I would consider myself to be environmentally conscious – I recycle, use the green bin and try to keep as much garbage out of our landfills as possible. But owning a home and being green goes beyond just what you put out at the curb every week.
When working with our builder, we talked a lot about resource consumption (water, electricity and natural gas), so we’ve elected for a high efficiency gas furnace, heat recovery ventilator, on-demand hot water heater, energy efficient windows & doors, spray foam insulation. During my research I found some great resources and incentives that are worthwhile looking into further.
First, Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation takes energy efficient homes seriously – so much so, that they offer a 10% refund on your CMHC premiums if your home qualifies under the Energy Star guidelines. Not only will you save money on your utility bills – but, take that refund and apply it back to your mortgage as a principal payment – over 25 years you will save hundreds in interest costs and pay your Mortgage off sooner, it’s a win-win situation!
Let’s say you aren’t building a brand new home, have you ever considered having an energy audit done on your current home?
At our last house, we did. What an eye opening experience that was!
The audit revealed where the house excelled from resource consumption and where there were areas for opportunity. We had some windows and a sliding glass door that were identified as potential leak areas, and we needed to replace a mid-efficiency furnace – these were more major expenses, however, we also noticed some inexpensive fixes: silicone replacement, receptacle insulation, programmable thermostat, energy star light bulbs, low flush toilets, flashing repairs and door seals.
We did a number of high return repairs and improved our initial score from adequately efficient to most energy efficient. The investment we made in our home went beyond the obvious electricity and natural gas savings – it helped us market our home to interested buyers, and reduced our greenhouse gas emissions by 0.6 tonnes per year.
If you have been considering ways to go green here are some great resources for more information:
Home Energy Efficiency – Natural Resources Canada: http://www.nrcan.gc.ca/energy/efficiency/housing
Green Housing – CMHC: http://www.cmhc.ca/en/co/grho/index.cfm
CMHC Green Home Rebate: http://www.cmhc.ca/en/co/moloin/moloin_008.cfm
Energy Audit Information – Barrier Sciences Group: http://www.barriersciences.com/services