Hélène Cossette | Journalist
Besides the long-term energy savings, buying a green home or renovating an existing home to make it greener also has its advantages in terms of getting better mortgage financing.
Intended for owners of residences with four or fewer units in Quebec and Ontario, the Green Homes Program applies to the purchase of a new Novoclimat 2.0-, LEED® Canada- or ENERGY STAR®- (in Ontario) certified home and to eligible green renovations under the Rénoclimat program. To take advantage of it, all you need do is apply for mortgage financing at your Desjardins caisse and get the required certification.
"The Green Homes Program (GHP) includes up to $2,000 cashback to buy a green home or $500 for eligible green renovation projects," says Pierre Belzile, Director, Financing Offer Management and Caisse Support. It also includes a discount on home insurance, a free monthly transactional plan for a year and free Home Assistance services when you take out Loan Insurance. Members can also make donations to EcoHome when they use their Visa Desjardins card to pay for purchases.
"From the outset, we wanted to offer our members real benefits. That's why the GHP doesn't replace the advisors' leeway on interest rates, or our standard promotional offers; the cashback of up to 0.5% to buy a home and 1% for renovations is on top of that. It's a major advantage for our members," says Belzile.
"The Green Homes Program also allows homeowners to save on their energy costs through improved energy efficiency," he says. A green home consumes less energy, thanks to proper insulation and sealing as well as high-efficiency appliances and heating systems. For example, the energy and heating bill for Novoclimat 2.0-certified homes will be about 20% lower than for homes built according to the Quebec Construction Code.
And let's not forget the health benefits of green homes. They're built with non-toxic materials (including wood, ceramic and natural finishes) and are properly ventilated, so occupants can avoid the health problems associated with dust and humidity.
Taking concrete steps to protect the planet
"The ultimate goal of the Green Homes Program is to encourage homeowners to invest in green solutions to reduce their environmental footprint," says Pauline d'Amboise, Secretary General and Vice-President of Governance and Social Responsibility.
"As an environmental priority, Desjardins decided to focus on fighting climate change. In addition to reducing our own greenhouse gas emissions (GGE) through our management practices, we have committed to developing products that encourage our clients to do the same. The Green Homes Program enhances our socially responsible product line, which includes the Environment Fund, SocieTerra Portfolios, the Priority Terra Guaranteed Investment, the Ready-to-Drive Loan green option, the Energy Efficiency Loan for businesses and green savings on auto and home insurance."