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DESIGNI NG green

BC Hydro Power Smart Home Loan is Back!

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here is no better time to invest in the future with this new low interest loan of up to $10K in energy efficient upgrades to your home. We were very instrumental in delivering this program back in the mid 90’s when the last energy crunch was on. The stats say that over 60,000 homes were powered up by the savings we collectively made in BC by upgrading older homes. As a registered qualified contractor, we upgraded nearly 1000 homes alone in the Cowichan region. Now a 4% loan might not sound great by todays standards but it sure beats the rise in energy costs that are just around the corner. Start with weatherization or air sealing. This is the best bang for the dollar in terms of improving comfort and lowering costs. But do get a blower door test done on your home first by an energy advisor through Livesmart BC. Much of this work can be done by the DIY guy or gal but it is imperative you balance the air leakage in your home so the pressure is balanced. You run the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning or worse if you only plug the incoming leaks and not the outgoing leaks. These can best be illustrated

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• Wood Doors • Wood Windows • Service to All Types of Doors & Windows through the blower test that depressurises your home and shows you all the leaks at once. Next would be insulation and with all the new eco friendly and recycled materials now on the market, doing a lot of this work is easy and safe for the homeowner. Just be cautious in the attic areas where latent layers of toxicity have gathered over the years. This area is best handled by local blow in insulating firms and their prices are unbeatable by even DIY standards. Of special note, use caulking or for larger gaps, that grey closed cell foam rope they sell at lumber yards in varying thickness. It’s

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www.kwdoorsandwindows.com Heritage Homes a Specialtyom cheap, safe and won’t make a mess and is far more effective than almost all other products including the expanding foam. Next on my list would be a good central bathroom fan to act as an exhaust and circulation system to rid your home of moist dirty air in the heating season. Wet air is far harder to heat and although it sounds strange to exhaust heat, it is far healthier and energy saving to rid the moisture to about 55% when paired up with an automatic dehumidistat control. Always have a handy 30 minute timer as well. It’s a good way to teach the whole family how important the negative effects of moisture can be on a home in the heating season. Heating system upgrades run about a tie in terms of cost benefit along with new windows and doors. They both are bigger investments and usually require professional installation. However, the low maintenance and fresh new look comes as a visual improvement

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for some homeowners. With windows, be sure to specify Energy Star status as a minimum standard or don’t bother at all. Vinyl frames are best priced but still somewhat off gassing so consider fiberglass frames and combination wood/fiberglass as well if your budget allows. I still prefer the warmth of all wood sash. For heating, consider the new ductless split heat pump systems that are so easily retrofitted especially into small open floor plans. With the added bonus of air conditioning, again, the homeowner feels like they get something for their investment. Call LiveSmart BC 1-866-3819995 or savings@citygreen.ca to sign up right away! Image Foam backer rod for window insulation Image; David Coulson

David Coulson is a local certified Built Green design builder. He has a staff of 25 that have built throughout the Island for over 20 years.

Cowichan Valley Voice December Issue