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HELP Specifications Eligible for Funding

HELP Eligible Funding

Energy Star and water specifications to be eligible for funding

Certain Home Energy Loan Program (HELP) upgrades are required to be Energy Star or Water Sense certified to be eligible for funding. Your contractor will need to include the specifications on your quote. If you are not using a contractor, then you will need to ensure the products you use are Energy Star or Water Sense certified. Product specifications for each home upgrade eligible within HELP are provided in the drop down list below.

What is Energy Star Certification?

The ENERGY STAR® symbol identifies products that have qualified as high efficiency. Products that earn the ENERGY STAR label meet strict energy-efficiency specifications set by the U.S. EPA. Product performance must also be certified by a certification body recognized by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Natural Resources Canada (NRCan) administers and promotes use of the ENERGY STAR name and symbol in Canada under an agreement with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Energy Star specifications will be reviewed before approving HELP projects for funding. 

Review the detailed specifications for Energy Star products provided below for each type of home upgrade.

Energy Efficiency Upgrades
High-Efficiency Furnaces

Energy efficiency is measured by the minimum Annualized Fuel Utilization Efficiency (AFUE) ratio, which is the percent of heat produced for every dollar of fuel consumed.

British thermal unit per hour (BTU) is a unit used to measure the heat output of a heating system. One Btu is the amount of heat energy given off by a typical birthday candle. If this heat energy were released over the course of one hour, it would be the equivalent of one Btu/h.

A watt (W) measures rates of power at a moment in time.

A watt-hour (Wh) measures amounts of energy for a specific period of time, and watts.

To be eligible for HELP funding, furnace quotes must include one of the following:

Gas AFEU of 95% or greater
Oil AFEU of 85% or greater
Electric Input rate of not more than 65.92 kW (225,000 Btu/h)

High-Efficiency Boilers

Energy efficiency is measured by the minimum Annualized Fuel Utilization Efficiency (AFUE) ratio, which is the percent of heat produced for every dollar of fuel consumed.

To be eligible for HELP funding, boiler quotes must include one of the following:

Gas   AFEU of 90% or greater
Oil   AFEU of 87% or greater
Electric   Input rate of less than 88 kW (300 000 Btu/h) and is not equipped with tankless domestic water heating coils

Central Air Conditioner Units

An air conditioning unit’s energy efficiency is measured by the Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER), which is the total cooling of a central air conditioner or heat pump in Btu during its normal annual usage period for cooling, divided by the electric power usage in watt-hours during the same period.

To be eligible for HELP funding air conditioning units must meet the following standard:

SEER Greater than or equal to 15

Window and Door Replacements

Energy efficiency is measured by the U-Factor or the Energy Rating (ER).

U-factor is the rate at which a window, door, or skylight transmits non-solar heat flow in W/m2∙K (Btu/h ft2∙˚F).

Energy Rating (ER) is a value from a formula that balances heat loss (U-factor), air leakage loss, and passive solar gain of the product.

To be eligible for HELP funding, your windows and doors must meet one of the following specifications:

U-Factor Less than or equal to 1.22 W/m²K
Energy Rating Greater than or equal to 34

Insulation (exterior walls, foundation, and attic)

Energy Efficiency is measured by the Effective Thermal Resistance RSI or R-Value, which is the thermal resistance value that indicates the insulating performance of a material. The higher the resistance value, the slower the rate of heat transfer through the insulating material.

To be eligible for HELP funding, your final insulation value must meet the following specifications1:

Basement Greater than or equal to RSI-3.46 (R-19.2)
Attic Greater than or equal to RSI-3.46 (R-59.2)
Exterior Wall Greater than or equal to RSI-3.46 (R-17.5)

1 The Thermal Resistance requirements are based on the NRCan ENERGY STAR® for New Homes Standard - Version 12.6, which is aligned with section 9.36 - Energy Efficiency in the National Building Code of Canada 2015 for our climate region.

Domestic Water Heating

Energy Efficiency is measured by the Uniform Energy Factor (UEF) or Energy Factor (EF).

UEF-is determined by the estimated usage of a water heater. The higher UEFs represent greater energy efficiency and lower operating costs.  UEF provides a more consistent and accurate way to measure energy efficiency performance in water heaters across all national brands.

EF-measures how much hot water the unit produces versus how much fuel it consumes, so the higher the number the better.

GPM- Gallons per minute

FHR-First hour reading

To be eligible for HELP funding, your water heater must meet one of the following specifications:

Water heaters Capacity Draw pattern Specifications
Gas tankless water heaters     EF greater than or equal to 0.90
      UEF greater than or equal to 0.87
Gas storage water heater Capacity less than 55 gal   EF greater than or equal to 0.67
    Medium draw pattern UEF greater than or equal to 0.64
    High draw pattern UEF greater than or equal to 0.68
  Capacity greater than 55 gal   EF greater than or equal to 0.77
    Medium draw pattern UEF greater than or equal to 0.78
    High draw pattern UEF greater than or equal to 0.80
Electric heat pump storage water heaters Capacity less than 55 gal   EF greater than of equal to 2.00
      UEF greater than or equal to 2.00
  Capacity grater than 55   EF greater than or equal to 2.20
      UEF greater than or equal to 2.20

HRV (Heat Recovery Ventilation) System Installation

A Heat Recovery Ventilation System (HRV) is a fan-equipped box about the size of a small mechanic's tool chest. All HRVs direct a supply of fresh, outdoor air into your house while exhausting stale indoor air outside. An HRV also reclaims most of the heat from stale air before shooting it outside.

