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Home Energy Retrofit Information

Home energy upgrades can seem tricky and overwhelming. Watch our home energy retrofit information session to make that easier. 

Plan your retrofit 

Planning a home energy upgrade can be complex, but it is essential for maximum results. That is why Better Homes Kingston provides a free Home Energy Coach service. They will guide you through the entire process, from your initial assessment to completing your home improvements and verifying the results.

For more information, you can contact an Energy Coach.

Start with a pre-retrofit home energy evaluation. A Registered Energy Advisor will visit your home, ask about your energy usage and home details and then provide you with detailed reports containing house data and specific retrofit recommendations. This evaluation is the initial step in improving your home's energy efficiency, comfort and health.

You can also apply for the Better Homes Kingston program to get access to an Energy Coach.

Your Registered Energy Advisor will provide a report with home improvement recommendations. If you're in the Better Homes Kingston program, our Energy Coach will help you interpret the results and plan your energy retrofit. Use our portal to gather retrofit quotes, then submit a funding request and sign a property owner agreement to start the work.


  • Incentives
  • Costs
  • Future planning
  • Ensuring proper work

We offer tools like: 

When your home energy retrofit is finished, the final step is the post-retrofit home energy evaluation, which will assess the actual energy improvement your home has achieved compared to the original evaluation. This post-retrofit evaluation is necessary for most incentive programs including the Better Homes Kingston program. The same Registered Energy Advisor who conducted your pre-retrofit home energy evaluation will perform this post-retrofit evaluation.

Once you receive the results, you are one step closer to accessing financing and rebate programs.

You have successfully upgraded your home – congratulations! Now, it is time to maximize the benefits of your improvements and keep planning for future enhancements that align with your net-zero goals.

To assist you in this journey, we have compiled some energy savings tips.

Home energy evaluation 

Whether you want to save energy, improve comfort, access incentives, or learn more about your home's energy usage, start with a pre-retrofit home energy evaluation. Conducted by a Natural Resources Canada Registered Energy Advisor, it is the best way to assess your home's efficiency.

Better Homes Kingston program participants can get up to a $600 rebate to help cover their evaluation costs, only if they do not qualify for other grants.

 A registered energy advisor will inspect your home and provide: 

  • An EnerGuide Rating Label, comparing your energy use to a typical new home
  • A Homeowner Information Sheet explaining your EnerGuide Rating
  • A Renovation Upgrade Report with customized energy efficiency recommendations and savings potential


  • Initial energy audit: $400 to $600
  • Follow-up (post-upgrade) audit: $250 to $350

You may be eligible for a program that refunds some or all these evaluation costs.

How to qualify for rebates and incentives? 

To qualify for rebates and incentives, you need a home energy evaluation before and after your renovation.  

Contact us to learn how to apply for multiple programs to boost your energy savings and incentives before starting your renovation. Starting work without the evaluation may make you ineligible for these benefits. 

Before scheduling your Home Energy Evaluation, ensure your home qualifies by:

  • Being habitable
  • Not undergoing renovation during the audit
  • Sealing all openings, like windows, doors, attic knee-walls, and recessed lighting
  • Avoiding fireplace use 24 hours before the evaluation and closing dampers
  • Ensuring all areas are accessible to the advisor
  • Having your property tax bill and roll number handy (bonus points!)
  • Plan for a 2.5 to three-hour evaluation, with the homeowner present throughout

During the visit, a Registered Energy Advisor assesses insulation, heating, cooling, and conducts a blower door test to check air leakage.

Expect your Energy Audit Reports in about two weeks. They will outline personalized energy efficiency recommendations tailored to your home and lifestyle.

Choosing the best contractor

It is your responsibility to compare contractors.  

Choosing the right contractor is crucial for a successful project, especially in energy retrofits with newer technologies and specific techniques. For that reason, we offer free technical training to all Better Homes Kingston contractors, to ensure proper work and maximum outcomes. 

Make sure your contractor understands your project, technologies, and the “house as a system” approach. We provide tools and guidance for this. 

Ask for written quotes and insist on a contract before work begins. Contact at least three contractors before deciding. 

