HELP Home Energy Loan Program

The Home Energy Loan Program may suffer from unfortunate branding, but it is a great idea and a great benefit to home owners who are interested in saving money on home energy.

The Benefit to Home Owner:

The funded investments in home energy efficiency are created to be cash flow positive. The return is predictable and the improvements should cost less than the energy savings. The loan is attached to the tax roll of he house and is therefore not subject to the same kinds of approvals required by lenders.

Learn More about HELP here:

HELP is a pilot project, available in specific neighbourhoods in Toronto. If the first three digits of your home postal code are listed below, HELP financing is available to you:

  • Black Creek: M3N
  • Toronto Centre/Riverdale/Beaches: M4E, M4L, M4M, M4J, M1N, M4C, M4K, M5A
  • Junction/High Park: M6P, M6S
  • South Scarborough: M1M, M1E, M1C, M1L, M1K, M4B

Visit the City of Toronto Website. 

For 'Eco Flippers,' There's Green in Foreclosed Homes

When Christine Fisk toured a foreclosed home in Phoenix that had been renovated to be more energy-efficient, she wasn’t sold on its environmental benefits. But the two-bedroom bungalow was just minutes from her office and in good shape, so the financial adviser bought it for $150,000. A year in, Fisk is a believer: Her last electric bill was under $40, far less than she expected. “My day-to-day reality is dollars and cents, so everything that trickles down into my pocketbook is important,” she says.


Environmental Commissioner of Ontario on Mandatory Energy Audits

Those of you who have followed my work will know that I spent much of the first decade of the millennium working to achieve market transformation with Home Energy Labelling in the Real Estate marketplace in Canada. My work continues in this field today as an instructor to the Real Estate Industry, as writer and with I am off to speak at the Appraisal Institute of Canada's National Conference about how to value energy in the Real Estate market.

As we hear from Gord Miller the impetus for Home Energy Labelling is growing and our effort to bring home energy efficiency to the Real Estate marketplace continues. While I am in favour voluntary labelling, Ontario's @EcoCommish shows a clear  argument for mandatory building labelling. 'Consumer protection happens on every other product - why not on your home.'

see more from the Gord Miller here:

Download the report: Restoring the Ballance

See the press conference


 For more information on Home Energy Labelling visit

Safe Drinking Water

Annie Leonard of the Story of Stuff does a great job of telling the story of Bottled Water. Consider how important water protection and conservation are in the context of designing a modern home. Think of your appliances. If you don't use bottled watter can you live with a more efficient, smaller fridge?

On Demand Hot Water or Solar Domestic Hot Water

There are many questions emerging about the energy use related to commercial and domestic hot water. The city of Toronto estimates that 25-35% of household energy use comes from hot water. Much of the hot water energy use is derived from “stand by loads”. This is the energy used to heat the water in hot water tanks when the water is not in use.

On demand hot water systems are designed to take very little space, and to heat water at time of demand, only when the hot water tap is on. Condensing on-demand gas hot water heaters are the best on demand solutions. Condo owners, empty nesters, frequent travellers and water conservers will benefit most from on-demand hot water systems. As an example, I have retired clients who travel often and have a cottage. Their on-demand hot water heater investment is paying for itself  very quickly because there is no standby load for the 2/3 of the year that they are not in their condo.

Solar hot water heaters are ideally suited for families and heavy users of domestic hot water. The key opportunity is that water is heated for free, meaning guilt free and bill free hot showers for everyone. The reason family sized consumers of hot water benefit most from these systems is that the displacement of hot water heating costs is the measure of system payback. For example, a family of 4 will have significant demand for hot water for bathing, dishes, and washing. When not using solar the energy the costs for providing hot water to a household like this is significant. Therefore the return on investment, measured in displaced utility costs, is significant. Imagine selling your home with Solar hot water; being able to say “this home comes with free domestic hot water”. The most powerful part of this sales pitch is the math, comparing the operational costs associated with heating the same water volume using electricity or natural gas allows your Realtor to demand a higher price for your home.

Every home and condo owner who currently has an electric powered hot water tank should consider migrating to one or both of these technologies immediately – the investment is a no-brainer. Anyone using a gas fired hot water heater should consider switching, because these systems are the emerging standard and you don’t want to be left behind. There are significant grants available for home owners who invest in these systems through the ecoEnergy program – so get an audit before you make the change. Visit for more information.

Translating Energy Efficiency Investments into Real Property Values

Do energy efficiency improvements affect property values – and how? Good question – and one that is getting more and more attention. Investing resources in energy efficiency, especially capital costs, typically raises concerns about the return on that investment. The return can be looked at from many perspectives, such as actual energy use, energy costs, air quality and occupant well-being, community image and corporate social responsibility. And, in a chicken-egg conundrum, property valuation influences lenders’ decisions for loans related to energy efficiency. So, another aspect is now being considered: real property value. There are no widely accepted standards or metrics – nationally or internationally – around this issue but the groundwork is being laid in several countries, including Canada, and through international networks, including the following:

Toronto Mayor David Miller - Green Roof Policy

Toronto Mayor David Miller discusses the origins of his environmental passion and his sense of social justice. Chris Chopik interviews Mayor Miller during the first Cities Alive, the World Green Roof Infrastructure Congress in Toronto.

Toronto's unique Green Roof bylaw will have a positive effect on the quality of life of Torontonians, relating to air quality, storm water management and urban heat island effect.

Property owners will benefit from a longer roof life expectancy compared with contemporary bitumen products, in addition to building performance gains. The integration of Ontario's Green Energy Act, with Solar PV and the already-proven Solar Thermal technologies make the industrial roof renovation one of the most interesting green building marketplaces in Toronto and other Ontario markets.