIB) program, a new component of EnerGuide for Existing Buildings (EEB, formerly the Energy Innovators Initiative). The CIB program will expand on existing initiatives aimed at community buildings and hospitals, schools, universities and other institutional buildings and help them reduce energy use and improve the energy efficiency of their facilities. More than 8,000 institutional buildings are expected to benefit from this program.

EEB will also continue to target the commercial building sector. A total of $53 million will renew this component for an additional five years, which is expected to result in retrofits to 2,600 commercial buildings.

With both components, EEB financial incentives will help pay for energy saving retrofits. Eligible organizations will receive up to 25% of the cost of the project to a maximum of $250,000 for retrofit measures that lead to verified energy savings. Training and information on energy efficiency are also provided.

The government's investment in the EEB program is projected to leverage more than $1 billion in private and institutional sector investments, resulting in over $330 million in annual energy cost savings and reductions of 2.25 megatonnes of greenhouse gas emissions.

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