I chatted with Ian and Steve at the Home Discovery Show on CKNW about the difference in the amount of energy we use here at the laneway house. It really hit me this week when I signed up for BC Hydro’s Equal Billing. We are paying $35 a month for our electricity now, back at the condo we paid $64 a month. That’s a huge difference because even though our new home is about half the size of our old one, our condo was on the second floor of a three-storey building, so we only had two exterior walls. Now we have four exterior walls over 1.5 floors, plus a roof and deck over the entire footprint.
But we don’t have to depend on lower energy bills to know our laneway is energy-efficient. Our house received an EnerGuide rating of 83 from BC Hydro.
Developed by Natural Resources Canada, an EnerGuide rating is a standard measure of a home’s energy performance. A rating of 0 represents a home with major air leakage, no insulation and extremely high energy consumption. A rating of 100 represents an airtight, well insulated, sufficiently-ventilated home that requires no purchased energy.
Power Smart new homes are required to achieve at least ENERGUIDE 80, higher than what’s required by the B.C. Building Code.
That rating put us in the “highly energy-efficient new house” category in their rating system.
If you want to make some changes to your home you can take advantage of rebates and other incentives from the City of Vancouver, BC Hydro, and Fortis. Find out more about that here.
If you are a low-income household you can take advantage of BC Hydro’s Energy Conservation Assistance Program. Find out more about this here.
And if you just want to get started living a more sustainable life, pick up some hints here .
What does all this energy efficiency mean to us? It means lower Fortis bills for a start. We pay about $25 a month for natural gas for our heating and cooking (including our barbecue). But it also means getting out of bed on a winter morning and feeling that radiant heat. It means no cold corners, no nasty drafts. It means comfort, as much as sustainability.