Around 40% of the energy used in Canada is consumed by residential homes and commercial buildings. An average family in Canada spends around CAD 2,000 a year on energy bills. A part of these costs, which is $200 to $400 annually, goes as wasted energy.
The energy could be lost from:
- air leaks,
- openings around windows and doors,
- or from an outdated heating or cooling system.
It is these losses that need to be reduced by doing energy efficiency upgrades.
The improvement of energy efficiency will help you:
- Reduce energy consumption
- Save you money
- Create a home comfortable environment.
One of the most important home improvement projects you should be thinking about is insulation upgrade or replacement. Insulation that works efficiently will reduce electricity bills, increase home comfort and also help the environment.
Start with an Energy Evaluation
It is known differently as an home energy audit. This process is the first step towards evaluating the ways in which your home consumes energy. You will understand where the energy goes. Is it going to the air conditioner, water heater, ceiling fan or to the light bulbs?
A home energy audit will identify the necessary steps to make your home energy efficient and bring you energy savings. The energy audit might include a walk through process. Infrared cameras, door blowers or other techniques might be used to identify potential air conditioning leaks.
These in turn will reveal the most cost effective approach to upgrading your home’s insulation. This upgrade might also require an air barrier or a vapor barrier.
How Does Energy Efficient Insulation Work?
Efficient insulation will preserve the heat inside during the winter months and also block heat from entering home during the summer. This will result in a warmer home in winter and a cooler home in summer. There will also be more hot water in the winter and more cold water in the summer. It is really that simple and throughout the years we have come to understand that it works very well.
Homeowners that consider upgrading their home’s insulation might be worried about the costs. But let us just tell you that the cost of the upgrade or replacement will pay for itself through the energy savings. At the end you will be left with an increased home comfort.
We at Eco Spray recommend insulation upgrade and air sealing as the best approach to having effective insulation. Air sealing is very important as it preserves indoor heated air and blocks unwanted outdoor air from entering the home. Only after effective air sealing is reached, then can you continue with the upgrade or replacement in areas such as:
- Attics, basements and crawl spaces
- Exterior walls and floors over unheated spaces
- Other spots with old, thin or poorly installed insulation
These parts of the house need to always be insulated. The insulation needs to be continuous and have the recommended thickness, as per Ontario’s Building Code.
Typical Home Energy Improvements
Here below we will walk you through some of the most recommended upgrades in order to improve your overall energy efficiency. These steps will help you increase your home’s comfort, decrease energy consumption and save you money on your monthly bills. Our experts at Eco Spray Insulation can help you localize the key home improvements you need to undertake to improve your energy efficiency.
Seal Air Leaks
First and foremost, air leaks in your walls, ceiling, floors, window, and doors need to be sealed with sprayed foam insulation, caulk, or weather stripping. Outside cold air diffusing into your home during the winter can cause an unbalanced indoor climate and increased energy costs. If you can manage to reduce the drafts in your home, you might experience energy savings that range between 5% to 30% per year. Your home will be more comfortable and the indoor climate will be easier maintained.
There are different types of insulation for each part of your home. The most common areas to be insulated are the attic, the basement, exterior walls, and crawl spaces. Apart from insulation upgrades, you will need a combination of air sealing in order to experience the full benefits. Upgrading old insulated parts of the home is one of the fastest ways to reduce energy consumption.
Upgrade Windows, Doors and Skylights
Energy star products, windows, doors and skylights will add to the energy efficiency of your home. Air infiltrations into and out of your home are possible through every crack or hole. Estimates say that around 20% of the air infiltrations occur through the openings in your windows, doors and skylights. Special storm windows might reduce the heat loss with as much as 25% to 50%.
Using Programmable Thermostats
Installing and setting programmable thermostats will save you energy. They will automatically regulate your home temperature, whether you are home or not, asleep or wide awake. As much as 10% on your energy costs can be saved if you just turn your thermostat on for 8 hours a day.
Apart from sealing all of the ducts, you have to make sure that they are put straight and are efficiently connected. We have seen many cases where ducts had not been properly insulated and had holes resulting in air leaks.
As much as 60% of the conditioned air can be lost and if the ducts are not properly sealed. Heated air will travel through cold spaces such as attics or any other crawls spaces. Thus, it will lose heat before it reaches the register.
Upgrade Heating and Cooling Systems
The HVAC system in your house consumes more energy than any other equipment which uses energy to function. On average, circa 45% of your home utility bills come from heating and cooling. You can reduce your energy consumption by 20% to 50% if you put up a combination of the following: adequate insulation, air and duct sealing, thermostat usage.
Install Energy Efficient Water Heater
There are lots of energy efficient tank water heaters to choose from. Even more, a new product called tankless water heater is in high demand. Water heating can account for as much as 12% of your monthly utility bills.
It is estimated to be your third biggest energy consumer in your home. You should also consider consuming less hot water if you want to reduce your energy consumption. You can intervaly turn off the thermostat on your heater and also insulate your water heater for improved efficiency.
Upgrade Household Electric Appliances
The burden of the electric appliances to your total energy consumption is around 15%. The top energy consumption comes from appliances such as the refrigerator, washing machine, clothes dryers ets. Upgrading to energy efficient appliances will reduce your energy consumption overall.
Use Energy Efficient Lighting Bulbs
An average Ontario household dedicates around 11% of its energy consumption to lighting fixtures and appliances. Opting for more energy saving lighting bulbs will improve your overall energy efficiency. New lighting technology will reduce the energy consumption required for the lighting by 50% to 75%.