Friday, December 23, 2005

Make Your Home More Energy Efficient

I am a conservationist and I want my home to be as energy efficient as possible, plus I like to save money. When we tore down the wall between the front room & hallway, we could see into the exterior wall - no insulation. Not even some old newspapers, just air blowing around. I called a bunch of folks from the yellow pages, but could not get somebody to do just that one wall (below the minimum charge), plus we'd have to wait a few weeks, and we'd already booked the drywaller. My friend Matthew suggested Greensaver, and told me all about the EnerGuide for Houses (EGH) program offered through the federal government. What a brilliant idea. Our government sponsors a program to help Canadians make their homes more energy efficient by getting an unbiased energy audit and work plan, plus you can qualify for a grant based on the improvements that you make.

Patrick, a consultant from Greensaver, came to do our audit. He did all kinds of poking and prodding to determine the amount of insulation in the walls & ceilings, but most exciting was the door blower test. He fit our front door with a giant fan that sucked all the air out of the house, creating negative pressure, which emphasized the cold air leaking into the house. It is a particularly cold day, so it was easy to feel the drafts. Patrick gave us a list of recommendations for retrofits, draft proofing, etc. And he told us that our house rated a 51/100 on the EnerGuide for Houses. That is pretty good for a house that is over 100 years old, but there is obviously ways to make it another 49% better. Patrick's model of our house showed that if we did all of his recommendations, we could get up to a 67, which would qualify us for a grant of over $900, and would cut our annual green house gas emissions by 3.9 tonnes. Something to consider.

I highly recommend the EnerGuide program. Canada is full of beautiful old houses that have zero insulation and can benefit from a program like this. Until the 70s, oil & gas were so cheap that nobody cared about efficiency. It is too bad that it takes an energy crisis before we care about conservation but necessity is the mother of invention, and possibly intention too.