2015 Homeowner Impact Award Winner
Here’s the story of one of the 2015 Celebrating Community Action award recipients. Learn about all nine recipients.
Most people know that buying an old house doesn’t come without future renovation cost. While some costs are not initially evident, a greater concern is how much those improvements will increase the efficiency of the home. This is the question that Jeff and Daria Casello were hoping to have answered for their recent purchase of a 1895 year old home in the Waterloo Region. The answer has them nominated for an award at this year’s Celebrating Community Action: Building Resilience event.
Unlike recent mass housing development, which seems to mirror replicas of each home built, more homeowners like Jeff and his wife are finding value in older homes. Historic homes provide a glimpse into the past and have “tremendous character” says Jeff. They are constructed using quality materials, not available today, and are built to last. Yet at the same time, the energy performance of older homes does not live up to the energy standards of today.
Jeff and Daria were well aware that their home was not “particularly energy efficient”. Dedicated to reducing their carbon footprint, the home owners “were eager to improve the performance of [their] home in as many ways as possible”. They called REEP Green Solutions to perform an EnerGuide Home Evaluation for their home.
Since purchasing their home, they knew that their furnace, which dated back to the early 20th century, would need to be a priority if they were to reduce their carbon footprint significantly. After becoming aware of the Union Gas Home Reno Rebate, the Casellos jumped at the chance to cut down on some of the renovation costs by participating in the Home Energy Evaluation program. With the help of REEP’s Certified Energy Advisor, the Casellos learned that their home improvements would result in the efficiency they were hoping for.
After receiving their evaluation report, the Casellos modernized their home, renovating their kitchen and family room by switching to storm windows and adding new insulation. Storm windows are a great option for preserving the architectural history of the home and maintaining the high-quality wooden frames. The home owners also gutted both of their washrooms, adding high R-value insulation and vapor barriers to reduce moisture build-up. To compliment these insulated rooms, the owners also installed in-floor electric heating which, when combined with effective insulation, reduces energy consumption. Targeting heat where it is needed will thereby reduce a home’s energy needs and increase the comfort levels of the washrooms.
Jeff and his wife upgraded to a combined gas boiler and hot water unit running at 95% efficiency levels. The Home Energy Evaluation also helped them identify a cold draft that continues to draw “the heat from the living areas to the attic”. They are considering using spray foam insulation where the joists of the basement ceiling hit the exterior wall to reduce thermal waste. Furthermore, they hope to refurbish their existing wooden windows by replacing the glass and adding quality storm windows.
One year after their renovations were completed, Jeff and his wife decreased their gas consumption by 20%. Their energy costs have decreased thanks to their lower gas consumption, and they now have fewer drafts and “less noise associated with heating”. They received a “substantial energy efficiency refund through the Union Gas program”, and have full confidence that the new boiler system “will last”.