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Frequently asked questions

 

General Questions

  • I would like to renovate my home; does the Department offer this type of program?

Yes, it is called the Rénoclimat energy-saving renovation program for homes.

This program offers you many advantages, such as an energy efficiency evaluation, as well as advice and recommendations concerning the work to carry out to improve the energy performance of your house.
 
What is more, you can benefit from financial assistance that can help you cover the additional cost of the work serving to reduce your energy consumption!
 
Before you consider renovating your home, please consult the Rénoclimat section or call us toll free at: 1-866-266-0008.


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  • We received an RL-27 slip. Must we enter the amount on our income tax return?

The Department is required to produce a RL-27 slip “Government payments” for recipients who are granted financial assistance under its programs, whether the recipient is an individual, a corporation or a partnership.

If you are an individual, you are generally not required to include the amount or attach the slip to your income tax return.

Should you require additional information regarding the tax treatment of RL-27 slips, please contact Revenu Québec directly.


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Heating

  • Should I have a heating system with more output capacity?

More output capacity is not synonymous with efficiency. If your unit is too powerful, it will stop and start over more often, which means it will consume more energy, cost you more and even lead to discomfort.

However, output capacity should be considered because a new system will be more energy efficient. You need the unit to provide the quantity of heat required to ensure comfort in cold temperatures.

By being more energy efficient, your system will help you consume less energy while supplying the same quantity of heat.


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  • What type of output capacity should my heating system have?

The system’s output capacity (generally expressed in BTU/h or kWs) must be consistent with the real heating needs of your home.
 
It is impossible to determine the real required capacity of the heating system without relying on calculations.

The calculation mainly evaluates the heat loss of the home in order to establish the required capacity of the heating system. The calculation must be based on CAN/CSA F-280 standard known as Determining the Required Capacity of Residential Space Heating and Cooling Appliances.   

Many variables must be considered:

  • surface area and volume of the home;
  • layout and orientation of the home;
  • geographical location;
  • type of construction;
  • insulation and air/water tightness levels;
  • size, type and orientation of windows;
  • etc.

It is important to mention that the calculations used nowadays have been improved and do not solely take into account heat loss but also consider recent climate data. Computerized simulation tools are also increasingly used. Do not hesitate to ask questions and request a copy of these calculations.

To adequately calculate your heating needs, ask for a heating professional that is certified by the Corporation of Master Pipe Mechanics of Quebec (CMMTQ). We suggest that you call on more than one professional to help you verify and validate the results.


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  • What is dual energy?

Dual energy consists in combining two sources of energy to supply a heating system.
 
Electricity is usually used as the main source and fuel oil or gas as the auxiliary source. Electricity is used during the major part of the heating season and auxiliary heating (fuel oil or gas) automatically takes over when temperatures drop (-12 ºC or -15 ºC according to the region). Users can take advantage of better rates, such as the Rate DT offered by Hydro-Québec. This preferential rate also applies to the entire electricity consumption of your home.
 
The main advantages of dual energy are that while you can enjoy a reduced rate and play a part in reducing greenhouse gas emissions, dual energy also leads to the optimal management of the Quebec hydroelectric network by reducing the intensity of the need during periods of peak demand in cold temperatures.


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Air Conditioning

  • How to calculate the operation costs of a window-mounted air conditioner?

The following factors must be taken into consideration when calculating the consumption of your air conditioner:

  • output of your unit (generally in tons or in BTU/h);
  • performance of your unit (see EER (energy efficiency ratio) on the Energuide label of your unit);
  • use (number hours/day and number of days/year);
  • temperature setting;
  • weather conditions of your region;
  • your electricity rate;
  • etc.

Here are some tools to help you calculate the consumption of your air conditioner:

Hydro-Québec

Office of Energy Efficiency, Natural Resources Canada


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  • Should I use a central air conditioner or a heat pump?

You would like to cool your home but are hesitating between these two systems. Start by evaluating your heating needs!

A central air conditioner will only cool your home while a heat pump will air condition your home in summer and be used effectively to meet some of your heating needs. Thus, if you plan to replace or convert your current heating system, it would be profitable to consider buying a heat pump.

Before you reach a decision, take the time to evaluate and compare the advantages, savings and costs of these two options.

We would like to remind you that a high efficiency appliance that is ENERGY STAR® certified and features the output capacity that is suitable for you will help you save energy.


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  • What type of air conditioner should I choose?

Before you buy an air conditioner, take the time to evaluate your needs and check… if you really need air conditioning!

Air conditioning leads to significant electricity consumption on hot summer days. Do not hesitate to consider other methods to keep your home cool before deciding to air condition your home.

Would your comfort requirements be satisfied by installing air conditioning in one or two rooms? An air conditioning unit could be what you need. Do you want your entire home to be air conditioned? Then a central air conditioner or heat pump would meet your requirements.

