Ontario’s Climate Change Action Plan to Implement Universal Home Energy Audits

Audit will be paid for by government and aims to improve energy literacy and reduce greenhouse gas emissions

Toronto, ON (June 10, 2016) – On June 8, the Ontario government released its long-anticipated Five-Year Climate Change Action Plan to promote the reduction of greenhouse gas (“GHG”) emissions and to facilitate the shift to a low-carbon economy.

Included in the Action Plan is a commitment to implement a Home Energy and GHG Rating and Disclosure (HERD) program for properties at the time of sale. This means that a universal home energy audit, paid for by government, must be conducted prior to the sale of a home and that information must be provided to the seller during the purchase process.

“Ontarians deserve to know how a home operates when comparing properties to better understand their monthly future payments,” said Jay Nordenstrom, Executive Director of NAIMA Canada. “We have labels for food, gas mileage and medicine, why not homes too?”

Mandatory home energy labelling is an initiative the Home Energy Transparency Coalition and its members have championed for many years as they believe it is a valuable tool that can be used to improve consumer protection, increase the value of homes, strengthen energy literacy, and encourage homeowners to contribute to the fight against climate change.

“Home energy rating and disclosure is a foundational first step in cutting carbon pollution from Ontario households,” said Patrick DeRochie, Coordinator at the Clean Economy Alliance. “It empowers homeowners with the knowledge to take climate action, while encouraging energy efficiency and conservation, stimulating local employment in energy retrofits, and helping build a clean economy in Ontario.”

“Universal home energy labelling is the single most important tool to increase energy literacy towards a successful climate change strategy,” said Elizabeth MacDonald, CEO of the Canadian Energy Efficiency Alliance.

According to Ontario’s Climate Change Strategy the province’s third largest source of emissions is the building sector and residential buildings make up a significant portion of these emissions. Residential buildings is a sector where substantial GHG reductions can be achieved with minimal effort and maximum results.

“With over 80 per cent of homes in Ontario built prior to 2000, a mandatory energy disclosure requirement is the most effective consumer education tool to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and upgrade Ontario’s 4.8 million existing homes,” said Joe Vaccaro, CEO of the Ontario Home Builders’ Association.

By placing greater value on energy efficiency, homeowners will look for ways to improve the performance of their homes and reduce their carbon footprint – including greater utilization of government-funded renovation and retrofit programs.

Ontarians spend more than $26 billion annually on home renovations. If a fraction of that money is shifted to spending on energy efficient renovations based on information obtained through a mandatory energy audit, not only will homeowners experience an increase in home valuations, the resulting GHG reductions will be substantial.

The Home Energy Transparency Coalition applauds the Ontario government for taking a bold step in the fight against climate change.

About Home Energy Transparency Coalition

The Home Energy Transparency Coalition comprises the Canadian Energy Efficiency Alliance, Ontario Home Builders Association, Clean Economy Alliance, and NAIMA Canada representing more than 125 organizations.