The Province of Ontario has announced a $100 million program to help homeowners doing environmentally friendly renovations on their properties, two weeks after the initiative was reported exclusively by CTV News.

The government has set very aggressive targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in Ontario, and homes and buildings are among the top emitters.

On Jan. 21, Environment Minister Glen Murray said he realizes money is a big motivator, and rebates for new furnaces, roofs, insulation and geothermal pumps will be included in the plan.

“Home retrofits are something we want,” he said.

Similar plans have worked in the past.

Past government rebates for retrofits such as insulation, energy-efficient windows and new roofs triggered a surge in business.

“A few years ago, when the government was offering incentives for these items, 90 or 95 per cent of customers where selecting them because of the rebates that they were getting,” said contractor Larry Maher.

Maher said that if the government hands out money for home improvements that reduce greenhouse gases, many homeowners would jump at the offer.

“People are more likely to actually think about it and do it,” he said.

Queen’s Park has promised to cut emissions by 15 per cent in the next four years.

This year, Ontario is putting a price on all carbon emissions in order to reduce its environmental footprint.

Homes and commercial buildings make up 20 per cent of the province’s greenhouse gas emissions.

On Feb. 4, the province announced specific details of the exclusive reported by CTV Toronto's Paul Bliss last month.

Approximately 37,000 customers of Enbridge Gas and Union Gas will be given home energy audits, then will be able to apply for financial assistance to purchase upgrades based on the results of the audits. The government has yet to say how much assistance homeowners who qualify will be given, and when the deals will apply to the rest of Ontario residents. 

With a report from Queen’s Park Bureau Chief Paul Bliss