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Investing in Home Energy Improvements is Wise

November 15, 2016

Making improvements to the energy efficiency of a home does two things right off: it makes the home much more comfortable, and it reduces energy bills from season to season right around the year. The idea is to make the improvements that make the most sense. Essentially, a house is a system, and it performs as such, based on various elements of the building envelope - like the air circulation, and the insulation performance, and the HVAC equipment. In the average home, all of the system elements must work together - and it all has to be well balanced. This means that air leakage, moisture accumulation, and air ventilation must work in tandem to provide optimum energy efficiency. But before improvements can be made, the home must undergo an evaluation - an EnerGuide Home Evaluation. It's an in-depth assessment of the home's energy efficiency and performance, identifying the weaknesses. Inasmuch as the home evaluation provides valuable info about energy usage and utility costs, it also highlights the upgrades, retrofits, and/or renovations that would deliver the best return on investment for a homeowner. This is particularly relevant when doing home energy renovations, because smart renovations will save the most on energy costs. An EnerGuide Home Evaluation is clearly the first step in deciding which energy improvement to invest in. For every home, large or small, improving energy performance is probably the best investment in terms of home renovations. Upgrading the insulation, ensuring an air sealed building envelope, and enhancing weatherizing, will all contribute to maximized energy efficiency and meaningful savings on seasonal utilities. Beyond that, drafts will be minimized, noise levels will be reduced, and the overall indoor comfort of the home will be significantly enhanced. Just by example, upgrading basement insulation can realistically reduce heat loss by 20%. This makes for a viable home renovation investment with long-term benefits. The same applies to wall insulation, where good insulation product can reduce another 20% of heat loss. The EnerGuide Home Evaluation will identify how best to make these types of improvements and which type of investment will pay off the most, in short term and long term utility savings. As home energy standards evolve, energy performance is also becoming important in real estate. Most every home will eventually require an EnerGuide "label" so that prospective buyers can be made aware of a home's energy performance. It makes sense, therefore, for an existing owner to engage in the kind of energy improvements that will deliver the longest-term benefits. That way, cost savings on heating and cooling are immediate, and built for the future. For homeowners who are ready to act, there are a number of government incentives designed to offset the costs of home energy improvements, retrofits, and upgrades. Starting with EnerGuide Home Evaluations, cash rebates are available for wide range of home renovations:

  • Enhancing insulation R-Values in the attic/roof cavity
  • Effectively air sealing portions of the building envelope
  • Increasing insulation (the R-Value) in the exterior walls
  • Installing or reinstalling insulation in the basement area

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Mike Holmes and his son Mike Jr. (MJ) convert MJ’s bachelor bungalow into a two-storey home for MJ and his girlfriend Lisa. Choosing the newest materials and build techniques, the father and son team follow Mike’s famous motto – “Make it right.” The show can be watched on HGTV and DIY Network.

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