No doubt you’ve come to us because you’re interested in finding more ways to save electricity and reduce your bills. And hopefully, we’ve provided you with plenty of ideas and inspiration.
But here’s an idea that goes a bit further. It’s about standing back and seeing your home as a system. Are all the components that could help to save energy actually working together to achieve it?
For example, even a perfectly installed brand new heat pump will struggle to be efficient if it has to compete with drafty windows.
And with a range of rebates available through our Home Renovation Rebate Program, there’s never been a better time to think about your home as a system and consider all the parts that make it up:
The building envelope: the roof, doors, floors, windows and walls
The mechanical systems: the heating, cooling and ventilation
The people: you, your family and/or your tenants
Check your building envelope
It’s amazing how many places the air inside your home can find to escape. Upgrading your wall insulation or siding is a major project, but even just upgrading the insulation in your attic and crawlspace can make a big difference.
Find out how to get up to $5,500 in insulation rebates.
If insulation covers all the big surfaces, draftproofing is for all the little gaps and holes in and around doors, floors, windows and walls. Check everything for drafts and follow our tips for the edges of doors and windows and even power outlets.
Windows can let a lot of heat out of your home in the winter - and let a lot in during the summer. Double or triple glazing will be most effective at combating this, but you can also use high-quality window coverings and blackout curtains to provide insulation.
Find out how to get up to $3,000 in window rebates.
Look after your mechanical systems
Heating and cooling
When your building envelope is doing its job properly, it’s time to think about heating and cooling. Clearly, you’re going to want the most efficient type of system, such as a heat pump, but you should also get the most efficient size of system - you don’t want anything too powerful, but you also don’t want it to struggle.
Bathroom exhaust fans, dryer vents, kitchen range hoods all work to improve your home’s indoor air quality. But of course, only use them when you need them - and turn them off when you don’t.
Similarly to heating and cooling, make sure your appliances are as efficient as possible - ideally ENERGY STAR® rated. But also try and resist the temptation to buy appliances that are bigger than you actually need. There’s no point running a huge fridge that you only use a quarter of.
All your mechanical systems will run more efficiently if they’re properly maintained. So keep your freezer defrosted and your fridge vents clear. Make sure your vents and ducts are clean. And if you’ve got a heat pump, you’ll need to change the air filter regularly.
Show everyone what to do - and why
A successful system needs all the parts to work properly. And that includes everyone who lives in your home. Make sure that everybody knows what to do - but also why they should do it. From closing doors and windows to not fiddling with thermostats and agreeing when to run a full dishwasher or do laundry together to minimize usage, if you set some energy efficient ground rules, they quickly become habits.
So if you’ve never thought of your home as a system before - try it! It’s a great way to identify lots of ways to reduce your bills and if you’ve got kids, it’s also a fun way to teach them about the importance of saving energy.