Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Just Say No to Energy Waste

If you live in Toronto, mark in your calendar the St. Lawrence Centre Forum on Climate Change: From Inconvenient Truth to Political Action, September 25. Elizabeth May, Leader of the Green Party of Canada, energy guru Ralph Torrie and the David Suzuki Foundation’s Jose Etcheverry go up against Rona Ambrose, Federal Minister of the Environment.

Ms. Ambrose seems to think that it in order for Canada to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 60% by 2050, everyone will have to stop driving cars, flying planes, using appliances, etc. right now. Does that make sense to you? This is going to be quite the showdown. Try and get there if you can.

TO Think About This Week
Investing in solar, wind or geothermal for your home is a big venture. Something that takes planning.

Before you even consider preparing for your perfect renewable energy system, you will need to retrofit your home to ensure it’s as energy efficient as it possibly can be. After all, why invest in alternative energy when it’s only going to escape out the window, or door, or roof….?

Why let energy escape from your home in the first place?

What’s the Big Deal?
Energy efficiency is vital to reducing our carbon footprint. Our homes constitute 36% of our greenhouse gas emissions. In California, state and utility officials view energy efficiency as an energy source in and of itself. They see energy gain through reduction in energy use. Energy saved from the humble efficient refrigerator is compared to the energy supplied by a nuclear reactor, which costs billions of dollars and leaves us with 225,000 year-old waste.

Imagine if every home had energy efficient appliances or had retrofits done to ensure energy did not fly out the window.

Incentives and How it Works - Most governments and utilities in North America offer incentive programs to encourage homeowners to invest in home retrofits. Retrofits are based on the understanding that the house is a system.

You call in an inspector or auditor to assess the energy efficiency of your home. They make suggestions for improvements such as installing double paned windows, caulking up cracks, improving insulation, etc. You determine what retrofits you can afford or would like to have done and either do the work yourself or employ a retrofit expert to do so. If you like, the auditor returns to reassess your home for measured improvements.

Click here to read my rant about the cuts to Canada’s successful EnerGuide Program


  • Lowers your utility bills by an average of 27%.
  • An effective way to reduce your greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Stops drafts, making your home for comfortable.
  • Increases the property value of your home.


  • The initial costs aren’t as steep as investing in alternative energy for your property. Auditor fees are typically $300 with average work to retrofit your home running at $5,000. Good news – there are many incentive programs to offset these costs (except from the Government of Canada).


Green Communities
Helped launch the EnerGuide Program

The Office of Energy Efficiency

Canadian Energy Efficiency Centre

US Department of Energy

Alliance to Save Energy

Energy Saving Trust


The National Energy Foundation

Grow Up Green
News on Energy Efficiency ratings on homes

Financial Incentive Programs

Government of Canada??

Provincial Governments and Utilities
These guys love EnerGuide. Most still provide incentives. Find out more by giving them a call or visiting their websites.

Not-for-profit retrofit experts. Provides their own incentives.

Database of State Incentives for Renewable Energy

Weatherization Assistance Program
For low-income homes to ensure that Americans are not energy poor. Canada was starting a similar program but the Conservatives cut it.

Tax Incentives

Stop Global Warming
More than 480,000 to date have signed up to stop global warming. Join us!

In the News
Green Bloggers

Grist Magazine

Tree Hugger

Alternative Energy Blog

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

re ur opening paragraph quoting ms ambrose yes it makes perfect sense what she says