The Heritage Energy Retrofit Grant is designed to encourage and enable deep energy retrofits and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reductions while respecting the heritage fabric and character-defining elements of participating homes in Vancouver. Retrofits can improve the comfort of your older home, reduce your energy bills and reduce impact on the environment.
A maximum of $10,000 is available per home towards qualifying retrofits or a maximum of $14,000 per home if fuel switching from gas or oil to an electric air source heat pump is included with other retrofits.
[Postponed] Sustainability Forum: Improving Energy Efficiency in Older Homes and Buildings
Thursday, April 2nd, 6:30pm – 9pm –
Bring your questions and join VHF and an expert panel for a lively evening of presentations and discussion about improving the energy efficiency and sustainability of heritage and character homes. Each presenter will have 15 minutes to share their expertise on how to improve the energy efficiency of an older home or building, reduce energy bills and cut greenhouse gas emissions. Light refreshments will be provided.
The Heritage Energy Retrofit Grant program offers homeowners incentives to increase energy efficiencies within a home that complement other community rebate programs including through Better Homes BC Home Renovation Rebate Program, BC Hydro and FortisBC. It takes a holistic approach to GHG reduction by financially rewarding the overall reduction of GHG in a single dwelling after the completion of recommended energy retrofits. The program subsidizes mandatory pre-retrofit and post-retrofit home energy evaluations and a Vancouver GHG Reduction Opportunities Report.
To be eligible, a house must be in Vancouver and either built before 1940 or on the Vancouver Heritage Register. Only houses with oil or gas heating are eligible as these offer the highest GHG reduction opportunities. Please note the grant is for new retrofits only and we are not able to provide funds retroactively for already completed projects.
The grant amount provided by the Heritage Energy Retrofit Grant program is variable and is calculated at the end based on the participant’s GHG emissions reductions achieved in the program.
Grant Funding is available for a wide range of retrofits and support, including:
- Pre- and post-retrofit evaluations, the program’s Greenhouse Gas Reduction Opportunities Report and Natural Resources Canada’s EnerGuide Report.
- Fuel switching from gas or oil to an electric air-source heat pump
- Storm windows (when at least one other qualifying retrofit is undertaken)
- The installation of high-efficiency toilets (accompany at least one other retrofit)
- Rental dwellings may now participate in the program
How the program works (Click to View)
Homeowners of houses constructed before 1940 or that are listed on the Vancouver Heritage Register are eligible to apply by completing the online application form.
If accepted into the program, VHF will coordinate an EnerGuide Rating System (ERS) Home Evaluation of your home with a certified energy advisor from our partner organization City Green Solutions. The incentive amount will cover a portion of the evaluation cost and the applicant can apply to provincial rebate programs to have the other portion reimbursed.
The energy advisor will provide the homeowner with two reports:
- EnerGuide Rating System (ERS) Home Energy Evaluation Report
- Vancouver GHG Reduction Opportunities Report.
These reports and supplementary materials provided will help the homeowner select the best upgrades for their older home through an educated process.
The homeowner will select which energy upgrades to undertake during an 18-month period that will be most beneficial for the overall energy efficiency of the building as well as the retention of the original fabric of the house with an emphasis on its character-defining elements.
Homeowners complete selected energy upgrades from the energy advisor’s recommendations. If the owner chooses to complete the installation of storm windows or high-efficiency toilets they will apply directly to VHF for the direct incentive.
The homeowner will be responsible to apply to provincial rebate programs including those offered by Fortis BC and BC Hydro. It is the responsibility of the homeowner to ensure they meet the requirements for specific rebates.
VHF will coordinate a post-retrofit EnerGuide Rating System home energy evaluation for the house. Based on the reduction in GHG established through the energy evaluations, City Green Solutions will calculate the eligible provincial rebates available to the homeowner, and the grant amount outside of VHF’s direct incentives that the homeowner will receive.
VHF will provide the final calculated grant amount to the homeowner.
House Eligibility Requirements (Click to View)
- Located in Vancouver.
- Rental homes require the owner of the home to apply.
- Constructed prior to 1940 or be listed on the Vancouver Heritage Register (VHR).
- The primary heat type is natural gas or oil.
- Eligible house types are (see guidelines for full details):
- single family dwellings,
- row homes or townhomes.
- Submission of twelve (24) months of energy consumption data pre (12) and post (12) retrofits.
- Completed in an 18-month period from the time of the pre-retrofit EnerGuide Rating System home evaluation.
- Homes outside of the Vancouver City limits.
- Homes built after 1940.
- Homes that have electricity as their primary heat source.
- Homes that do not have their own natural gas and/or electric meter.
Incentives (Click to View)
Participants in the Heritage Energy Retrofit Grant program may access a grant of up to $10,000 to contribute to the costs of recommended retrofits, including a portion of the cost for the two required pre and post ERS Home Evaluations and the Vancouver GHG Reduction Opportunities Report.
Heritage Energy Retrofit Grants for retrofits (except storm windows and toilets) are variable and based on a program calculation of $150 per tonne of GHG reduction per year for the estimated lifetime of the retrofit.
