Choosing rebate-eligible windows and doors
January 29, 2020
Updated January 12, 2023
I bought a much unloved house in need of some TLC. My home inspector thought I was crazy. “You’re a brave lady,” he said. I wasn’t brave, I just wanted a house and this was the best I could afford. Luckily, I'm pretty handy.
Going deep into home renos
At least the wiring was adequate, the roof was OK and the structure was sound, but the house required, what they call in the energy-efficiency industry, a “deep retrofit.” Because the furnace and leaky water heater were on their last legs, I had to upgrade those first. Then, little by little, I worked on the envelope of the house. This means siding and roof, as well as the windows, doors and insulation in the exterior walls and attic.
Think your windows are bad?
If there was an award for the worst windows, I’d have won. My little pre-war, unloved fixer had a motley mix of them from a variety of decades (none from this century). Whenever the dogs barked at the mailman, the thin single pane of my living room window would shimmy and shake. And at night? A light breeze would make the aluminum frame of my bedroom window rattle, jolting me and the pups from a deep sleep. And frankly, the windows were ugly. Don’t believe me? Have a look.
Living room window before. I was so worried the dogs would
break that single pane when the mailman came!
My very ugly bathroom, before the new window was installed
and a full renovation.
Rebates make the decision to upgrade easier
All of FortisBC's rebates are designed to help you offset the extra cost between a standard item and an energy-efficient one. But let’s be honest. You want to upgrade your windows and/or doors for more reasons than energy efficiency. I mean, who shows off their new blown-in attic insulation to the neighbours? My new windows? Folks who knew what my house looked like before—the eyesore on the street—would walk by and ogle them enviously. New windows have the same effect on your neighbours as a kitchen renovation, without having to invite them into your home to see them.
But as well as adding an incredible aesthetic appeal to both the interior and exterior of my house, the comfort was amazing. Even though I hadn’t insulated it yet, my home felt more solid and sound. The rattling was gone, the cold drafts stayed outside and my home was incredibly quiet. My neighbour’s grunge band and the all night trains rumbling in the distance were now just memories with my high efficiency windows.
Maximize your investment
Windows are a HUGE investment. Possibly even more than a kitchen or bathroom renovation, depending on the number and size of the windows you’re replacing. You're going to spend a lot on the windows, and labour to install them, regardless of their energy efficiency rating. Buying the most efficient ones you can will pay off in energy savings year over year. I mean can you argue with these?
Living room window after. It’s bigger and it’s got panes
My now very gorgeous bathroom. Bigger window, better
Be clear on window (and door) rebates
Before you buy the first window you see, remember, not all windows and doors qualify for rebates. So how do you know which ones do? Well, FortisBC has some tips to help you know what you’re talking about when getting quotes from window companies.
Demystifying window and door terminology
Here’s an explanation of some of the technical terms to help ensure the products you buy are rebate-eligible.
U-Factor: also known as U-Value, U-Factor measures a window or door’s resistance to heat flow. The lower the number, the better its insulating properties. U-Factor can be expressed in metric or imperial units.
Metric vs. imperial: U-Factor requirements for rebates are listed in metric units (W/m2-K). To convert the U-Factor from imperial to metric, multiply the number by 5.678.
Rebates are great. But what’s the catch?
People often ask me why FortisBC offers rebates to help customers use less energy. It’s all part of a bigger plan I tell them; one that will help our province move towards a lower carbon future.
You could be eligible for a rebate of up to $2,000 by installing Tier 2 windows and doors. Additional eligibility requirements and full terms and conditions for these rebates are listed here.
|Tier 2 - doors and windows|
$100 per (up to $2,000)
|1.22 (W/m2-K) or less|
Not eligible in the City of Vancouver.
Now you’re ready to apply for your rebate
Once you’ve selected your rebate-eligible windows and/or doors and had them installed by a licensed contractor, it’s time to apply online for your rebate (you have up to six months from your invoice date to apply). As well as the detailed invoice from the window manufacturer/installer, you’ll also need to include a photo of at least one manufacturer’s label from a window and/or door. Here are some samples:
Tier 2 sample manufacturer’s label
The label must have:
Note: FortisBC recommends that all energy efficiency renovations be undertaken in consultation with and by trained and experienced contractors. FortisBC will not be responsible for your use of the information contained in or linked from these webpages.