After Mohsen and Fatemeh Ghannadi had lived in the two-storey 1971 North Vancouver home for two years, they were curious to know how energy-efficient their home really was.
They and their young daughter wanted to find ways to use less energy. “It’s a matter of being responsible,” says Mohsen. “We needed confirmation that the work needed to be done.”
To determine which energy-saving improvements their home needed most, the family had a home energy audit conducted by a Vancouver Home Energy Advisor.
Their advisor examined the home, paying special attention to its structure, insulation, and heating and cooling equipment.
He used a blower door, which depressurizes the home with a special high-powered fan, to determine where the home was losing the most energy, and determined that the home’s overall energy efficiency rated 48 on the Canadian EnerGuide scale of 0 to 100. That meant there was room for plenty of improvement. “To have someone with the proper tools to do the audit was a great help,” says Mohsen.
Choosing which energy renovation to tackle first is often a matter of picking the one that will save the most money. “We chose to do the furnace first, because it was the most inefficient. We were losing almost 50 percent of the energy,” Mohsen says.
He replaced his home’s old natural gas furnace with a new high-efficiency condensing gas furnace — a Carrier model with a 96.5 percent efficiency and a DC variable-speed motor.
This kind of furnace harnesses as much heating energy as possible from the natural gas it uses as fuel, and circulates that heat throughout the home using a small, continuously operating fan.
Energy Star windows
The Ghannadis decided to replace seven of their old windows with high-efficiency thermal windows that are Energy Star-rated for the Vancouver climate zone.
These types of windows have two panes of glass sandwiched around a layer of air or inert argon gas, which helps slow down heat transferring through the glass itself. By choosing Energy Star windows, homeowners can save on their home heating bills, and get government grants and rebates.
To help their home retain as much heat as possible, the Ghannadis’ Vancouver Energy Advisor suggested they install additional insulation in the home’s attic. The roof was responsible for a significant amount of energy loss, and by improving their attic insulation to R-50, they would be able to stop most of that heat from escaping. Not only would their home feel more comfortable, but they’d get government grants and rebates — and save on their energy bills from the day the insulation was installed.
To do the insulation work, Mohsen says he got quotes from at least three Vancouver-area contractors for each job — the windows, the furnace and the insulation. He chose his contractors based on their quotes, which reflected their ability and their price.
He recommends homeowners who are considering energy-saving renovations “do your homework and try to understand to what degree you need to get work done ... then research and get quotes from at least three contractors ... before choosing the right one.”
After all the renovations were complete, Mohsen notes, his North Vancouver home has become more energy efficient.
His Energy Advisor confirms this fact, with a new EnerGuide rating of 66, which reflects the various renovations and improvements. But more importantly, Mohsen says, “my energy bills are at least 30% lower ... I can turn up the thermostat without having to pay extra costs, and know that my daughter will be comfortable.”
It’s a good feeling to know the house uses less energy, he adds, and “to know that we are polluting the air less. We want our daughter to enjoy this world as much as we do.”
Vancouver homeowners can choose from a shopping list of South Coastal LiveSmart BC rebates:
Vancouver homeowners can also get ...
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Take advantage of government rebates + grants up to $7,000 and more for home energy renovation in Vancouver BC:
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Do it right
Each Vancouver home has its own specific energy-savings needs, and yours is no different. The right renovations add up to big savings. By following the expert advice of a certified BC energy advisor, you’ll make the energy renovations or "retrofits" that are right for your Vancouver home — and help improve your energy costs and the Vancouver BC environment.
Energy renovations help ...
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When you improve your home in Vancouver, you also make a difference to the rest of the world. You’ll help address important global issues like ...
And there’s even more. Click here to learn how Vancouver homeowners like you are saving thousands of dollars and tonnes of greenhouse gases every year, by making the right energy-saving home renovations. Vancouver BC homeowners can make a difference.
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home energy audit before your renovations.
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