Most Canadians willing to pay extra for green home

energyCost savings on energy bills big motivator: poll

More homebuyers see the value in environmentally friendly homes, especially when the green features can save them money in the long run.

A recent survey shows 72% of Canadians would be willing to pay more for an Earth-friendly house or condo if they could lower energy bills, reap health benefits or reduce their environmental impact.

Of Canadians who are willing to pay a premium on environmentally friendly homes, 77% responding to the TD Canada Trust Green Home Poll say that cost savings on energy bills is a main motivation (compared to 65% in 2008). Canadians willing to pay more for environmentally friendly homes also appreciate the added features of a green home such as the health benefits (43%) and reducing their environmental impact (42%).

“This is the third consecutive year that Canadians have told us that they will pay more for a home with environmentally friendly features and, as more and more homes are being built with green features included, the housing industry is making it easier for homebuyers to find environmentally friendly options,” says Chris Wisniewski, assistant vice-president of Real Estate Secured Lending for TD Canada Trust.

In fact, the Canadian Home Builders Association reports that 18% of houses built in 2009 are labelled green.

The TD poll also found that green renovations and home improvement are becoming more popular with Canadians.

Twenty-seven percent of those surveyed have undertaken a green home renovation and 29% would like do so in the future but don’t know where to start.

Popular improvements include replacing or upgrading windows (38%), applying weather-stripping and caulking to stop drafts (34%) and changing lighting fixtures to accommodate low wattage bulbs (53%).

Government incentives such as the federal ecoENERGY program also encourage Canadians to make changes to their homes.

Sixty-six percent of those surveyed say they are interested in participating in an energy-saving program and 11% are already taking advantage of one.

Two-thirds of respondents say they’re more likely to make energy-efficient upgrades if they benefit from tax credits and 59% say they’re likely to consider an environmental assessment prior to home renovations.

According to Revenue Canada, the last federal budget had anticipated 4.2 million families would take advantage of government incentives for going green. The exact numbers won’t be available until after the 2010 tax year.

“Environmentally friendly choices can benefit the health of our families – including our financial health – and it can be easy to take advantage of them,” says Wisniewski. “With Earth Day (here), it’s the perfect time for Canadian homeowners to assess how green their homes are and make some positive changes.”

TD Canada Trust makes it a little easier to find information about green-home renovations and upgrades by offering links on its website ( to several organizations such as Natural Resources Canada and other agencies.

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