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The EnerGuide for Houses Program

This blog has been on life support this summer. A combination of me being busy with too many things and also being just a bit too slow and distracted to write quickly.

Anyway, here's a post that might be of interest to homeowners out there, particular those with older houses.

We're participating in the EnerGuide for Houses Retrofit program, which is open to anybody. It is a program that can give you cash back if you improve the energy efficiency of your home.

What happens is that someone from a private company -- we used Greensaver -- comes to your home, conducts some tests and models your energy usage with software. At the end of it, you get a score between 0-100 and a lot of advice about how to improve your efficiency rating. You get 18 months to make whatever improvements you choose and get re-evaluated. The cash you get is directly determined by how much your score goes up.

I was expecting that we'd get a fairly poor score. Our first floor was renovated before we bought the house, but the second floor is just typical old Toronto. On cold nights last winter, our upstairs could be as much as 5C colder than the main floor!

As it turns out, we got a 62, which they say is the average score. Toronto, with its older homes, actually has an average in the low-50s. If we make all the improvements they recommend, it's estimated we'll only get up to 73, which would qualify us for $719. (We had to pay Greensaver $175, plus $50 more when they come back for the retest.)

However, we should also save on energy costs since it's estimated we can cut our energy use by a third. It wasn't recommended that we upgrade our furnace our windows. The energy improvement in our case was to come in equal parts from insulating the attic/roof, insulating the 2nd storey walls, and reducing air leakage.

The Greensaver visit was also good because they told us a lot about the different options we have for insulating. It was something we were planning to do anyway, so the visit really gave us a jump start on the process. The blower door test is the best way to find out about your air leakage problems... and I was very surprised by how leaky our home was and what a big contributor that was to our energy loss.

If we follow through on the improvements, it is supposed to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions by 2.4 tonnes per year. Hmm... And I thought the One Tonne Challenge was hopeless since I don't have a car.

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