Whether you choose a central, window- or wall-mounted conditioner or a heat pump, it is best to select ENERGY STAR® certified energy efficient models which offer the best energy efficiency rating. These units or systems will help you consume less electricity, save money and preserve the environment.

Take the time to gather all the information you need to learn about air conditioning before you make your choice. Here are a few helpful links: 


Office of Energy Efficiency (OEE) Natural resources Canada:


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Novoclimat for single-family homes

  • Where can I find the Novoclimat financial assistance request form?

The Department sends the financial assistance request form to eligible homeowners directly through the mail.

If your Novoclimat builder or your Novoclimat pre-fabricated house manufacturer presented you with your Novoclimat Certificate or your Novoclimat Performance Certificate a few weeks ago and you are still waiting to receive your financial assistance request form, please call us at 1-866-266-0008.


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  • My house was finished many weeks ago but I still have not received my Novoclimat Certificate. Is this normal?

The Novoclimat certificate is issued when all the requirements and procedures of the program have been completed and respected by the Novoclimat-certified builder.

The builder receives the documents approximately 4 weeks after the project has been certified. The builder is then required to present them to the homeowner.
 
Do not hesitate to call your builder to discuss this matter.


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Regulations

  • Where can we find the regulatory requirements for buildings in Québec?

The regulatory requirements aimed at energy efficiency in buildings are contained in the Regulation respecting energy conservation in new buildings (c. E-1.1, r.1) arising from the Act respecting the conservation of energy in buildings (R.S.Q., c. E-1.1, amended by S.Q. 1983, c. 9).

The regulatory requirements aimed at the other aspects of buildings are contained in the municipal construction regulations and in the Québec Construction Code (CCQ) (B-1.1, r.0.01.01).    

The Régie du bâtiment du Québec administers laws and regulations in buildings and adopts a construction code that is applicable to Québec. For more information, consult the List of laws, regulations and codes administered by the Régie du bâtiment du Québec.

Finally, to check the building codes and standards that are in force in your municipality, contact your municipal building inspection department.


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  • Why increase the energy efficiency regulatory requirements for houses?

Energy consumption has a significant incidence on the budget of Québec households. Quebeckers deal with high energy costs, particularly those associated with heating their homes. Energy consumption also has an impact on energy supply during peak periods, on certain forms of energy and on greenhouse gas emissions. Therefore, it is worthwhile to find out ways of reducing consumption as many possibilities present themselves to achieve this goal.

The most effective one, as well as the least costly for consumers, is to make sure that their dwellings are energy efficient, this means as early on as the construction phase.

That is why Québec is regulating the energy efficiency of buildings and proposing stricter regulatory requirements.

As a result, a draft regulation aiming to amend the Construction Code to introduce new energy efficiency requirements for residential buildings was published in the Gazette officielle du Québec on February 22, 2012. These requirements would enable Quebeckers to reduce their energy bills.


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  • Which buildings are targeted by the regulation?

The regulation targets new buildings and enlargement work performed on residential buildings, such as single-family and multi-family dwellings, that house only dwelling units and their subsidiary occupancies, have a building area not more than 600 square meters and a building height not more than three storeys.


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  • What are the regulatory requirements?

The regulation increases the energy efficiency requirements of new houses and dwelling units by improving the insulation of the roofs, walls and foundations, by increasing minimum requirements for doors and windows and by requiring the installation of ventilation systems that use heat recovery ventilators (HRVs).


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  • How were these requirements established?

The new requirements are inspired by the current Novoclimat program for new homes which has been operating since 1999 and has certified more than 17,000 housing units.

These requirements were also the subject of techno-economic evaluations to determine the levels of feasibility and profitability for the consumer as well as validations from different members of the construction industry collected during advisory committees, meetings and presentations.


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  • If the proposed regulatory requirements are inspired by those of the current Novoclimat program, does this mean that all the new houses built in compliance with this regulatory proposal would receive Novoclimat certification?

No, Novoclimat certification is independent of regulatory requirements.

The ministry intends to continue improving the energy efficiency in buildings and is currently developing a new and improved version of the Novoclimat program.


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  • If the proposed regulatory requirements are inspired by the Novoclimat program, what will happen to this program?

The Novoclimat program continues to operate whether the draft regulation comes into force or not. The ministry intends to continue improving the energy efficiency in buildings and a new and improved version of the Novoclimat program will be released on October 1st, 2013.


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  • Where can I find information about the Novoclimat program?

All information pertaining to the Novoclimat program is available on the Web site of the energy efficiency division of the MRN under the Novoclimat section:
www.novoclimat.gouv.qc.ca.


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Transport

  • We would like to purchase an energy efficient vehicle. Are there financial incentives?

