One of the best things about having a home energy audit conducted by a certified Vancouver Home Energy Advisor was the independent advice that came with it, says Vancouver homeowner Carol Wiens.
When Wiens had a Home Energy Advisor visit her 3,000-square foot, 1931 home, she knew there were bound to be a few renovations and improvements that could make the home more energy efficient.
Home energy audit
The older home was drafty, says Wiens, and the energy bills were high. But because her Energy Advisor was independent of any contractor or renovation company, she knew she would get an unbiased opinion about the renovations that needed to be done.
During the energy audit, Wiens says, she learned a lot about energy efficiency, and a lot about the house she and her family had lived in for 25 years. “[The Energy Advisor] explained a lot,” she says. “We liked having a professional who could educate us about our home without trying to make a profit on work needing to be done.”
As part of the home energy audit, the Vancouver Energy Advisor prepared a detailed report about the home’s current energy efficiency.
Based on a variety of factors, including heating and cooling equipment, the type of windows in place, and the amount of insulation in the home, the energy audit created an EnerGuide rating, which compares the home to others of its age in the same area. Wiens’ home scored 44 out of a possible 100 on the EnerGuide scale, demonstrating lots of room for improvement.
Air source heat pump
The home energy report also makes recommendations for changes to improve the home’s efficiency. For example, Wiens learned that 79 percent of her home’s energy use powered the natural gas furnace.
Her Energy Advisor recommended she replace the home’s natural gas furnace with an air source heat pump. Instead of burning natural gas, an air source heat pump uses just a trickle of electricity.
It gathers heat energy from the outdoor air, and uses that energy to warm the air it sends through the home’s existing ductwork. It creates no carbon emissions and uses far less energy than a traditional gas furnace.
Now, Wiens says her home is more comfortable. “The heating system was old-fashioned, so it’s much better now; no cold pockets in the house,” she says. Plus, she hasn’t had to set the thermostat as high, which means she’s using less energy overall.
Insulation and air sealing
To keep the warmed air indoors where it belongs, Wiens had additional insulation blown into her home’s main walls, and had a contractor do air sealing — filling in small cracks and gaps in the home’s structure, and caulking and weatherstripping windows and doors. These improvements made an instant difference, as they reduced drafts and helped the air source heat pump operate more effectively.
Instantaneous hot water
Because a hot water tank can waste energy by keeping large amounts of water warm whether it’s needed or not, Wiens also chose to replace her gas-fired hot water tank with a new instantaneous hot water heater. Like the old hot water heater, this tankless type of water heater is fired by natural gas, but it uses less energy.
It only heats water on demand, providing a steady stream of hot water as soon as a tap is turned. And to save even more water, Wiens installed four low-flush toilets, which can reduce a household’s water use by as much as half.
Wiens says she was glad for her Energy Advisor’s recommendations, because they helped her feel knowledgeable when she explained to her contractor what she wanted done. And the best part of having done these renovations, says Wiens, is “the comfort of the home and being energy wise. It’s great for everybody not to waste. We’re now expected to be energy efficient.”
Vancouver homeowners can choose from a shopping list of South Coastal LiveSmart BC rebates:
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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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