CGAH-Canada Greener Affordable Housing (Social Housing)

Enhancing Energy Efficiency and Sustainability in Affordable Housing with Solify Advisors

CGAH-Canada Greener Affordable Housing (Social Housing)

Enhancing Energy Efficiency and Sustainability in Affordable Housing with Solify Advisors

Unlock Funding for Energy Retrofits with the Canada Greener Affordable Housing Program.

The Canada Greener Affordable Housing program (CGAH) offers valuable financing opportunities for affordable housing providers. This program aims to support deep energy retrofits in existing multi-unit residential buildings, helping providers meet climate goals. With forgivable and low-interest loans available, the program assists in financing retrofit measures and activities necessary for energy efficiency improvements

Through the program, the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) provides funding of up to 100% of eligible retrofit costs, with a maximum limit of $170,000 per unit (combining low-interest repayable and forgivable loans). Forgivable loans are determined by the lesser of $85,000 per unit or 80% of eligible retrofit costs, while low-interest loans cover the remaining amount.

Additionally, the program provides contributions for pre-retrofit activities, offering a maximum contribution of $130,000 per project.

To be eligible, the project must primarily consist of residential buildings with a minimum of 5 units or beds. Single detached dwellings, duplexes, and townhouses must be at least 10 years old, while mid- to high-rise, low-rise, and multi-plex buildings must be at least 20 years old.

Applicants must meet affordability criteria established by municipal, provincial, territorial, Indigenous government, or CMHC programs. Other affordability criteria, such as rent-gearedto-income, low-income, moderate-income, established income, or rent limits/thresholds, may also apply.

Canada Greener Affordable Housing (CGAH) Program for Community housing providers serving low-and-moderate household.

What is Canada Greener Affordable Housing?

CGAH offers energy retrofit loans to support multi-unit (5+) affordable housing providers, including co-operatives and not-for-profit owned housing, for deep energy retrofits.

Key Highlights:

    • Deeper reductions in energy consumption and Greenhouse Gas emissions.
    • Improve building quality.
    • Adapt to climate change and extreme weather events.

To facilitate the adoption of greener building practices and ensure affordability and sustainability, The program offers vital financial assistance. This program provides the necessary support to make the transition to a more environmentally friendly building, promoting energy efficiency and reducing carbon emissions.

The Scope of Energy Retrofits

Minor (Light)

Range of 10-20%
Most common

Major (Medium)

35% Range
Becoming more common

Deep (Significant)

50% and greater
Select number of projects

Net Zero (Complete)

90% and greater Currently rare

Understanding Deep Energy Retrofits (DER)

A Deep Energy Retrofit (DER) defined as:

    • Targeting a minimum energy savings of 50% or more of energy used onsite in a building (Energy Consumption) compared to the baseline energy usage, resulting in reduced greenhouse gas emissions.
    • Enhancing the building envelope by implementing insulation and air sealing measures to improve energy efficiency.
    • Upgrading heating, cooling, and water systems to high-efficiency systems.
    • Achieving a successful deep energy retrofit leads to improved building durability, enhanced comfort, and better indoor air quality.

Understanding Deep Energy Retrofits (DER)

A Deep Energy Retrofit (DER) defined as:

    • Targeting a minimum energy savings of 50% or more of energy used onsite in a building (Energy Consumption) compared to the baseline energy usage, resulting in reduced greenhouse gas emissions.
    • Enhancing the building envelope by implementing insulation and air sealing measures to improve energy efficiency.
    • Upgrading heating, cooling, and water systems to high-efficiency systems.
    • Achieving a successful deep energy retrofit leads to improved building durability, enhanced comfort, and better indoor air quality.

Program Objectives of CGAH

The CGAH program aims to align with the Green Buildings Strategy (GBS) and contribute to Canada’s 2050 climate goals. Deep energy retrofits under the program are expected to target the following objectives:

    • Achieve a significant 70% reduction in energy consumption compared to pre-retrofit performance.
      80% to 100% reduction in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions relative to pre-retrofit performance.

What is the Green Buildings Strategy (GBS)?

The Green Buildings Strategy (GBS) is a comprehensive federal government strategy under the umbrella of the Emission Reduction Plan.

The primary objective of the GBS is to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from the buildings sector. By 2030, the strategy sets an interim goal of achieving a 37% reduction in emissions compared to 2005 levels.

The development and implementation of the GBS are spearheaded by Natural Resources Canada (NRCan), in collaboration with other key government departments and agencies such as Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC), Treasury Board Secretariat (TBS), Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC), and various stakeholders.