Since January 1, 2012, the refundable tax credit for the purchase or lease of fuel-efficient vehicles are replaced to rebates for the first purchasers of hybrid or eco-electric vehicles. The rebate is deducted from the after-tax purchase or lease price.

For further information please consult the Web site vehiculeselectriques.gouv.qc.ca.


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Ventilation

  • Mechanical or natural ventilation?

Years ago, houses were ventilated by simply opening the windows, the doors and by counting on all air movements (air infiltrations and exfiltrations) through the exterior walls. Still used in many homes, this ventilation method, known as natural, is not always practical, comfortable and is even less effective. Especially in winter!
 
The installation of mechanical ventilation makes it possible to control your home’s ventilation more effectively and increases the energy performance of your home. Since mechanical systems use electricity, it is particularly important to select a ventilation unit that allows you to recover heat and energy, such as a heat recovery ventilator (HRV) or an energy recovery ventilator (ERV).
 
Finally, keep in mind that the installation of a mechanical ventilation system that pushes fresh air into each habitable room through ducts is mandatory for new houses under the current building standards and codes in effect.


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  • What type of ventilation unit should I choose?

In terms of habitable space, the heat recovery ventilator (HRV) is the type of unit that ensures better energy performance. In point of fact, the hot stale air is ejected outdoors and used to preheat the fresh air coming in through the system; therefore, less energy is used to bring inflowing air to a comfortable temperature.
 
Generally speaking, a good HRV yields between 60% and 80% of sensible heat recovery efficiency (SRE) (using hot stale air) at –25 ºC. Look for a model that meets these criteria and is certified by the Home Ventilating Institute (HVI).

For more information, consult the guide on Heat Recovery Ventilators published by the Office of Energy Efficiency.
 
For bathroom fans, range hood fans and ceiling fans, look for ENERGY STAR certification. This way you can use products that consume less energy and make less noise.


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  • In a home, does the HRV have to be on at all times, even in the summer?

It is advisable to adjust the settings of the ventilation system to reflect the season.

In the fall, winter and spring:

  • During the cold seasons, set the dehumidistat between 35 and 50% of relative humidity. This will automatically set off the system to prevent excess humidity.
  • When you are away from home, set the system to recirculation mode or to off (on the controller).
  • When you are at home, set the system to 20 minutes of air exchange with outdoors – 40 minutes of recirculation or 20 minutes of air exchange with outdoors – 40 minutes off.
  • When there are increased sources of pollutants (large group of persons, presence of smokers, etc.), set the HRV to high air exchange (max.) for specific periods of time.

In the summer:

Set the system to off (on the controller) and open doors and windows to ensure minimum natural ventilation.

In the summer, with an air conditioner:

  • When you are away from home, set the system to recirculation mode or to off (on the controller).
  • When you are at home, set the system to 20 minutes of air exchange with outdoors – 40 minutes of recirculation or 20 minutes of air exchange with outdoors – 40 minutes off.

At all times:

Activate the control device for the bathroom when using the toilet, bath or shower.


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  • At what degree of humidity should I keep my home?

The optimal relative humidity of a home should be between 35% and 50%. It is within this range that air contaminants are less likely to proliferate (bacteria, viruses, mushrooms, moths, etc.) therefore helping to reduce the chances of developing health problems.

The degree of humidity tends to increase naturally with the various activities performed in the home such as cooking, baths, showers and the use of the clothes dryer. To maintain an adequate level of humidity it is necessary to use appropriate ventilation (by increasing the flow of the central ventilation systems, using bathroom fans and range hood fans) when using certain rooms or appliances.


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  • In a home, does the HRV have to be on at all times, even in the summer?

It is advisable to adjust the settings of the ventilation system to reflect the season.

In the fall, winter and spring:
 

  • During the cold seasons, set the dehumidistat between 35 and 50% of relative humidity. This will automatically set off the system to prevent excess humidity.
  • When you are away from home, set the system to recirculation mode or to off (on the controller).
  • When you are at home, set the system to 20 minutes of air exchange with outdoors – 40 minutes of recirculation or 20 minutes of air exchange with outdoors – 40 minutes off.
  • When there are increased sources of pollutants (large group of persons, presence of smokers, etc.), set the HRV to high air exchange (max.) for specific periods of time.

In the summer:

  • Set the system to off (on the controller) and open doors and windows to ensure minimum natural ventilation.

In the summer, with an air conditioner:

  • When you are away from home, set the system to recirculation mode or to off (on the controller).
  • When you are at home, set the system to 20 minutes of air exchange with outdoors – 40 minutes of recirculation or 20 minutes of air exchange with outdoors – 40 minutes off.

At all times:

  • Activate the control device for the bathroom when using the toilet, bath or shower.

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