City of Toronto launches Home Energy Loan Program

The City of Toronto today announced the launch of a three-year pilot program called the Home Energy Loan Program (HELP). HELP is a new financing tool to help homeowners improve their home's energy efficiency and save money. Through the program, qualifying homeowners can apply for a low interest loan for energy efficient improvements, then pay back the City over time via installments on
their property tax bill. Ten million dollars in HELP funding is available to support improvements such as upgrading to a high efficiency furnace, insulation upgrades, and energy efficiency windows and doors. "Investments in energy efficiency and water conservation create high-quality jobs, reduce energy use and keep housing affordable," said Councillor Michael Thompson (Ward 37 Scarborough Centre), Chair of Toronto's Economic Development Committee. "The Home Energy Loan Program provides financing for homeowners that enables them to improve the energy efficiency of their homes, reduce energy consumption and cut costs." The City of Toronto established the HELP pilot as a part of its commitment to achieving an 80 per cent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions from 1990 levels by 2050. Buildings, including homes, account for about 44 per cent of the greenhouse gas emissions. HELP offers unique benefits in comparison to traditional financing that a homeowner might consider when making energy efficiency improvements, including equal access to financing regardless of homeowner income level, low fixed-interest rates and longer repayment terms of up to 15 years. And, because the LIC is attached to the property, not the owner, the financial obligation automatically transfers to successive owners upon sale of the property. The pilot program is currently available in specific neighbourhoods in Toronto. The program will be expanded to additional areas in later phases of the pilot program. Current eligible areas include the following neighbourhoods:
  • Black Creek: postal code that starts with M3N
  • Toronto Centre/Riverdale/Beaches: M4E, M4L, M4M, M4J, M1N, M4C, M4K, M5A
  • Junction/High Park: M6P, M6S
  • South Scarborough: M1M, M1E, M1C, M1L, M1K, M4B
How the program works A homeowner would voluntarily apply to the Home Energy Loan Program and enter into an agreement with the City to undertake qualifying energy efficiency and water conservation improvements. The City would then impose a Local Improvement Charge (LIC) equal to the cost of the improvements, plus interest and an administrative charge incurred by the City, on the participating property. The LIC appears as a surcharge on the property tax bill. Property owners make payments through the tax bill over an agreed term. The payment obligation attaches to the property, not the owner, and transfers automatically to successive owners. By leveraging its borrowing power, the City is offering qualifying homeowners fixed interest rates starting at 2.5 per cent with payment terms of up to 15 years.

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