The Canadian budget released yesterday by Finance Minister Jim Flaherty outlined the Canadian government’s plan to eliminate the deficit in four years. Among the measures outlined in the plan is the promise to renew the EcoENERGY Retrofit program for a period of one year.
The EcoENERGY Retrofit program was instituted as part of Canada’s Economic Action Plan and was used by an estimated 293,000 homeowners. The resulting retrofits reduced greenhouse gas emissions in Canada by an estimated 900,000 tonnes per annum. In addition to the environmental benefits, the EcoENERGY program had the desired effect of stimulating the economy through increases in spending in the local market where the retrofits were taking place, with an estimated $6 being spent for every $1 in incentive money distributed. Unfortunately the program was ended with little notice on March 31, 2010. As part of their platform during the election in May, the Conservative Party vowed to reinstate the incentive program, and with the tabling of the newest budget, it has become clear this promise will be kept. A total of $400 million has been allocated to the EcoENERGY Retrofit program, which will be dispersed over the period of one year.
The incentive program has been a boon for the energy efficiency market in Canada, with geothermal heat pump dealers reporting increased sales and interest in the products during the time that the incentive program was active. During that time, available incentives significantly reduced the cost of installing or replacing a heat pump, making this product more affordable for the average homeowner. The reinstatement of the incentive program represents a new opportunity for the geothermal industry and other efficiency industries to solidify themselves as mainstream fixtures in the housing and renovation markets.