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The following is for information purposes only.

NRCan's ecoENERGY Retrofit – Small and Medium Organizations program ended on March 31, 2011.

Since April 2007, this initiative provided financial assistance to 710 building retrofit projects resulting in projected annual energy savings of over 1,117,480 GigaJoules or 0.1 Mt of greenhouse gas emissions.

Many utilities, governments and private sector organizations in Canada offer similar services. For more information, you can contact us.

ecoENERGY Retrofit Incentive for Buildings: Questions and Answers

These frequently asked questions (FAQs) can help you apply for the ecoENERGY Retrofit Incentive for Buildings if you have commercial and institutional buildings up to 20 000 square metres in area. To find specific terms on this page, type Ctrl+F for PCs and Command-F for Macs.

This Web page supplements other “questions and answers” (Q&A) pages from the Office of Energy Efficiency (OEE), including the ecoENERGY Retrofit Incentive for Industry Q&A for manufacturing facilities, and the Federal Buildings Initiative Q&A for Government of Canada buildings.

If you have any questions that are not answered here, please contact the OEE Buildings Division. We respond to all inquiries within five business days, or within 10 business days for technical inquiries.

Important Notice – September 23, 2010

General Questions

Eligibility Criteria

Pre-Project Energy Audit

Application Process and Payment

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Important Notice – September 23, 2010

When was the program launched?

As part of the ecoACTION initiatives, Natural Resources Canada launched the ecoENERGY Retrofit – Small and Medium Organizations program in April 2007.

The program is delivered jointly by the Buildings Division and the Industrial Programs Division of the Office of Energy Efficiency. Targeted to both the commercial/institutional and industrial sectors, the program uses contribution funds to help accelerate the implementation of energy efficiency improvements.

Why was the program's closing date changed?

As demand for this program has been less than expected, the ecoENERGY Retrofit – Small and Medium Organizations program will finish March 31, 2011.

The program is still accepting applications and projects continue to be approved on a first-come, first-served basis. Current processing time for applications received is approximately 40 business days. Please factor this time into your calculation when estimating the completion date of your project in order to ensure you have enough time to complete your project prior to March 31, 2011.

Please note that in order to be eligible for an incentive projects must be completed by March 31, 2011. Projects that are not completed by March 31, 2011 will not be eligible to receive an incentive, even if a contribution agreement has been signed by both NRCan and the company.

This is an example of the Government's continuous commitments to targeting investments to initiatives and technologies that provide the most effective results in terms of meeting our greenhouse gas reduction goals.

In the Speech from the Throne, the Government of Canada reiterated its commitment to investing in the clean energy technologies of the future, making Canada a world leader in the green economy of tomorrow.

Will I be able to complete my renovations between 2011 and 2012 and still receive my incentive?

No. Natural Resources Canada will not approve projects unless they can be completed before March 31, 2011. Projects that are not completed by March 31, 2011 will not be eligible to receive an incentive.

Current processing time for applications received is approximately 40 business days. Please factor this time into your calculation when estimating the completion date of your project in order to ensure you have enough time to complete your project prior to March 31, 2011.

Will the program budget be depleted before I submit my application?

Applications will be received on a first come/first serve basis. To be honoured, applications will need to be filled out correctly and sufficent time must be available for the project to be completed. (current processing time for applications received is approximately 40 business days)

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General Questions

What financial incentives are available to improve energy efficiency in buildings?

Natural Resources Canada (NRCan) offers two financial incentives for businesses, institutions and other organizations to help improve the energy efficiency of their buildings: ecoENERGY Retrofit for energy improvements in small and medium-sized organizations and ecoENERGY for Renewable Heat for solar air and water heating systems.

You can find other energy efficiency incentives from the Government of Canada on the ecoACTION Grants and Rebates Web page. You can receive news and other information on financial incentives for buildings when you subscribe to the Heads Up Energy Efficiency electronic newsletter.

For more information on national and regional incentives, consult the OEE Related Incentives page.

What is the ecoENERGY Retrofit Incentive for Buildings?

