Reducing your home’s energy consumption may appear to be a daunting and overwhelming task but truth be told, it’s actually much easier than you think. The constantly increasing costs of electricity and heating should provide you with plenty of motivation to obtain more insight on this topic.
There are several energy efficient upgrades you can apply to your home that not only minimize the costs of your energy bills, but also increase the value of your property. In this post, we will explore 5 steps to improve the energy efficiency of your home.
Whether you own a rental property, or you’re a homeowner looking to remain in your current home for 5 years or more, these upgrades are the foundational pillars for any renovation meant to increase energy efficiency within your home.
Home Energy Audit
Home Energy Audits are done to assess the overall energy consumption of your home. In addition, these audits include detailed reports, consisting of a list of recommendations meant to improve the general performance in your home.
This makes it easier to plan and implement essential renovation processes that will produce greater overall results. Once the renovations are complete, a secondary Audit is essential, to compare with the first one.
* Approx. Cost: $300 *
Take advantage of the Green Ontario Fund
The Green Ontario Fund is a new provincial program aimed at reducing energy costs and fighting climate change. These incentives are offered to any homeowner looking to upgrade their homes with energy efficient products.
These refunds and incentives include but are not limited to:
- $2 per square foot refund for exterior insulation.
- $1 per square foot refund for attic insulation.
- $500 refund per window replacement.
For more information about the Green Ontario Fund please visit https://www.greenon.ca/
* Approx. Cost: Free *
Adding Insulation Behind your siding
Approximately 35% of heat loss from your home occurs at the area of the exterior walls. The conventional (Also known as “minimum code”) method used to insulate walls, is to insert pink batt fiberglass insulation between the wood studs of the frame. The concept of “thermal bridging” occurs when heat is lost through the studs of the walls. The studs allow heat to flow through the wall assembly at a much faster rate.
By adding a continuous layer (4’ x 8’ sheets) of insulation on the outside of the exterior walls (over the wood studs), the negative effects of thermal bridging are therefore reduced drastically.
* Approx. Material Cost: $1.00 per square foot *
Adding Attic Insulation
Approximately 30% of your heat is lost through the ceiling. Proper insulation in your attic not only keeps your energy bills low, but it gives your attic extra durability, resulting in a longer lasting roof. This procedure should be completed by a professional, as they will use the necessary equipment to access the attic hatch, and ensure insulation is properly distributed throughout the attic space.
An easy way to identify adequate attic insulation is to observe the amount of snow atop your roof. A poorly insulated attic causes heat to escape from the inside of your home and heat-up the attic space, melting the snow on your roof, creating ice dams at the eaves, therefore risking leaks and damages inside your home.
* Approx. Material Cost: $2.00 per square foot *
High-Efficiency Windows and Doors
In a typical home, windows and doors occupy approximately 15-20% of the total wall area, but contribute on average to 35% of your total heat loss. Compared to insulated walls and ceilings, windows are a serious energy consumer. Choosing the right windows in a specific climate zone is crucial—energy efficient windows in Arizona will not have the same level of efficiency than here in Ottawa.
When choosing new windows for your home, 4 components need to be taken into consideration:
- The frame
- Window frames are most commonly made up of vinyl. The material is low maintenance, has good moisture resistance and can be filled with insulation. Other frames, such as metal conduct heat and cold very easily, while wood frames require high maintenance.
- The glass
- Low-E (Low emissivity) is a razor thin, transparent coating on the glass designed to reflect heat. In the summertime, the heat from the sun is reflected back out, while during the winter, the heat from inside the house is reflected back inside the house.
- Argon Gas
- Argon gas is an inert, non-toxic, clear, odorless gas used as an insulator between the sealed panes of glass. Due to its denser make-up, it reduces heat transfer through the glass.
- The spacer/seal
- The spacer around the 2 panes of glass act as a seal to prevent the argon gas from escaping, so when your windows become fogged up, it is a result of a failed spacer. Once a spacer fails, the argon gas escapes and the window is no longer energy efficient.
- Rubber spacers perform better, and are more durable than the conventional aluminum spacer. In addition, the thickness of the spacer plays a major role in the performance. Low quality windows typically have ½” – ¾” spacers, while energy efficient windows will have 1” spacers.
* Approx. Cost: $20—$40 per square foot *
In essence, improving the energy efficiency within your home is not only a possible goal, but also a very simple one at that. We hope these tips were of value to you. Our goal is to provide necessary advice for homeowners looking for trustworthy information. We want all homeowners to be well informed when deciding on what renovations need to be made in their homes!
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