Capital Boulevard building

Edmonton’s Building Energy Retrofit Accelerator is a new rebate program that provides financial incentives for energy efficiency upgrades to commercial and institutional buildings.

The program aims to address the emissions resulting from the operations of commercial, light industrial, and institutional buildings by reducing the energy intensity of eligible buildings. The program offers financial rebates on the purchase and installation of select energy-efficient equipment (see the Eligible Measures List for details). Retrofits that are eligible for rebates include building lighting fixtures and controls, HVAC equipment used for heating and cooling buildings, hot water equipment, building controls,  building envelope and green building certifications.

For more details on how building and business owners in Edmonton can save money and emissions, see the Change Buildings for Climate programs and the other grants and incentives listed below.

Who is eligible?

Edmonton’s Building Energy Retrofit Accelerator is available to large commercial, light industrial and institutional buildings located within Edmonton. Common spaces in multi-family buildings, such as apartments and condominiums, are also eligible. 

Detailed eligibility criteria can be found in the Program Manual and includes:

  • Buildings must be over 5,000 square feet in gross floor area
  • An existing building that has been operational for at least 1 year
  • The building falls within an eligible City of Edmonton zoning bylaw category
  • The building has participated in Edmonton’s Building Energy Benchmarking Program

All program requirements are outlined within the Program Manual, and detailed eligibility can be found within the Program Terms and Conditions.

What rebates are available?

Rebate amounts are specific to the building energy retrofit project completed by the participant. The Eligible Measures List includes all equipment that qualify for rebates as well as the rebate amounts and measure-specific eligibility criteria. Eligible measures are divided into four categories:

  • Lighting fixtures (interior, exterior)
  • Controls (lighting, non-lighting)
  • HVAC (including hot water)
  • Building envelope

The following rebate caps apply to all program participants:

  • Measure level maximum rebate: The rebate amount cannot exceed 50% of the actual costs of equipment and installation
  • Minimum Rebate per Application: $1,000
  • Maximum Rebate per project per program year: $75,000, or $125,000 if a heat pump is installed
  • Maximum rebate per company per program year (at multiple locations): $150,000
Bundling and Bonuses

To encourage more significant energy retrofits, participants who install measures from more than one equipment category will receive an additional 5% bonus rebate for each category they install, up to a maximum bonus of 10%.

To encourage participation in third-party green building certification programs, participants are eligible for a 50% rebate for certification costs as well as an additional 5% bonus rebate on the entire project.

Bonuses are applied over and above the project rebate caps and maximums described above.

For example, a warehouse that completed retrofits on 1,000 high bay lights ($100/fixture) and included 1,000 motion sensors ($20/control) and installed a 10t heat pump ($900/ton) and received BOMA BEST certification. This project would be eligible for the following rebate amounts:

1000 Lights ($100/bulb) + 10t Heat Pump ($900/ton) + 100 controls ($20/control) rebate + BOMA BEST (50% of $6,500 certification cost) = $114,250

Due to 3 measure categories, there is a bundling bonus of 10% across all eligible measures = $114,250 * 1.10 = $125,675

Due to the BOMA BEST Certification, there is a certification bonus of 5% on all eligible measures = $125,675 * 1.05 = $131,958.75

Therefore, the total rebate amount is $131,958.75.

How to Participate

There are two application streams available to participate in the BERA program: Pre-Approval (recommended) and Post-Approval. BERA applicants can pick the application stream that complements their project stage and use the Program Checklist to finalize their documents submission.

Retrofit considerations for climate change adaptation

While the program currently doesn’t provide rebates for adaptation, here are some considerations to protect your investment. Year 2 funding will be tied to climate resilience.

What is climate change adaptation?

As the climate is changing, Edmonton is expected to experience higher than normal temperatures, precipitation, and weather extremes. Modelling shows that the risk of urban flooding will double by 2050 and the extreme heat days will increase from 1 day per year on average to 16 days per year by 2050. The overall increase in temperature (a rise by 3.5 C expected by 2050) could lead to an increased risk of extreme weather events, which may translate into damage to buildings. Studies suggest that adaptation is more cost effective than recovery from damages after weather-related catastrophic loss. 

Learn more about Edmonton’s climate change adaptation.

Why should buildings adapt to climate change?

In addition to being more energy efficient, buildings also need to adapt to extreme heat with higher cooling loads, increased risk of flooding, extreme winds and wildfire events in the future. Climate adaptation refers to lowering the risks of negative impacts of climate change and preparing to cope with the new climate conditions.

How can buildings participating in BERA adapt to climate change?

There are co-benefits to adaptation and energy efficiency for buildings, such as increased insulation that not only reduces the need for increased heating/cooling but also reduces heat/cold penetration for outdoors even as temperatures become more extreme. These Suggested Adaptation Measures can be completed alongside the BERA measures to help protect your investment in building retrofits. 

Climate resilience is the overarching goal that combines both energy transition (energy efficiency) and adaptation actions; therefore future phases of BERA funding will be tied to climate resilience.

Building Energy Retrofit Accelerator Application