Frequently asked questions
1. Do we have to provide energy data to qualify for the grants?
Yes. Energy data helps us measure where we’re at, and how we’re improving, The goal for this program is to reduce the carbon footprint of the United Church of Canada, and to know that we have reached this goal with your project, we need to analyze the energy data of the participating buildings.
If you’re not sure how to gather your energy data, start by asking your administrator or whoever pays the bills where you could find the last year of energy bills. Some utilities will have all of that info in your online account. Your congregation may simply have a file of past paid-bills somewhere. On those bills you should find all of the info you need to fill out the energy chat within the application form.
If you are still having trouble, contact us and we’ll help!
2. Is energy data the only measure of success?
We’re asking for energy data because it’s one important metric to measure change. But we know that this energy data isn’t the only measurement that matters.
Many congregations have told us that these building upgrades have meant they have more rental groups and community groups using their space, resulting in their energy use looking the same, but supporting much more use. It extends their ‘mission per square foot’, and that’s something to celebrate.
The application form will also ask some questions about your building usage, and after the work is done we’ll ask you to share some of your story with us, so that the rich impacts that can’t be captured in data can still be shared.
3. How long do we have to complete the retrofits/renovations/planned actions?
Ideally you should complete it within a year. If it is a larger plan, we can discuss a timeline that is reasonable for you. Please note that the grant money is released at the end of your planned upgrades.
4. Can we get our money ahead of time, before the completion of the project?
No. The funds will be distributed as a reimbursement in a timely manner, once receipts are submitted.
5. Can we use the grant money to have an Audit carried out on our church?
Yes. An audit is an important step in identifying the low hanging fruit, and the opportunities for focusing your efforts to maximize energy reduction. For DIY grants we require that you do a self-guided walk-through audit at the minimum, and for Upgrade grants we require a Green Audit, or an Energy Audit, or a full Ashrae Audit.
We are happy to talk with you to figure out what kind of audit makes the most sense for you, and to coordinate having our team come and provide that audit, or help find someone near you.
6. How long should the application process take?
It should take approximately 4-6 weeks from when you start to the approval of your application. Application deadline cycles are listed on the DIY Grants page for small projects (Up to $5,000) and Retrofit Grants for larger projects ($5,000 to $30,000).
7. Where do I go for help with the application?
There are guides and resources on the website to help you fill out the application and collect your energy data. If you still have questions once you have gone through those, please reach out to us.
8. What is involved in the follow up report?
In the follow-up report we are hoping to hear more of your congregation’s story, and the impact that these funds have had. Specifically we want to hear what you did with the money, how you feel it improved the reduction of your carbon footprint, how it benefits your congregation, and the value it brought to your community.
We would also like some photos - not just of the building, but of the people who worked together to make this project happen. In some cases we will be able to share this story and the photos on our website, or work with you to create a video, to showcase your efforts locally and nationally.
9. What is ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager?
When we receive your utility data, we will enter it into a program called ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager. ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager is a free, online tool that Natural Resources Canada (NRCan) has adapted from the United States Environmental Protection Agency, which we are using to help you measure and track your faith building's energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions. With your newly established ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager account, you can monitor, rate and optimize your building's energy use - all in a secure online environment.