The Ontario government’s climate change plan will see more than $7-billion spent over four years. Here’s how the spending breaks down:
Retrofitting buildings and kicking natural gas
- The Climate Change Action Plan contains several incentive programs, targeted at different types of buildings, to pay for energy retrofits and installing various technologies – including geothermal, solar power, heat pumps and more efficient boilers – to get rid of or cut back on natural gas. These include: a $554-million fund to offer rebates and grants to homeowners; $500-million for energy retrofits in social-housing towers; $400-million for schools, hospitals and universities; $350-million for condominiums, apartments and office blocks; and $80-million for heritage buildings.
- $200-million to incentivize people to buy energy efficient new homes, through a rebate up to $20,000 for buyers of houses that don’t use natural gas heating.
- $1.32-billion to start phasing out natural gas heating in homes and replacing it with electric heat, and potentially expand the “low-carbon” electricity supply to back-stop the new heat pumps and electric vehicles. The province will also offset the increased cost of electricity to consumers.
- Building code changes that would ensure all “new homes and small buildings” built in 2030 or later do not use fossil fuels, such as natural gas, for heat or cooling; by 2050, this requirement would apply to all buildings. The building code will also be changed to require all major renovations improve energy efficiency, such as by using better insulation. Municipalities will also be allowed to impose even tougher energy efficiency standards than those contained in the building code.
- $100-million for a “renewable content requirement” for natural gas, which means some percentage of gas will have to come from agricultural or waste products. There will also be new product efficiency standards for some products, such as home appliances, to ensure they use less electricity, and similar standards for municipal water treatment equipment.
- $250-million to pay for mandatory energy efficiency audits for every single-family home sold in the province. The idea is to incentivize homeowners to do retrofits to increase the value of their house. Commercial buildings, apartment buildings and condos will also have to report their energy use and a Green Button program will provide people with information on their electricity, natural gas and water use so they can better control it.
- $70-million to help universities, colleges and other organizations provide training for builders and engineers to construct low-carbon buildings.
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