June 25, 2013
Alex Consiglio, Toronto Star
The city may launch a $20-million retrofitting program that will loan money to homeowners — and give them up to 20 years to repay — for energy efficient upgrades.
The city would loan homeowners money for gas, water or electrical retrofits and recoup its investment by adding a “special charge” to the property tax of the upgraded residence.
Franz Hartmann, executive director of the Toronto Environmental Alliance, says the program, to be piloted this fall if approved, is a no-brainer.
“We got to do everything we can to reduce our environmental footprint,” he said. “This is a win, win, win.”
Hartmann said because the program won’t cost the city any money — external partners would help fund its start-up and loans would be recouped — taxpayers need not worry it’s a burden on them.
The $20 million would be sourced from sourced from the city’s “working capital with no reliance on general property tax revenues,” a staff report on the program notes.
Hartmann added that because homeowners simply have a charge added to their property tax, which would transfer to the home’s next owner if the house were sold, the voluntary program will attract many participants.
“I don’t see a downside too it,” he said. “It’s a great option.”
In the staff report, to be considered by the executive committee July 3, it’s also noted the program would create jobs, save homeowners money on energy bills and “annually avoid 5,000 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions.”
Some examples of possible work include furnace or boiler replacement, insulation upgrades, window replacements and the installation of low-flow toilets.
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