With oil jumping over $100 a barrel many of you are probably wondering, â€œWhat is our government doing about this?â€ You may think that governments should be able to countermand the requests of the â€œmoney-hungryâ€ oil-producing countries and utility companies. After all the price of heating a home is steadily increasing to the tune of 10% a year and, based on history, it will never go down again. The way to reverse this trend is to make homes and commercial businesses more energy efficient by improving the energy consumption and decreasing energy wastage.
If you are thinking about writing words of disdain over the rising fuel costs to you local member of parliament be advised that the government has already put a plan in place to better deal with the issue. It's called Ecoenergy, a residential energy assessment initiative which was developed by the Office of Energy Efficiency of Natural Resources, or NRCan. As 17% of all energy used in this country goes into private homes their mandate is to help property owners make renovations or retrofits to improve the energy efficiency of their homes.
What is the Ecoenergy Program?
The Econergy for helping homeowners gives up to $5,000 to those who make energy-efficient improvements to their homes. The grant is given based on the type of energy improvements that the property owner makes and the efficiency based on the changes. In other words don't blow a bundle on what you think will save energy, just follow the rules set out by the program.
The $5,000-maximum grant can be give for either a single-family or a multi-unit dwelling. The type of dwellings include detached homes, duplexes, triplexes, row houses and mobile homes built on permanent foundations. They also make allowances for small apartment buildings of three storeys or less.
Call in the Advisor
The catch for this grant is that you have to pay for an assessment: It's around $150. However, this does include a full diagnostic if you home and a box full of energy-saving stuff than you can keep. Think of this payment as the cost of doing business. When you book an appointment NRCan will send out an advisor. Here's what they do:
- 1. The Blower Test: A tent apparatus is attached to your front door, sealing it so that no air can get by. This tent is hooked up to a blower fan in the advisor's van which, when turned on, begins to suck the air out of your home. The advisor will then go around your home and pinpoint all the air leaks made visible and audible by the fan.
- 2. Walk Around: This is an evaluation of your home, checking insulation in the attic, basement walls, heating system, ductwork, windows, etc.
- 3. Energy efficiency Rating: You are sent a report detailing where energy is being wasted and what you can do to improve upon this rating.
- 4. Energy Kit: This includes compact fluorescent light bulbs (curly bulbs), a low-flow shower head, foam wall outlet insulators (for outside walls), LED night lights, Toilet tank bladder (to reduce water flow in the toilet), window insulation kit. This is to introduce homeowners to these products.
- 5. Return Visit: To verify which changes have been made
The Benefits of This Assessment
1. Impartial Advice: Since the advisors don't work for any brand they can help you pick the right products to upgrade your home. The advisor will coach you on what changes will make the biggest impact on your home efficiency and these will get you the best return for the grant.
2. Peace of Mind: Having a professional go through your home will bring to light any dangerous problems such as CO2 leaks or faulty gas fittings as well as energy situations.
3. Options: These include the cheapest way to make changes to wholesale changes.
4. Post Retrofit: Proof that the changes have been made. The advisor will return when the refits and renovations have been made and make the assessment. Then he or she will help you apply for the grant.
5. Grant Award: The government agency will send a cheque upon the authorization of the advisor.
The real benefit of this program is not only in saving energy and lowering your bills but making effective and long-lasting renovations to your home where needed. This is a great chance to renovate and receive compensation for your efforts. You will be advised on how to make smart changes with out breaking the bank. In other words if caulking windows and closing off areas where heat can escape lowers your energy consumption why waste thousands on new windows? An energy certification can also reap rewards when reselling the home as any new home buyer always has energy conservation in mind when making a decision.
Here are some eligible improvements:
- Energy Star qualified heating system: $300 to $3500
- â€¨Energy Star qualified cooling system: $200
- â€¨Domestic hot water: Up to $500â€¨
- Attic Insulation; Up to $600