Home Energy Rebates Help Homeowners Reduce Energy Consumption
November 25, 2016
By now, most everyone has heard about Cap and Trade - not that everyone understands the idea. As early as January 2017, the Ontario Government will have initiated the latest iteration of Cap and Trade - a plan to limit greenhouse gas emissions that all of us emit (homes and businesses). Beyond that, there's a plan to further lower limits over time. Through legislation, companies like Union Gas will participate, and throughout 2017 there will be marginal increases to gas bills. The estimated increases will amount to about $75 for the average home for the entire calendar year. By all estimations, natural gas remains the lowest-cost energy, when compared to electricity, oil, or propane. This includes heating the home in winter, hot water consumption, drying clothes, and cooking food. For homeowners, the very best way to participate in energy conservation, and the best course of action, is to be proactive - making physical changes at home; adjusting old habits; and adopting new energy responsible approaches. In short, it's a new way to do things - from the type of appliances used, to energy efficient home renovations, to day-to-day lifestyle changes.
Home Renovation Rebates
For homeowners planning to renovate or upgrade, the new Home Reno Rebate Program makes cash rebates available through Ontario's Green Investment Fund. Home renovations, upgrades, or retrofits that contribute to energy efficiency can qualify for up to $5,000 in rebates. The money is designed to offset renovation costs, while the improved energy efficiency will cut energy use and reduce utility bills. Additionally, the home's total real estate value will be increased.
ENERGY STAR® Homes
For those who are house hunting, an ENERGY STAR® home is a high performance home that is up to 20% more energy efficient than a conventional home. By reducing energy consumption, the seasonal utility bills are lessened, making for substantial annual savings. Add to that, appliances that are labeled ENERGY STAR® and the savings are further enhanced. Where a new home is not in the offing, suffice to say that energy efficient appliances are the next best things.
In support of government energy conservation initiatives, companies like Union Gas are working with homeowners to improve home energy efficiency. The Home Weatherization Program allows for various upgrades, often free of charge. For those who qualify, an Energy Audit is conducted, at which time recommendations are made for improvements and upgrades. This may well include enhanced insulation in the basement or attic, or weatherization of windows/ doors.
Homeowner Action Plan
Because winter heating is a major portion of energy cost, it's important that all HVAC equipment operate at peak efficiency. As well, any effort at air sealing a home will prevent heat loss, and will therefore reduce seasonal utility costs. Finally, better insulation and enhanced R-Values will contribute to improved energy efficiency, lower monthly costs, and overall homeowner comfort. For the really proactive homeowner, it's even possible to monitor energy usage during the month and make adjustments accordingly.