There’s much confusion surrounding rate increases on Hydro bills. Even with promised rebates on electricity bills in Ontario, it’s hard to tell where the typical homeowner stands. Low-density regions, high-density regions, distribution rates – whatever the general explanation, energy rates will be on the increase over the years. The best way for homeowners to address the situation is to manage home energy consumption and to make necessary improvements to energy efficiency.
Whatever the policy changes across the province, homeowner costs are directly related to the amount of electricity used during the month. And while every household is different, in terms of needs and demands, the common denominator is how to conserve energy. Rate hikes or not, the best way to reduce electricity costs (and other energy costs) is to create an energy efficient home environment where energy isn’t wasted, and the cost of heating and air conditioning is reduced.
The Home Energy Audit is a great first step
The Home Energy Audit is designed to assess overall energy efficiency in a home, and to establish the weaknesses that can be resolved. Performed by an accredited Service Organization, the Home Energy Audit will identify efficiency weaknesses like undesirable heat loss, poorly sealed areas of the home, and less than satisfactory R-Values. In short, it’s a home energy efficiency report card. Once completed, the energy audit will define areas that require improvement, setting the stage for upgrades and retrofits that will provide long-term efficiencies while reducing the utility bills.
Time for a homeowner’s energy action plan
With a reliable Home Energy Audit on hand, a good home energy contractor can recommend the best retrofits/upgrades for the home – improvements that will make a difference in home energy efficiency, and will provide a viable return-on-investment. Best of all, there will be utility savings.
- Comprehensive weatherizing to combat air leakage
- Sealing the building envelope to ensure air tightness
- Increasing R-Value to improve thermal performance
- Upgrading insulation in the basement and the attic
With the right upgrades, homeowners can save substantially on heating and cooling costs, often offsetting their initial project investment with the annual savings generated year after year.
Incentives/rebates can offset upgrade costs
Throughout Ontario, the province is offering incentives and rebates that will help homeowners to upgrade and retrofit for improved energy efficiency. The focus is on reducing energy usage, and therefore reducing utility bills. Rebates and incentives make it far more affordable for a typical homeowner to make the necessary changes that will dramatically lessen energy consumption. The best news is that rebates and incentives include both energy audits and energy retrofits. And in the majority of projects, the seasonal savings will quickly “pay back” the original project costs.
Whether electricity or natural gas, the energy efficient home ensures better consumption, far less energy wastage, and significant dollar savings from season to season. The truth is, year after year, the need for optimizing home energy efficiency will only grow and become more demanding.