IT might have been the scorching temperatures of the Utah desert that swaddled us, or the flash-thunderstorms that disgorged immeasurable volumes of water upon us, but after spending the last few weeks of summer holiday in a small tent with my family the notion of an environmentally sensitive, energy-efficient shelter kept presenting itself to me.
Living in a tent has a way of making one reflect on the simple things that can positively affect the livability of a home and maximize its efficiency. It's straightforward stuff really. By taking a few simple steps one can greatly increase the energy efficiency of the places we live.
Draft-proofing your home is likely the easiest and cheapest way to make energy-efficient gains in your home. Seal things up and your energy bills will drop.
Having a look at your furnace is always a good move. Older furnaces are often oversized and typically have very inefficient motors and heat exchangers. Upgrading to a more energy efficient model will see immediate gains.
Increasing the insulation in your home is a guaranteed way to move towards energy efficiency. A well insulated, well sealed and properly ventilated home will be a warm and comfortable one and will be the most energy efficient solution.
Replacing single glazed windows with double glazed ones will bring huge gains as a single pane of glass has very little insulation qualities.
The Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corp. has a number of programs to help out homeowners wishing to make energy-conscious changes to their homes. A quick review of their website will indicate eligibility.
Simply put, an energyefficient home uses less energy and is less expensive to operate. Making some simple changes won't break the bank, you might receive financial assistance to do it, you'll be reducing your greenhouse gas emissions and in the end you'll see significant reductions to your monthly utility expenses.
Kevin Vallely is a residential designer in North Vancouver. His website is www.vallely.ca.