Project Funding Guidelines

Applicants can receive 50% of eligible costs to a maximum of $500,000 for a qualified capital project. Applications must be for future work and not for any project-related activities that are in progress or have been previously completed by the Applicant. Projects must not begin prior to having a funding Contribution Agreement in effect. Projects for which any costs, excluding those related to a pre-project technical assessment, have been incurred prior to a signed Contribution Agreement are not eligible to apply for program funding.

  • Any project cost relating to equipment or material that has been delivered to the facility is considered 100% incurred regardless of the amount of deposit.
  • A purchase order is a commitment to purchase and is considered an incurred cost.
  • A deposit is considered an incurred cost.
  • Delivery of capital equipment, whether paid in full or not, are considered fully incurred.
  • A capital lease is considered a purchase.  If the signing of the lease precedes the contribution agreement, it is considered 100% incurred.

A Note on Working with Consultants:

It is not a requirement for Applicants to work with a consulting firm for the purposes of preparing a SMART funding application. The only requirements apply for a detailed technical assessment if the Applicant is unable to complete it internally, and for the post-project M&V report which must be provided by a SMART-approved Qualified Technical Service Provider (QTSP).

Please note that applications may only be submitted by the prospective grant recipients; applications submitted by a third party on behalf of an Applicant will not be considered. The primary contact must be an employee of the company.

We are aware of consulting firms, including grant writing firms, who are currently recruiting or seeking to establish preferred vendor relationships with engineering firms for the purposes of providing technical assessments to be included within the scope of a SMART Green program application.  Please be advised that CME SMART does not endorse, promote or have any affiliation with these firms or any claims they make relating to the Program.

Working with an external firm for the purposes of preparing an application has no bearing on the success rate of an Applicant being awarded a SMART grant. Projects are evaluated on their overall merits and targeted results within the scope of the program's objectives. Furthermore, any costs associated to the preparation of a SMART application are considered ineligible expenses under the program.

  • There is no cost to apply of a CME SMART Green grant nor is there a fee for technical consultants to be listed as a SMART Approved Qualified Technical Service Provider. Applicants should be aware that technical assessments performed by consultants who are not listed as a QTSP on the SMART Green website are ineligible.  If an Applicant wishes to work with a service provider who is not on our list of approved auditors, the service provider must first submit a request to the SMART Green Program to become a QTSP.

To apply for Project funding:

Our application forms contain a number of detailed questions about your company, the people who work there, and about the specifics of your proposed project, its costs and timing, and the benefits you expect from it. As a result, various people in your organization may have to contribute different information to complete your application. 

