Saturday, January 19, 2008

Update: Energy Audit

We had our energy audit yesterday afternoon. The entire experience was really interesting and well worth the $367.50 (minus the $150 rebate we will be getting back from the government) it cost us.

First of all, we are very happy with the company we went with (it was dumb luck really, I just called the first company I found online). Jonathan, the owner of Green Home Inspections Ltd was super friendly, very knowledgeable and just an overall nice guy. I would highly recommend him to anyone in the Ottawa area who is thinking of have an audit done. My initial feeling that he was a decent guy was confirmed when he mentioned that he used to employ four staff but he let them go because he realized that he really enjoyed doing the field work himself and that having staff made him feel like he didn’t have any control over the quality of the work that was being done… so he chose to make less money and do the work himself.

The audit was almost three hours long. He spent that time touring the entire house with us (inside and out) looking at our heating system, our windows, outside doors, our attic, he checked to see if we have insulation in our outside walls (we don’t). He did this cool draft test with a huge fan and computer to find all of the air leaks in our house (there were many). He patiently answered all of our questions (even those which really had nothing to do with energy efficiency). He suggested many practical things that we can do to improve the efficiency of our house and we learned a lot! We are looking forward to receiving a detailed report of his assessment by mail in the coming weeks.

A few things we learned:

1) Even though our windows ‘sweat’ a little they are energy efficient windows which is a good thing.
2) Keeping your windows locked (as opposed to just closed) increases their efficiency by 10%.
3) You can borrow a ‘watt meter’ at the Ottawa library (or you can buy one at Canadian Tire for $25). It tells you how much phantom energy (and money) your appliances cost you when they are plugged in but not in use. I checked all of our appliances (coffee maker: 0, lamps: 0, computer, printer, modem etc: 150, TV etc: 15).
3) We would really improve the efficiency of our house by having Insulation blown into our walls. The government offers a $3000 rebate for this work, which will cover over 80% of the cost. We will likely be doing this sometime in the next year.
4) The provincial government recently announced that it will match the rebates offered by the federal government … so if you’ve been thinking about having an audit done. Now is the time!

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