In mid-December 2017, Ontario announced a major initiative to provide thousands of dollars in rebates to homeowners who install energy-efficient replacement windows. Fenestration Canada recently hosted a webinar to clarify and update important information about the program, which has generated intense interest among industry members and homeowners in the province.

The rebates from the Green Ontario Fund (GreenON) offer $500 per window up to $5,000 when homeowners upgrade to select high-performance windows. (If the cost is less than $500, there is no rebate. The project must be $500 or greater to qualify.) The rebate applies to each rough opening, which means that fenestration products with more than one glass unit, such as bay or bow windows, only qualify for one rebate. The rebate does not include doors, such as sliding glass patio doors.

Individual homeowners can only apply once for the rebate. That means they can’t replace some windows now and others later. If they own multiple homes, they’re allowed one application per residence, said Amy Eakins of the Green Ontario Fund. Rebates should arrive within eight to 12 weeks after work is completed.

The program is currently limited to houses, townhouses and semi-detached residences. Historic retrofits are not eligible, though Eakins said they are working on a heritage home designation.

If homeowners have already replaced windows under the Embridge or Union Gas programs, they can’t participate in the GreenON program

“It’s one program or the other,” Eakins said.

The windows must be certified and labeled to conform to Energy Star Zone 3. They must also be rated Energy Star Most Efficient 2017 by Natural Resources Canada. Jeff Baker, the technical consultant for Fenestration Canada, clarified that the energy requirements on a certified window’s label would be an Energy Rating (ER) of 26 or greater and a U-factor of 1.14, or an ER of 36 or greater and a U-factor of 1.4. Both the ER and U-factor requirements must be met and appear on the label.

“The program’s goal was to set the performance requirements at levels that would typically require triple-glazed windows,” Baker said.

The windows must meet NAFS-2011 and the Canadian supplement to NAFS. GreenON’s “Appendix 5 Window Specifications” document contains all the other product requirements.

Baker said Fenestration Canada has been working with GreenON to update Appendix 5, and a revised version will be published soon with more clarification. The original document referenced an older standard and not NAFS 2011, and that’s being corrected so that the rebate program will conform with Ontario’s building code.

Installation contractors must register with GreenON. Early reports about the program said that installers must be fully certified by the Window Wise training program. However, Baker said participating contractors only have to prove that they’ve completed the Window Wise training program. There are no other Window Wise requirements for window manufacturers or Window Wise certifications of installations.

“Installers may wish to purchase their windows from Window Wise-certified manufacturers and offer customers the option of Window Wise certification of their installation, but these are not requirements for eligibility in the program,” Baker said.

Window Wise is a program run by the Siding and Window Dealers Association of Canada (SAWDAC) that audits and certifies contractors and window manufacturers to ensure they’re meeting high standards. It also conducts in-depth window installation training for installers.

Baker said SAWDAC is currently swamped with requests for Window Wise training, and the association is working to put on more educational sessions for installers.

Baker also said installers need to be aware of the sealant requirements, which are available in Appendix 6 (low-expanding foam sealants) and Appendix 7 (joint sealants).

The installation contractor will fill out and submit the application for the rebate online, and the customer will review and approve it online. The online portal for rebates should be open in early February. There is no audit of the installation, but before-and-after photos of each rough opening are required as part of the application.

Eakins said marketing guidelines and consumer brochures for the rebate program will be coming soon. She said there will be restrictions on the use of GreenON logos.

Eakins also said there is no program end date.

“It’s going to run until 2019 at least,” she said.

Last month, a report from the CBC said Ontario’s government plans to spend $600 million over four years on the rebate program.

GreenON seeks to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in buildings. It receives its money from Ontario’s cap-and-trade carbon market, which has raised more than $1.9 billion, according to the CBC.

GreenON is part of the province’s Climate Change Action Plan. Its goal is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 15 percent below 1990 levels by 2020 and to 80 percent below 1990 levels by 2050.

1 Comment

  1. Exactly! GreenON’s “Appendix 5 Window Specifications” document contains all the other product requirements.

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