Please note that applications may only be submitted by the prospective grant recipients; applications submitted by a third party on behalf of an Applicant will not be considered. The primary contact must be an employee of the company.
  • Project applications must include a detailed technical assessment report that demonstrates their baseline of current (pre-project) GHG emissions.  Past studies of baseline GHG emissions and capital upgrades may be acceptable provided that:
    • They were performed within 12 months of the date the application form is submitted.
    • They were performed by an approved QTSP or by an internal auditor with credentials that match the standard set out by CME for its list of approved auditors. 
    • No major changes have occurred to the manufacturing process since the study was completed.
    • Costs for a baseline study that was completed prior to the SMART Program are not eligible for reimbursement.  Costs are only considered when completed through a SMART Green assessment application.
  • The detailed technical assessment can be performed internally or with the assistance of a QTSP. Companies performing the detailed technical assessment internally cannot apply for assessment funding nor claim associated costs, such as internal labour, as eligible project expenses.
  • Applicants who do not have a current baseline measurement or whose technical assessment report does not meet the required program criteria (outlined above) may apply for SMART Green Assessment funding and work with a Qualified Technical Service Provider (QTSP).  Please refer to the SMART Green Assessments section.
    • Applicants are not required to work with a QTSP if they are not applying for assessment funding, however the post-project M&V report must be completed by an independent third-party QTSP.  Refer to the SMART Green Assessments section to select a QTSP.  If you have a preferred consultant you wish to work with, this company must first apply to SMART to be approved.  Only post-project M&V reports prepared by approved QTSPs will be accepted as valid reporting at the completion of a project.
  • Whether done internally or by an external QTSP, the purpose of the detailed technical assessment is to support a SMART Green project application. A detailed technical assessment is a requirement when applying for project funding. If an Applicant has had a detailed assessment completed in the last 12 months, this may be sufficient to support a project application, as long as it contains the minimum requirements.
  • The detailed technical assessment must include the calculation of the facility baseline GHG emissions (to an accuracy of +/-15%), the baseline GHG emissions for the equipment or process that is the subject of the project application (to an accuracy of +/-15%), and the calculation of the expected GHG reductions that will be achieved through project implementation (to an accuracy of (+/-15%). The detailed technical application should also include an estimate of all capital costs and other eligible expenses associated with the project (to an accuracy of +/-25%). In addition, it must include an M&V Plan which describes how the post-project GHG analysis will be conducted. Please refer to our suggested detailed technical assessment report outline.
  • The application must also include:
    • Detailed description and costing of the proposed capital upgrades to production and/or process equipment.
    • Detailed implementation schedule for proposed capital upgrades.
    • Timeline for project completion must not exceed the Program’s end date of December 31, 2018. Projects must be of a scale and magnitude that enable this timeline to be met.  You must consider any permits and/or approvals as part of this timeline.  We are looking for projects that will be completed successfully and on time, and we want the benefits that are reported to clearly relate to the project. At the same time, projects should not be so small that achieving the stated goals or performance objectives depends on other things - like the completion of other projects at the facility.
    • Identified target GHG reductions that will result from the proposed upgrades.
    • Two copies of the GHG calculation worksheet: one showing pre-project actual emissions and one showing post-project forecasted emissions.
    • A detailed description of other benefits that will result from the project, e.g., productivity improvements, job growth, export growth.
    • Two fiscal year end audited or reviewed financial statements (showing three operating years of history), along with notes to the financial for both years. If only one year of Financials are provided, the application will be returned and will result in a processing delay. 
    • Detailed description and costing of the proposed capital upgrades to production and/or process equipment.
    • Utility bills (Gas/Hydro) for previous year or baseline period
    • Baseline energy consumption of relevant process/equipment accurate to +/- 15%
    • Estimated energy savings accurate to +/- 15%
    • Estimated capital costs accurate to +/- 25%

The application will be reviewed by a SMART Program Advisor. If the application requires additional information, the Program Advisor will contact the Applicant.  If the application is approved, a Contribution Agreement will be issued. The project must not begin until the Agreement has been signed by both the Applicant and CME.

Eligible Project Work

The SMART Green program will consider providing funding for projects that:

  • Support reduction in GHG intensity and/or avoidance through upgrades to existing process/production equipment;
  • Support energy efficiency; and
  • Lead to productivity improvements, which in turn lead to lower GHG emissions on per-production-unit basis. 

For the purposes of the SMART Green program, replacement of mobile equipment (eg. Forklifts, mobile cranes) will be considered an eligible project if the mobile equipment operation is related to production as part of the manufacturing process, used for transportation or movement of substances, materials and products inside the production facility only.  Excluded from Mobile Equipment will be any equipment outside of the facility building for the purpose of loading, unloading or moving between the outside doors of the facility.

Note:  GHG reduction either on a gross or per-unit basis is the prerequisite for all projects to be eligible. Projects that do not demonstrate reductions in GHG will not be considered eligible for funding under the Program.

