How to reduce your energy consumption and heating costs

With cold weather approaching, Canadian homeowners will soon be looking for ways to reduce home energy consumption and heating costs.With memories of last winter – one of the harshest in recent history – still fresh, many Canadians are taking a more proactive approach to prevent condensation, drafts and cold floors that are dead giveaways you’re paying too much to heat your home.And yes, these warning signs surface even in new homes.“An under-performing building envelope is the main reason why the average Canadian spends unnecessary money on heating costs,” says Jay Nordenstrom, executive director of NAIMA Canada, an association of insulation manufacturers. “A robust building envelope means homeowners decrease their energy needs. This lowers monthly heating bills, along with the associated greenhouse gas emissions, and enhances comfort during catastrophic winter weather.”Just what is a “building envelope”? It’s a term to describe the building components that separate the indoors from the outdoors. A home with a modern building envelope – well insulated, properly sealed and well ventilated – can provide shelter during the most brutal weather conditions. It also provides insurance in the event your furnace is disabled by a power outage.home energy2Paying a premium for a house with increased wall and attic insulation, for example, can provide month-over-month payback by lowering energy consumption and heating costs. These savings vary, however, and are determined by the R-value of your home’s insulation. Higher R-values mean greater insulating power.New homes offer the best opportunity to ensure a high-performance building envelope, and NAIMA suggests home builders not trade off improvements to the building envelope in favour of mechanical systems.Renovating a home is another opportunity to improve the building envelope. The most beneficial upgrades include installing appropriate amounts of insulation and weather sealing where drafts and air leakages are occurring, NAIMA says. Many of these can be done as do-it-yourself projects.Across Canada, grants and rebates are available from the federal and provincial governments and local utilities, especially for energy-saving renovations.More information on such programs and tips on how to insulate your home is available at naimacanada.ca

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