Alberta Joins the Ranks of Eco-Rebate-Friendly Provinces

BC may well be the best province to live in when it comes to available federal and provincial support for greening your home.

Sales tax exemptions on Energy Star windows, insulation and more, plus Livesmart BC - a rebate program that matches federal Ecoenergy rebates for BC residents, all make living greener more affordable out West.

On the East coast, even PEI boasts an impressive list of supports from low-interest financing on home energy upgrade costs, to sales tax rebates on upgrade expenses and renewable energy equipment.

In fact, up until this week, every province in the country other than Alberta generously offered financial assistance programs to help home owners reduce the carbon footprints of their homes.

In many ways Alberta was a black hole - a wasteland where little help was to be found for those wanting to save energy. Outdone by every province including the Maritimes, Alberta has now waged a come-back, and an impressive one at that. Albertans can now save from the moment they pay for an energy audit.

Three major qualifying upgrades, new efficient furnace or boiler, insulation upgrades, and efficient water heaters, can qualify you for up to $4,050! But there's also a bonus for new home buyers.

As of January 1, 2009, those who take possession of a new home with an Energuide rating of 80 or higher could see between $1,500 and $10,000 coming back to them! Not only are eco-minded buyers now rewarded for their actions, but builders of efficient homes will most certainly see a new wave of demand directly related to this program.

Alberta's New Eco-rebate Program

Who can apply What’s eligible Rebate value
*New home buyers New homes -must achieve a higher energy efficiency standard (an EnerGuide efficiency rating of 80 or higher) $1,500-10,000
*Homeowners High efficiency heating systems -includes furnaces or boilers $400-600
*Homeowners Clothes washers -all ENERGY STAR® clothes washers $100
*Homeowners Insulation -upgrading insulation based on ecoENERGY home evaluation Up to $3,150
*Homeowners Hot water heaters -energy efficient models based on ecoENERGY home evaluation $250-300
*Homeowners Energy evaluation -federal ecoENERGY home evaluation $100 pre-retrofit evaluation $100 post-retrofit evaluation
**Taxi owners and operators Gasoline-electric hybrid vehicle Up to $3,000

*Eligible purchases for new home buyers and homeowners are retroactive to January 1, 2009.

**Taxi-operator hybrid rebates are retroactive to July 1, 2008.

For specific information on what purchases are eligible and how to apply for a rebate, visit, or call toll free at 1-888-537-7202.

(cross-posted at

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We live in an old house in Edmonton that badly needs wall insulation upgrading. The exterior is stucco, which we've thought of redoing. Can you suggest any effective insulation materials that are more environmentally friendy than styrofoam?

One option would be install what's called a Larsen truss wall system on the outside. This involves building a second wall. They, you could blow cellulose insulation (recycled newspaper) between the two walls. The big problem these days seems to be finding a knowledgeable contractor...

Can you get me a list of outfits that will do an energy audit on my home before I do some renovations? I know ATCO is one of them.

Plug your postal code into this website.

After reading this I started looking into Larsen trusses. It seems like a really smart way to do this... do you know of anyone who has had it done in Edmonton? It was developed here after all! It looks like it is likely more economical in the $/R value then most other more conventional ways of dealing with this too.


The houses with the lowest air leakage in the R-2000 database (<0.2ACH@50Pa) were double-walled construction.

The average new house in Canada has R19 fiberglass batt wall insulation & around 3.5ACH@50Pa air tightness. For a cost of a few hundred dollars more, that house can be built to get <0.6ACH@50Pa; glue/nail sheathing to the exterior studs with full blocking at all panel edges, & seal each individual wall cavity with a bead of acoustical sealant over all the studs before the poly vapor barrier is applied.

For a modest additional cost an interior 2x4 wall can be built (to get double-wall construction). An added bonus(for almost no additional cost) would be incorporating the Airtight Drywall approach.


I've been looking at the double wall construction in the net zero houses for some time, and wondering if there is any *relatively* economical way to do that in a retrofit. Like the first poster, we are starting the process of retrofitting a 1950s bungalow (also covered in stucco) and doing some other renos. The Larsen truss was developed for retrofitting (here in Edmonton from what I've read), so I'm wondering if anyone has done a Larsen truss retrofit here in Edmonton and if there are any knowledgeable contractors out there. My sense is this may not be that much more expensive than the more conventional approaches and it yields a significantly higher R-value and a lot less thermal bridging.

One work of caution when renovating an older house:  Watch out for asbestos.  I've heard that, in the old days, asbestos was added to pretty much everything.  In my place, I had asbestos tape on the furnace duct joints and in the backing of the linoleum on the basement floor.  We paid to have the duct tape removed and covered the floor with stringers made from 2x4's then put sub-floor on top of the stringers - effectively sealing the asbestos in.  The old drywall mud at my place came back as asbestos free which was lucky.  I've heard stories of drywallers throwing handfuls of asbestos into the mud to make it stronger.  