NRCan's OEE offers the ecoENERGY Retrofit Incentive for Buildings, the commercial and institutional buildings component of the ecoENERGY Retrofit – Small and Medium Organizations program. The incentive provides funding for organizations with existing buildings with a floor area up to 20 000 square metres who require financial assistance to make energy efficiency improvements.

For more information and eligibility requirements, visit the ecoENERGY Retrofit Web page and read the Application Guide.

How much money can I receive through the ecoENERGY Retrofit Incentive for Buildings?

Funding for the ecoENERGY Retrofit Incentive for Buildings is based on the lowest of the following three calculations:

  • $10 per gigajoule (GJ) of estimated annual energy savings recognized by NRCan,
  • 25 percent of eligible project costs, or
  • $50,000 per project (up to $250,000 per recipient over the life of the program – April 1, 2007 to March 31, 2011).

For more information or to view sample calculation charts, visit the How We Calculate the Incentive section of the Application Guide.

What is a gigajoule (GJ)?

The ecoENERGY Retrofit Incentive for Buildings uses the gigajoule (GJ) as the common measurement for energy consumption and savings. This is a metric term equivalent to 277.8 kWh of electricity, 26.1 m3 of natural gas or 25.8 litres of heating oil.

For example, you could save one GJ per year by replacing two T-12 double-lamp fixtures with Premium T-8's.

For more information or to convert from other energy measurements, use the OEE Gigajoule and Energy Intensity Calculator.

How large is 20 000 square metres in area?

The maximum floor area for eligible buildings in the ecoENERGY Retrofit Incentive for Buildings is 20 000 square metres (215 279 square feet). This is approximately the size of a 12-storey office tower, 13 NHL hockey rinks or 1.5 city blocks in downtown Ottawa. Most large stand-alone “big box” and department stores are less than 15 000 square metres.

For more information on converting square feet to square metres, visit the OEE Gigajoule and Energy Intensity Calculator.

Are there workshops or training to help apply for the ecoENERGY Retrofit Incentive for Buildings?

The OEE offers a series of one-hour Webinars designed for technical service providers and energy auditors to help their clients complete the application forms for ecoENERGY Retrofit Incentive for Buildings. Energy professionals can also participate in training for RETScreen® Version 4.0, a software which can serve as a basis for the pre-project energy audit report.

Although training is not an eligible expense under the incentive, applicants can benefit from associated training, such as the Dollars to $ense workshops and training from outside organizations.

For more information and dates for the Webinars and other training, visit the OEE calendar of events for buildings.

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Eligibility Criteria

Who can apply to the ecoENERGY Retrofit incentive for Buildings, and what types of buildings are eligible?

Owners, managers and lessees of most commercial, institutional and government buildings up to 20 000 square metres in area, including those owned or operated by non-profit organizations, can apply for the ecoENERGY Retrofit Incentive for Buildings. Specific building types include:

  • Commercial or institutional buildings such as retail stores, hotels, restaurants, office buildings, schools (including portables), stand-alone warehouses, health care facilities, places of worship, and college and university buildings;
  • Provincial, territorial or municipal buildings;
  • Federal government buildings that are under a long term (5 years or more) lease by non-federal organizations
  • Multi-unit residential buildings and mixed-use commercial/residential buildings that are not eligible for the ecoENERGY Retrofit – Homes grant.

The following types of buildings are not eligible for the buildings incentive:

For more information, read the Eligibility and Requirements section of the Application Guide.

Are churches and other religious institutions eligible for the ecoENERGY Retrofit Incentive for Buildings?

Yes. Places of worship, such as churches, synagogues, mosques and temples, are considered institutional buildings and may be eligible for the ecoENERGY Retrofit Incentive for Buildings if the project meets all other eligibility requirements.

For more information on national and regional incentives, read the OEE Grants and Incentives Web page.

Are industrial warehouses or offices eligible under the ecoENERGY Retrofit Incentive for Buildings?

If your warehouse or office is attached to a manufacturing facility, you may be eligible for the ecoENERGY Retrofit Incentive for Industry. If your warehouse or office is not attached to a manufacturing facility, you may be eligible for the ecoENERGY Retrofit Incentive for Buildings, even if you are an industrial company.

