Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Our Energy Audit Plan of Attack

Jane and I have been busy with our garden and preparing our home eco-renovations.

In the past few weeks we planted eight trees in our front yard – seven cedars to act as a hedge and one Japanese Maple to provide colour and shade during the summer. I’ve also planted most of our edibles and look forward to fresh delicious veggies throughout the summer.

Our Energy Audit Update
On the home eco-reno front, we are underway with some preliminary work. I’ve learned that there is an order to all of this.

First step was to evict families of raccoons and squirrels from our attic. Our visitors made an incredible racket at 6:00am and sounded quite messy. As much as I love animals, these ones had to leave. Besides, how could we install new insulation when furry critters had taken up residence?

So first step was to call in AAA Gates’ Wildlife Control to cage all the vents, with an exit cage to allow the animals out and not in. That’s done.

Next on our list is venting the kitchen and bathroom. If you can believe it, our house has no vents in these critical areas. While venting does little on the carbon slim front, it does much for indoor air quality. It’s best to install the vents prior to blowing in the insulation. Vents will be installed next week.

Also prior to insulation, we will install the Energy Star rated windows and doors. Based on recommendation from an eco-expert, I contacted Gator Windows to set up an appointment to make a cost assessment. Gator Windows also install doors.

Insulation Recommendation
About insulation, I asked Greg LabbĂ© at Green$aver for advice on the most eco-effective blow-in insulation on the market. He recommends cellulose for its low thermal conductivity. It’s also backed by Natural Resources Canada and is up to Passive House standard. When installed properly, cellulose will not settle and leave a gap. 'Installed properly' are the operative words here. At first I thought we'd install it ourselves, but since learned the folly of that idea.

Cellulose has an R value of 3.2. While Polyurethane Foam has a higher R value, it is also a petroleum product. Greg pointed out that if every home in North America was insulated with Polyurethane, the greenhouse gas contribution would be staggering.

After we insulate, we will bring in the high efficiency furnace. The jury is still out on the tankless water heater for now. It’s carbon slim impact is surprisingly low. I am also receiving mixed reports. More on that later.

In the News

Obama to Toughen Rules on Emissions and Mileage

Bigger isn't better
Rich, Poor And Climate Change (CNN Report)

Climate Change Is Biggest Health Threat Of 21st Century, Claims Report Into Global Warming

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