VCIB and City of Ottawa partner to help homeowners reduce emissions

Vancity Community Investment Bank (VCIB) is supporting Ottawa’s Better Homes Ottawa Loan Program, which allows residents to borrow funds for home energy improvement projects, with an investment of $33.9 million.
The Better Homes Ottawa Loan Program offers 20-year, low-interest loans from $15,000 to $125,000. Homeowners will repay the loans to the City of Ottawa via a local improvement charge attached to their property tax bill.

Linking the loan to the property encourages owners to move forward with long-term retrofits without the worry that they will be unable to recoup their expenses should they wish to sell. At the time of sale, the new homeowner will assume the balance of the loan, while also benefiting from reduced energy expenses for the duration of their ownership. 

Eligible upgrades include new windows and doors to enhance the building envelope, heat pumps or other energy efficient HVAC appliances, and solar or geothermal technologies which make use of renewable energy. The program is estimated to reduce individual household greenhouse gas emissions by 30% per year.

“The Better Homes Ottawa Loan Program is a further demonstration of the City of Ottawa’s ongoing commitment to reducing its carbon footprint, while supporting residents to do the same,” said Mark Martin, a manager within the City of Ottawa’s Finance Department who has worked closely with the Climate Change and Resiliency team responsible for the Better Homes Ottawa Loan Program. “On top of the innovative Better Homes Loan program, the city is the largest municipal issuer of green bond financing in Canada.” 

VCIB’s partnership helped make this program possible, as private capital was required for the City of Ottawa to access $12.2 million in funding through the Federation of Canadian Municipalities’ Green Municipal Fund. The first $3.9 million financing drawn from VCIB provided capital for the very successful pilot program. The second tranche of $30 million will allow the program to expand to many more residents, greatly increasing its impact.

“VCIB is committed to helping the public take action on climate change,” said Jonathan Frank, VCIB’s Head of Business Development, Clean Energy. “The Better Homes Ottawa Loan Program’s successful start proved that there is appetite for residents to do their part in reducing emissions. With attractive financing options and supporting public and private partnerships in place, these kinds of municipal programs can have a huge impact and will help Canada move closer to its net-zero goals.”

For more information about VCIB’s clean energy financing, visit vcib.ca/clean-energy.

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