Greening our Home

Blower test at front door

A few weeks ago we had a certified energy advisor visit us from City Green Solutions, a non-profit organization located here in Victoria.  The purpose of his visit was to assess our home in terms of its energy use and recommend upgrades, some of which fall under federal home energy rebate programs. 

The advisor spent about two hours going through our house assessing things like toilets, insulation, fireplaces, seals on doors and windows and more.  The picture above is one I took of the blower test the advisor carried out around our front door.  When he sealed in that large blower it allowed him to measure the air leakage rate in our house.  (I felt funny asking him if I could take a picture of it for my blog, but he said that people often do take pictures because it looks sort of neat!)

The day after the advisor carried out our assessment, he emailed us a report which detailed all the changes he suggests we make before March 2011 when the program ends.  The good news is that the average energy efficient rating for a house of this age in BC is 62 points and we rated 70 points.  The bad news is that he did manage to come up with a whole list of things that we should spend money on to improve our rating even further!  These included upgrading the insulation in the attic and installing new lower-flush toilets, improving a seal on one of our doors and a few other things.  Technically these aren’t “bad” things to do of course, but it’s sure not an exciting way to spend our money.  As Kermit the Frog said, “It’s not easy being green.”  (Groan.)

The assessment cost $150 plus GST so there was a bit of an outlay to have this person come and do it but I think it’s pretty much worth it.  We had been wondering if we should replace our windows and the advisor confirmed that it is not necessary.   I suppose paying that $150 just saved us $15,000 in window upgrade expenses!

I wanted to let people know about this service here in Victoria because I think it’s very worthwhile, and I do like to support local non-profits.  I’m not sure how many upgrades we can complete in our house before 16 months from now but we’re already starting to plug away at them.  Insulation first, other items to follow.  I’m looking forward to a warmer bedroom soon as a result of my newly-insulated attic.   (Now that may be something I could get excited about!)

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