Types of eligible projects* could include the following:

*Please note that due to the competitive nature of the program, the project types listed below are provided only as examples and do not automatically result in project approval. Projects are evaluated on a case-by-case basis. Other types of projects may qualify. We invite you to contact a SMART Green Technical Advisor to discuss your proposed project.
  • Boiler Right Sizing and Load Management
  • Advanced Boiler Controls
  • High Efficiency Burners
  • Feedwater Economizers
  • Combustion Air Preheat
  • Energy Efficient Motors
  • Compressed Air Upgrades
  • Solar Installation
  • Blowdown Heat Recovery
  • Condensate Return/Condensing Economizers            
  • Refrigeration Heat Recovery
  • Air Compressor Heat Recovery
  • Exhaust Gas Heat Recovery
  • Ventilation Optimization and Heat Recovery
  • Condensing Boilers
  • Biogas Boilers
  • Direct Contact Water Heaters
  • High Efficiency Heating Units
  • Building Improvements (eg. Lighting Retrofit)
  • Productivity Improvements leading to reduced energy intensity
Note: If this project is a retrofit / replacement of old equipment, the Applicant must provide proof of disposal of the previous equipment, bill of sale, or a verification letter stating that the equipment has been disposed of or is no longer in operation.  CME reserves the right to audit the facility for verification.

Project Expenses

A proposed budget must be submitted with each application. Prior to submitting your application, ensure that you review all eligible and non-eligible costs. Contact one of our Program Advisors for any questions or clarification.

When completing the application, ensure that you include ALL project related expenses into the budget, including the forecasted cost of the final M&V report. Do not include taxes. The project funding amount will be based only on the eligible costs however all costs must be shown to show the full impact of the project and dollars leveraged.

Once the project is complete, and all of the project expenses have been documented by your company, your assigned Program Advisor will release the online Expense Claim Form for you to report these expenses for reimbursement.

Eligible Project Costs

Eligible costs include all expenses directly related to the project and deemed reasonable and necessary for its execution. Below are examples of eligible costs; this is not an exhaustive list.  Costs should be reviewed with your Program Advisor to avoid disappointment.

Costs may include:

  • Plant equipment purchases, including software and equipment technologies that support manufacturing processes;
  • Non-capital costs for equipment such as floor preparation, construction of area to install equipment i.e. ground reinforcement;
  • Shipping and duty fees;
  • Equipment or software installation and commissioning of new equipment from 3rd party suppliers;
  • Equipment and/or software training provided by equipment vendor
  • The post-implementation audit (M&V report) is a fully eligible expense under the project.
  • Other Consulting Fees directly related and necessary to the project implementation (to a maximum of 10% of the approved project contribution amount).
    • At the conclusion of a project, consultants must provide a detailed invoice of the work completed in order to determine eligibility of each service under the program; Consulting services and fees must be clearly outlined in the invoice; each service must be listed separately. The invoice should provide a detailed breakdown of expenses, including services description, time, travel, reporting, etc. One line item such as "services rendered" will not be accepted. If a breakdown of services is not provided, all consulting fees will be deemed ineligible.
    • Consulting fees (including travel) are eligible.  Entertainment and meals must be reported separately and are NOT eligible expenses.
    • Itemized receipts for travel and meals must be submitted with final claim. Any receipts that are not included will be removed from eligible expenses; expenses are reimbursed at receipt value only.

Eligible costs must be for arm's-length purchases.  Equipment leased from an owner other than the manufacturing Applicant (e.g., leasing from holding company) is not eligible for funding.

Stacking of funds with other local distribution company or government programs will be considered on an individual basis.

Projects where building enhancements must be done to accommodate equipment, and where the building is not owned by the applicant must have an agreement in place with the landlord that the enhancements are permitted.

Non-eligible Project Costs

The costs below can be included in your budget outline but will not be considered eligible for funding.  This is an example of non-eligible costs and not an exhaustive list.

