Why do I need to know my home’s energy score?
Put simply, your home’s energy score tells you how much energy your home is currently using. It’s important to know because a lack of energy efficiency means that you are likely paying more in utility costs. While your house décor may look great, it’s even more important to know what’s going on underneath it all – in the places that you can’t see and aren’t always top-of-mind.
Getting an energy audit from a Certified Energy Auditor (CEA) will help you on your way towards saving both energy and money. You’ll be given an energy score, using the Natural Resources Canada EnerGuide Rating System. An EnerGuide rating is a standard measure of your home’s energy performance. Your home’s energy efficiency level will be rated on a scale of 0 to 100. A rating of 0 represents a home with major air leakage, no insulation and extremely high-energy consumption. A rating of 100 represents a house that is airtight, well insulated, sufficiently ventilated and incorporates highest efficiency equipment. So, the higher your score the better. However, it is important to note that the scoring system compares homes of similar ages. So a house built in the 1960’s will rate as high as 75 while a home built in 2012 will start between 78-80.
How can my home protect me against rising energy costs?
The best way to protect against rising energy costs is to simply use less energy. The more energy efficient your home is, the less you will be paying in monthly energy bills. An energy audit can determine where, when, why and how energy is being used in your home. During your energy audit, you will receive recommendations for improvements (called retrofits) that can help you maximize your home’s energy efficiency, reduce your energy bills and increase home comfort. Some examples of retrofits are: a wall insulation upgrade, a high efficiency furnace and window replacement.
Why should I upgrade my home’s insulation?
A well insulated home keeps heat in during the winter and out during the summer. Besides keeping you comfortable, insulation upgrades coupled with air sealing will help to optimize your heating and cooling equipment’s performance – so that you can save in energy costs. If your home was built 10 or more years ago, it’s possible that you have poor or lack of insulation in your attic, walls, ceilings, floors, crawlspace, and garage – making your heating and cooling equipment work harder than it should and costing you more. Investing in better insulation could actually save you up to 50% in energy costs!
Why should I upgrade my home’s water heater?
The average Canadian uses 75L of hot water at home every day, and that can really add up. Water heating represents about 15 to 25% of a typical household energy bill, and if you upgrade your heating and cooling system without upgrading your water heater, that percentage will be even higher. By installing a more efficient water heater, improving the performance of your existing water heater and installing a drain water heat recovery (DWHR) device to reduce your water heating load, you can reduce your energy bill and let the savings add up instead.
How can a drafty door affect my energy bills?
You’d be surprised at how much a drafty door can contribute to a lack of energy efficiency in your home. Because your exterior doors are exposed to the outdoor elements all year long, expanding and contracting due to rising and falling temperatures, they eventually stop providing a proper seal in the doorframe – and you have drafts. That means that your heating and cooling equipment has to work overtime to replace the warm or cool air that you’re losing through those drafts – and you end up paying more to heat or cool your home.
When you get an energy audit, a blower door test will be conducted to see if your home has air leakage, and determine if door repair or door replacement is your best option to help you save on your energy costs.
How can old windows affect my energy bills?
If your home was built more than 10 years ago, there’s a good chance that some of your home’s energy is literally going “out the window.” Many older homes have leaky, improperly sealed windows, which means that indoor air is getting out and outdoor air is getting in. That causes your heating or cooling equipment to work overtime, and the result is a higher energy bill. Older single-paned windows also don’t provide good insulation, meaning your home can lose radiant energy as well. When you get an energy audit, a blower door test will be conducted to see if your home has air leakage, and help determine if window repair or window replacement is your best option to help you save on your energy costs.
Why should I upgrade my home’s HVAC system?
Your HVAC (heating, ventilating, and air-conditioning) system is most likely the biggest energy user in your home. In Canada, nearly two thirds of the energy we use in our homes goes to space heating alone, and overall, your HVAC system uses up to half of the total energy consumed in your home. If your equipment is outdated or in need of maintenance, then you can bet you’re paying more in energy costs. Not only that, it can affect air quality in your home as well. So it definitely makes sense to ensure your HVAC system is working as efficiently as possible.
You can reduce your heating and cooling costs by:
- installing more efficient equipment, especially ENERGY STAR® qualified models
- improving the performance of your existing equipment
- better managing humidity levels
- using programmable thermostats
- reducing energy lost through leaks, drafts and poor insulation in your home.
Getting an energy audit will determine which energy efficiency upgrades you need to make to your HVAC system. It’s possible that an upgraded system could save you hundreds on your annual energy costs.
Does my home need an “energy efficiency makeover?”
If your home was built 10 or more years ago, chances are that yes, it does indeed need an energy efficiency makeover. It could be losing a lot of energy, costing you extra money. An energy audit will help you find out if your home is losing energy from your out-of-date energy-guzzling furnace, poor or lack of insulation in your walls, your old water heater, leaks around poorly fitted doors, windows/sills and in other places you never thought of.
Why do I need an energy audit if I am buying or selling a home?
With more and more Canadians looking for ways to conserve energy, save money and make environmentally responsible choices, having a good energy score is an important selling feature for any home. Real estate companies may even start including energy scores in their listings, and it has already become a law in the U.S.
So if you’re buying a home, an energy audit will tell you what upgrades may be necessary, which can help you with the decision making and negotiation process. If you are selling a home, an energy audit can help you towards saving on your monthly energy costs right now, plus help you to reap additional rewards when you sell.
How is my home’s energy usage affecting the environment?
You’ve probably heard the term “carbon footprint” before. That’s the amount of carbon dioxide and other carbon compounds emitted due to the consumption of fossil fuels by a particular person or group. Your household has a carbon footprint, but you can reduce the size of it by making environmentally responsible choices and making sure that your home is using energy as efficiently as possible. A great way to start is by conducting an energy audit and getting your home’s energy score. This information can then be used to identify opportunities to improve efficiency, decrease energy costs, reduce your natural gas consumption and reduce greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to climate change.