Helping a homeowner maximize savings on energy

by Kristin Koetsier

Cambridge resident Normand Genest had been meaning to redo his kitchen and basement for a long time, and had already planned to make replacing windows and adding insulation a part of the project. He was just about to put his plans into action when he heard about the Union Gas Home Reno Rebate program on TV, and decided to take advantage of the opportunity to maximize his savings by getting in touch with Reep Green Solutions.

Quick response on home energy evaluation

Genest was impressed by how quickly the Home Energy Evaluation was arranged after he first called. “They were very accommodating because they came the next day to do the initial evaluation,” he says. “So that was great for me because it had to be done before the renovation would begin.”

Renovations include home energy upgrades

Genest had previously installed a new furnace and air conditioning system as well as extra insulation in the attic. He’d also recently installed a new water heater with an electric shut-off vent.

This most recent renovation involved redoing the kitchen and family room, so Genest had four windows plus one large bay window replaced while they were at it. They also put foam insulation in the basement walls and installed an air exchanger. As the Certified Energy Advisor who performed the evaluation recommended, they installed the air exchanger before having the foam insulation put in, so that it could be sealed properly.
basement mid-renovation installing insulationThe comfort of the basement has definitely improved since the renovation, as it is now much warmer than before, and the energy efficiency of the house has improved significantly. The house will use 1,138 cubic metres less natural gas per year, keeping 2.2 tonnes of carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere. Genest expects to receive a rebate cheque from Union Gas because of these improvements.

Saving energy requires changing behaviours

In addition to making structural changes to their home, Genest and his wife have long employed energy saving techniques such as turning the water heater on vacation mode when they’re away, and avoiding peak hydro times.

“People have to change their behaviour,” Genest says.

Take advantage of Reep House displays

Although Genest was already fairly confident making home renovation decisions, he found the Home Energy Evaluation helpful in identifying leaks and ways to improve air tightness, as well as advice on how to prioritize spending. He also enjoyed seeing the many different kinds of insulation on display at the REEP House for Sustainable Living at 20 Mill Street – something he thinks could be especially helpful for someone who is new to home renovations. The display of shower heads of varying water efficiencies was similarly helpful.

Renovate as soon as possible to maximize savings

If Genest could recommend one thing to other homeowners, it’s to do their renovations as early as possible in order to maximize their savings.

“If I would have done [the basement reno] ten years ago, it would have paid for itself by now from the energy savings,” he says. “Don’t wait too long – do it as soon as you can, so you can reap the maximum benefits.”

If your house is in need of renovations, it’s best for both your pocketbook and the environment to do those renovations as soon as you can.

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