In Canada, our winters can be long and cold. Although many among us have come to appreciate their harshness, either through picking up skiing or having learned to build impressive snowmen, for some others, however, the cold climate is still and foremost synonymous with energy losses, energy costs, and discomfort.
According to Natural Resources Canada, space heating represents on average 63% of the energy used in Canadian homes. Moreover, they specifically identify windows as being responsible for up to 25% of all heat losses in our homes. In the case of an older house, overall air leaks can even account for up to 40% of total heat losses.
So, what can you we do to maximise our home’s energy performance? Which energy labels and programs exist to help us ensure a successful energy transition?
ENERGY STAR® Doors and Windows
When buying new doors and windows, make sure to look for the ENERGY STAR® certification, an international label guaranteeing high-energy efficiency.
In Canada, the ENERGY STAR® name and symbol are managed by Natural Resources Canada and used to certify a wide selection of products meeting the strictest technical criteria with regards to energy efficiency. An additional designation, ENERGY STAR Most Efficient, is also awarded every year to products showing the very best energy performance in their category.
All ENERGY STAR® doors, windows, and skylights reduce energy loss and condensation. According to Hydro-Québec, these energy-efficient models are effectively 20% to 40% more efficient than traditional ones. Financially, this higher efficiency represents savings of up to 10% on heating costs.
Natural Resources Canada attests that windows which received the ENERGY STAR Most Efficient designation (and met the highest performance specifications) are up to 40% more efficient than standard double-pane windows. Choosing higher-efficiency ENERGY STAR® windows hence represents a smart financial decision.
The RénoVert Tax Credit
The Québec Government is still offering its refundable tax credit for eco-friendly home renovation work: the RénoVert Tax Credit.
The eligibility period for recognized renovation work has been extended to March 31, 2019. The product order must be completed before this date; however, the installation, itself, can be done later. As expected, the replacement and addition of doors, windows, and skylights with ENERGY STAR®-certified models appear on the recognized renovation work list.
The maximum amount you can claim is $10,000, which represents 20% of the portion of your expenses exceeding the first non-admissible $2,500 and paid between March 17, 2016 and January 1, 2020.
All work must be completed by a qualified contractor. Finally, this program is open to owners and co-owners of a single-family home, prefabricated house or mobile home, condominium, or winterized cottage, among others.
Portatec is a company specialized in creating superior quality entry door and door window systems.
The Rénoclimat Program: Advice and Financial Assistance
Created by the Gouvernement du Québec in 2017, the organization Transition énergétique Québec (TEQ) initiated the Rénoclimat Program with the aim of helping citizens improve their home’s energy efficiency.
The advisory portion of this Program includes, among others, home visits and personalised consultations to help reduce energy consumption as well as pre/post-renovation-work energy evaluations.
In particular, a blower door test can be carried out using a special device to assess the airtightness of your home. With the resulting measures, air leaks can easily be located, thus enabling owners to better seal their house. And better airtightness not only means greater comfort, it also implies lower energy bills.
The financial assistance portion of the Program, if you are eligible, can be applied toward improving insulation or airtightness, replacing doors or windows, and installing or replacing mechanical systems (such as ventilation or heating systems). The same renovation work could also be eligible to the RénoVert Tax Credit mentioned above: make sure to inquire.
In the case of door or window replacement, the new ones must absolutely be ENERGY STAR®-certified and note that their frames must also be replaced in order to benefit from the $60 per rough opening provided in this Program.
Novoclimat Program: Construction of New High-Energy Performance Homes
TEQ also created another program, the Novoclimat Program, this one to encourage the construction of new, high-energy performance homes. The immediate financial assistance offered as part of this program can be quite interesting.
Long-term advantages of new Novoclimat houses also are numerous and include, among others, greater comfort as well as 20% savings on energy bills.
You probably guessed by now – and rightly so – that only the installation of ENERGY-STAR®-certified doors and windows is authorized, due to their greater airtightness and energy efficiency.
For more information on TEQ’s Rénoclimat and Novoclimat Programs, and to find out whether you are eligible, visit http://www.transitionenergetique.gouv.qc.ca/en/home.
To purchase energy-efficient doors and windows, do not hesitate to contact Portatec, a Canadian manufacturer specialized in premium door and window since 1984.
In need of inspiration for your front entry door? Contact Portatec, a Canadian premium door and window manufacturer specializing in custom entry doors for the last 35 years.