While energy issues continue to be at the forefront of federal and provincial initiatives, average homeowners are mainly interested in saving energy in order to save money. In fact, home energy efficiency is becoming more of a priority for many homebuyers, especially young couples who are buying their first home. The big picture on energy consumption relies on government programs and enterprises, but on street level, it’s homeowners doing what they can as individuals.
Today, home ownership can be challenging when trying to maintain budgets, and controlling the cost of living. There’s the substantial cost of a home mortgage. There are realty taxes and general home maintenance. And then there’s the cost of energy. Whether it’s heating the house in winter, or cooling in summer, utilities are one of the biggest expense categories for any homeowner. The idea, of course, is to reduce consumption levels so that measurable savings can be realized.
The main sources of home energy for the majority of homeowners are natural gas and electricity. In a year, a family spends thousands and thousands of dollars on their energy needs. Therefore, in order to save on costs, there has to be a focus on how energy is being used and how usage can be reduced. The point is, conserving energy will cumulatively translate into monthly savings that will translate into yearly savings that will make a big difference on the overall home budget.
Heating and cooling the home
Hard to believe, but heating and air conditioning can realistically account for up to 40% of energy use, depending on the energy efficiency of the home. The most energy efficient homes are well sealed and well insulated. This will block air infiltration and heat loss, substantially reducing the cost of heating and cooling. The cost of upgrading insulation makes the savings worthwhile.
Sealing and insulating the home
When a home is sealed and insulated to the required building code standard, homeowners will almost immediately notice the results. Professionally installed, insulation in exterior walls, attics and basements will dramatically raise the energy efficiency of a home, while reducing the utility costs. Again, the investment in upgrading and retrofitting is cost effective, based on results.
Energy audits for improvements
For homeowners (including first timers) who want to make marked improvements in a home’s energy efficiency, a professional Energy Audit is very valuable in evaluating energy performance. A comprehensive audit will identify specific deficiencies that compromise energy efficiency, and will highlight various upgrades that can be implemented in order to improve efficiencies.
Energy upgrades and retrofits
After a thorough Energy Audit, the recommended upgrades/retrofits can deliver savings of 25% or more on annual utilities. Retrofitting efforts like weatherizing, sealing, and insulation provide an excellent return-on-investment, both short term and long term. Indeed, energy retrofits make for much better home improvement options than many of the more cosmetic renovations.
Whatever the energy upgrade, even when expedited on an incremental basis, homebuyers will be making one of the better investments in their property. Best of all, long term savings are evident.