Now the Energy Diet work begins...

Andrew Bennett
By Andrew Bennett
November 30th, 2011

My report is in! A solid 50 on the EnerGuide rating, with three simple fixes to get me up to 61 and save some $565 every year.

Space heating accounts for 77 percent of my current energy consumption, so the three fixes, in order of their effectiveness, are 1) insulate my basement, 2) insulate my ceiling, and 3) seal up the drafts.

Apparently the house has some parts that look like swiss cheese to draughty air molecules. Even with all the windows and doors shut, the holes leaking cold air into the house add up to a square hole 18 inches on the side!

Sealing up these holes, especially around the basement’s header, will likely save me at least $65 on my annual energy bill and shouldn’t cost much more than that in caulking, foam, and other bits and pieces to stuff the cracks. To boot, there’s a chunk of government change for every 15% of the drafts I can eliminate—$190 from the feds for the first 15% alone.

The report suggests I can save $180 each year by making my R-7 attic into a wooly R-50 toque. I’ll have to scratch my head on this one. The vermiculite in there right now is possibly laced with asbestos, so blow-in on top is probably the best option, but I’ll have to hunt down a contractor and see if $180 in savings plus the hundreds of dollars in government rebates make hiring out the job worthwhile—it probably will be.

The big savings ($330 per year) will come about from insulating the basement. I’ve already gutted the thing and now it’s time to choose between R-10 and R-23 walls, buy the stuff, and slap it up.

It’s not tons of fun working alone in a basement, especially if there’s snow to play in outside,  and the work always goes much faster with a partner. When it comes time to foaming I’m hopeful I’ll wrangle up some friends who are willing to work for beer and food!

Better yet, thanks to this Energy Diet, there are hundreds of us renovators out there right now to cooperate with. I was really inspired by Terry Miller’s story the other day of his neighbours exchanging labour on each other’s renos. We’ll definitely look into this over the next couple months as home improvements reach fever pitch before the March 2012 deadline.

We are very interested to hear from you: How are you getting the DIY portion done? Barn-raising parties? You-scratch-my-back-I’ll-scratch-yours? Or are you a solo pilot, cruising into your renos alone…

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