The HERO Project

HERO: Home Energy Retrofit Opportunity Project

Live Green Toronto
Community Investment Program
Click here for the Final Report (June 30, 2010)


HVRA is offering you an opportunity to lower your heating bills, reduce your carbon footprint, and make your home more comfortable.

Home Energy Audits

A HERO home energy assessment qualifies you for federal and provincial (ecoENERGY) grants for heating, cooling, ventilation, insulation, and water conservation.  There are additional incentives available from the Province, the City of Toronto, the Ontario Power Authority, and the utilities.

The average home in Harbord Village has air leaks equal to a 22 x 22 inch (56x56 cm) hole in the wall, the size of the frame Tim Grant is holding.  24 hours a day.  7 days a week.  365 days a year.  Forever.

That is what we have learned from the 100 Harbord Village homes that have been audited so far under the HVRA HERO Project.  We are all paying way more than we need to cool our houses in summer, and heat them in winter — about $200 per year on our energy bills.

Air sealing is the most cost-effective thing we can do to reduce energy use and increase comfort in our homes.  Plugging up the leaky spots in your basement, walls, and around your windows and doors takes one day, costs $300 to $500, and can qualify for $380 to $860 in government grants.

Can’t spare the time to get it done? 
The average audit takes 45-60 minutes.

Can’t spare the money?
With the incentives and the HERO grant, the audit costs $131.75.

Don’t know who can do the work? 
HERO will provide a list of contractors who can help you. 

Worried that the audit will commit you to work you can’t afford? 
There is no obligation.

Don’t think you need an audit? 
You must have an audit before you do the work to qualify for the incentives.

Worried about costs of improvements?
HERO has prepared a table summarizing EcoEnergy home upgrade costs and the incentives that are currently available for those upgrades.  Go HERE to download our HERO grant chart (updated January 12, 2010).

Confused about grants that are available for your work?
Click HERE for the EcoENERGY Retrofit Homes Grant Table, which has more details on the requirements to qualify for each grant.

Home upgrades completed before January 31, 2010 qualify for the Federal Home Renovation Tax Credit.  Go HERE for more information on that program.

The City of Toronto has a new incentive program to assist homeowners with insulating their ceilings, walls and foundations.  The Home Energy Assistance Toronto (HEAT) program provides incentives of up to $1,000 for upgrading your home’s insulation.  The great thing about this program is that there is no paperwork — Carson Dunlop will apply for the City grants on your behalf.  For more information, check out the HEAT website here.

Click HERE for a video on home energy audits produced by the Province.

For more information on the home energy assessment process, download the HERO Home Energy Assessment information sheet HERE.

Our Members Say:

Jane Murdoch Adams

“I want to let you know how enormously important the energy audit is, and that all the extra supports HVRA provides (information, suggestions on contractors and products) are necessary to create the environmental difference we all wish to achieve.  I am especially happy that you are considering helping HVRA members sort out energy efficient furnaces, in the future.”

”What is most important to me is that we are usually OVERWHELMED by the complexity of keeping this old (1885) house functioning efficiently.  We don't really have the knowledge, tools, stamina or money to invest in random upgrading.  Cue HVRA!!!  In solidarity, you all are making our lives much easier, taking the stress and worry out of making these decisions, providing the best kind of friendship, and making sure that what we do is wise and environmentally profitable.”

”HVRA is a fabulous team, and I am very proud of you all.”

Sue Dexter

"I got an audit. Did some work. My December gas bill was reduced by 45%!"

Dave and Ana Dennier

“Carson Dunlop were great to deal with. They returned calls quickly, honoured scheduled times and did a professional job.  Thanks for all the great work you and the association are doing.  Us "silent members" really do appreciate it!”


David DePoe & Susan Smith

“We had our energy audit done, and I was impressed with their thorough and professional approach. We want to proceed as soon as we get the report, probably with some leak sealing, attic insulation and a hot water system, and later for windows and wall insulation. We are very interested in getting the list of contractors you propose to compile.”


Jane Murdoch Adams

“We had the energy audit done, and as a direct result had all new windows installed in the front of our house, and a new AtlasCare furnace.  We would not have undertaken any of this without the research, encouragement and support of HVRA.”

“Chris and I are amazed at much more comfortable our house has become, and how warm and cozy it feels.  When we turn the thermostat down it takes a long time for the temperature to decline.  Very energy efficient.”

“I especially like the new-style humidifier in the furnace.  It really works, with no mineral build up to continually clean.  And the rebate is very welcome.”

You can take part in HVRA’s Home Energy Retrofit Opportunity (HERO) project, get a home energy audit for $131.75, and get information on where you can make the biggest difference for the least investment.

HERO will help you upgrade your furnace to a new high efficiency furnace, saving natural gas (and electricity!)

All HERO participants receive a list of home upgrade contractors who are available to assist you with your home energy efficiency upgrades, eliminating the “I have had my energy audit, now what do I do?” problem.

