24
April
2019

Improve energy efficiency with a home renovation

posted in Sustainable Renovation

A lot of the home renovations we complete happen because homeowners are unhappy with the current layout, design and function of their space. We often redesign layouts and install new cabinetry, bathroom fixtures, flooring and other features in the homes we renovate. But, did you know a home renovation also offers the opportunity to make your home more energy efficient?

An energy efficiency home effectively controls the flow of air, heat and moisture throughout the space, making it more comfortable and your utility bills more affordable. With Earth Day celebrations happening this month, we thought this was the perfect time to discuss how a renovation can make your home more energy efficient and kinder to the planet and your pocketbook. 

Your home is a system 

Did you know, all of the elements of your home – the building envelope, mechanical systems and indoor and outdoor environments – work as one system controlling air flow and moisture? That means that a change in one area can affect other areas of your home. So, it doesn’t make sense to pay all kinds of money for a new furnace or windows if your insulation or heating and cooling systems are low-performing.

Energy efficient elements to consider 

We recommend updating a number of elementsin your home to make it more it more energy efficient, here they are:

Furnace and hot water heater

Lennox Furnace from Bast Home Comfort, Waterloo Ontario

Replacing hot water heaters and furnaces with electric heat pump models provides pre-warmed fresh air in your tightly sealed home. Efficient heating and cooling systems use less energy, reduce indoor humidity, and improve the overall comfort of your home. We work with the pros at Bast Home Comfort for HVAC related projects.

HRV

Image: Venmar

An HRV system improves your home’s ventilation and reduces dust, pollen and other allergens making your home a whole lot healthier and comfortable. They offer you more control over moisture levels in your home during warm and humid weather, by keeping excess moisture out of your home.

Window & Doors

Image courtesy of Modernize.com

Energy efficient windows and doors can save on bills and keep your home more insulated and comfortable. Triple-glazed windows are a superior form of window that offer passive solar energy keeping heat in during winter and the home cooler in the summer. All three panes are insulated between layers, making them airtight and sturdy.

Insulation

Image courtesy of Buildings.com

Effective insulation stops heat from escaping in the winter and helps keep your home cool in the summer. If your house has no wall insulation, and it has continuous wall cavities (such as conventional stud walls), blown-in insulation can improve comfort and save enough energy to be very cost-effective. Fibreglass and wool insulation can also offer energy efficient options. Remember, each type of insulation includes a label with the R-value per inch, a measure of resistance to heat transfer. The bigger the number, the more effective the insulation.

Hire a professional 

If you’re still not sure what to update in you home, you can hire a professional energy auditor like the pros at REEP Green Solutions to help you identify what elements of your home should be updated.

EnerGuide Home Energy Evaluations by REEP Green Solutions.

When you decide what work you want to do to make your home more efficient, it’s time to decide who will be responsible for doing the work. For example, a professional renovation company will help you manage your home renovation project. Even though we don’t do all of the system installations ourselves, we are able to recommend and coordinate with trusted suppliers to get you the right products for your home, with ease.

Working with a professional contractor may seem like a larger investment upfront than doing it yourself, however, when you work with a team of skilled trade professionals like the team at Menno S. Martin, the work will is done properly and to spec, saving you a lot of time, money and hassle down the road.

Little changes make for big savings!

Nest programmable thermostat

If you’re not ready for a full renovation, here are a few small changes that you can do in your home that will help increase energy efficiencies and decrease your monthly bills: 

  • Install a programmable thermostat – Lower your home temperature at night and when you’re away. You can save up to 2% on your heating bill for every degree lower you go. 
  • Seal air leaks around doors and windows with caulking and weatherstripping.
  • Change your lightbulbs – Buy long-lasting LEDs or ENERGY STAR® certified CFLs.
  • Insulate your pipes – Cover the first two metres of hot and cold water pipes with foam sleeves or insulating wrap to save on water heating costs and lower water usage. Pro tip: Leave a 15 cm (6-inch) clearance between insulation and vent pipes on fuel-fired water heaters.
  • Upgrade your exhaust fans – Choose ENERGY STAR® certified models for your bathroom and kitchen and vent them outdoors. Add timers to reduce power consumption.
  • Go low-flow – Install water-saving toilets, faucet aerators and shower heads rated at less than 7.6 litres per minute.
  • Plug into power bars – Choose models with timers or master plugs that can power-down devices when they’re not in use so they don’t consume standby power.

If you are looking to work with a qualified team of renovation specialists, have a look at our process and give us a call at 519-664-2245 to get started.