I know that adding asbestos to stucco was a very common practice.  If you're planning on stripping the stucco off, you might want to get some tested.  It's definitely something you want to be careful with.


Looking for list of people who do home energy audits

Uh, like I said before, plug your postal code into this website..

anyone here have condensation on their vinyl sliding windows during winter (it usually forms near the bottom edge of the window)? is there any way to fix this? The plastic sheet around the window works but i'm looking for other options?

does anyone know of any places in town that reseals sliding windows (without replacing the whole units)?

Is what used to find the list of auditors in Edmonton Area.

I'm in the process of replacing the flooring in my kitchen and bathrooms.
My husband started to rip up the old sheet vinyl flooring because it was
lifting in some areas. I stopped him because I was aware that it may contain
asbestos. Where, in Edmonton, is a reputable lab to get a sample tested?
The home was built in 1980. I'm really worried that he may have contaminated
our home and exposed the entire family.

While I am hardly an expert (insert other legal boilerplate that indemnifies me here), I believe that the stuff with asbestos in it was installed in the 50s and 60s. The flooring looked like tiles. It was not flexible.

If you are pulling off flexible sheets of 80s vinyl flooring, I am pretty sure that it does not have asbestos.

Again, I'm not an expert, bla bla bla.

All that said, I don't know of a lab.

I got my asbestos testing done by RH Services. Call Rod at 440-4880 or email him at He's in Holyrood. It was $45 to get a sample tested (you provide the sample). I did have my sheet vinyl flooring tested from a 50's era house - no asbestos. As Conrad says, the flooring you need to be worried about is the square tiles (usually 9x9 or 12x12). Even then, the tiles are pretty safe if left in one or two pieces.

For a home built in 1980, there could be asbestos in the drywall mud joint compound. I believe it was removed from the market in the 70's, but contractors loved it, so they bought as much as possible. The attic insulation and the heating duct tape are the locations with the most dangerous asbestos (again 40's to 60's era houses).

I have a 1912 house that's had some modifications in early 1960s. Where might asbestos be hiding? Is it dicey to take plaster off a wall without having it tested?

From what I know (I'm no expert, consult a [insert boilerplate legal text here]), plaster is pretty safe to peel back.

In my old house there was asbestos in the floor tiles, and surrounding the furnace vents.


Dear sirs:
I am installing solar panels to cut down my energy costs. Are there any rebates in Alberta for farm green applications?


Here are some ideas where to look:

Home rebates:

Google search:(a lot of this stuff is out of date)

Does anyone know if adding an "all season" solarium to the home will affect it's energy consumption, either positively or negatively? Of course the solarium vendors extoll their virtues, but I need some facts, which are hard to come by on these units.

If you build it outside of your building envelope, and you don't keep a door open to it during winter all night or anything like that, it can't hurt.

If it's on the south side (as it logically would be) it could have some modest heat-trapping effect in the winter that would make the outside wall warmer, thereby reducing heat loss. I doubt that it would make a big difference though, because your are already receiving some benefit from that side of the house being heated by the sun.


I have an older home and went through an enrgy audit a few years ago. I now need to upgrade my hot water tank to a gas 60 gallon energy efficient tank.
1. can you recommend a model?
2. are there still rebates for tanks?

Hi Marion,

I can't recommend a model (hopefully someone else will), but I will suggest that you don't need a 60 gallon tank. Spend a $150 on a couple of Bricor shower heads (very water efficient and also quite comfortable) and buy a 40 gallon tank.

My wife and I, plus our two adult tenants downstairs, lived with a 40 gallon tank for years and never once ran out of water.


We have had some water damage in our house recently
Our house was built in in 1973
the contractor has taken a sample of the ceiling and states there is asbestos in the drywall

how is this possible, and how can i get rid of the rest of this in the house.
is there any government funding per say to help.

I thought the asbestos was banned in Canada say late 1960's


I believe asbestos was not banned in Canada until the 80's. It's likely that every house built from 1940ish to 1980 has at least some asbestos in it.
The drywall will likely not have asbestos in it. The drywall mud/taping compound will. Unless you want to rip out all your drywall and replace it (a costly project), the best thing would be to ensure you have a few coats of paint on the drywall and don't punch holes in it. Not disturbing the asbestos is the best solution.
There is no government funding to remove the asbestos. Plus now that you have been told you have asbestos in the house you are required by law to inform any future purchaser.

We have a house that was built in the late 50's-early 60's and during a reno have discovered a few issues. First issue; paint peeling from the entire ceiling, I believe caused by the complete lack of vapor barrier in the house. Second issue; Vermiculte insulation in the attic. We are wondering if there is any help from the government yet for the removal? Has anyone used "Advanced Remediation Solutions inc"? We are thinking about having the attic redone with spray in insulation to solve the vapor barrier issue, any thoughts or suggestions?

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