CGAH funding opportunities

    • Pre-Retrofit Funding
    • Financial contributions available to support the necessary pre-retrofit activities required for planning, preparation, and application for Retrofit Funding.
    • Retrofit Funding
    • Repayable and forgivable loans provided to facilitate the implementation of deep energy retrofits on multi-unit buildings.

**Note: Pre-Retrofit Funding serves as a precursor to the Retrofit Funding application.

Documentation expenses covered by Pre-Retrofit Funding serve as proof of eligibility and must be submitted as part of the Retrofit Funding application.

Funding Opportunities for Retrofits

Pre-Retrofit Funding

$19.5 million available in contributions Maximum funding of $130,000 per project.

Retrofit Funding

– Up to $1.1 billion in loans (forgivable and repayable combined)
– CMHC will finance 100% of eligible retrofit costs, up to $170,000 per unit (repayable and forgivable loans combined).
– Forgivable loans will be determined by the lesser of:

      • $85,000 per unit, or
      • 80% of eligible retrofit project cost.

Eligibility Requirements for CGAH-Canada Greener Affordable Housing (Social Housing)

Eligibility-Applicants

The following entities are eligible to apply:

    • Community Housing Providers (e.g., non-profit housing organizations, public housing agencies, rental co-operatives)
    • Indigenous Governments and Organizations (including First Nation Bands, Tribal Councils, Indigenous housing providers)
    • Provincial, Territorial, and Municipal Governments (and their agencies)

Please note that private market housing organizations are not eligible.

Eligibility -Affordability

To be eligible, applicants must demonstrate an affordable housing purpose and a clear mandate to provide housing to lower-income households or populations in need. Eligible projects must meet one of the following affordability criteria:

    • The project is mandated to follow a Municipal, Provincial, Territorial, Indigenous Government, or CMHC program affordability criteria.

or

    • The project is mandated to follow other affordability criteria, such as rent-gearedto-income, low-income, moderate-income, established income, rent limits/thresholds, or other criteria approved by CMHC.
Eligibility -Projects
– Community and affordable rental housing
– Mixed income rental or mix-use with affordable rental housing
– Indigenous community housing and cultural spaces
- Shelters, transitional, and supportive housing
- Single-room occupancy
Requirements for buildings

Have at least 5 units or beds.

Ensure primary use is residential.

Meet minimum age requirements:

    • Part 9 buildings must be at least 10 years old.
    • Part 3 buildings must be at least 20 years old.
Eligibility -Activities and Costs

Pre-Retrofit Funding

    • Funding available for pre-retrofit activities required for CGAH Retrofit Funding application.
    • Eligible costs may include energy audits, energy modeling, building condition assessments, project design, scope, and planning.

Retrofit Funding

    • Retrofit measures, systems, software and/or equipment related to increasing building’s energy efficiency and decreasing associated GHG emission in the unit and/or building.
    • Repair and maintenance that enables or is co-dependent to the energy retrofit.
    • Renewable energy.
    • Climate resiliency measures that enable the building and its tenants to be protected against extreme climate events.
    • Closing costs related to the loan.

Applicable retrofit measures that will be funded through the program should not be experimental.

Eligibility -Energy Efficiency

Retrofit Funding

    • Targeting a projected 70% reduction in energy consumption relative to pre-retrofit performance.
    • Targeting a projected 80%-100% reduction in Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions relative to pre-retrofit performance.

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FAQs about CGAH-Canada Greener Affordable Housing (Social Housing)

How can the CGAH program benefit affordable housing providers?
The CGAH program offers valuable financing opportunities, including forgivable and lowinterest loans, to help affordable housing providers undertake deep energy retrofits and improve the sustainability of their buildings.
What are the eligibility criteria for the CGAH program?

Eligible applicants include community housing providers, indigenous governments and organizations, and provincial, territorial, and municipal governments. Private market housing organizations are not eligible.

What types of projects are eligible for the CGAH program?

Eligible projects include community and affordable rental housing, mixed-income rental or mixed-use with affordable rental housing, indigenous community housing and cultural spaces, shelters, transitional and supportive housing, and single-room occupancy.

What funding opportunities are available for retrofits under the CGAH program?

The program offers pre-retrofit funding for planning and preparation activities, as well as retrofit funding in the form of repayable and forgivable loans to implement deep energy retrofits.

What is the scope of energy retrofits covered by the CGAH program?

Energy retrofits can range from minor (10-20% energy savings) to major (35% energy savings) to deep (50% or more energy savings). Net-zero retrofits (90% or greater energy savings) are currently rare.