How Does Your Home's Energy Efficiency Compare to Your Neighboursâ€™?
May 07, 2020
Home energy efficiency varies from house to house. Even homes built in the same year can have varying levels of energy efficiency from one another. Air sealing and insulation are huge contributors to the energy efficiency of a home, and making upgrades in these areas allow homeowners to see improvements beyond energy savings alone. For an in-depth look at the energy efficiency of your own home, GNI recommends starting with a home energy audit from a registered energy advisor.
To start a conversation with us about your home’s energy efficiency or how it can be improved, please fill out the form below. Once you are in contact with us you can also request a free insulation assessment to help you get started.
What Uses the Most Energy at Home?
According to Natural Resources Canada, space heating uses the most energy in Canadian homes, second only to water heating. A large part of Canada’s home energy savings come from homeowners switching to energy efficient furnaces and using natural gas for heat. However, air sealing upgrades and effective insulation in walls, floors, basements and attics have played a significant role as well. Natural Resources Canada also notes that weather stripping doors, double paned glass windows, and smart thermostats have similarly contributed to home energy savings in Canada.
Why is Home Energy Efficiency so Important?
Your home’s energy efficiency is important for more than just cost savings or environmental benefits. It certainly contributes to both of those things, but when insulation and air sealing are targeted, it can also improve your home in several other ways in addition to helping you save energy.
The benefits of making energy efficiency upgrades include:
- A more comfortable living environment with fewer drafts
- A more consistent temperature on every floor and in every room
- Fewer intruding allergens or unwanted airborne particulates
- A lower risk of sick building syndrome
- Better resale value on the housing market
- Less stress placed on HVAC systems
- Improved moisture / humidity control
Where Home Energy Efficiency Starts
Home energy efficiency starts with your building envelope - or rather, the entire protective shield that is formed by your home’s insulation and air sealing. It works to keep you separate and protected from the weather outside. As you improve your home’s building envelope, so too do you improve your home’s level of energy efficiency and comfort. Air sealing and insulation upgrades are the most effective way of improving your home’s energy efficiency. An industry professional can help you determine which area of your home needs the most attention first.
Save Energy to Save Money
When you save energy at home, your home becomes more affordable. Not only because you are paying less in energy bills, but also because your home is able to see a market value increase due to energy efficiency improvements. Potential homebuyers are often interested in homes with strong energy efficiency, since they come with several quality of life and affordability benefits. Maintenance costs on your HVAC systems can also decrease through energy efficiency upgrades, since your home can be heated or cooled without putting the same amount of stress on your appliances as before.
Know Your Current Home Energy Efficiency
To remove the guesswork out of your home’s energy efficiency, and to locate the areas of your home that are causing the biggest energy losses, the first thing you should consider is a home energy audit. At your request, GNI will arrange for you to have a home energy audit conducted by a registered energy advisor. We recommend for homeowners to schedule their home energy audit before they start making renovations or upgrades, especially if they are looking to capitalize on any of the Ontario Energy Rebates that are available.
Note that at the time of writing this article, some rebates are temporarily suspended because of COVID-19.
Home Energy Audit
A home energy audit is a comprehensive and in-depth look into your home’s total energy performance. The areas of your home causing the biggest energy losses can be identified, and the most cost-effective upgrades for you to implement can be targeted. This allows you to see which upgrades would give you the biggest boost to energy efficiency for the lowest cost possible. A home energy audit is also also an important part of the application process for many Ontario Energy Rebates.
Compare Your Home Energy Efficiency to Your Neighbours
Energy efficient homes come in all shapes and sizes. From the outside, your neighbours’ homes may appear normal, but on the inside they might be hiding a serious amount of energy efficiency. Net Zero Homes and Passive Houses are two different types of homes with extremely high levels of energy efficiency.
Net Zero Home
A Net Zero Home is a home that can produce the same amount of energy that it uses. It is able to achieve this through a combination of on-site renewable resources - such as solar or wind - and high levels of energy efficiency that are reached through strong insulation and air sealing. GNI can help you determine what your home needs in order to get closer to Net Zero, and what benefits / energy savings you could see.
A Passive House is a home that has completely maximized its energy efficiency. It must meet strict criteria for energy performance to become certified, and requires superior air sealing and insulation to do so. A Passive House is so airtight that it requires dedicated ventilation to ensure its residents have continuous access to a fresh flow of air. Although new builds for Passive Houses are common, older homes and even apartment buildings can be retrofitted to reach Passive House standards. This makes it a tremendous option for any homeowner looking to reach the pinnacle of energy performance.
How Can I Improve My Home Energy Efficiency and Save Energy?
To improve your home energy efficiency and save energy, GNI recommends starting with a home energy audit and targeting the most cost-effective option(s) on the list. This provides you with a plan of attack that focuses on the problem areas first, and allows you to make the biggest upgrades for the lowest cost. To learn more about home energy audits or how to arrange one for your home, please contact our Customer Experience Team at 1-800-265-1914 or www.gni.ca/contact.