Every year, from 8:30 pm to 9:30 pm on the last Saturday of March, millions of people worldwide show their support for our planet. Raising awareness of nature loss and climate change – the two biggest threats facing our one home – people around the world come together for Earth Hour. The event is held annually, encouraging individuals, communities, and businesses to turn off non-essential electric lights, for one hour, from 8:30 to 9:30 p.m. as a symbol of commitment to the planet. What many don’t know is that living a greener lifestyle can help you save on insurance costs. In honour of Earth Hour, here are some actions you can take to help yourself to savings while also helping the climate crisis.

The Canada Greener Homes Grant

Buildings, including our homes, account for 18% of Canada’s greenhouse gas emissions. To help Canadians save on energy costs, the Government of Canada has implemented an initiative to assist you. This is known as The Canada Greener Homes Grant and will help homeowners make their homes more energy-efficient. It will also create new jobs across Canada for energy advisors, growing our domestic green supply chains while fighting climate change. It’s one of the many influential examples that Earth Hour has had on the global consciousness.

Its purpose is to help Canadians make where they live more energy-efficient. This means homes will be more comfortable and more affordable to maintain while also supporting our environmental objectives.

Update: As of now, the Canada Green Homes Grant is no longer accepting new applicants. Those who are already part of the Grant will continue to be eligible for funding through the Canada Greener Homes Portal.

What’s available through the initiative?

The Canada Greener Homes Grant Initiative provides funds for home evaluations and for retrofits, to a total of $5,600. Homeowners are eligible for up to $600 total for the cost of evaluations and expert advice so they can begin to plan their retrofits. Retrofit grants of up to $5,000 total are available for the implementation of eligible retrofits, such as home insulation, windows, doors, and air sealing. There are up to 700,000 grants (of up to $5,000) available to help homeowners.

Green home insurance offerings

Going green isn’t a fad in home improvement. It’s the future (and really, the present). The amount of eco-efficient materials, products and services on the market keeps growing. Some insurers offer homeowners insurance add-ons or discounts that help save you money while encouraging homeowners to use sustainable building materials and conserve energy. If you are in the process of wanting to build a new house or renovate, this is a perfect opportunity to save yourself some money in the long run!

Why should I go green?

The theme of Earth Hour is to invest in our planet. Being eco-educated can reduce the negative impact you have on the environment. Not only is this good for the planet and the health of your community, but it can also help save on your energy bills. Upgrades, like improved insulation and eco-friendly appliances, can trim down your electricity use. It can also lessen the strain on your heaters and air conditioners. While investing in your home, your eco-friendly improvements are an investment in the environment, as well.  Remember, when you are done using appliances, many can be recycled! According to the World Wildlife Fund, only 9% of plastics are recycled around the world.

What are some eco-efficient products I should consider?

As a result of the global awareness created by 2007’s first Earth Hour, many insurance companies are now doing their part to help in the fight against climate change. They are doing so by offering savings to your premiums for going green. Here are some popular green home improvements that are often covered:

  • Low-flow bathroom fixtures
  • Low or no VOC paints: By choosing low or zero VOC paint for a few dollars more per can, you’ll preserve your health and the planet, while ending up with a fresh and beautiful room
  • High-efficiency furnace
  • LED lighting
  • Water pervious driveways, walkways, and patios
  • Reclaimed or salvaged lumber from old furniture or buildings that are about to be demolished can be used to build walls, support beams, or roof construction
  • Renewable flooring materials, like bamboo or cork
  • Eco-friendly roofing options: Solar power systems derive clean, pure radiant energy from the sun. Installing solar panels in your home reduces fossil fuel use and greenhouse gas emissions
  • Dual-paned windows: Double-glazed offer insulation against the elements and soundproofing qualities. There are several types of dual-paned windows, such as air-filled, gas-filled, and silver-coated. Each type results in better thermal performance, keeping heat in during the winter and out during the summer
  • Star-rated ceiling fans are 60% more efficient than conventional fans and use less energy to operate thanks to improved motors and blade designs
  • A cool roof prevents heat absorption by reflecting the sun’s heat away from the house. A cool roof allows for a more comfortable and controlled indoor environment
  • By installing a smart thermostat, you can set it to produce less air conditioning or heat when you are away or sleeping, which means your home uses less energy. This energy efficiency saves you money, and you’ll reduce your reliance on fossil fuels

Repair / Replace / Renovate

Eco-friendly material replacement endorsements

If disaster strikes and damages your home, you may want to replace old materials with green alternatives. If you have an eco-friendly material endorsement on your homeowners’ insurance policy, your insurer will reimburse you for the replacement cost of green alternatives. For example, Travellers’ “green home additional coverage” will pay up to 10% more of your replacement costs to rebuild with green materials. Some companies may also include coverage to remove recycled debris, while others may cover the costs to certify or re-certify a dwelling to meet green certification requirements after a loss. To find out more about eco-friendly endorsements, contact one of our isure brokers today.

Starting an eco-efficient home repair?

The key to any good repair after filing a claim is knowing what you need in advance. If you’re working with contractors or a building company, consult with them about how you can use eco-efficient materials for your repairs. You can also do your research to find stores and vendors in your area that can help you find the products you need.

Becoming environmentally aware can help us make better lifestyle choices. Earth Hour has become a catalyst for positive environmental impact. It will continue to help drive major legislative changes while educating the public on the climate crisis. On March 23rd, if we all pledge to ‘green’ our lives a little more each year, we can help to ensure a healthier planet for generations to come!

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