Better Homes Ottawa – Loan Program


Better Homes Ottawa

The Better Homes Ottawa Loan Program (BHOLP) is a City of Ottawa loan program for home energy efficiency retrofits. It aims to support local residents to reduce energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions.

This program offers low-interest, 20-year loans of up to $125,000 (or 10 percent of the current value assessment of the home, whichever is less) to cover the cost of home energy improvements. Eligible measures include thermal envelope upgrades, mechanical systems, renewable energy, EV chargers (Level 2), and the addition of rental suites (up to a maximum of 30% of the value of the loan).

With low-interest, 20-year loans that are tied to the property, not the individual, the Better Homes Ottawa – Loan Program makes it easier and more affordable for homeowners to pay for these home improvements over time. The minimum loan amount which will be issued to an applicant is $10,000.

The BHOLP was launched in November 2021 with a total of $8 million in zero-interest loans and $4 million in low-interest loans (3.25% interest) – these funds are being disbursed to the first round of applicants. On June 30, 2022, the City of Ottawa recapitalized the Better Homes Ottawa Loan Program by securing a $15 million loan agreement with VanCity Community Investment Bank. This will allow an estimated 500 residents of Ottawa to access fixed rate (4.33% interest), 20-year loans from the City to undertake energy efficiency retrofits and other home improvements.

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Application Process

Eligibility Requirements

Eligible Upgrades

Attic, walls, foundation, and basement insulation and associated requirements such as attic ventilation, foundation drainage and waterproofing; air barriers, air sealing, and weather stripping; windows, skylights, tubular daylighting devices, exterior window shadings or films, and exterior door replacements (provided they are around heated space); green roofs.

Thermostats and controllers, energy or heat recovery ventilators, air-source heat pumps, ground-source heat pumps, biomass wood heaters, heat distribution systems, duct sealing, fans, associated electrical equipment as required

High-efficiency water heaters (e.g., heat pump, electric water tanks, etc.), drain water heat recovery systems, solar hot water systems.

Solar photovoltaic systems, electric vehicle charging stations (Level 2), battery storage devices, associated electrical and load management equipment.

Low-flow toilets, hot water circulation pump and system, greywater treatment system, closed-loop shower water recovery system, rainwater harvesting system (subject to eligibility criteria).

Includes environmental remediation, electrical wiring and panel upgrades that are required undertakings to permit energy improvements.

Includes back-flow prevention valves, sump pumps, basement waterproofing, permeable pavement, and tree planting.

Costs for “other” items combined must not exceed 30% of the total loan value:

  • Audit costs, permit costs, demolition costs, paint and drywall repairs related to insulation improvements, waste or asbestos removal related to retrofits;
    Additional dwellings such as granny suites or basement apartments.


You can find all the eligibility criteria for the Better Homes Ottawa – Loan Program here.

You can find a full list of eligible measures here. If you have questions, or you don’t see the measure you want to be listed, contact us.

The loan can be paid back over a twenty-year period, or you can pay it back as quickly as you choose by making lump-sum payments.

The Better Homes Ottawa Loan is tied to your property, and not on the individual’s credit rating. That means that if you sell your home, the new owner will take on the repayment of the loan – and also all the energy savings gained. This reduces the risk to you of investing in a property you may only own for a shorter period of time. You’ll get all the energy savings gains while you live there, and when you move, the payments (and gains) transfer to the new owner.

The Better Homes Ottawa Loans are zero-interest for the first 1-2 years of the loan program, or until total loans disbursed, exceed $8M. That’s one reason to act fast! You will be informed of the current interest rate on loans when you apply.

Similar to the process used to determine your property tax, your home value is based on your MPAC assessment. You can find this value assessment on your most recent property tax bill or online at MyServiceOttawa (to set up an account, follow these instructions).

Yes, provided that you stay under the lower of 10% of property value cap or $125,000.

Only the completed work and submitted receipts will be eligible for the loan value. The air sealing improvement requirement, if applicable, must also be met.

You can apply for up to the lesser of $125,000 or 10% of the value of your property for eligible costs.

To be eligible for the Better Homes Ottawa Loan, you will need to have a home energy assessment by a registered energy advisor. This report will tell you which measures will save you energy, and will provide recommendations for your home on the order in which to do the measures, and a few possible pathways to retrofit your home. You will also receive a report outlining how to get your home to net-zero energy. Then, if you need more assistance, you can schedule a session with one of our Energy Coaches, call our Retrofit Navigator, or sign up for the full Home Retrofit Planner Service. Homesol Building Solutions has been offering these services for more than 20 years and we are second to none with our expertise and experience.

Good question. The short answer is that homes that share inside walls generally use less energy per square foot to heat and cool. That means multi-unit buildings are a better bet for energy efficiency. They also create more homes per square foot in the urban centre, which is great for densification and for addressing our housing shortage.

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