Energy Audits and The Canadian Homeowner

Published on March 23, 2018

Written By: Rick Miller, Service Organization Manager

We are Canadian and proud of it, even when the outside temperature dips below -30 °C. Fortunately, we have a warm haven at the end of the day that we call home. It’s where we live and raise our families in this often unruly climate. Still, it’s not all bad as spring turns to summer, and homeowners turn off their furnaces and switch on their air conditioners.

Over the years, our homes have become better insulated and built tighter to conserve our demand for energy. With these improvements, we have also introduced mechanical ventilation in order to improve our indoor air quality and make our home environment more healthy and comfortable. A lot of home builders are incorporating more of a balanced approach to the types of building materials and mechanical systems that go into new residential construction. But what about those of us that want to fix up our older homes?

What to do? What to do?

Before undertaking any home renovations, it’s important to understand that your home works best when it’s allowed to operate as a balanced system. For example, you may want to increase your insulation levels, maybe replace some old windows, or perhaps have a new, energy efficient furnace installed. While these upgrades certainly seem like a good idea, it’s important to understand how the improvements will now interact with the rest of your home, so everything is not now suddenly out of balance.

Did you know that in order to maintain healthy indoor air quality, the air in a home should be exchanged once every 3 hours? Not only does this help to provide you with fresh air, but it also helps to maintain and control the humidity levels within the home. Some older homes may be very leaky and have plenty of air exchange or in a lot of cases……..too much! So as we start to tighten and improve our old home, it is important to understand how that will change the air flow as well. So what should we do first and then how do we know if it actually makes our homes happier and healthier?

Enter the Energy Audit

If you have not had an energy audit performed on your home yet, you definitely want to consider it before planning your upgrades. There are many advantages to first bringing in a skilled/trained advisor to test your home and prepare a computer model of your house as a system. Advisors are equipped with blower door kits that allow them to actually measure the leakage area of a home. They are then able to calculate if your home is getting enough air exchange before AND after your upgrades are installed. They are also able to enter all of the data concerning your home into a computer program, which can then perform multiple calculations of your home’s performance based on a variety of conditions. This is especially helpful when you are trying to decide which upgrades would be most beneficial.

It’s Simple, Really

With all of the different options we have available to us, it just makes sense to have a professional game plan set up before spending all of your hard earned cash on home improvements. A home energy advisor licensed with Natural Resources Canada can usually be brought in for somewhere between $300 and $400, and, depending on where you live, may also be able to qualify some or all of your upgrades for government rebates. Even the original cost of calling in an advisor can sometimes be covered by a rebate. It’s professional advice based on using the latest technology for in-home analysis, and the possibility of receiving rebates to help pay for it.

The only question left for the homeowner is, “Who do I call?”

You need to start by contacting a reputable and licensed Service Organization like Barrier Sciences Group. Their highly trained and licensed advisors are available across Ontario and can be scheduled for a home audit by calling toll free 1-866-333-3920.

The Canada Greener Homes Grant offers home efficiency renovation grants up to $5,000.

Homeowners Canada-wide are eligible for the Canada Greener Homes Grant, announced on May 27, 2021. This new incentive offers up to $5,000 in grants for home efficiency retrofit renovations, plus a $600 reimbursement for pre- and post-work EnerGuide evaluations. Eligible retrofit scopes include home insulation, heating, doors, windows, photovoltaic solar panels, resiliency measures, and thermostats.

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