Frequently Asked Questions
1. What is the Total Home Energy Savings Program?
The Total Home Energy Savings Program provides financial incentives to homeowners who make eligible energy efficiency upgrades to their homes.
2. How does it work?
It all starts with your initial Home Energy Evaluation. For $99, a Certified Energy Advisor will evaluate your home – from the attic to the basement- to find out where your home needs upgrades. Your initial Home Energy Evaluation will give you customized recommendations to improve your home’s space and water heating energy efficiency. Then, you have nine months to complete any upgrades and the Certified Energy Advisor will return to your home to document the upgrades you perform. This information is then used to determine the financial incentives for which you are eligible. To get started, register here!
3. What is the cost to participate?
Homeowners are responsible for paying a $99 fee +HST to the Certified Energy Advisor at the time of the initial Home Energy Evaluation. This $99 fee (plus HST) covers both the Initial and the Final Home Energy Evaluations.
4. What information is required on receipts to qualify for incentives?
To receive incentives, receipts must show:
- Invoice/Receipt header (quotes or statements of work include proposed work and price estimates only and do not confirm services provided)
- Invoice/Receipt #
- Invoice/Receipt Date
- Contractor (or Company) Name
- Contractor (or Company) Address
- Customer Name
- Detailed description of services including R-Value added, insulation type, upgrade area in the home, e.g. "added R-60 blown cellulose in attic".
- Product manufacturer and model number for equipment such as heating systems, water heating systems, HRVs, pool pumps, and drain water heat recovery units.
- Efficiencies and performance criteria.
- AHRI number for heat pump equipment.
- Total amount charged
5. Can I begin to do work before I've had a Home Evaluation??
No. You must wait until you have the initial Home Energy Evaluation before purchasing or installing any products or materials.
6. Can I do the work myself?
Yes, you can do the work yourself; however, you are still required to provide receipts for all materials purchased.
7. What are ductless mini-split heat pumps?
Ductless mini-split heat pumps are a type of home heating technology. A heat pump actually takes heat from the air outside and brings it into your home using a series of pumps and compressors.
During the summer a heat pump can cool your home by taking the heat from inside your home and moving it outside. Heat pumps can heat or cool your home using ductwork - like a furnace - or they can be ductless.
A ductless heat pump has no ductwork. Instead it has a supply head mounted on the wall inside your home to supply heat into the room. A split system means it has two pieces: one for the outside of your home, and one for the inside. Mini just means that it is smaller in both size and heating output than the bigger whole-home heat pumps.
8. Should I consider a heat pump?
The Total Home Energy Savings Program offers incentives for making your home more efficient through insulation, air sealing, and windows, among other products.
Before considering installing a heat pump as a heating system, consider investing in upgrades that will ensure your home is energy efficient and less costly and easier to heat. When a home has well insulated walls, attic and basement and has a high level of airtightness through air sealing it will require less energy to heat or cool and it will stay warmer or cooler longer no matter what type of heating system you have.
Heat pumps are a great option for many homes in New Brunswick. They offer many advantages including energy savings on heating costs, two to three times higher efficiency than electric baseboards and the option of air conditioning in the summer.
Even though most of your heating needs will be met by the heat pump in the areas where it is installed you will still need to keep your current heating system in working order to provide a source of back up heat if the temperature becomes extremely cold and the heat pump can no longer work efficiently.
9. What should I consider when buying a cold climate heat pump?
A cold climate heat pump is a special type that is designed to still work at temperatures at or below -25°C. Since a heat pump works by taking heat from outside and bringing it into your home, the colder it is outside, the less effective the heat pump becomes. Cold climate heat pumps use special technology to work at low temperatures. While most heat pumps can still provide some heat at temperatures below -10°C, cold climate heat pumps are rated to provide anywhere from 60-100% of your heating needs at -20°C – and some systems can still provide heating at temperatures as low as -30°C.
Cold climate heat pumps are a great solution for New Brunswick Homeowners to help them reduce their heating bills year round, but also to take the edge off of those high January and February heating bills when outdoor temperatures drop below -15°C.
