Introducing Toronto’s Home Energy Loan Program (HELP): Unlocking Affordable Upgrades for HVAC Systems

One of the most impactful measures Toronto homeowners can take to combat climate change is to enhance the energy efficiency of their homes. Recognizing the paramount importance of this endeavor, the City of Toronto has introduced the Home Energy Loan Program (HELP). This program aims to provide homeowners with accessible and flexible financing options, enabling them to undertake significant home energy improvements that result in optimal energy efficiency and a diminished environmental footprint.

Through HELP, homeowners can secure loans of up to $125,000, effectively covering the costs associated with implementing essential home energy improvements. Additionally, all qualified homeowners can apply for an extra $5,600 in incentives per participant for home evaluations and energy-efficient retrofits through increased financing choices and activities. This makes it easier for Toronto homeowners to undertake a wide variety of energy-efficient improvements, such as upgrading to high-efficiency HVAC equipment. By capitalizing on this program, Toronto homeowners can make transformative changes that not only reduce their carbon footprint but also lead to long-term benefits, including improved energy efficiency and substantial cost savings from lower utility bills.

That said, to help you take full advantage of the numerous benefits offered by the Home Energy Loan Program and any additional incentives, we have put together the following article. In this article, we’ll explore more about the HELP program in addition to its interest rates and terms, as well as its eligibility requirements, and how to apply. The Home Energy Loan Program functions as a formidable tool for homeowners, empowering them to make impactful changes to their residences. With the program’s favorable loan terms and repayment options, including zero-percent interest loans and incentives, homeowners can enjoy both financial flexibility and the ability to effect significant transformations in their homes.

Take the initiative today and leverage Toronto’s Home Energy Loan Program to embark on a transformative journey towards a more sustainable, cost-effective, and environmentally conscious home. The array of upgrades made possible through this program is guaranteed to elevate the overall comfort and livability of your residence, creating a delightful living environment for both you and your loved ones. Together, we can make a substantial difference in our united endeavor to combat climate change. That said, if you’re ready to invest in a healthier, more efficient HVAC system, we invite you to continue reading.

Table Of Contents

  • Discover the Benefits of Toronto’s Home Energy Loan Program – HELP
  • Unlock Cost-Free Upgrades: Everything You Need to Know About HELP
  • HELP: How It Works
  • HELP: Incentive Terms and Conditions
  • Breaking Down the Interest Rates & Terms of HELP
  • HELP: Eligibility Requirements
  • HELP: Application Process
  • Conclusion
  • Discover the Benefits of Toronto’s Home Energy Loan Program – HELP

    To initiate our examination of Toronto’s Home Energy Loan Program (HELP), let’s start by highlighting several of its key advantages. By gaining a comprehensive understanding of these benefits, Toronto homeowners can make more informed decisions regarding the utilization of the Home Energy Loan Program to enhance the energy efficiency of their HVAC systems. Having said that, the HELP financing program encompasses the following key benefits:

    • HELP offers homeowners an affordable and convenient method to finance home energy improvements over time while accessing rebates provided by the City of Toronto, the Province of Ontario, the Government of Canada, and utility providers.
    • HELP provides substantial financial relief to homeowners by eliminating the initial cost of upgrading to high-efficiency HVAC equipment to improve the efficiency of their HVAC systems.
    • HELP provides Toronto homeowners with a low-interest loan of up to $125,000 towards home energy improvements with cheaper interest rates and longer repayment durations of up to 20 years on qualifying measures.
    • HELP funding is directly linked to homeowners’ property tax statements. This ensures a seamless transfer in case of property ownership changes.
    • HELP provides Toronto homeowners with the flexibility to pay off their loans at any point during the loan term, without incurring any penalties.
    • HELP enables all qualified homeowners to apply for an additional $5,600 in incentives per participant for home evaluations and energy-efficient retrofits, through increased financing options and activities.
    • HELP can be combined with various energy-saving rebates and incentives, notably the Canada Green Home Grant, allowing homeowners to maximize their benefits and savings.
    • HELP allows homeowners to hire the contractor of their choice to complete the desired home energy improvements, upgrades, or renovations.

