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Energy-efficient homes

What is an energy-efficient home?

When features of a home are designed to conserve and reduce energy use, it becomes more “energy-efficient”. An energy-efficient home tends to be more cost-effective to run over time, and because it uses less energy, it can have a lower impact on the environment. Many new housing projects are being built to meet high efficiency standards, and older homes can be retrofitted to improve their energy performance.

How to make your home more energy-efficient

The good news is that any home can be made more energy-efficient. Homeowners and renters alike can take steps to use and lose as little energy as possible.

Depending on factors like the type of home you live in, whether you own or rent, and your preferred budget, solutions can be small, like choosing ENERGY STAR-certified appliances, or big, like installing a heat pump or adding solar panels.

Some benefits of energy-efficient homes

Lower utility bills

With high levels of insulation and air sealing, less energy is required to power an energy-efficient home, which could create savings for homeowners and renters.

Improved health and comfort

Measures can improve a home’s air quality, reduce mould, and seal drafts, which can lead to a healthier home.

Positive impact on the environment

With lower energy consumption and less dependency on fossil fuels, it’s possible to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Apply for partial insurance refund

Certified energy-efficient homes qualify for a 25 percent partial premium refund with CMHC Eco Plus(opens new window) mortgage insurance.

What are the environmental benefits of an energy-efficient home?

Your home uses energy throughout the day; from keeping you warm in the winter, to washing and drying laundry, to heating water for dishes and taking a shower.

Homes and buildings make up 13 percent of Canada’s total greenhouse gas emissions, with space and water heating responsible for almost three-quarters of those emissions.

When home energy is generated by burning fossil fuels, harmful greenhouse gases are emitted into the atmosphere, which contribute towards air and water pollution, and global warming.

Because an energy-efficient home uses less energy, it can help to lower your impact on the planet. Installing energy-certified electrical appliances can also help to reduce your home’s dependency on fossil fuels.

Buying a new green home

What is a green home?

A “green home” is a residential building that has been designed to meet high standards of energy-efficiency. It can be a newly constructed building, or an older home that has been retrofitted with more energy-efficient features.

Not just any home can claim to be a green home, though.

Homes that are proven to meet high energy standards can be certified by programs like CHBA’s Net Zero Home Labelling program and LEED®’s Gold and Platinum ratings.

Why live in a green home?

Reduced utility bills and a lower environmental impact aren’t the only benefits to living in a green home: You might find that a green home is a healthier home for you and your family. Fewer drafts and cold spots, reduce temperature fluctuation between rooms, and improved ventilation can help to lessen stress on allergies and respiratory and immune systems.

Up to $3,000 for new build homebuyers

Get cash with an eligible RBC mortgage when you purchase a new build home, including certified energy-efficient homes, from an RBC-approved builder.

Learn about RBC builder mortgages

How to retrofit your home to make it more energy-efficient

An energy-efficient retrofit plan can help to reduce your current home’s energy usage, monthly utility bills, and greenhouse gas emissions.

Half of Canada’s 16.7 million homes will need to be retrofitted to meet emissions targets.

The details of your retrofit plan will depend on factors like the size and age of your property, its location, and your budget. Easier retrofit projects like air sealing, attic insulation and low-flow showerheads are low-cost options that can achieve somewhere between 10 and 30 percent in energy savings.

Larger projects, such as upgrading your heating and cooling systems, installing high performance windows, and adding insulation to walls, floors and ceilings, can come at a higher price point, but can yield greater energy savings of more than 50 percent.

Energy-saving upgrades

Insulation and air sealing

Making a home air-tight and reducing heat loss is a key step in energy-efficiency.

Windows and doors

Windows and doors that are double- or triple-paned can prevent heat loss, and contribute towards a comfortable indoor temperature.


When it’s time to replace old appliances, choose an ENERGY STAR-certified item that has been proven to use less energy.

Heating and cooling

Heat pumps are powered by electricity, and can heat and cool your home throughout the seasons.

Renewable energy

Solar panels generate renewable energy that can contribute towards a home’s total energy use.

Energy rebates and incentives

If you’re thinking about making energy-efficient upgrades to your home, find out about the federal and provincial home energy rebates, grants and loans that could be available to you.

Save money with home energy rebates

Save on home improvements with RONA

Get extra value when you shop at participating stores with an eligible RBC credit or debit card.

Learn more about exclusive offers

More ways to save energy

A Renter’s Guide to Making Your Home More Energy-Efficient

As a renter there are still many affordable, achievable changes you can make to use less energy.

The 2024 Guide to Choosing the Right Heat Pump

Learn about heat pump technology, the cost to install, and available government rebates in Canada.

What is a Green Home and How Does it Reduce Emissions?

An energy-efficient "green home" could lower your utility bills and reduce your home’s greenhouse gas emissions.

When’s the Right Time to Replace My Home Appliances?

An unplanned breakdown can really mess up your household budget — not to mention the disruption to your home!

A Guide to Improving Your Home Insulation: The Basics of Building Envelopes

The first step to making your home more energy-efficient is to improve your its building envelope.

Why Buy ENERGY STAR-Certified Appliances?

ENERGY STAR has enabled households and businesses to save over $500 billion in energy costs, and reduce emissions by 4 billion metric tons.