Wherever you stand on the climate change debate, it is clear there is more humankind can do to help out the environment and lessen our negative impact on it. Thanks to technological advancements and financial help from all levels of government, it’s never been easier to go green in your home.
Home Energy Audit
Getting an energy assessment done on your home by a trained professional could save you big money in the long run and of course, lessen the burden you place on our planet. From your attic to your basement, there could be major energy inefficiencies you don’t even know about but a certified energy advisor can spot any wastefulness going on under your roof and also factor in seasonal climate changes that happen where you live – weather in Manitoba can be a lot different from that in Newfoundland so homeowners’ needs will be different depending on geographic location. Once the inspector has done an assessment, you will receive a personalized report suggesting any needed retrofits. Sometimes it can be as little as applying new insulation to windows and doors. Even little things like that can make a big difference in the efficient heating and cooling of your home and lower your energy costs.
Energy Efficient Renovation Rebates and Tax Credits
In the City of Toronto, you could be eligible for up to $5000 in grants to put towards renovations and upgrades in your home to make it more environmentally friendly. A home energy assessment has to be done before any upgrades to the house – like new insulation or windows, furnace repair or a new water heater install or air conditioner installation. A second home energy audit needs to be done after all these upgrades have been made on the house and then you can apply to for grant to offset the cost of your home energy improvements.
In Ontario, the province has its Save on Energy program to help home and business owners upgrade their infrastructure and run in a more eco and cost friendly manner. They offer a variety of heating and cooling upgrade incentives and even coupons at participating retailers to help cut the cost of installing more energy efficient products like LED light bulbs.
The Government of Canada has also invested billions of dollars in ecoENERGY initiatives to help homeowners across the country to use energy more efficiently. Natural Resources Canada also hopes the money will boost renewable energy supplies and develop cleaner energy technologies. It’s worth looking into Energy Star, EnerGuide and EcoEnergy products and services as they have the backing of Natural Resources Canada, though it’s important to note that door to door salespeople claiming to be working on behalf of these brands are not to be trusted as they would never authorize anyone to give unsolicited inspections on home equipment or to visit homeowners to sell them products or services.
If you’ve got an old A/C unit, instead of doing a regular air conditioner repair, maybe look into a new home cooling system. Manufacturers are becoming really innovative and some offer units with the option of solar panels which is an ingenious way to help cut down on your energy bill over the hot months. For your next air conditioner install, maybe consider one with environmentally friendly refrigerants that also won’t damage the ozone layer. Look into units with multiple compressor speed settings so it will always run efficiently despite the stifling heat and humidity outside. Some air conditioning systems also have smartphone link up capabilities so you can monitor the unit when you’re away from home and turn it down or off if there’s a dip in the outdoor temperature.
Because Canada is one of the colder countries to live in, it should come as no surprise that Canadians spend approximately 63 per cent of home energy costs on heating the spaces within their houses. Having a proper water heater and furnace is therefore critical to running an energy and cost efficient home. Natural Resources Canada warns you to keep an eye out for the “second price tag” when purchasing a new home heating system. While the sticker price on the unit itself may seem reasonable, it’s also important to factor in the cost of running the unit for years to come. Always remember your home’s yearly heating needs, the fuel type and price of fuel to run your home heating system and the equipment’s efficiency before you buy.