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New program pays Canadians for energy efficiency gains

New program pays Canadians for energy efficiency gains

New program pays Canadians for energy efficiency gains
By Dan of dailyhomerenotips.com,
special to mongabay.com
January 20, 2008




Canada’s ecoENERGY Grant Program Focuses on Energy Conservation; Indirect Benefit is Education




As I write this article, CBS News is having a Sunday evening prime-time, hour long special on global warming. What is alarming is both the extent of how bad the situation is for the planet, the impact on wildlife (e.g . Polar Bear populations dwindling dangerously low due to reduced glaciers) and the alleged refusal of certain governments to acknowledge both that there is a fact based problem and that we are running out of time to reduce its effects on the air we breathe, our environments, our forests and its wildlife population.



In Canada, the ecoENERGY Grant program exists to provide monetary incentives to home owners to undertake an energy efficiency evaluation of their home and act on its energy conservation recommendations. Here is the web site which explains it from the Canadian Federal Government: http://ecoaction.gc.ca/ecoenergy-ecoenergie/index-eng.cfm#5steps.



As part of this program, the participating homeowner (participation is voluntary) receives an Energy Efficiency Evaluation Report outlining how their home scores against the EnerGuide rating compared to similar aged homes, as well as an estimate of what their home may achieve on this scale should all of the recommendations be implemented by the home owner. While the average energy efficiency rating for a home in Canada the same as ours (20 year old) per the report we received is a 66, our home achieved a score of 70.


Are we satisfied? Well, no. Per the report, if we implement the recommendations it is estimated our home could achieve a score of 80, which would see our home rate in the top 5% of homes for it’s age group.



Have we learned be going through this process? Oh my, yes. For example, the available Federal and Provincial combined grant money to replace the windows in our home with ENERGY STAR rated windows only covers approximately 9 percent of the cost we would have to bear for these windows. That in itself does not sound like the governments are truly trying to motivate the average home owner to become more energy efficient if they are only willing to provide $60 per window. How serious can they be on doing their part to stop global warming and its destructive effects on the wildlife and our forests?



However, we believe there are some positives with the program. As homeowners, our focus was not energy conservation. However, the report we received and time spent actually reading it, together with additional research on our own have been enlightening. And, an enlightened homeowner is one more likely to take action.



For example, we are more aware of the instantaneous (tank less) water heater which is much more energy efficient and very common in certain parts of Europe. We have learned about the Drain Water Heat Recovery (DWHR) device, invented in Canada, which seeks to use the heat of water leaving the house from showers, automatic dishwashers, and so on to help warm fresh water coming into the house, thus reducing the amount of energy needed to heat this fresh water. Both of these types of energy conservation devices are recommended for our home and for which grant money under the program is available.



We have also learned about solar heating panels (not solar electric panels) which can help reduce the amount of energy needed to heat a home during the day. We have also been reminded of simple ways to help conserve energy such as a timer on the bathroom exhaust fan, turning off the power bar into which computer and entertainment equipment is connected when they are not in use to eliminate ‘stand-by’ energy consumed by these devices when they are turned off. There is no grant money for any of these, not even the solar heating devices.



The report indicates that should we implement all of its recommendations, we could realize an annual savings of 43 percent in the estimated heating energy currently consumed by our home. Wow! It also says that we could also reduce, each year, 2.8 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions. Again, another impressive number (not that I can actually imagine this amount of greenhouse gas emissions but that can only help our forests, it’s wildlife, the air we breathe and so on, right?).



In all, we have become much more informed on energy conservation devices and lifestyle approaches which we are considering implementing because of being more informed through our participation in the ecoENERGY Grant program. It is a good ‘start’. Is it enough of a start? Or, are we already well past the starting line and behind?



If you are interested in reading more on our experiences with the ecoENERGY Grant program, learning what we are learning about the recommendations for our home (a typical home in Ontario, Canada) and actually seeing portions of the report we received, we invite you to view our blog, Daily Home Renovation Tips (dailyhomerenotips.com). Throughout January we are reviewing three times each week the various portions of the Energy Efficiency Evaluation Report we received under the program.



After January 2008, if you remain interested you can still go to our web site and search in the Energy Conservation category or select the following link to ecoENERGY Report – Part 1 the first of more than 15 posts on the ecoENERGY Grant program and examination of the report we received.