** Costs should be reviewed with your SMART program advisor. 
  • Costs related to pre-project verification report and/or audit
  • Costs of land, building or vehicle purchase
  • Refinancing
  • Building expansion costs 
  • Costs of intangible assets such as goodwill, whether capitalized or expensed
  • Equipment leased from an owner other than the manufacturing Applicant (e.g., leasing from holding company)
  • Depreciation or amortization expenses
  • Interest on invested capital, bonds, debentures, or mortgages
  • Bond discount
  • Losses on investments, bad debts and any other debts
  • Fines or penalties
  • Costs related to litigation
  • Non-incremental wages
  • Fees for administrators, including payments to any member or officer of the Board of Directors
  • Fees for consultants to complete any portion of the SMART application process
  • Travel, accommodations, meals and entertainment
  • Research and Development costs or prototype development and samples
  • Direct or indirect labour
  • Materials
  • Construction
  • Media advertising
  • Media placement
  • Training
  • Postage or courier costs
  • Communication costs
  • Promotional materials i.e. golf shirts, golf balls, pens, hats, etc.
  • Salaries and Commissions
  • All recoverable taxes
** SMART reserves the right to amend the criteria as required. Any costs determined not reasonable, not incremental, and/or not directly related to the eligible project activities may be disqualified. Costs incurred prior to the Contribution Agreement may disqualify the project.

Reimbursement and Reporting Process

  • Upon receipt of the signed contribution agreement, CME will release the first of three contribution payments, according to the schedule outlined in the agreement. The first payment is 30% of the approved funding amount. 
  • Upon completion of the project, the Applicant will be required to complete and submit an online expense claim with all supporting documentation. The SMART Program Advisor will review the expense claim and may adjust the funding amount as required. Upon approval, CME will release the second contribution payment. The second payment is 50% of the approved funding amount, for a cumulative 80%.
    • The Expense Claim Form will look like the budget you submitted as part of your original application, and you will need to explain any significant variations (up or down) in actual expenses – and identify any major vendors in each cost category. Note that all invoices over $500 must be submitted with proof of payment.
    • Copies of all invoices, shipping documents, copies of loans/lease agreements and payment schedule (if applicable), proof of payment or bank statements, etc. for all eligible expenses must be provided with the reimbursement claim. Proof of payment is defined as follows:
      • 1. Copy of front and back of cleared cheque – not a copy of the issued cheque or cheque stub as this is not a proof that the invoice has been paid, but only that the cheque has been issued; OR
      • 2. Copy of front of cheque with accompanying bank statement or transaction print-out showing the cheque has cleared the account; OR

      • 3. Copy of EFT transaction if paid electronically. 

    • Please note that if you have capital equipment that has been financed, you must include proof of payment for a minimum of three (3) months of payments prior to submitting the expense claim. 
  • Once all expenses have been received, they will be reviewed for final eligibility.  Any expenses determined as non-eligible costs will be declined. If your approved expenses end up being less than originally proposed, the award amount will be adjusted accordingly.
  • Applicants will then be required to submit an online post-implementation report (“Performance Report”) as part of the final reporting requirements. Upon review and approval of the final report, CME will release the third (final) contribution payment. The final payment is 20% of the approved funding amount, for a cumulative 100%.
    • The online Performance Report must include verification that the project as proposed by the Applicant has been implemented.
      • The M&V report must be attached to the online Performance Report. Project Measurement and Verification (M&V) Procedures shall be consistent with IPMVP Protocols. IPMVP Protocols means the International Performance Measurement & Verification Protocol (IPMVP) – Core Concepts April 2016 EVO 10000 – 1:2016, and Statistics and Uncertainty for IPMVP June 2014 EVO 10100 – 1:2014 or later as in effect from time to time. See
      • If this project is a retrofit / replacement of old equipment, the Applicant must provide proof of disposal of the previous equipment, bill of sale, or a verification letter stating that the equipment has been disposed of or is no longer in operation.  CME reserves the right to audit the facility for verification.
    • The report must also include the actual amount for the reduction in GHG emissions and demonstrate that it substantially matches the reduction targeted in the application phase.
      • NOTE: Reduction in GHG emissions must be verified by an independent auditor. Internal reporting or vendor reports are not an eligible report of measure.
  • Applicants are not required to retain the services of the same 3rd party auditor who provided the pre-project verification report.
Disclaimer: The information provided on this page is accurate at the time of posting and is subject to change without notice.

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