While making your home energy efficient for winter means you’ll save on those utility bills it also means you’ll be much more comfortable in your home.
Various documentaries and government initiatives over the past few years have seen an ever increasing level of consumer interest in energy efficiency. But since 2008 economic woes have seemed to stall the green or eco home movement. Rising energy costs and low or negative returns on their investments have many home owners backing away from or at least putting off home improvements which could make their house more energy efficient. But as a homeowner what you need to be aware of is the link between energy efficiency and how it can save you money – not just now but for many years to come. Not only that but you’re greatest investment, your home, will benefit from greater comfort and a healthier environment. In simple terms – an energy efficient home not only cuts your energy costs, it is also makes your home a nicer place to live.
Making your home energy efficient isn’t just a winter job. Living in the northern hemisphere, particularly in Canada, it’s easy to get caught in the trap of thinking energy efficiency is only important in the winter. Because our heating bills shoot up during the colder winter months its easy to get fixated on this one aspect of energy use. In reality having an eco-friendly home is a year round and a home round job. Home heating is just one part of the picture.
It’s true home renovations that make your home more e easier to heat or cool will maintain comfortable temperatures throughout the house and will save you money. But their are additional savings you may not have thought about. The air quality in your home is also improved because moisture, dust and other airborne allergens can be trapped and eliminated before anyone is impacted. This adds up to health savings for you and your family. Of course you can also feel good about home improvements that make for greater energy efficiency because its not just your indoor environment you’re affecting, those improvements area also good for the outdoor environment – less energy use equals fewer greenhouse gas being emitted and that helps reduce climate change.
Every home renovation project presents an opportunity for improving energy efficiency. Although it may not have occurred to you the times you renovate are the times you can incorporate energy savings into your project often with little or sometimes even no additional cost. Here are some tips and ideas for building energy efficiency into typical home improvements:
- When your renovation project includes removing drywall from an exterior wall, a professional renovator can air seal those walls and top up insulation for maximum efficiency. If windows or doors are part of the project area be sure to repaire or even replace if they are old or inefficient.
- When replacing windows and doors be sure to spend a little extra by choosing high performance products that are designed with energy efficiency in mind. These products will have insulating space filled with inert gas that dramatically increases the ‘R’ insulating value . Todays best energy efficient windows work with the environment by capturing free solar heat during the day while keeping cold out at night.
- If your renovation includes an addition its a good time to invite a home heating specialist to review your current use and your plans for change. Sometimes a new addition, even when it is built to the highest energy efficient standards can actually make your home less energy efficient. Your heating system may not be able to accommodate the extra space forcing it to work hard and less efficiently. This could be a good time to consider installing high efficiency heating for extra long term savings.
- One of the most common and popular ways to save energy throughout your house is to replace old incandescent bulbs with energy efficient ones. And a=it may not just be the bulbs that need changing often replacing the entire fixture will save you even more.
- When purchasing new appliances always check the label and compare the data presented. While its true that all new appliances in Canada are now required to carry the EnerGuide label it doesn’t mean they are all best of class when it comes to energy savings. It’s important to look beyond the label and to actually compare the energy use of the appliances you are considering. The savings can really add up over the life if these larger appliances.
Before you begin your home improvement project the Canadian Home Builders Association encourages you to invest in a “home energy assessment”. There are government licensed home energy advisors that will come to your home and do a thorough analysis of your homes efficiency. Upon completion they will provide you with a detailed report showing a complete picture of the energy related aspects of your home. The report includes things like: insulation levels (R Value), windows, heating and cooling systems, air leaks and more. This detailed assessment will suggest the most cost effective energy upgrades and it even gives an estimate of what your energy savings and payback will be when you invest in the improvements they suggest. This can be an invaluable tool for you and your renovation contractor when planning your home improvement project.
For your Home Renovation Goals may I suggest energy efficiency be top of your mind and top of your list.
Need help? Contact Paul through the contact tab above or give me a call. I’d be happy to visit your home and do a complimentary walk-thru pointing out areas where your home could be improved for greater energy efficiency.