If you are planning on making your home more energy efficient, the province can save you money. The Nova Scotia EnerGuide for Houses program was launched today, Oct. 3, at an event in Dartmouth by Energy Minister Bill Dooks. “We are helping Nova Scotians make their homes energy efficient,” said Mr. Dooks during his remarks to the Nova Scotia Homebuilders Association. “These efforts will help Nova Scotians save money, help the environment and make their homes more comfortable to live in.” Under the new Nova Scotia EnerGuide for Houses program, householders can get a grant of up to $2,000 for energy efficient repairs. The amount of the grant is awarded based on the improved energy efficiency rating of the home. This program replaces a similar federal initiative that ended in May. An additional $400 grant is available for single homeowners with net incomes of less than $25,000 and families with net incomes of less than $40,000. Mr. Dooks said programs such as these give Nova Scotians practical advice on how best to improve the energy efficiency of their homes, increase comfort, and save money. “We know that about 25 per cent of Nova Scotians plan on making energy efficient home improvements this year,” said Mr. Dooks. “In a province that has some of the oldest housing stock in the country, our programs make economic and environmental sense.” On average, Nova Scotians saved 30 per cent of their energy costs by making energy efficient upgrades to their home under the former program. Each participant spent about $5,000 in home improvements. The energy improvements paid for themselves through energy savings within two to five years, on average. Judy McMullen, executive director of Clean Nova Scotia, said the province’s actions are ensuring that a valuable program continues to operate. “When the EnerGuide service was cancelled, we heard from hundreds of concerned Nova Scotians. The program is both popular and valuable, since it can address problems such as greenhouse gas emissions and energy poverty for the long term,” said Ms. McMullen. “We hope that this commitment from the province encourages even more Nova Scotians to take advantage of the initiative and rebate.” Terry Watters, president of Sustainable Housing, said Nova Scotia’s efforts mean continued employment for home auditors in the province. “Over the course of the past seven years, providing EnerGuide for Houses energy evaluations, we have developed a pool of highly skilled energy advisors,” said Mr. Watters. “Advisors perform evaluations and provide recommendations to assist homeowners in making energy upgrade decisions that will have the greatest impact on improving home comfort and reducing heating costs.” To participate in the Nova Scotia EnerGuide for Houses program, homeowners must first contact a home energy evaluation group to schedule an energy evaluation. The home evaluation involves determining existing insulation values, a blower door test to identify air leakage points, a report with customized energy upgrade recommendations, and an estimate of potential annual energy savings. A preliminary EnerGuide rating is assigned to the home. There is a $150 fee for the audit. The fee will be rebated for homeowners that qualify for the low- to modest-income EnerGuide grant. Three organizations in Nova Scotia offer the audit service on behalf of the province: A second home energy evaluation should be conducted after the homeowner makes the recommended energy efficiency upgrades to the home. This must be done within 18 months of the first audit. The energy advisor will then determine the new EnerGuide rating. The amount of the rebate from the province will be determined based on the EnerGuide rating increase. Average provincial grants in the previous program were $824. Homeowners do not need to apply for the grant; however, an application is necessary for the additional low-income subsidy. Applications for subsidies for low- to modest-income homeowners are available at all Access Nova Scotia centres, through the energy auditing groups, on the Department of Energy website at www.gov.ns.ca/energy/energuide or by calling 1-800-670-4357. Sustainable Housing,(provincewide, including Halifax Regional Municipality) 1-877-722-2842 Clean Nova Scotia,(Halifax Regional Municipality) 1-800-665-5377 Atlantic Coastal Action Program,(Cape Breton Regional Municipality) 902-567-1628.