Energy Efficiency

Well chosen investments in energy efficiency will pay for themselves over reasonable periods of time in both saved money and improved comfort.  Talk to the experts at UK Trades to determine the best renovation strategy for your home.

Lowering energy use is a good hedge against increasing costs.  Utility costs for our homes are a considerable drain of our financial resources and prices continue to increase well above the rate of inflation.  As an example, BC Hydro plans a total rate increase of about 27% over the next three years.  Considering the increasing demand for energy, the increase in population in our province and concerns about environmental issues it is unlikely that energy costs will retreat.

Our homes may stand for 50 to 100 years or more.  Improving their efficiency will pay over and over, year after year.  Most buildings can be made more efficient by improving insulation levels, insulating foundations, installing improved windows and doors, and installing better heating, cooling and water heating systems.

Grant Requirements

make it easy:

The Federal and Provincial grant programs have strict requirements for the energy savings components installed in your home.  For example, in our area windows must be rated for at least Canadian Energy Star Climate Zone B in order to qualify for grants and incentives under LiveSmartBC and the EcoEnergy program.  Heating systems are another area where mistakes can be costly (grants won’t apply unless approved equipment is installed).  Documentation can be a problem as most homeowners do not know exactly what is required and don’t have the time or technical knowledge needed for this determination.

While carrying out your renovation, UK Trades will look after all documentation and requirements to ensure that you are eligible for applicable grants.  This may include photographs, drawings, plans, and invoices.

Consider energy efficiency and ventilation while doing general renovations:

Are you planning to renovate a kitchen or bathroom or other area to update it or improve its functionality?  If so consider ventilation and energy improvements at the same time.  Installing high quality, low noise fans or other ventilation equipment along with sophisticated controls is more easily done during a renovation and will improve the ventilation and health of your home.  Installing high quality windows and doors and improved insulation will reduce energy use and make the building more pleasant to live in.

Heating systems vs. Insulation

Quantitative modeling of the energy use of homes usually shows the most energy savings from installing new energy efficient heating systems.  Improving insulation levels is not usually as high on the list of energy savings.

Consider that new heating and cooling systems are complex and expensive and will require regular maintenance.  Their life is likely to be a decade or two before replacements are required.

Insulation does not require maintenance and once installed is usually good for the life of the building.  It will not only save energy but will improve the comfort of the building and can significantly reduce noise levels.

Windows and Doors

There is no doubt that replacing old leaky windows and doors with new units can be expensive.  There are significant benefits however to properly installed high quality windows and doors:

  • Lower energy use.
  • Lower air leakage and less uncomfortable drafts.
  • Significant reductions in noise levels.

In cases of south and west facing windows, significant reductions in heat buildup in hot, sunny weather.

Coupled with ventilation improvements, reductions in moisture buildup on the inside of windows during cold weather.

It is extremely important that windows and doors are properly installed.  UK Trades has been doing these installations for years and uses industry approved methods to ensure the best performance and longest life of your new units.

Noise

Continuous noise, even at low levels, can have significant impacts upon our health.  Our cities are very noisy and not likely to get better. 

High quality windows and increased insulation levels can have a significant impact on noise levels within a home.  Spray foam insulation is particularly effective in reducing noise levels and increasing wall insulation or wall thickness can also have a considerable impact.  Replacing old leaky, ill fitting windows and doors with new units may also reduce noise levels by a significant amount.

Consider improvements to your home to make it more enjoyable and quieter.  In many cases this may be the only viable noise reduction strategy other than moving.

https://secure.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/wiki/Noise_health_effects

https://shatteredpeace.com/adverse_health_effects_noise.htm

Ventilation

In order to have a healthy home (for both the occupants and the structure) your residence should have an air exchange rate of about 1/3 per hour.  In other words, every hour about 1/3 of the volume of air in the residence should be exhausted and replaced with fresh outside air.  This proportion will depend on the use and number of occupants in the building but is a good starting figure.

Signs of poor air quality are moisture on inside of windows during cold weather, cooking and other smells that linger for hours and mold on window edges or inside corners of the building.  These symptoms can also reduce the life of the building and increase maintenance costs.

In cold weather it is not efficient to open windows to bring in fresh air.  Using exhaust fans or more sophisticated mechanical means enables a control of the amount of air exchange and reduces energy use.

In order of cost and energy effectiveness there are a few available options to provide good ventilation:

High quality low noise bathroom and kitchen fans coupled with dehumidistats and timers.

“Whole house” fans coupled with a fresh air intake and controls.

Heat recovery ventilation system – takes heat out of evacuated air and uses it to heat incoming air (in cold weather).

Energy Efficient Improvements

In most cases, particularly in homes built before 1980 or so, reducing air leakage is by far the most cost-effective method of reducing energy use.  UK Trades will work with you to determine applicable methods of air leakage reduction.

Improving the insulation level of existing buildings can be a challenge.  For that reason, attic insulation is usually suggested (often relatively easy to do) yet foundations are neglected.  Energy modelling often indicates far better improvements in efficiency by improving foundation insulation (crawlspaces and basements) than by increasing attic insulation levels (particularly if the attic is at a level of R30 or better).

Uninsulated walls should also be considered as candidates for insulation.  There are a number of ways to improve insulation levels of such walls.  Options will include blown insulation, exterior insulation or insulating from the inside. 

Ask UK Trades for options applicable to your home.

Ready To Make You Home More Efficient?

Energy Efficiency Links

National Resources Canada has published a book to help homeowners and others understand how their homes work.  It is called “Keeping the Heat In” and is an excellent resource to help anyone understand and improve energy use and ventilation in their home.  The book can be downloaded as a .pdf file at the below noted link or can be read online at the same location on the internet.

https://oee.nrcan.gc.ca/residential/personal/heat/keeping-heat-in-toc.cfm?attr=4

The Federal Government has provided grant monies to improve the energy efficiency of Canadian homes through the EcoEnergy program.  The program is now closed to new entrants but may be re-instituted in the future.  Details can be found here:

https://oee.nrcan.gc.ca/residential/personal/retrofit-homes/retrofit-qualify-grant.cfm

The Province of B.C. has an active grant program which is closely associated with the EcoEnergy program.  Details about the LiveSmartBC program can be found here:

https://www.livesmartbc.ca/homes/h_rebates.html

The bigger utilities in our Province have incentive programs to encourage customers to reduce energy use.  Please see the below noted links for information:

B.C. Hydro: https://www.bchydro.com/rebates_savings/

Fortis BC: https://www.fortisbc.com/powersense/powersense_main.html


The Cities of Kelowna, Summerland and Penticton have electrical utilities which are closely associated to FortisBC.  Grants and incentives available through FortisBC are also available to the customers of these electrical utilities.

Terasen BC: https://www.terasengas.com/Homes/Offers/default.htm

 

For personal free consultation about your deck renovation or upgrading plans:

Telephone: (250) 862-1574 for Ron

Telephone: (250) 550-4598 for Rod

Email: info@uktrades.ca

1279 Parkinson Road West Kelowna BC V1Z 2R1

UK Trades is a division of 775766 BC Ltd