Our goal is to make it easy for Harbord Village residents to reduce home energy costs.  The program in a nutshell:

  1. Obtain a home energy assessment on your home at a special price.

  2. Upgrade to a high efficiency gas furnace or boiler at a discount

  3. Access contractors who can perform additional home efficiency upgrades.

  4. Get your follow-up home energy assessment to access government grants.

Home energy upgrades don’t have to be expensive.  For less than $1,000, you can have your home draft sealed, get a grant back from the government, and make a big difference in your energy bills forever.

What is the HERO Project?

The City’s Live Green Toronto program fights climate change by supporting community groups to green their own neighbourhoods.  HVRA’s Home Energy Retrofit Opportunity (HERO) project is among the first projects selected for City support.

Heating and cooling houses is a significant source of greenhouse gases that contribute to climate change.  We can make significant reductions in greenhouse gases where we live! The HVRA energy retrofit project is designed to give you easy access to home energy audits and energy-conserving improvements for your home.

  • Energy savings

  • Money savings

  • Increased Comfort

  • Reduced environmental impact.

For more information on the Live Green Toronto program, and the HVRA HERO project, please download our backgrounder HERE.

To sign up for the HERO project, just download the flyer HERE, fill in the sign-up sheet on the back, and return it to us.

HVRA will be preparing materials to assist other residents’ associations and community groups in organizing their own community residential home energy efficiency projects.  For more information on the HERO Community Tool Kit, check back to this web site or contact the HERO project coordinator.

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact HVRA HERO project coordinator David Booz.

Heritage Conservation and Energy Efficiency

Upgrading our homes to be energy efficient is important, but it doesn’t have to be at the expense of the heritage of our homes.  It is important to respect the heritage aspects of the facades of our homes while renovating.  Windows are a particularly important area — you can repair your existing heritage windows to make them more efficient.  If you decide to replace your windows, you can get new, energy efficient windows that echo the appearance of the original late 19th century windows.

HVRA has published an excellent Directory for Conservators and Restorers that has lot of great information on windows and other heritage aspects of our homes.

For more information, including a link to download the Directory for Conservators and Restorers, see the Heritage Conservation page of the HVRA web site.

Carson Dunlop & Associates - HERO Energy Auditor

The HERO project has selected Carson Dunlop & Associates as our official Home Energy Auditor.  Carson Dunlop & Associates Ltd has completed over 85,000 home inspections since 1978 in the GTA.  They are Canada’s largest independently owned and operated home inspection company.

Carson Dunlop is approximately fifty employees strong with lots of in-house experience, expertise and knowledge of houses and their systems.  They have an incredible technical library and skill set, and both owners are still active in the business.  They have always prided themselves on doing top quality work, offering great customer service for a fair price — they are a value based service company with a solid history and reputation.

Recently, they were awarded the Best of 08’ from as the Top Service Provider for 2008 for the Green Products and Services Category. All our customer reviews for their ecoENERGY work rated them 10 out of 10!

To visit the Carson Dunlop & Associates website and check out the great videos on their site, click here.

HERO’s contact at Carson Dunlop is Ryan Haffner,, (416) 964-9415 x 231.

AtlasCare — HERO Furnace Contractor Partner

HERO has selected AtlasCare for a bulk purchase of high efficiency furnaces.  AtlasCare was established in 1932 as a heating service company serving central Toronto.  The company has been involved in all areas of the heating business, progressing from coal to oil, to electric, to gas heat.  AtlasCare has progressed into a company specializing in all residential HVAC equipment.  Most recently, they have made it their mandate to vigorously pursue indoor air quality (IAQ).  AtlasCare takes great pride in the many services they offer to improve the quality of the air you breathe in your home. 

AtlasCare has developed customized HVAC solutions for even the most challenging jobs.  This becomes especially useful in downtown Toronto where many homes lack central ventilation and ductwork, and where venting high efficiency furnaces can be a real challenge. 

AtlasCare is committed to working with all participants in the HERO project in an effort to increase the energy efficiency in Harbord Village no matter the scope of the work.  AtlasCare also offers boilers and a wide range of other home comfort products and services, including air conditioning systems, IAQ products, duct cleaning, and air quality testing.

In 2004, AtlasCare became the first and only independent residential HVAC company to qualify for ISO 9001-2000 certification.

AtlasCare is offering a bulk discount of 8% on all new installations and services to participants in the HERO project. 

Please keep in mind that the last day to qualify for the Home Renovation Tax Credit on new furnace installations is January 31, 2010.

For more information on AtlasCare, see their website at  Make sure you view their video “The Perfect Install”.

If you want to get a quote from AtlasCare on your HVAC needs, you need to fill in our sign up sheet HERE and return it to us.

HERO’s contact at AtlasCare is Justin Mantei,, (905) 829-1296 x 260.

Get Involved!

This is a community project, and we need a working committee of residents to help organize the project.  There are lots of things that need to be done, from writing Requests for Proposals for contractors, to helping with the vendor selection, to organizing the public meetings and neighbourhood involvement, to helping with website information, publicity and distributing flyers.  Helping out doesn’t have to be a big commitment — every little bit helps!  To get involved, contact project coordinator David Booz at

The HVRA HERO project is supported by a Live Green Toronto Community Investment Program grant from theCity of Toronto