Save on Energy Retrofit Program: More Incentives Available

Save on Energy is an energy efficiency and conservation program provided through the Government of Ontario’s Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO). Save on Energy programs help fund retrofits, energy audits, and controls that reduce electricity demand at peak usage times. Programs are available to support businesses, from small retail stores to large industrial manufacturers, however, few are aware of the range of incentives available.

Organizations who use Save on Energy can reduce the cost of projects, but more importantly, consistently reduce their energy costs over time.

One of the incentives businesses should be aware of is the Save on Energy Retrofit program. This program allows Ontario businesses, small or large and in a wide range of sectors, to take advantage of opportunities for savings through energy-efficient equipment upgrades. As of August 12, 2019, there have been changes made to measures supported under the Retrofit program.

Save on Energy defines a measure as: “Any activity undertaken for the primary purpose of obtaining or effecting, directly or indirectly, conservation demand management, including the installation, retrofit, replacement, modification or commissioning of equipment, systems, processes or behaviours that consume or result in the consumption of electricity.”

Keep reading to discover where your business could take advantage of available incentives. We’ll also be sharing two other programs that businesses seeking support to upgrade to more energy-efficient equipment should consider: the Save on Energy Process and Systems Upgrades program and the Climate Action Incentive Program.

Save on Energy Retrofit Program: Energy Efficiency Incentives

The Save on Energy Retrofit program provides incentives to participants who upgrade facilities with measures to reduce electricity consumption. The program recently updated the range of measures available, which will allow businesses to take advantage of new products and technologies to help with the reduction of energy costs and improve the overall operation of facilities and buildings.

Save on Energy Retrofit Program Incentive Changes

The measures available under the Retrofit program include LED Measures, Lighting Control Measures, and Compressed Air Measures. New compressed air measures and lighting control measures and are now available, while some older lighting measures have been reduced or removed.

See the entire list of current incentives available.

Save on Energy Retrofit Program: Types of Project Applications

Under the Retrofit program, there are two categories of project applications for businesses:

Prescriptive Track: Pre-defined end-use measures that provide a “per-unit installed” incentive. This includes the installation of lighting, motors, etc. Retrofits are meant for small, easy-to-finish projects.

Projects must be pre-approved to participate. Small projects are to be worth a minimum incentive of $500. Prescriptive track incentives allow up to 55% of the estimated eligible costs in the application if approved by the IESO.

Custom Track: Designed to offer flexibility for more complex projects. Incentives are based on energy savings over pre-project baselines. Businesses will need to document their baseline energy use, describe their completed energy conservation project, and demonstrate the costs of installing/purchasing/disposing of equipment.

Projects must be pre-approved to participate. Projects are to be worth a minimum incentive of $1500. Custom track incentives allow up to 55% of the estimated eligible costs in the application if approved by the IESO. Projects must also deliver energy savings for at least 48 months.

Applicant Eligibility for the Save on Energy Retrofit Program

Save on Energy Retrofit incentives are available to Ontario:

  • Industrial facilities: packaging industries, food and beverage, plastics, and automotive
  • Institutional buildings: arenas, municipal halls, universities, and hospitals
  • Agricultural facilities: dairy, greenhouses, swine or poultry farms, and nurseries
  • Commercial spaces or buildings: restaurants, offices, retail and grocery stores, warehouses, and hotels
  • Multi-family buildings: apartments (including low-income and social housing) and condominiums

*If applicants are leasing spaces, they must have the owner’s consent or approval.

Project Eligibility for the Save on Energy Retrofit Program

Eligible projects for the Retrofit program are to provide measurable, sustainable, and provable reductions in peak electricity consumption and electricity demand.

Examples include:

  • Enhancement of a building’s thermal performance through procedures such as:
    • low-emissivity window glazing
    • low-emissivity roof barriers
    • increased insulation
    • installation of high-performance windows and frames
  • HVAC redesign
  • Lighting retrofits
  • Chiller replacement
  • Lighting controls
  • Variable-speed drives
  • Implementation of new operating measures required to acquire or increase the effectiveness of an energy management system or building automation system, including equipment installations such as:
    • building automation systems
    • an energy management system
    • sensors
    • metering equipment
    • related communication systems
    • control equipment

Save on Energy Process and Systems Upgrades Program

In addition to the Save on Energy Retrofit program, another incentive that businesses should be aware of is the Save on Energy Process and Systems Upgrades program. Businesses are to develop a case for energy-efficiency projects they want to undertake and identify potential capital incentive project opportunities that may exist. Those with specialized upgraded facility projects to help increase competitiveness, grow savings, and reduce electricity use should consider this program.

Unlike the Retrofit program, the Process and Systems Upgrades program is designed for very large process and system energy efficiency projects that require engineering design for optimization. This program stream offers incentives for engineering feasibility studies that propose energy-saving opportunities or technologies that businesses could implement.

Climate Action Incentive Fund (CAIF)

The Climate Action Incentive Fund (CAIF) is a new Environment and Climate Change Canada program available in provinces that have not created their own carbon pollution pricing systems, where SMEs would benefit from funding for projects to decrease energy usage, reduce carbon pollution, and save money.

Supported Project Types: Retrofit projects that reduce energy usage, costs, and/or GHG emissions in sectors such as agriculture, building, electricity, energy, fuel, industrial, transportation, and waste.

Payment: Up to 25% of total eligible project costs. Minimum $20,000 to a max of $250,000 per project and per applicant.

Eligibility: Incorporated enterprises of 1-499 employees operating in the provinces of Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, or New Brunswick.

Apply for Energy Efficiency Incentive Programs

Save on Energy Retrofit Program: Interested applicants for the Save on Energy Retrofit program should visit the new online application portal. Access to training information and additional resources are available to easily navigate the process.

Save on Energy Process and Systems Upgrades Program: For more information on the program, please contact

Climate Action Inventive Fund (CAIF): To learn more about the program and discuss if your upcoming project is positioned to succeed, please contact Mentor Works. We can also help optimize the application and reporting process.

Contact us to learn how to accelerate the application process.

Apply for Canadian Government Funding

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Myra educates and inspires leaders on ways to enhance their business’ growth projects through blog and web publication, social media, and event management.

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