For more information on national and regional incentives, read the OEE Grants and Incentives Web page.

Are greenhouses eligible under the ecoENERGY Retrofit Incentive for Buildings?

If you have a commercial greenhouse where you sell plants to consumers, you may be eligible for the ecoENERGY Retrofit Incentive for Buildings. If you have an agricultural or forestry greenhouse where you grow plants, you may be eligible for the ecoENERGY Retrofit Incentive for Industry.

For more information on national and regional incentives, read the OEE Grants and Incentives Web page.

Are multi-unit residential buildings (apartments and condominiums) and mixed-use commercial/residential buildings eligible for the ecoENERGY Retrofit Incentive for Buildings?

If you own a small multi-unit residential or mixed-use commercial/residential building, you may be eligible for the ecoENERGY Retrofit – Homes grant. These buildings must use at least 50 percent of the floor space for permanent residential purposes, be less than four storeys above ground, have a ground-floor footprint or foundation of 600 square metres or less (slightly larger than two tennis courts) and contain no specialized commercial equipment (such as commercial ovens or commercial refrigerators).

Most larger residential complexes that are not covered under the residential grant (with four storeys or more, footprint greater than 600 square metres, etc.) may be eligible for the ecoENERGY Retrofit Incentive for Buildings if the project meets all eligibility requirements described in the Application Guide.

For more information on national and regional incentives, read the OEE Grants and Incentives Web page.

What kinds of measures and projects are covered under the ecoENERGY Retrofit Incentive for Buildings?

Most proven energy-saving measures with verifiable costs are eligible for funding under the ecoENERGY Retrofit Incentive for Buildings. Examples of eligible measures and costs include:

  • Lighting
  • Building envelope
  • Controls
  • Water heating
  • Electric motors
  • Heating, ventilation and air-conditioning (HVAC)
  • Replacement equipment or major appliances
  • Geothermal
  • Small wind turbine projects.

Your building, proposal and project must also meet other important requirements. For example, your simple payback must be at least one year and you cannot start the project or incur eligible costs until you receive written approval from NRCan.

For more information on eligibility, consult the Eligibility and Requirements section of the Application Guide.

Are there limits if I apply for grants, incentives and rebates from other organizations in addition to the ecoENERGY Retrofit Incentive for Buildings?

If you apply to the ecoENERGY Retrofit Incentive for Buildings and other incentives for the same project, there are no reductions or limits as long as the combined simple payback is at least one year after including funding from all sources.

You cannot receive multiple incentives from NRCan for the same measures. For example, if your retrofit includes solar air or water heating, you may choose to apply for financial assistance for that specific measure through NRCan's ecoENERGY Renewable Heat program.

For more information and links, visit the Related Incentives Web page.

Can I include multiple properties in one submission to the ecoENERGY Retrofit Incentive for Buildings?

Yes. The OEE encourages you to maximize your incentive by including multiple buildings in your submission to the ecoENERGY Retrofit Incentive for Buildings. Complete a separate Application Form for each building and submit all forms at the same time. The maximum incentive is $50,000 per submission or $250,000 per organization.

For more information on the application process and what forms to submit, refer to the Steps to Apply section of the Application Guide.

Can I apply multiple times to the ecoENERGY Retrofit Incentive for Buildings for the same building?

Yes, but the project cannot involve the same measures, and if you receive funds from the ecoENERGY Retrofit Incentive for Buildings, you must complete your project and have received the payment from NRCan before you can apply again.

For more information on eligible measures, refer to the Eligible Measures and Costs section of the Application Guide

Can I apply to the ecoENERGY Retrofit Incentive for Buildings if I have already started my project?

No. Your project is ineligible for the ecoENERGY Retrofit Incentive for Buildings if you have already started the project or incurred eligible costs before all parties sign a legally-binding Contribution Agreement. This program is meant for projects which need our financial assistance to proceed or expand. This is not a rebate for work that has already been started or completed.

For more information on what is ineligible, refer to the Ineligible Measures and Costs section of the Application Guide.

What is meant by “incurred costs” under the ecoENERGY Retrofit Incentive for Buildings?