Due to their ability to provide both heating and cooling, heat pumps are becoming very popular. But not all heat pumps are the same. Some are actually designed to perform better as an air-conditioner, but aren’t that great at providing heat during harsh New Brunswick winters.
When looking for a heat pump for our New Brunswick climate you need pay attention to the Heating Season Performance Factor (HSPF). The higher the HSPF, the more energy you’ll save. Many manufacturers will advertise products as having a high SEER, which stands for Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio. This is a measurement of cooling efficiency.
Don’t buy products based on their SEER rating – look for the HSPF.
To help homeowners determine how their heat pump compares to others on the market, the Consortium for Energy Efficiency (CEE) has created a rating system that breaks heat pumps down into three categories based on their performance:
CEE Tier 1
Entry level model
CEE Tier 2
CEE Tier 3
High Performance model
HSPF 8.7 (Best Energy Savings in Winter)
10. What kind of warranty is offered with heat pumps?
Your heating contractor can provide you with warranty information for the various brands of heat pumps. Warranties can range in coverage and length – from 5 to 12 years.
11. Do heat pumps require any maintenance?
As a homeowner simply changing filters and keeping coils clean is most of the maintenance required. During winter you may need clear snow and ice away from the outdoor unit to ensure it can work properly and go through a regular normal defrost cycle.
12. Should I ask about a service plan for a heat pump?
Yes. You should ask the company what they offer for a service plan. Some companies offer free service within the first year, others offer $99/year general maintenance, etc. Make sure you know what is/isn’t covered under their warranty and service plan to ensure there are no unexpected costs.
13. Does the program provide incentives for windows?
Yes, windows that meet ENERGY STAR Version 5 criteria introduced in January 2020 are eligible for incentives.
14. What makes a window energy efficient?
Windows that are eligible for incentives have some more advanced features such as three layers of glass, insulating materials separating the glass layers, special gasses between the glass, and careful design of the window frame to avoid losing heat to the outside. None of these requirements are mandatory, but these features are typically found in Energy Star Version 5 qualified windows.
15. Are energy efficient windows more expensive?
Generally, yes. Windows that meet Energy Star Version 5 criteria are about 5% to 25% more expensive than windows that only meet minimum building code requirements.
16. If I am in the program and I want incentives towards new energy efficient windows, what do I need to do?
You have to be registered in the program and have your initial Energy Evaluation performed on your home before purchasing or installing the windows. Keep the receipt from where you bought the windows or who installed them (or both). Also, it is important that you keep the stickers that are attached to the window that proves they are Energy Star Version 5 qualified; you can remove them from the window and attach them to a piece of paper.
17. What are the benefits of energy efficient windows?
First, although people talk about costs and savings before they start doing energy efficiency work on their homes, NB Power has found that after the work is performed, people talk about the many other benefits of energy efficiency instead of what they are saving. Properly installed energy efficient windows:
- Help reduce drafts and currents of cold and warm air moving throughout a room.
- Feel warmer to sit near because the two layers of glass have a coating (Low Emissivity coatings or Low E) that reflects body heat back into the room. Old single pane windows or double glazed windows with only one Low E coating let more heat escape to the outdoors.
- Make the home quieter because of the extra glass and insulation between the window panes and within the framing components.
- Reduce condensation because the inner glass surface is much warmer. Very high performing windows can eliminate condensation altogether. Condensation is an annoyance but can also lead to mould formation if it occurs consistently.
Of course, Energy efficient windows also save energy and money. It is difficult to provide estimates for how much can be saved, that is what the initial Energy Evaluation can help with! However, because even the very best windows have low insulating capabilities compared to walls or other surfaces, the energy savings and payback period are often not attractive. Energy efficient windows are still a good decision as they help reduce a home’s impact on the environment by reducing the heating requirements of the home and therefore reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
18. Are windows the first thing I should focus on improving in my home?
It depends on the unique environment of your home. Typically, participants achieve better energy savings by first making sure that their attic and basement walls are properly insulated.