    Unlock Cost-Free Upgrades: Everything You Need to Know About HELP

    With a comprehensive understanding of the multifaceted benefits of Toronto’s Home Energy Loan Program (HELP), we can now delve into the fundamental aspects and intricate details of the program. This exploration aims to provide enhanced clarity and assistance to Toronto homeowners, enabling them to take full advantage of the extensive range of benefits offered by HELP. With that said, let us begin by discussing its establishment.

    The City of Toronto established the Enhanced Home Energy Loan Program (HELP) on July 7, 2022, building upon its initial establishment in 2014. However, despite the program’s evolution, its primary objective remains unchanged. HELP remains a viable solution for Toronto homeowners, providing funding for eligible home energy improvements that effectively reduce emissions and contribute to the fight against climate change.

    That being said, since its inception, Toronto has taken additional steps to promote greater participation in the loan program and reduce the community’s consumption of hot water and natural gas. These measures include introducing interest-free, zero-down loans and offering additional incentives. Through these enhancements, Toronto aims to empower homeowners to embrace energy-efficient solutions, fostering sustainable energy practices in line with their environmental goals. This commitment creates a more cost-effective living environment that benefits all residents. Therefore, HELP provides a practical solution for Toronto homeowners who want to increase their home’s energy efficiency and savings.

     

    HELP: How It Works

    Starting on July 7, 2022, Toronto homeowners will have a limited-time opportunity to apply for the 0% Home Energy Loan Program (HELP). Through this program, homeowners can borrow up to $125,000 for qualifying retrofit measures, with terms such as zero-percent interest and repayment periods of up to 20 years. Moreover, participants can maximize their financial benefits by combining HELP with Canada’s Greener Homes Grant or other relevant initiatives, unlocking utility company rebates of up to $5,600 for home evaluations and energy-efficient retrofits. By taking advantage of this comprehensive program, homeowners can improve their financial well-being and make eco-friendly improvements to their homes.

    However, in order to access funding through HELP, homeowners must enter into a loan agreement with the City of Toronto. This agreement secures the borrowed amount with a property lien, thereby ensuring repayment obligations are fulfilled. In light of this, the maximum funding available through HELP is determined to be 5% of your property’s current value assessment (CVA). These funds are exclusively allocated for implementing energy-efficiency and water-conservation improvements that align with the program’s eligibility criteria. Thus, a comprehensive home energy assessment will be conducted to identify the most suitable improvement options for your specific situation.

    To that end, the Home Energy Loan Program (HELP) provides a practical solution for Toronto homeowners who want to improve their home’s energy efficiency and save money on utility bills through upgrades, such as:

    Taking this into account, the City of Toronto’s Home Energy Loan Program (HELP) works to provide qualified homeowners with the necessary funding to undertake home energy improvements. Homeowners can then repay the city through monthly installments on their property tax bill. Additionally, they have the flexibility to pay off the outstanding amount at any point during the loan’s term without incurring penalties, effectively clearing the loan from the property.

    However, it is important to note that loan payments received through the property tax bill are treated the same as other loan payments, subject to the same penalties, remedies, and lien priority. Accordingly, regular payments on the property tax bill will be used to repay the City of Toronto, while the cost savings resulting from the energy retrofits will help offset the city’s monthly payments. Moreover, when applying for the HELP loan programs, homeowners should be aware of the fact that the loan repayment is attached to the property, not the owner. Therefore, if you sell your property before the loan is paid off, the new owner will assume responsibility for the loan balance and continue to make installment payments to the city.

    NOTE: For more information, please contact homeenergyloan@toronto.ca or visit the HELP website. Additionally, it is worth noting that the interest rates and terms specified in the “Interest Rates and Terms” section below will be applicable if your project is already underway or if you need immediate financing.

