Blue Built Home – frequently asked questions

Resident frequently asked questions

What makes a home or building eligible to participate in the Blue Built Home program?

New home or building

To participate in the program, a new home must:

  • be individually metered;
  • built within Guelph on or after January 1, 2018;
  • be serviced via the City of Guelph municipal water supply; and
  • submit a complete Certification and Rebate Claim Form to the City.

Existing single-family home or townhouse

To participate in the program, an existing single-family home or townhouse must:

  • be individually metered;
  • be located within Guelph and serviced via the municipal water supply;
  • participate in an eMERGE Home Tune-up visit;
  • renovate or upgrade the home with identified water efficiency measures;
  • provide receipts to prove the purchase of water efficient products and technologies; and
  • submit a complete Certification and Rebate Claim Form to the City.

Existing multi-residential building

To participate in the program, an existing multi-residential building must:

  • have seven units or more;
  • be located within Guelph;
  • be serviced via the City of Guelph municipal water supply;
  • participate in a free, multi-residential water audit;
  • renovate or upgrade the building with identified water efficiency measures;
  • provide receipts to prove the purchase of water efficient products and technologies;
  • submit a complete Certification and Rebate Claim Form to the City; and
  • allow the City to do a follow-up inspection of the building and participating units as requested.

How is a Blue Built Home certified?

A Blue Built Home is certified once the building owner has submitted their Certification and Rebate Claim Form and all necessary verification requirements have been completed. Verifications may include inspections by the City of Guelph, submission of product specification sheets, and submission of proof of purchase for all fixtures, appliances or systems required for the Blue Built Home certification. Upon successful verification, a Blue Built Home certification package will be provided to the home owner and any rebates will be submitted.

How and when does a new-built home buyer get their Blue Built Home rebate?

Once you have taken possession of your new Blue Built Home, you can complete the online Certification and Rebate Claim Form. To receive your rebate, complete the online form, upload proof of purchase for any additional rebate qualifications you meet (i.e. washing machine or sub-water meter) and click submit. Be sure to submit these items to the City of Guelph within six months of your possession date. Once your completed rebate claim package is received, the Blue Built Home administration team will process your claim and send you a personalized Blue Built Home certification package.

What is the City’s involvement in the Blue Built Home program?

The City of Guelph is responsible for the administration of the program, including verifying compliance with program requirements and issuing certification and rebates for each Blue Built Home.

Which home builders in Guelph currently offer Blue Built Homes?

The Blue Built Home Program is open to all Guelph-based Tarion-registered home builders. Ask your homebuilder today about the Blue Built Home Program to get specific prices and information.

What is greywater and how can it be used in the home?

Greywater is wastewater generated from dish washing, hand washing, laundry, bathing and showering. According to the Ontario Building Code, treated greywater can be used for toilet and urinal flushing, as well as priming floor drains within a home.

What is a greywater reuse system?

In this diagram, shower water is drains to a storage tank. Stored water is then used to flush toilets.A greywater reuse system reclaims and purifies water collected from the home’s showers and baths and uses it to flush toilets. The collection and reuse of greywater is one way to use substantially less fresh, potable water for toilet flushing, and to save money on your water bill. Learn about greywater reuse systems.

Water treated through a residential greywater reuse system does not meet the provincial drinking water quality standards and should not be consumed under any circumstance.

What is rainwater harvesting?

Downspouts carry rainwater to an underground cistern. Pipes run from the cistern to the toilet, clothes washer and outdoor irrigation system. Rainwater harvesting is the collection and storage of rainwater for use in activities that require water but not drinking-quality water.
Many people collect rainwater in rain barrels and use it outdoors to water a garden. Residential rainwater harvesting uses a similar but more complex system to collect significant quantities of rain and melted snow from the roof and eaves troughs, and stores it in a large cistern. The cistern can be stored underground or in the home’s basement or insulated garage. The collected water is filtered, purified and then used in toilet flushing, outdoor landscaping and gardening and for laundry. This reduces the amount of fresh, potable water being used in the home, and saves you money on your water bills. Learn about rainwater harvesting systems.

What is a waterless floor drain trap?

Diagrams of sewer gases being blocked by a closed floor drain trap, and an open trap allowing water to flow down.A waterless floor drain trap is a device that fits into the floor drain in your laundry room and acts as a barrier to prevent sewer gases from entering the home without the use of a water priming device.

Most standard homes have water priming devices. These devices use water to form a seal that prevents sewer gases from coming into your home. Some drain traps use potable drinking water to form a seal, while others use condensation from your furnace to perform this function. Water-primed floor drains can leak, wasting up to 53 litres of water per day.

I already have a washing machine. Do I have to purchase a new one?

No, you don’t need to buy a new washing machine to participate. You can either 1) install a rainwater harvesting system, 2) install a greywater reuse system or 3) complete any three of the following options, with at least two being from the primary category.

