Tuesday, March 17, 2009

A little Green for St. Patrick's Day

With today being the 'greenest' of days, I am taking some time to post here. It's just been a hectic few months with the new baby and a very active two year old. Rest assured, that even though I've not kept up the posting, I'm doing my best to keep up the effort. I thought I'd share a little about the energy audit we had done.

The advisor came to our home and did a blower test (to check for leaks) and inspected many areas of our home. We came up with a list of things to do, and how much each of these items should affect our energy usage (and consequently our savings in relation to this)

The biggies that came in were that we had the equivalent of a nice big hole in the wall - letting out the heat and letting in the cold. So we've made a plan to fix some of this by installing new windows in our home this year. That will be our big project. But we will also do some draft proofing around the house with caulking, lightswitch foam inserts (for behind the plates) putting in outlet plugs on all the sockets we aren't using, and adding a little insulation as our budget allows. Ideally we will insulate in the crawlspace as we are actually losing more heat through there than our attic (which has insulation, just not an ideal r-factor) This explains the cold floors!

We could replace our furnace, but until we seal up the house's envelope, it's just not going to make a huge difference.

The energy audit allows us to apply for government grants if we do a follow-up audit within 18 months. This is something we will do, as we will have replaced the windows and that alone is worth a little money to us. And as we may need to replace the washing machine and want to replace our awful dishwasher (with energy star models!) we can earn a little more back, too.

It's a good time to do this type of thing as there are great incentives through the audit program - both federal and provincial grants out there, plus there is a new tax incentive as well. Add to that the savings we can anticipate by changing out the old thin windows we have, along with a little insulation and over time it's well worth the effort financially. Immediately it's worth the comfort and the fact we use less energy. (it's not all about the money)

I received a printout for our home, with the list of things to do, what the grants would be and how these things impact the home. They also gave us a bunch of information on greening our home. I have to say that I've found the BC Hydro website a huge wealth of information as they have great ideas/tips on there. This is also where I've found some of the window contractors I'm talking to for quotes. I suggest you take a look for some good ideas. (www.bchydro.com) They have a team powersmart you can sign up for if you use BC Hydro, as well as lots of guides/tips/links etc.

One thing we did over the winter was replace our hot tub cover. Since you have to leave it warm, and our old one collapsed in the snow, we bought a five inch thick insulated cover. It's probably a bit of overkill for around here, but I'm not letting any more of that hot water heat the air than I have to.

While I know we can't afford to do it all within the 18 months you are allotted for the energy audit/reaudit, I can definately see us doing some of those things and reaping the comfort benefits of it, as well as the financial ones.

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