BMO has a pretty cool deal going on right now. They are offering an Eco Smart Mortgage; a premium mortgage rate for homes that meet BMO’s energy efficiency criteria. The offer is good for new mortgages, or for those looking to refinance. We took the leap and moved our mortgage to a different lender last spring. It is amazing how much of a savings one percent or even half a percent can make when you are talking interest on $100,000 or more. BMO wants to encourage and reward Canadian homeowners who are looking to reduce their energy usage, with a special reduced mortgage rate. It’s currently at 3.89% for a five year fixed term. That is insanely low! It is low enough to have me wondering if I want to move my mortgage a second time.
Qualifying for the special rate is relatively simple. You just head over to the BMO website and download their checklist. To qualify the home has to have a minimum of six out of seven of the listed energy efficient features. If you’re serious about taking this step, BMO will arrange for a “third party” home appraiser or energy auditor to come out and confirm the home’s qualifications. You have to pay for this inspection, but if you are getting a mortgage, or refinancing odds are you are going to be paying for a home appraisal of some sort. Their website suggests that it should cost about $50 more to have the home appraiser also certify your house for their energy checklist.
Ok, so on to the checklist. I’m eager to see if my house, which was built in 1954, will qualify….
no Air Cooling System.
#3. Good Quality Attic Insulation.
We have added additional insulation to the home since moving in. For one, we added insulation to the interior basement walls on the unfinished half of our basement. Again, money well spent as we saw a noticeable savings on our energy bill and also our basement now maintains a more even temperature range. As the attic is already insulated I’ve never seriously considered that it might require additional insulation. Hmm. It says here that R-49 for fiberglass insulation is between 13.2 and 16.3 inches thick. I just poked my head in the attic and measured our insulation… Around two to three inches. Wow. That is woefully inadequate. I think re-insulating the attic just got bumped to the top of my home-improvement to-do list.
#4. All windows in the home must be ENERGY STAR qualified with no crack or air gaps.
The windows around the house are all newer, and in excellent shape (or at least that’s what I was assured by the house inspector), but none of them have Energy Star labels (I didn’t even know it was possible for windows to have that!) Also the front of the house has two large bay windows that are older, quite possibly original to the house and as much as I hate to say it probably should be replaced. I am guessing I would fail this one, based on the front bay windows if nothing else.
#5. Domestic Hot Water System. ENERGY STAR qualified gas storage or condensing hot water heater.
After poking about with a flash light for a bit I was happy to find that the new hot water tank, which my rental company installed last month, is indeed Energy Star certified. Yeah! There was no logo, but there was a very small plane, hard to find label which reads “This unit complies with Energy Star regulations as of September 2010”.
#6. Doors. All doors separating heated from unheated spaces (eg. exterior doors leading to an attached garage) must be Energy Star qualified, or metal or fiberglass insulated doors.
|I suspect this doesn’t count
as an energy efficient door
#7. At least three major appliances (dishwasher, freezer, refrigerator, and/or washing machine) must be ENERGY STAR qualified.
|ENERGY STAR label, check.|
How’d we do?
My overall score is only three out of seven. Ouch. My house failed. Wah. To qualify for the program I would need to buy new windows, a new cellar door and/or a new side door, a new refrigerator, and add additional attic insulation. Again, I say ouch. Of course these are all improvements that I know I should be looking into anyways, as I’m sure the energy savings over time would be more then worth it.
So guys, how does your house rate? Would you get a passing score? Are you considering making a few home improvements? A $50 RONA gift card might help with that…
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