Energy Efficiency is measured by the Sensible Heat-Recovery Efficiency (SRE) and a Fan Efficacy.

Sensible Heat Recovery (SRE) is the effectiveness of fan energy, leakage, exhaust air transfer, mass and flow imbalance, frost control, and certain other external and internal energy gains and losses.

Fan Efficacy is the test airflow during a heating mode energy performance test with 32°F (0°C) supply air temperature divided by the power consumption for the same test.

To be eligible for HELP funding, your HRV system must meet all the following specifications:

The SRE at 0oC
Greater than or equal to 65%
The SRE at -25oC
Greater than or equal to 60%
SRE < 75%
Fan Efficacy with 0oC supply temperature 1.2 cfm/W
(0.57 L/s/W)
SRE ≥ 75%
Fan Efficacy with 0oC supply temperature 0.8 cfm/W (0.38 L/s/W)

Renewable Energy Upgrades
Air-source heat pumps

Energy Efficiency is measured by the Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER), Energy Efficiency Ratio (EER), or the Heating Seasonal Performance Factor (HSPF).

SEER is the total cooling of a central air conditioner or heat pump in Btu during its normal annual usage period for cooling, divided by the electric power usage in watt-hours during the same period.

EER is the ratio of the average rate of space cooling delivered to the average rate of electrical energy consumed by the air conditioner or heat pump.

HSPF is the total space heating required during the space heating season, expressed in Btu, divided by the total electrical energy consumed by the heat pump system during the same season, expressed in watt-hour.

Depending on the type of air source heat pump installed, your heat pump must meet the one following specifications to be eligible for HELP funding:

Heat pump SEER value EER value HSPF value
Split System heat pump SEER greater than or equal to 15.0 EER greater than or equal to 12.5 HSPF Region 5 (Canada) greater than or equal to 7.4
Single Package heat pump SEER greater than or equal to 15.0 EER greater than or equal to 12.0 HSPF Region 5 (Canada) greater than or equal to 7.1

Geothermal (ground source) heat pumps

Energy Efficiency is measured by the Energy Efficiency Ratio (EER), and Coefficient of Performance (COP).

EER is a measure of the cooling capacity efficiency that represents the ratio of total cooling capacity to electrical energy input.

COP is a measure of heating capacity that represents the ratio of total heating capacity to electrical energy input.

Closed Loop is a ground heat exchange method in which the heat transfer fluid is permanently contained in a closed piping system. Also called a ground-loop system.

Open Loop a ground heat exchange method in which the heat transfer fluid is part of a larger environment. The most common open loop systems use ground water, reclaimed water, or surface water as the heat transfer medium. Also called a ground-water system.

Water-to-Air is a geothermal heat pump model that provides space conditioning primarily by the use of an indoor air heat exchange coil.

Water-to-Water is a geothermal heat pump model that provides space conditioning and/or domestic water heating by the use of indoor refrigerant-to-water heat exchanger(s).

Direct Geoexchange (DGX) is a geothermal heat pump model in which the refrigerant is circulated in pipes buried in the ground or submerged in water that exchanges heat with the ground, rather than using a secondary heat transfer fluid, such as water or antifreeze solution in a separate closed loop.

Depending on the type of ground source heat pump installed, your heat pump must meet the following specifications to be eligible for HELP funding:

Heat pump ground source Loop EER value COP value
Water-to-Air Closed Loop EER must be equal or greater than 17.1 and COP must be equal or greater than 3.6
  Open Loop EER must be equal or greater than 21.1 and COP must be equal or greater than 4.1
Water-to-Water Closed Loop EER must be equal or greater than 16.1 and COP must be equal or greater than 3.1 
  Open Loop EER must be equal or greater than 20.1 and COP must be equal or greater than 3.5
Direct Geoexchange (DGX)   EER must be equal or greater than 16.0 and COP must be equal or greater than 3.6

Solar hot water heater

Energy Efficiency is measured by the Solar Energy Factor (SEF), which is the energy delivered by the total system divided by the electrical or gas energy put into the system.

Depending on the type of solar hot water heater installed, it must meet one following specification to be eligible for HELP funding:

SEF Greater or equal to 1.8 for electric backup
SEF Greater or equal to 1.2 for gas backup

Rooftop solar systems

Rooftop Solar systems do not have an energy star rating, and specifications are not needed for this upgrade

Water Usage Upgrades

To be eligible for HELP funding, the following specifications2 must be met for toilet replacements, low flow fixtures and irrigation control systems.

Low-flow toilet replacements

Less than or equal to 4.8 Liter Per Flush

Low-flow fixture and faucet replacements
Bathroom Sink Faucets Less than or equal to 1.5 Gallons per minute
Shower Fixture Less than or equal to 2.0 Gallons per minute

2 Water conservation requirements are based on the EPAs Water Sense label  Homes Specification | US EPA