This program is designed to complement the incentive programs available through Better Homes BC Home Renovation Rebate Program, BCHydro, FortisBC and other municipal or provincial programs available to the homeowner. All other rebates will be used to calculate the amount of grant funds awarded after all retrofits are completed. In combination with other incentive programs the total grant funds and rebates cannot exceed 100% of the total cost of eligible retrofits.
VHF offers direct incentives as well for some retrofits and these are outlined in the chart below. For more detailed information on each incentive refer to the Heritage Energy Retrofit Grant Guidelines, Terms and Conditions document below.
|Heritage Energy Retrofit Grant||Grant For||Grant Funding (up to) $|
|Pre-Retrofit Evaluation & Reports||$345*|
|GHG Reduction Retrofits||$10,000** (includes: storm window grant, pre-retrofit and post-retrofit evaluations and reports)|
(with a minimum of one other retrofit)
|Air-source heat pump incentive
when switching fuel sources
|$4,000 (in addition to GHG Reduction Retrofits)|
|Up to 2 high-efficiency toilets of 4.8 liters per flush or less||$200 (in addition to GHG Reduction Retrofits)|
|Energy Consumption data sharing||$250 bonus gift card|
|Other Available Rebates||For current incentives from other sources please refer to betterhomesbc.ca|
*Homeowner is responsible for the cost and applicable taxes for the portion of the pre-retrofit evaluation $300 not paid for by the grant program. Homes over 3,000 sq. ft. or with separate rental suites may be subject to additional testing fees that must be paid for by the homeowner. Taxes on the portion of the evaluations and reports paid for by the Heritage Energy Retrofit Grant will be paid by the program.
**All of the qualifying direct incentives and evaluation and report costs, unless otherwise stated, will be subtracted from the maximum $10,000 along with all other available rebates for specific retrofits outside of the Heritage Energy Retrofit Grant program when calculating the total grant award for GHG emissions reductions.
Storm Windows (Click to View)
Up to $3,000 ($300 per window) is available for the installation of qualifying storm windows (secondary glazing) where original windows are retained.
Construction requirements for wood storm windows are based on the Province of British Columbia guidelines for traditional wood storm windows, and are specific to double hung wood windows. Non-wood interior storm units can be supported by this grant if they meet specific criteria. If your home has different original windows such as 1930’s metal casement windows or if you need more information on qualifying interior storm windows, please contact VHF to discuss heritage appropriate storm window alternatives. View full requirements for wood storm windows here.
The objective of this program is to encourage and enable deep energy retrofits and maximize GHG emissions reductions while respecting the heritage or character-defining elements of participating homes.
- The removal of original building fabric, for example wood windows is prohibited unless deemed ‘beyond repair’ by a heritage professional and approved by VHF in writing.
- The removal, replacement or alteration of original exterior or interior heritage fabric can result in disqualification from the program. Such plans should be discussed with VHF prior to proceeding.
- Understanding the original construction of your home is important. Undertaking specific retrofits that would work well in a new build can cause serious problems in older homes, for example adding insulation into the walls could increase moisture and cause mold to build up if done incorrectly. Working with a contractor who understands older construction design is important. A list of building professionals can be requested from VHF staff by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org or calling (604) 264-9642.
Any retrofit completed before the initial home evaluation or after the final evaluation will not be eligible for inclusion in the grant calculations.
Applications are now open
Application: Online form
PDF Support Documents:
For Approved Participating Applicants:
About the program
The program was developed by Vancouver Heritage Foundation (VHF) in partnership with the City of Vancouver’s Sustainability Group and Heritage Conservation Program, and City Green Solutions, and is managed by Vancouver Heritage Foundation. It was first launched in 2015.
Our aim is to encourage the retrofit of Vancouver’s older homes to reduce energy and water consumption and greenhouse gas emissions while preserving their heritage character. Many older homes have significant opportunity to reduce emissions and their impact on the environment while contributing further to environmental sustainability through continued use of existing buildings and materials, avoiding the need for energy-intensive new construction and materials.
Vancouver Heritage Foundation worked with the City of Vancouver’s Sustainability Group, Heritage Conservation Program and Water Engineering Department to create this tool to help older houses with energy improvements. It supports efforts to see retention of heritage and character homes, while also contributing to the City’s goal to be the Greenest City.
VHF is pleased to acknowledge the participation of City Green Solutions in the development of the Heritage Energy Retrofit Grant program and for providing the certified Energy Advisors who conduct the program’s energy evaluations on participant homes. City Green Solutions provides each participant home with an EnerGuide Renovation Upgrade Report, and the program’s GHG Reduction Opportunities Report that offers specific recommendations for suitable retrofits for the home.
Read how the Heritage Energy Retrofit Grant assisted one family in reducing annual GHG emissions by over 4 tonnes!
Additional Resources & Reference Articles
Standards and Guidelines for the Conservation of Historic Places in Canada, and the companion publication, Building Resilience: Practical Guidelines for the Sustainable Rehabilitation of Buildings in Canada.
‘Heritage Window Restoration’, John Eaks, Canadian Homebuilder, September/October 2013