efficiency improvements can help reduce your heating bills by 20 to 30
per cent. That's like getting energy for free in today's marketplace.
Energy efficiency improvements can be incorporated into almost any
renovation work you're doing, from upgrading your basement rec room to
Knowing what to do is the challenge. Every house is
different. That's where the independent expertise of EnerGuide
for Houses* advisors comes in. EnerGuide for Houses advisors help you
how to improve the way your home uses energy and stop waste. They take
the time to understand what you want to do and help find the source of
any energy problems. They give you a plan and you decide what to do.
The more of the recommended retrofits you do, the greater your
Grants for homes with improved
Since August 2003, the government has been giving grants to
homeowners who've acted on EnerGuide advice. This grant program,
called the EnerGuide for Houses Retrofit Initiative (EGHRI) has been
put in place until March 2007. EnerGuide for Houses encourages
homeowners to improve their homes' energy efficiency, because more
efficient homes use less energy from fossil
fuels and produce less of the greenhouses gases that contribute to
The amount of the grant is calculated based on the difference
between the EnerGuide rating you have before you perform energy
upgrades, and the EnerGuide rating you receive after the upgrades.
It's important to get an EnerGuide evaluation before you
start the work to be eligible. Most homes qualify, but owners of older
homes built before 1980 have the greatest potential for
improvement. Read NRCan's Eligibility Criteria, online at http://energuideforhouses.gc.ca/grant
for all the details. To find a qualified advisor in your area, go to
Natural Resources Canada's website at
or call their toll-free line at 1-800-387-2000.
What kinds of work qualify? Improvements to the structure and most
fixed equipment (furnace, hot water tank) that reduce the
energy use in the home contribute toward an improved rating. The
EnerGuide evaluation recommendations identify work that will
lead to an improved rating. It's not how much you spend, but how much
your rating improves, that determines the size of your grant.
Get Rid of Wasteful Leaks
Most of us don't realize just how leaky an older home is. Those air
leaks are usually at the "header space" (where the exterior
walls meet the top of the foundation); in spots where pipes enter and
leave the house; around baseboards, switches and wall sockets,
and lighting fixtures; and around windows and doors.
Typically between 80 per cent and 100 per cent of EnerGuide
customers choose to do some form or professional air sealing,
because professional air sealing is often the cheapest energy
efficiency measure people can undertake.
Efficient houses are both airtight and properly ventilated, and
that's what you want to aim for in your home. EnerGuide customers
learn about the value of airtight homes and ventilation during their
evaluation. The blower door test, which is a part of the service,
helps people see just how wasteful their home is, and they learn what
to do about it.
the Heating System
Today's Energy Star qualified furnaces are much more energy
efficient that older models. Replacing an old "mid
efficiency" gas furnace with an Energy Star qualified gas furnace
can reduce your energy use by as much as 25 per cent. The extra
investment you'd make to buy a more efficient model is typically paid
off in energy savings within the first few years of the average life
of a furnace.
Improve Insulation Levels
Insulation is often easy to upgrade and it's not expensive. Add
insulation under any new siding that's installed. If you're
renovating, insulate any exterior walls that are opened up. Every
little bit helps. Adding insulation to exterior wall cavities is often
reasonably easy in older homes through wall openings in the attic.
Small holes must be made to fill spaces under windows, but they are
simple for most homeowners to repair. While the insulation contractors
are in the attic, add any vents that may be required for proper
airflow, and top-up attic insulation.
you're renovating your basement, waterproof and insulate the basement
walls and floor.
Always speak to a specialist about what will work for your home.
Take special care when insulating to make sure the renovations won't
cause moisture problems or mould growth.
Replace Windows If They're
Replacing older deteriorating windows is a common upgrade that adds
value to your home. If this is in your plans, it's worth
considering purchasing the most energy-efficient windows you can find.
Look for Energy Star qualified windows. Energy efficient windows are
typically double (and sometimes triple) glazed, with the panes of
glass separated by "warm edge spacer" bars and the gap
between them filled with an inert gas, usually argon. They'll also
have a "low-e" coating on the glass.
your windows usually doesn't result in a large rating improvement or a
large grant. Recent case studies of houses in the Prairies have shown
that the typical EnerGuide for Houses rating improvement is three
points for an average 1960s house and four points for an average 1970s
house. This data is consistent across Canada. The total grants in
ranged from $170 to $210.
The real value of replacing older windows with highly
energy-efficient ones is the considerably improved comfort you'll
notice when sitting beside the window. This is because their energy
efficient features create a "warmer" surface. They're also
often easier to maintain. Always ensure that replacement windows are
properly installed to ensure minimum air leakage. For information
about installation, visit the Siding and Window Dealers of
Canada's website at http://www.sawdac.com/consumer_info.htm.
Applying for a Grant
No matter what you decide to do, if you want to be eligible for an
energy efficiency improvement grant, you must call in an
EnerGuide for Houses advisor and get a pre-retrofit evaluation before
you do the work and after it's completed. To apply for the grant, you
must call in the advisor a second time to record and evaluate the
improvements. During that second visit, the advisor will prepare your
application form and advise you of your estimated grant amount. Your
cheque will be sent to your home within 90 days.