If you are still unsure about which contractor you should choose, you can ask some questions such as:

  • May I contact your references?
  • Have you completed an energy retrofit before?
  • Have you installed [insert equipment type here] before?
  • Are you familiar with the ‘whole house’ or ‘house as a system approach?’
  • Can you provide proof of your license to install equipment issued by the province or territory where the installation is being completed?
  • Will this project comply with local building codes, bylaws and other legislation?
  • Will it require building or utility permits?
  • Do the products you recommend meet all applicable legislation and can you provide any available Safety Data Sheets?
  • What experience do you and your team have with these products and procedures and what challenges have you experienced?

Are you a contractor?

If you are a contractor in Kingston looking to connect with Better Homes Kingston participants, you are in the right spot! We value your role in our program and want to help you connect with homeowners. Our free training led by experts from Building Knowledge Canada, you will give you access to potential clients looking for significant home energy retrofit projects. These training modules provide valuable knowledge and technical skills to make your work stand out.

Requirements to access to the program 

To directly reach program participants on the Better Homes Kingston Portal, all contractors must: 

  • Attend the Better Homes Kingston: High-Performance Homes Overview and Building Science Foundations Course. 
  • Attend the relevant Specialized Training Course: 
    • Course two: specialized Training for HVAC and Mechanical Trades 
    • Course three: specialized Training on Building Envelope Upgrades 

Note that the courses can now be accessed as video recordings, and completed at your convenience within only a few hours. Please email if you are interested in participating in our training and being added to our official list of trained contractors!

Who should attend?

This course is for contractors, tradespeople, renovators and those in management or sales roles in related fields. If you plan to take a specialized course, you must attend this foundations course first to access the Better Homes Kingston Portal.

What will I learn?

As a contractor, you know your work well, but things change in the industry. After this course, you'll understand:

  • Important aspects of high-performance homes
  • The EnerGuide Rating System program
  • How air, heat and moisture move into a house and how to control it
  • Why it is essential to see a home as a complete system for safety, comfort, and durability

This course also covers Better Homes Kingston details like quoting and connecting with program participants.

Who should attend?

This course is tailored for HVAC and Mechanical trades, Electricians, Plumbers, and those in general management, sales, and lead technician roles. Renovators are also welcome. To access the Better Homes Kingston Portal, it is mandatory for representatives from your business to attend both Course one: Building science foundations and this specialized course.

What will I learn?

In recent years, residential mechanical systems have become more complex due to energy codes requiring better insulation, improved windows, and tighter construction. This course covers:

  • Key building science concepts that have changed home construction.
  • Relevance of these changes to mechanical systems.
  • Proper sizing and selection of mechanical equipment for highly efficient, low-load homes.
  • Heating technology, including heat pumps, high-efficiency furnaces, water heaters, ventilation, ERV, HRV and appliances.
  • Opportunities to optimize comfort, durability, safety and health while maintaining efficiency and cost-effectiveness.

Additionally, this course delves into Better Homes Kingston specifics, such as quoting requirements, how to register on the Better Homes Kingston Portal, and generating sales leads from prospective applicants.

Who Should Attend?

This course is intended for contractors involved in the Building Envelope, including Insulation Companies, Window Companies, and General Renovators. It's open to window installers, contractors, managers, project managers, and sales representatives. Representatives from your business must attend both Course one: Building science foundations and this specialized course to access the Better Homes Kingston Portal.

What Will I Learn?

This course covers the entire building envelope, from the ground up, including:

  • Key aspects of basement insulation projects
  • Air sealing techniques and blower-door-guided air sealing
  • Window specifications and installation details to meet program standards
  • Insulation options for re-cladding buildings, major renovation projects and heritage buildings

Also, in this course, you will learn about Better Homes Kingston details, like how to give quotes, sign up on the Better Homes Kingston Portal, and find potential clients.

The City of Kingston acknowledges that we are on the traditional homeland of the Anishinaabe, Haudenosaunee and the Huron-Wendat, and thanks these nations for their care and stewardship over this shared land.

Today, the City is committed to working with Indigenous peoples and all residents to pursue a united path of reconciliation.

Learn more about the City's reconciliation initiatives.

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