FAQ – Energy Saving

1. How to save your energy?

* Lower your hot water temperature by setting the thermostat to “low,” or below 120F.

* Install a water heater insulation blanket if your heater doesn’t have an “Energy Guide” label indicating it as energy efficient.

* Insulate the first 3 to 6 feet of cold and hot water pipes near your water heater. Insulating all hot water pipes is only necessary where pipes are located in a crawl space or attic. Keep foam insulation at least 6 inches from the flue of a gas water heater.

* Turn your water heater control valve to “pilot” when you’re away from home for a week or more.

* Set your thermostat to 78F in the summer. Note: The house will not cool down any faster if you crank up the thermostat past the desired temperature. Besides, it is easy to forget to turn it back down, which will waste energy dollars.

* Turn the air conditioner off when away all day and during the night. Open the windows at night for natural cooling.

* Regularly clean and replace filters to air conditioning units and appliances.

* Seal, caulk and weather-strip the roof, walls, floors, around windows, doors, chimneys and cracks to keep the hot air out and cool air in. Insulate wherever possible, including attics, basement walls, crawl spaces, water heaters and ducts. Insulation can reduce your heating and cooling costs up to 30%.

* Try to use appliances before noon and after 7PM.

* Set your hot water heater thermostat at 120 degrees or “low”. It’s hot enough for most needs and it cuts down on energy needed to keep water hot in the tank.

* Wash when you have full loads. When drying clothes, use the proper setting and load size.

* Install a whole house fan. A new whole house fan installed between ceiling joists in the house can help defer central air conditioning use, and cut down on electricity bills.

* When replacing appliances or equipment, buy products with the Energy Star? label, the symbol for energy efficiency. Households that replace existing equipment with Energy Star? products can cut annual energy bills by up to 30 percent.

* Activate your Energy Star? “sleep” feature on home office equipment so that it automatically powers down when not in use to save up to $70 annually in electricity bills and improve product longevity.

* Replace incandescent bulbs with compact fluorescents that last ten times longer and require less energy.

* During hot periods, close drapes and blinds to keep out direct sunlight.

* Install glass doors in front of the fireplace to help keep warm air in the home.

* Along with gas logs, add a cast-iron fireback to your fireplace to promote heat transfer into the room. Positioned against the back wall of a fireplace, a fireback protects the masonry of the back wall and radiates the heat of the fire forward.

2. What is ENERGY STAR?

The international ENERGY STAR symbol is a simple way for consumers to identify products that are among the most energy-efficient on the market. Only manufacturers and retailers whose products meet the ENERGY STAR criteria can label their products with this symbol. Choosing an ENERGY STAR-labelled product over a conventional model could save you hundreds of dollars in energy costs.

But there is more to ENERGY STAR than saving money. The use of energy-efficient products can also help save the environment. In many parts of Canada, fossil fuels are often burned to produce electricity. The burning of fossil fuels is a major source of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions – a leading cause of climate change – and other pollutants that contribute to urban smog and acid rain. When you use less energy by selecting energy-efficient products, less electricity needs to be produced. Thus you are reducing GHG emissions and promoting cleaner air as well.

Home heating equipment such as furnaces or water heaters that burns fossil fuels directly will also produce less GHG emissions and other pollutants when they are more energy efficient, making for a cleaner, greener community.

3. How do products and homes qualify for the ENERGY STAR mark?

* Qualifying ENERGY STAR labeled products must meet and exceed minimum Canadian Federal energy efficiency standards according to a prescribed performance level for each product area.
* Most products that qualify in the US also qualify in Canada.
* In order for a new home to be ENERGY STAR qualified, it must be built to ENERGY STAR for New Homes technical specifications by a licensed ENERGY STAR for New Homes builder

4. Why buy ENERGY STAR labeled products or an ENERGY STAR qualified house?

* By choosing ENERGY STAR labeled products, buyers save energy and money on utility bills, reduce air pollution without sacrificing the features, versatility or style they expect.
* New houses that receive the ENERGY STAR label are approximately 30 percent more energy efficient than homes built to minimum standards of provincial building codes.

5. Where to find ENERGY STAR labeled products or ENERGY STAR qualified new homes?

* ENERGY STAR labeled products are found in retailers’ showrooms across Canada.
* Consumers can look for the ENERGY STAR symbol on product packaging, literature, product advertising and, of course, on the products themselves – in some cases, you may also find it on the EnerGuide label.
* The ENERGY STAR for New Homes initiative is currently available in Ontario and Saskatchewan. If you are a homebuyer or home builder in one of these provinces, you can contact your ENERGY STAR for New Homes Service Organization for more information.

6. Why build an Energy Efficient New Home?

An energy efficient new home is a smart choice C for many good reasons. Beneļ¬ts of energy efficient homes include:

* Long term savings: efficient homes have lower operating costs because they use far less energy
* Protection from rising energy costs: efficient homes help offset the effects of increasing energy prices
* Increased resale value: energy efficient homes are worth more to buyers
* Improved home comfort: energy efficient homes provide more comfort during the hottest and coldest months of the year
* Lower financing costs: owners of efficient homes are eligible for a mortgage insurance rebate and longer repayment terms from Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation
* Better for our environment: because they consume less energy, efficient homes produce far less greenhouse gas emissions than inefficient homes

For optimum energy efficiency, a homeowners best choice is a home built to the R-2000 standard or one that achieves an ecoENERGY for New Houses rating of 80 or higher. EnerGuide 80 and R-2000 homes offer a superior combination of comfort, efficiency and affordability