Primary options

  • Energy Star® washing machine (less than or equal to19 litres per person per day)
  • WaterSense® toilet (less than or equal to 4.0 litres)
  • Energy Star® dish washer
  • Efficient hot water distribution system (Install an on-demand hot water recirculation system and/or reduce the amount of water stored between the hot water source and the furthest fixture)
  • WaterSense® showerheads (less than or equal to 6.6 litres per minute)

Secondary options

  • WaterSense® Lavatory faucet (less than or equal to 5.7 litres per minute)
  • Lavatory faucet aerator (less than or equal to 5.7 litres per minute)
  • Permanent sub-water meter
  • Temporary sub-water meter
  • Waterless floor drain trap primer
  • Blue Built Home Healthy Landscape Visit
  • Other water saving product or technology as approved by the City of Guelph

If my older home has been retrofitted with water efficient fixtures, appliances and/or efficiency systems, am I eligible for Blue Built Home certification and a rebate?

Yes, older homes that have been retrofitted to be water efficient may quality for Blue Built Home certification. You can either 1) install a rainwater harvesting system, 2) install a greywater reuse system or 3) complete any three of the following upgrade options, with at least two being from the primary category.

Primary options

  • Energy Star® washing machine (less than or equal to 19 litres per person per day)
  • WaterSense® toilet (less than or equal to 4.0 litres)
  • Energy Star® dishwasher
  • Efficient hot water distribution system (Install an on-demand hot water recirculation system and/or reduce the amount of water stored between the hot water source and the furthest fixture)
  • WaterSense® showerheads (less than or equal to 6.6 litres per minute)

Secondary options

  • WaterSense® Lavatory faucet (less than or equal to 5.7 litres per minute)
  • Lavatory faucet aerator (less than or equal to 5.7 litres per minute)
  • Permanent sub-water meter
  • Temporary sub-water meter
  • Waterless floor drain trap primer
  • Blue Built Home Healthy Landscape Visit
  • Other water saving product or technology as approved by the City of Guelph

I have a question about a fixture in my new-built Blue Built Home. Who should I contact?

Your Tarion-registered home builder is your first point of contact when you need to address any mechanical, plumbing or technical questions associated with your fixtures, appliances and systems in your new home.

What other measures can I take to increase the water efficiency of my Blue Built Home?

In the kitchen

  • Keep a pitcher of cold water in your fridge as an alternative to running the tap until cold.
  • Fill the dishwasher completely before running.
  • If washing dishes in the kitchen sink, fill the sink only half full and be sure to plug the drain.
  • Rinse fruits and vegetables in a water filled bowl instead of under a running faucet.

In the bathroom

  • Turn off the tap when brushing teeth or shaving – this can save up to 16 litres of water each time you do this.
  • Reduce the time you spend in the shower from seven to five minutes – this can save more than 15 litres per shower or over 4,100 litres per year. For every minute spent in the shower, about 10 litres goes down the drain.

In the yard

  • Consider drought tolerant, non-invasive plants, shrubs and trees for your property. Contact the City of Guelph Healthy Landscapes team for a free landscape assessment offered May to September.
  • Raise the height of your lawnmower blade to 7.5 cm (3 inches); grass can tolerate drought better at this height and it will reduce the number of times you need to mow.
  • Washing your car at a carwash is recommended; car wash facilities recycle water and save on excess use!
  • If you have a pool, use a pool cover to lessen surface evaporation during the summer.

More conservation tips.

Where do I find WaterSense® toilets that have a flush volume of less than or equal to 4.0 litres? Are these toilets reliable?

Approved toilets include, but are not limited to, MaP Premium toilets. All MaP™ Premium labeled toilets have a flush volume of 4.0 litres or less and are WaterSense®–certified. All WaterSense®–certified and MaP™ Premium toilets are third party tested to ensure quality performance. For more information refer to map-testing.com and the High Efficiency and High Performance Toilets fact sheet.

Additionally, the WaterSense® certification program provides rigorous third-party testing to ensure water-efficient products perform to a defined standard of quality.

Many local retailers carry 4.0 litre toilets. Talk to your local plumbing fixture supplier or plumber for more information.

Builder frequently asked questions

Why are home owners eligible to receive the Blue Built Home rebates directly?

In order for the City of Guelph to meet the provisions of the Ontario Municipal Act, the Blue Built Home rebates must be provided directly to home owners.

How do I advise the City of Guelph that I intend to construct a Blue Built Home?

The City of Guelph Building Application for new home construction includes a section for the Blue Built Home program. When completing a building permit application, it is required that you indicate that you are building a Blue Built Home.

At this time, home builders will also be required to complete a Blue Built Home Sign-up Form. If a greywater or rainwater harvesting system will be installed in the home, project schematics must be provided at this time.

Are specification sheets or detailed drawings required as part of my Blue Built Home application?

Specification sheets and/or detailed drawings are required for homes that will include either a greywater reuse or rainwater harvesting system at the time of Blue Built Home Sign-up Form submission. All specification sheets for all other approved water efficient fixtures and appliances to be installed in the Blue Built Home are not required as part of the application form but must be provided at the time of the final plumbing inspection.

Where do I find construction specifications for Blue Built Home Water Efficiency Standards?

Water efficiency specifications are outlined in the Blue Built Home Terms and Conditions document.

How can I access the Blue Built Home logo?

The Blue Built Home logo is available for use through written permission from the City of Guelph. For more information, or to request Blue Built Home information and promotional material, contact Blue Built Home staff at bluebuilthome@guelph.ca or 519-822-1260 extension 2116.