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Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Moving Beyond the Low Hanging Fruit

When I first moved into my new home three years ago, I wanted to do everything "little" thing I could to improve my footprint and reduce my wasteful costs like energy and heating. Changing a lightbulb is pretty cheap and pretty easy, but sooner or later you end up needing to face bigger ticket items. Windows, insulation, things like this are not cheap or easy to do, but let's face it. They are well worth it! And even though the payback or return on investment might be years, it's still better to do them, or at least consider them.

So, following the guidelines in my energy audit, I started one of the biggest projects of my life - and one of the most expensive. I set out improving the energy efficiency of my home in a very serious way. New windows, new siding, and additional insulation. All at the beginning of the heating season.

As you can see from the photo, my house used to be green with wooden vertical siding. The building was structurally sound and it had decent insulation for a home built in 1974: probably about 4-6 inches of fibreglass batting. The windows were leaky enough in some rooms to feel a draft; the house was expensive to heat; and you could clearly hear the traffic outside in some rooms as if the window was open. Plastic sheeting and caulking only did so much.

My energy audit also recommended additional insulation without removing the existing. Over the next few posts, I'll show you how we added more efficiency and how we improved the value of the house.

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