“Incurred costs” are eligible costs where the goods have been received by and/or the services have been provided to the proponent or applicant.

For more information on what is considered an incurred cost for the ecoENERGY Retrofit Incentive for Buildings, you can refer to the Proposal Requirements section of the Application Guide.

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Pre-Project Energy Audit

Why do I need a pre-project energy audit before applying to the ecoENERGY Retrofit Incentive for Buildings?

Your pre-project energy audit for the ecoENERGY Retrofit Incentive for Buildings will provide the technical data that you will need when completing your Application Form. OEE technical staff use both your audit and the information you provide in your application forms to evaluate your proposed energy savings and determine your eligible incentive. When you access the application guide and forms, you will receive a sample audit.

An audit is a wise investment because it can help you understand why, when and where you use energy, while highlighting possible energy and cost-saving opportunities that you can consider implementing now or later.

For more information on these reports, you can refer to the Conduct a Pre-Project Energy Audit section of the Application Guide.

Who can perform a pre-project energy audit for the ecoENERGY Retrofit Incentive for Buildings, and how can I find these professionals?

There is a growing number of professionals in Canada who can perform a pre-project energy audit for the ecoENERGY Retrofit Incentive for Buildings. The following is a summary list of the acceptable qualifications for individuals with at least two years experience performing audits in buildings.

  • Professional Engineers (P.Eng.)
  • Certified Engineering Technologists (CET) or equivalent
  • Architects
  • Certified Energy Managers (CEM)
  • Engineers-in-Training (EIT) under the supervision of a P.Eng. or a CET
  • Lighting specialist such as Certified Lighting Consultant (CLC) or Lighting Certification (LC) if the project is limited to lighting
  • Certified Energy Advisors (CEA) if the building has a floor area under 600 square metres with no specialized equipment

The OEE does not recommend specific firms, but there are a number of ways to find qualified professionals:

  • The OEE maintains a directory of energy management service providers. This list is limited: not all organizations have the required experience to perform audits, and the OEE does not pre-qualify, endorse or guarantee any of these firms, their work or the information they have provided.
  • The Association of Canadian Engineering Companies provides a tool to search for firms by location and specialty (Under “Industry Sectors”, choose “Energy”), as well as a Best Practice for Selecting Engineers guide.
  • Other resources include your local yellow pages or an Internet search engine such as Google maps. You can try terms such as “Professional Engineer” or “Certified Engineering Technologist”.
  • Your organization may already have qualified individuals in-house to complete a pre-project energy audit, or if you represent a church, non-profit organization or condominium association, you may have members who have the necessary experience and training.
  • Some provinces and energy utilities can help with audits as part of their own related programs.

If you still cannot find a professional after trying the methods above, contact us by e-mail and include the location, type and approximate size of your building.

For more information on what is required in the audit and who can perform the audit, consult the Conduct a Pre-Project Energy Audit section of the Application Guide.

Do I need a pre-project energy audit for each building if applying to the ecoENERGY Retrofit Incentive for Buildings?

If you are applying for multiple buildings at the same time under ecoENERGY Retrofit Incentive for Buildings, you can submit one bundled pre-project energy audit report for all buildings as long as the report includes an analysis of each individual building. You will need to complete a separate application form for each building and send them all at one time to be considered as one project submission.

For more information on the audits, consult the Conduct a Pre-Project Energy Audit section of the Application Guide.

Can I supply a lighting audit for the ecoENERGY Retrofit Incentive for Buildings if the project only involves lighting measures?

Yes. If your project only involves lighting measures, you can supply a detailed lighting audit instead of a pre-project energy audit for the ecoENERGY Retrofit Incentive for Buildings. You will need to hire a lighting specialist, such as a professional with a Certified Lighting Consultant (CLC) or Lighting Certification (LC) designation, who has at least three years experience performing lighting audits.

For more information on the audits, consult the Conduct a Pre-Project Energy Audit section of the Application Guide.

Is a computer energy simulation or model required to conduct a pre-project energy audit for the ecoENERGY Retrofit Incentive for Buildings?

You can use computerized simulations or models for the ecoENERGY Retrofit Incentive for Buildings, but it is not required to complete the audit or the application form.