     

    HELP: Incentive Terms and Conditions

    In accordance with the main objective of the HELP loan program, starting on July 7, 2022, homeowners who have been approved for the City’s Home Energy Loan Program will have the opportunity to apply for the following incentives:

    • Rooftop solar PV
    • Air-source heat pumps
    • Deep retrofit projects aimed at substantially reducing a home’s greenhouse gas emissions.

    HELP: Incentives

    Program $ Incentive
    Rooftop Solar PV $ 1,000
    Air-source Heat Pumps – mini/multi-split (min 3 indoor units) $ 1,250
    Air-source Heat Pumps – centrally-ducted or mini-split (min 3 indoor units) $ 2,000
    Air-source Heat Pumps – cold-climate-rated central or mini-split (min 3 indoor units) $ 2,500
    Deep Retrofits* – must achieve at least 80% reduction in the home’s post-renovation EnerGuide rating $ 10,000

    * Deep Retrofit incentives cannot be combined with other HELP incentives

    It’s important to note that these incentives are offered for a limited duration and will cease once the funding allocation limit has been reached. Please refer to the important details provided below. Homeowners may also qualify for supplementary incentives on these measures through the Canada Greener Homes Grant and other grants or rebates from utility companies, where applicable.

    HELP: Conditions for Heat Pump Incentives

    In order to be eligible for the HELP program incentive, the heat pump model must be listed among the eligible products under the Canada Greener Homes Grant. That being said, if the product is not included in the list, it must have a minimum HSPF of 10 and a minimum SEER of 15 in order to qualify. Additionally, the heat pump must be new and possess an AHRI-certified reference number that covers all system components.

    Furthermore, all equipment must be purchased within Canada. If purchased online, however, to be considered eligible, they must be from an online distributor based in Canada, such as Tropic Air Heating & Cooling. Finally, the attestation form submitted to the Canada Greener Homes Grant must verify that a qualified contractor has installed the mechanical or electrical equipment or system.

    HELP: Terms for Heat Pump Incentives

    Having said that, the heat pump incentive is available to eligible participants of the City of Toronto’s Home Energy Loan Program who have met all the program criteria outlined in the Property Owner Agreement. These incentives can be combined with the Canada Greener Homes Grant and other grants or rebates from utility companies, where permitted. That being said, it’s important to note that the incentive program will end once the funding envelope is fully subscribed during the funding request stage. Therefore, incentives are distributed on a first-come, first-served basis and will only be paid out upon submission and approval of the project completion report. This means that the city reserves the right to decline the incentive application if the resulting project does not meet the program’s criteria, terms, and conditions.

    Furthermore, Toronto homeowners should be aware that the incentive applies to heat pump purchases with invoices dated on or after June 1, 2022. Additionally, the primary heating system of the home must have the capacity to adequately heat the entire home to 21°C throughout the heating season, and the installation of the new heat pump must adhere to the Heat Pump Best Practices Installation Guide for Existing Homes. To qualify, the total funding amount must be a minimum of $10,000 (including HST). Therefore, if the applicant applies for other incentive programs offered by the City of Toronto’s Home Energy Loan Program, the combined amount of incentives received cannot exceed 50% of the total funding amount.

    NOTE: All upgrades must be carried out by a licensed contractor with an HST number and a valid Ontario business license for the specific trade. Heat pump installations require a contractor with a Residential Air Conditioning Systems Mechanic (313D) license; self-installations are not eligible for the incentive.

     

    Breaking Down the Interest Rates & Terms of HELP

    With a better understanding of Toronto’s Home Energy Loan Program (HELP) and its incentive terms and conditions, we will now delve into a more detailed exploration of the program’s interest rates and terms. This comprehensive breakdown builds on the information previously discussed, aiming to provide homeowners with a clear understanding of the financial aspects and contractual obligations involved in participating in HELP. By understanding these essential details, homeowners can take advantage of the financial benefits and loan options offered by HELP.

