Government rebates and green mortgages have made energy efficient homes accessible to all. Now that you can afford it, making your home more energy efficient is a no brainer. Investments that streamline your energy consumption pay for themselves in a couple of years and then proceed to save you a fortune in utility costs. With utility bills poised to double before 2015, there has never been a better time to save yourself some green and help the environment too.
- Sealing the inherent cracks that occur as siding and timber frame homes age will improve the integrity of your home’s energy envelope. A good caulking should do the trick, but consider replacing siding that has cracked and weathered beyond superficial surface repairs.
- Ensure that all HVAC and plumbing pipe holes are properly caulked. Caulking deteriorates over time, so check it regularly for wear.
- Homes built before 1980 rest directly on the concrete floor slab. Irregular concrete surfaces may allow air to seep in and heat to leak out. Seal gaps with caulk or cans of spray foam.
- Use energy efficient Energy Star appliances and CLS light bulbs. In many cases, the cost of new appliances is recovered in a year or two. This is particularly true of refrigerators and freezers. Fridges and freezers over 15 years old are so inefficient that the saveONenergy campaign, run by the Ontario Power Authority, will pick up your old fridge and freezer and recycle them for FREE. A new fridge or freezer will save you up to $125 a year on electricity costs. You can obtain saveONenergy coupons which you can use to reduce the cost of energy efficient appliances.
- Replace weather stripping around doors to ensure a complete seal. Weather stripping costs less than $10 but can save up to 1100 pounds of CO2 per year.
- Replace windows with the double glazed, argon filled variety. Yes, they are pricey, but you will be saving between 2.4 and 9.8 tons of CO2 per year (depending on the heating system you use). If you do not wish to replace windows, add solar film or solar shades to the outside of windows to reduce summertime heat.
- Keep your filters clean. ACs and furnaces work harder and utilize more energy when filters are clogged. Bleed radiators to remove air bubbles and improve efficiency.
- Replace your old furnace with high efficiency model. Furnaces bought prior to 1992 have become outdated and may waste up to 35 percent of the energy they consume. Treat your home to a new condensing furnace which wastes as little as 10 percent of the energy it consumes and can save an amazing 35 percent on your hydro bill. Insulate hot water pipes to reduce heat loss.
- Solar water heaters; love ’em, buy ’em and save. The solar heater will use up to 85 percent less electricity than your old water heater.
- We have saved the best and most important for last; insulation. Creating an insulated home envelope will ensure that all your heating or cooling stays inside where you need it most. You need to insulate your walls, floors and ceilings. Insulate your floor with the Amvic AmDrain system. The EPS (expanded polystyrene) provides insulation while the advanced drainage system moves water away from your foundations. Reinforce your wall insulation with EPS insulation board. SilverBoard and EnviroSheet are perfect examples with high R-Ratings. Spray fibreglass insulation in your ceiling to prevent your attic from sapping your heating and cooling efforts.
Canadian homeowners can expect a $5 000 rebate on repairs for renovations that improve energy efficiency. The government’s ecoENERGY grant will match the homeowners rebate by up to $5 000, which adds up to huge savings for the environmentally conscious and economically savvy.