Energy efficiency is a topic that any smart homeowner should take an interest in. So, what's in if for a homeowner to increase their home's efficiency?
A. Save $$
B. Save the planet
C. Increased enjoyment and comfort
D. Any combination of the three!
While newer homes tend to be built with energy efficiency in mind, not everyone wants a new home. I personally love my older home for it's unique features, larger lot size and mature landscaping. So, where is your money best spent as the owner of an older home with regards to increasing the home's efficiency? Here are three of my faves:
1. Quit flushing money down the toilet...install a low flush or dual flush toilet. Or better yet, install a dual flush toilet retrofit kit to your existing toilet. Dual flush toilets were found to save an average of 26% more water than the single-flush 6-litre (1.5 gallon) toilet when used to replace non-efficient toilets. The added bonus is that you may be eligible to recoup up to $50 of your cost with the Natural Resources Canada's ecoENERGY retrofit for homes program. They have licensed AmeriSpec of Canada to perform their residential energy evaluations and there is a maximum grant amount of $5000 available for each home.
2. Upgrade your insulation. There's usually room for improvement here, so don't pay to heat the great outdoors. You know what your utility company charges and their rates are not likely to decrease... so keep that heat inside! Your ideal insulation levels will depend on your roof and attic type, but you are looking to hear numbers like R-28 for a flat roof and between R-40 and R-50 for others.
3. Heat and cool your home efficiently. As much as half your homes energy is used by the heating and cooling systems, so pretend these two systems are cars. Change the filters regularly and treat the units and their systems (ducts) to regular tune ups... it's money well spent.
More good news... if you are purchasing an older home and want to make these upgrades before you move in, talk to your mortgage specialist to find out how the costs can be included in your mortgage!
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