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Energy Savings

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Insulation and Air Sealing

You can reduce your home's heating and cooling costs and realize energy savings through proper insulation and air sealing techniques. These techniques will also make your home more comfortable.

Any air sealing efforts will complement your insulation efforts, and vice versa. Proper moisture control and ventilation strategies will improve the effectiveness of air sealing and insulation, and vice versa.

Therefore, a home's energy efficiency depends on a balance between all of these elements:

  • Air sealing
  • Insulation
  • Moisture control
  • Ventilation.

A proper balance between all of these elements will also result in a more comfortable, healthier home environment.

Space Heating and Cooling

Heating and cooling account for about 56% of the energy use in a typical Canadian home, making it the largest energy expense for most homes. This provides a big opportunity for energy savings. A wide variety of technologies are available for heating and cooling your home, and they achieve a wide range of efficiencies in converting their energy sources into useful heat or cool air for your home. In addition, many heating and cooling systems have certain supporting equipment in common, such as thermostats and ducts, which provide opportunities for saving energy.

When looking for ways to achieve energy savings in your home, be sure to think about not only improving your existing heating and cooling system, but also consider the energy efficiency of the supporting equipment and the possibility of either adding supplementary sources of heating or cooling or simply replacing your system altogether.

Selecting and Replacing Heating and Cooling Systems

When replacing or upgrading an existing heating and cooling system, it's important to first consider the limitations imposed by your current system and available energy sources. It is also advisable to perform building envelope improvements such as increased insulation, air sealing, and window and door upgrades before replacing your heating system. Often a much smaller heating unit can be installed which further enhances long-term energy savings.

Furnaces and Boilers

Most Canadian homes are heated with either furnaces or boilers. Furnaces heat air and distribute the heated air through the house using ducts; boilers heat water, providing either hot water or steam for heating. Steam is distributed via pipes to steam radiators, and hot water can be distributed via baseboard radiators or radiant floor systems, or can heat air via a coil.

Cooling Systems

Although your first thought for cooling may be air conditioning, there are many alternatives that provide cooling with less energy use. A combination of proper insulation, energy-efficient windows and doors, shading, and ventilation will usually keep homes cool with a low amount of energy use in all but the hottest climates

Air Conditioning

Air conditioners range from a small room air conditioner to a large central air conditioning unit. Most air conditioners operate at less than their maximum efficiency, presenting energy-saving opportunities. New air conditioning units are far more efficient than earlier models. Switching to high-efficiency air conditioners and taking other actions to keep your home cool could reduce energy use by 20%–50%.

Heat Pump Systems

For climates with moderate heating and cooling needs, heat pumps offer an energy-efficient alternative to furnaces and air conditioners. Like your refrigerator, heat pumps use electricity to move heat from a cool space into a warm, making the cool space cooler and the warm space warmer. During the heating season, heat pumps move heat from the cool outdoors into your warm house; during the cooling season, heat pumps move heat from your cool house into the warm outdoors. Because they move heat rather than generate heat, heat pumps can provide up to 4 times the amount of energy they consume.

The most common type of heat pump is the air-source heat pump, which transfers heat between your house and the outside air. If you heat with electricity, a heat pump can trim the amount of electricity you use for heating by as much as 30%–40%. High-efficiency heat pumps also dehumidify better than standard central air conditioners, resulting in less energy usage and more cooling comfort in summer months. However, the efficiency of most air-source heat pumps as a heat source drops dramatically at low temperatures, generally making them unsuitable for cold climates, although there are systems that can overcome that problem.

Water Heating

Water heating can account for 14%–25% of the energy consumed in your home. This is another opportunity for energy savings. You can reduce your monthly water heating bills by selecting the appropriate water heater for your home and by using some energy-efficient water heating strategies.

Selecting a New Water Heater

You have a lot to consider when selecting a new water heater for your home. You should choose a water heating system that will not only provide enough hot water but also that will do so energy efficiently, saving you money. This includes considering the different types of water heaters available and determining the right size and fuel source for your home.

Types of Water Heaters

It's a good idea to know the different types of water heaters available before you purchase one:

  • Conventional storage water heaters

Offer a ready reservoir (storage tank) of hot water

  • Demand (tankless or instantaneous) water heaters

Heat water directly without the use of a storage tank

  • Heat pump water heaters

Move heat from one place to another instead of generating heat directly for providing hot water

  • Solar water heaters

Use the sun's heat to provide hot water

  • Tankless coil and indirect water heaters

Use a home's space heating system to heat water

Windows, Doors, and Skylights

Energy-efficient windows, doors, and skylights can help lower a home's heating, cooling, and lighting costs and compound energy savings.

  • Exterior Doors

Select energy-efficient doors or improve the energy efficiency of existing ones.

  • Skylights

Select energy-efficient skylights.

  • Windows

Select energy-efficient windows or improve the energy efficiency of existing one

Did you know?

That the average 10-year-old furnace wastes as much as 45% of the heat it produces, and that newer natural gas furnaces are up to 98% efficient?

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  • We are a custom home builder in Kelowna, BC, and have worked with Total Home Solutions on several projects. We appreciated the suggestions and service in regards to achieving energy efficiency that Scott Hilder and his staff have provided. Our clients have been more than satisfied with the service we have obtained through Total Home Solutions.

    We would be happy to recommend Total Home Solutions to any builders or individuals who are looking for the same.
Scott & Gina AuthenTech Homes, Kelowna
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David - Surrey, British Columbia