For example, an experienced professional can estimate the energy end-use breakdown of a building by analyzing a month-by month graphs of energy consumption. Your electricity consumption in the winter months most likely represents your motors and plug-load where the increase in the summer months most likely represents your air conditioning. For gas or oil, the spike in the winter months most likely represents space heating. To compare the energy end-use breakdown for your building with benchmark norms, you may use our Screening Tool originally designed for new buildings.

NRCan also offers a number of other tools and calculators which can help prepare your audit, including RETScreen® Clean Energy Project Analysis Software, the Boiler Efficiency Calculator, CanMOST – Canadian Motor Selection Tool, the ENERGY STAR® Simple Savings Calculator and the Simple Payback Calculator (Lighting).

For more information on the level of detail required in the audits, consult the Conduct a Pre-Project Energy Audit section of the Application Guide.

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Application Process and Payment

What are the steps to apply and receive funds for the ecoENERGY Retrofit Incentive for Buildings?

The ecoENERGY Retrofit Incentive for Buildings has 10 steps:

Step 1: You access the application guide and forms
Step 2: You conduct a pre-project energy audit
Step 3: You complete the application form
Step 4: You submit all documents for consideration
Step 5: We review and approve proposal
Step 6: You implement the project and send status reports
Step 7: You submit the final report form and claim for payment form
Step 8: We verify the project
Step 9: We arrange payment
Step 10: Everyone celebrates success

For more information on these steps, you can refer to the Steps to Apply section of the Application Guide.

Can I receive a paper application form for the ecoENERGY Retrofit Incentive for Buildings?

The ecoENERGY Retrofit Incentive for Buildings Application Form is available as a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet; the Application Guide is available as a Web page and downloadable PDF; and the other materials are available as PDF or Microsoft Word documents.

The program does not generally send out paper application forms, but if you or your service provider does not have access to a computer, you can complete a paper version. As explained in the Access the Application Guide and Forms section of the Application Guide, this will delay the approval process because program staff will need time to manually enter your data on a computer before they can start processing your proposal.

For more information on how to receive the application form and materials, visit the Application Guide and Forms Web page.

Why would the program adjust my estimated costs or savings in my ecoENERGY Retrofit Incentive for Buildings application?

The funding for ecoENERGY Retrofit Incentive for Buildings is based on estimated project costs and energy savings determined by your technical service provider or energy auditor. OEE technical staff review your application and may adjust or limit these estimates based on benchmarks used by NRCan.

For more information on reviews of applications, consult the OEE Review and Approval Process section of the Application Guide.

How long does it take to receive approval to start my project under the ecoENERGY Retrofit Incentive for Buildings?

The average turnaround time to review and approve your submission to the ecoENERGY Retrofit Incentive for Buildings is six to eight weeks assuming your application forms are complete and accurate. This includes time to register your project, transfer your project info into the OEE database, complete a technical review of the proposed project, submit the project for senior management approval, draft the Contribution Agreement (CA) and arrange signatures.

For more information on the application process and timelines, consult the Steps to Apply section of the Application Guide.

When can I expect to receive payment for the ecoENERGY Retrofit Incentive for Buildings?

You will receive a single payment for the ecoENERGY Retrofit Incentive for Buildings after you complete the project and we verify your work. We can issue a cheque within 30 days.

For more information on the application process and timelines, consult the Steps to Apply section of the Application Guide.

Can I speak with someone if I need help with the ecoENERGY Retrofit Incentive for Buildings?

We offer a number of resources to help you apply for the ecoENERGY Retrofit Incentive for Buildings. This includes a one-page fact sheet, the ecoENERGY Retrofit Web pages, the detailed Application Guide and this list of Q&As. Representatives of the OEE are also available during the Webinars and in certain events listed in the calendar.

If you still have questions, fill in the Contact Us – Buildings Web form or send an e-mail. To keep informed about future changes, you can also ask a question when you subscribe to the Heads Up newsletter. Finally, you can call 1-877-360-5500 for basic questions.

For more information on how to automatically receive all program documents, consult the Access the Application Guide and Forms page.

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