    Taking this into account, Toronto homeowners seeking to enhance their HVAC system with high-efficiency equipment can take advantage of HELP’s low interest rates, starting as low as 0%, and customizable repayment options. These interest rates are fixed and will remain unchanged throughout the repayment period. With that in mind, to ensure a thorough comprehension of the rates and terms associated with the HELP loan program, we have provided a table below outlining the applicable rates and terms valid until June 30th, 2023.

    Terms Fixed Interest Rate
    5 Years  3.39%
    10 Years 3.74%
    15 Years 4.19%
    20 Years** 4.24%

    According to the Home Energy Loan Program (HELP) guidelines, the following interest rate terms apply:

    • A two percent (2%) administrative charge, reflecting the city of Toronto’s program administration costs, will be applied.
    • The loan amount, which includes the funding, interest, and administrative charge, cannot exceed 10% of your property’s current value assessment (CVA) or $125,000, whichever is lower.
    • The interest rates are fixed and will remain unchanged throughout the loan term.
    • Homeowners have the convenience of repaying the loan through their property tax bill and have the flexibility to pay it off at any time.

    Estimated Monthly Payment Rate (11 per year):

    Loan Amount 5 Years 10 Years 15 Years 20 Years**
    $5,000 $90 $45 $30 $23
    $10,000 $181 $91 $61 $45
    $15,000 $272 $137 $91 $68
    $20,000 $364 $182 $121 $91
    $25,000 $455 $227 $152 $114
    $30,000 $546 $273 $182 $137
    $35,000 $637 $318 $212 $159
    $40,000 $727 $363 $243 $182
    $45,000 $818 $409 $273 $205
    $50,000 $909 $455 $303 $227
    $55,000 $1,000 $500 $333 $250
    $60,000 $1,091 $546 $364 $273
    $65,000 $1,182 $591 $394 $296
    $70,000 $1,273 $637 $424 $318
    $75,000 $1,364 $682 $455 $341
    $80,000 $1,455 $728 $485 $364
    $85,000 $1,546 $773 $515 $386
    $90,000 $1,637 $819 $546 $410
    $95,000 $1,728 $864 $576 $432
    $100,000 $1,819 $910 $607 $546
    $105,000 $1,910 $955 $637 $478
    $110,000 $2,000 $1,000 $667 $500
    $115,000 $2,091 $1,045 $698 $523
    $120,000 $2,182 $1,091 $728 $548
    $125,000 $2,273 $1,136 $758 $568

    ** 20-year amortization is only available for projects that include solar PV, geothermal installation, new windows, and/or heat pumps.

     

    HELP: Eligibility Requirements

    With a solid understanding of the interest rates and terms offered by Toronto’s Home Energy Loan Program (HELP), let us now explore the eligibility requirements that homeowners must meet to participate in this program. By delving into these requirements, we aim to provide a comprehensive overview of the criteria homeowners need to fulfill in order to access the financial benefits and assistance provided by HELP.

    Taking this into consideration, the Municipality of Toronto has established eligibility criteria to ensure that only qualified homeowners who can fulfill the repayment terms have access to the funding provided through HELP. To that end, homeowners in Toronto who are interested in home energy improvements, such as installing high-efficiency water heaters, installing  new high-efficiency furnaces, boilers, replacing old air-conditioners, and tankless water heaters, may be eligible for a low-interest loan through HELP, provided they fulfill the following criteria:

    • Homeowners must own a detached, semi-detached, row, townhouse, duplex, triplex, or a home with up to three levels and fewer than six units (the postal code must begin with an “M”). Currently, strata condominium units are ineligible.
    • All property owners on the title have agreed to participate in the initiative.
    • Homeowners must not have any late property tax or utility payments to the city for the past five years.

    NOTE: If your home is mortgaged, you will receive written approval from your mortgage lender in the form of a customized Lender Consent Form. Additionally, all eligible homeowners in Toronto have the opportunity to combine the Home Energy Loan Program (HELP) with energy efficiency rebates and incentives offered by the City of Toronto, the Province of Ontario, the Government of Canada, and utility companies.

