The ultimate guide to an energy-efficient home - August 2023

As awareness about environmental conservation grows, many homeowners are seeking ways to reduce their carbon footprint and save on energy costs.

By adding eco-friendly solutions to your home, you can enjoy long-term benefits while making a positive impact on the environment. Transform your home with these 10 effective and practical solutions:

1. Insulation: The right kind and amount of insulation can prevent heat loss during cold Ottawa winters and keep cool air in during the summer. Use spray foam or fibreglass insulation in walls, attics and basements to help your home maintain its temperature and reduce excessive heating and cooling.

2. Upgrade to LED lighting: Change traditional incandescent bulbs for LED lights to help your lighting last longer, produce less heat and consume less energy. 

3. Install energy-efficient windows: Old, drafty windows can lead to temperature and humidity fluctuations in your home. Double- or triple-glazed windows can reduce heat transfer, keep your home feeling cosy and lower heating costs. When out window shopping, look for windows with an Energy Star rating.

4. Harness solar power: Installing solar panels on your rooftop is a great way to gain renewable energy from the sun. While the initial outlay can be pricey and you’ll need to ensure your roof structure can handle the weight, ultimately solar energy is a cost-effective and eco-friendly option to power your home.

5. Optimize HVAC systems: Regularly maintain and clean your heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems. Consider upgrading to an energy-efficient model with programmable thermostats or ground-source heat pumps.

6. Conserve water: Reduce the amount of water wasted by fixing leaky pipes, installing low-flow fixtures and using rainwater harvesting systems outdoors. Upgrading appliances that use water, like dishwashers and washing machines, can also help conserve water.

7. Sustainable flooring: Bamboo, cork or reclaimed wood are all eco-friendly alternatives for flooring in your home. These materials are renewable, durable, free of harmful chemicals and promote a healthier living space.

8. Use smart home technology: Embrace smart home devices that help with monitoring and controlling energy usage remotely. Smart thermostats, smart lighting and energy-monitoring systems can help set your home up on a schedule to consume less energy while you're away or in your home.

9. Energy-efficient appliances: Similar to water-using appliances, choosing energy-efficient refrigerators, ovens and dryers when replacing your appliances can help lower your electricity consumption without compromising the performance of the machine.

10. Landscape upgrades: Transform your outdoor space by planting species that require less water and maintenance, installing permeable pavement to prevent runoff and building a compost area to enrich your soil using kitchen waste.

These changes, even if implemented over time, can make a big impact. And by collectively striving towards energy efficiency, we can all create a more sustainable future for Ottawa.

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Serge Guénette
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