Community Efficiency Financing (CEF)

Attracting private investment 

Our CEF initiative broke ground last year with a first-of-its-kind credit enhancement mechanism to de-risk private lending for energy retrofit projects. 

Private funding opportunities are often overlooked when it comes to the design of energy-efficiency programs. We worked to change that last year with the CEF-supported Durham Greener Homes program. Through the novel credit-enhancement program, GMF acts as a loan guarantor to facilitate collaboration between municipalities and private lenders by absorbing partial coverage for losses, reducing the risk to the private lenders and unlocking the most favourable financing options for homeowners.  

To make it even simpler for homeowners to complete energy efficiency upgrades, Durham region provides access to a whole range of ‘concierge’-style support services, including home energy coaching and an interactive web portal offering personalized renovation roadmaps and rebates. These services will be a fundamental force in driving community-level changes and home energy retrofits. 

The Durham approach could be scaled to other communities and marks another milestone in the growth of the two-year-old CEF, which has expanded from three to 29 municipalities and, in 2021–2022 alone, approved programs and studies valued at $39.6 million — with close to $65 million pledged to projects in the approval or application stages. 

Unlocking new approaches for residential upgrades  

Using innovative financing mechanisms, such as Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE), utility on-bill financing and third-party lending partnerships, helps communities by providing homeowners access to capital for often high-cost of energy upgrades and addressing other barriers that limit the widespread uptake of home energy projects.

With backing from CEF, communities without energy-efficiency financing legislation (PACE or local improvement charge financing) now have a pathway to build more sustainable infrastructure and help homeowners improve residential energy efficiency. 

CEF's unique program design delivers benefits directly to Canadian homeowners through: 

  • Innovative mechanisms that allow repayments over time as part of their utility or property tax bills 

  • Payments that are attached to the property, not the owner, and transfer to future owners at the time of sale 

  • Private capital mobilization into local financing programs via third-party lending that’s de-risked by a GMF-funded credit enhancement 

  • Low financing rates paired with extended repayment terms (e.g., 20 years), making multi-measure retrofit packages more cost-effective and capable of achieving deeper GHG reductions  

  • Enhanced concierge services that simplify the home retrofit journey with access to energy advisors and available incentives ensuring homeowners get the best deal

Key results: CEF 2021-2022

  • $39.6 million in programs and studies approved
  • ~65 million pledged to future projects
  • Approved projects have potential to avoid 3,965 tonnes of GHG emissions per year
  • Potential GHG reductions of 30-50% in each home

CEF’s environmental impact 

The first 17 capital projects approved by GMF enable: 

  • Energy efficiency retrofits and renewable energy installations to more than 5,000 single-family homes 

  • Potential GHG reduction of 30-50% in each home 

  • Improved indoor air quality and occupant comfort