     

    HELP: Application Process

    Expanding on the eligibility requirements discussed earlier, let’s now explore the application process for Toronto’s Home Energy Loan Program (HELP). Understanding the application process is crucial for Toronto homeowners who are interested in applying, so they can have a clear and efficient experience. Seeing as this program not only provides Toronto homeowners with access to affordable financing but also gives them the opportunity to contribute to a more energy-efficient and sustainable home, this section of the article provides a comprehensive, step-by-step guide and valuable information to help you successfully apply for the HELP loan program. By outlining the individual steps of the HELP application process, we hope to streamline and simplify it for Toronto homeowners.

    Taking that into account, the first step to begin your journey with Toronto’s HELP program is to complete the convenient online application. This user-friendly process ensures a streamlined experience, saving you valuable time and effort. Once you have submitted the necessary documentation, your application will undergo a thorough review. Upon approval, you will enter into a loan agreement with the City of Toronto, allowing you to make qualifying improvements that focus on improving energy efficiency and/or water conservation in your home. Keeping that in mind, to make it even easier for you to begin the application process for the Home Energy Loan Program, simply follow these five straightforward steps:

    STEP 1:

    After receiving and approving your application, the city will provide you with a financing offer outlining the maximum amount of assistance your property qualifies for through the Home Energy Loan Program (HELP).

    STEP 2:

    After submitting your application form, it is necessary to schedule a home energy evaluation with a Natural Resources Canada-certified energy advisor. After evaluating, you will determine the cost of the desired home energy improvements and submit your financing report to the City of Toronto.

    STEP 3:

    Upon approval of your funding request by the City, you will receive a Purchase Agreement (POA) for review and signature, which serves as the funding agreement between the property owner(s) and the City. After the City has accepted the signed Power of Attorney, we may allocate up to 30% of the funding to support the initiation of your project.

    STEP 4:

    Once your project is complete, please arrange an appointment with your energy advisor for a post-retrofit home energy evaluation to get a new EnerGuide rating. After this point, you will be required to submit a project completion report, signed by your energy advisor, along with invoices from your contractor(s) and the new EnerGuide rating label.

    STEP 5:

    Once your project is completed, the City of Toronto will notify you about the start of your loan installments. As part of the process, you will be enrolled in the city’s pre-authorized tax payment program, allowing you to repay the city in 11 monthly installments over the duration of your loan. Please refer to the chart under the “Interest Rates and Terms” section above for a more detailed breakdown of the costs associated with your loan term.

     

    Get More Savings & Comfort from Your HVAC Systems Today with HELP

    In conclusion, Toronto’s Home Energy Loan Program (HELP) provides a practical and accessible avenue for homeowners in Toronto to make home energy improvements, especially when it comes to high-efficiency upgrades to their HVAC systems. The HELP program is specifically tailored to address the needs of homeowners in Toronto who are committed to reducing emissions and actively contributing to the fight against climate change. With the support of licensed Toronto HVAC professionals such as Tropic Air Heating & Cooling, homeowners can confidently embark on their energy efficiency journey. Tropic Air Heating & Cooling offers a range of HVAC services, including commercial and residential furnace installation, emergency furnace repair, emergency air conditioning unit repairs, and periodic air conditioning maintenance, ensuring that homeowners receive expert assistance throughout the process.

    Taking that into account, through HELP, homeowners have the opportunity to lower their energy consumption, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and create a more sustainable living space. This has a tangible impact on the environment by improving the energy efficiency of our homes. In partnership with licensed professionals like Tropic Air Heating & Cooling, Toronto’s Home Energy Loan Program enables homeowners to make informed decisions about their HVAC system upgrades and other energy improvements. Homeowners can enhance their comfort, lower energy costs, and contribute to a greener future for Toronto by taking advantage of the financial support from HELP and the expertise of Tropic Air Heating & Cooling.