There’s nothing like a snowfall in October to remind us that cold weather and winter are just around the corner.
Some embrace it, some recoil at the thought, but regardless of your reaction to it, it comes every year.
We change our closets over from summer to winter clothes, but we can also use this time to see if there are changes we can undertake in our homes that would make them more efficient and even save us some money.
Spencer Hruden, Selkirk’s Energy Efficiency Program Administrator, says there are programs available through Efficiency Manitoba that do just that.
Retrofits pay off into the foreseeable future
Hruden says advocating for the city, and citizens, to make changes that lead to more efficiencies results in long-term benefits and savings.
“The less you use, the less you pay,” Hruden said. This is especially true when you consider that Centra Gas will be increasing the price of natural gas by 11.5% on November 1.
“It’s economical to have someone advocating for the city and citizens to use less. It’s a long-term investment that makes sense both economically and environmentally because the less we use the less we spend, and the less emissions we produce.
“Energy efficient retrofits don’t just produce cost savings and emission reductions for one year – they continue to provide benefits for the foreseeable future.”
You may have seen Hruden at the Selkirk Port Market this past summer, offering information on efficiency, but now he’s hoping residents and businesses will contact him to assist them in making positive changes to their homes and buildings.
Hruden said the city itself has done several retrofits – including LED lighting, low flow water fixtures, geothermal heating replacements and in new builds and solar panels, like the large rooftop install at the Rec Complex, one of Manitoba’s largest.
Programs to help you save available right now, Hruden here to help
Efficiency Manitoba has plenty of programs available for the general public that will help them save money and be more environmentally friendly.
“Efficiency Manitoba has a lot of residential programs, which they continually improve to reduce the number of hoops and paperwork you need to deal with,” Hruden said.
“But sometimes it can still be overwhelming, so I’m available if people have questions about specific forms or a specific program, eligibility requirements, or where to start, that sort of thing; I can guide them along in that way.”
Hruden said the insulation program offered through Efficiency Manitoba is timely and worth considering.
“Among the programs Efficiency Manitoba has, the one that most people would probably be interested in and see the quickest return on right now would be the home insulation program,” he said.
“It basically offers a rebate per square foot of insulation that you put in. Depending on variables, like the R value of the existing insulation, the rebate goes up or down.”
Hruden says determining what the savings – both financially and environmentally – would be, is an area where he can help out.
“If a resident can provide the information on their existing insulation and square footage, I can provide a rough estimate of how much they would potentially get back. I can help guide them through the process as well.”
Library speaker series featuring Hruden throughout November
According to Efficiency Manitoba, a rebate of up to 100% is available on insulation materials.
There are instant rebates available on weatherstripping, window and door insulating kits, and other energy-efficient products at participating retailers, including Canadian Tire Selkirk, until Nov. 10. Hruden will be presenting on this and more at the Gaynor Family Regional Library’s speaker series at 7:00 pm on Tuesday, November 8th.
Here are some Efficiency Manitoba tips for reducing costs and increasing efficiency:
- Install weatherstripping, caulking, and gaskets around doors, windows, and electrical outlets to reduce air leakage and save energy.
- Install ENERGY STAR® certified high-performance windows and doors to reduce heat loss.
- As a low-cost alternative to upgrading your windows, install an insulating kit on the interior sides of the windows. This results in energy savings and can reduce condensation buildup on windows.
- Insulate an unfinished basement and add attic insulation in a pre-1999 home to keep warm air in and stay comfortable.
- If you have a wood fireplace, make sure the damper is closed when you’re not using your fireplace. That way, warm air won’t escape through your chimney. But don’t forget to open it when you light your next cozy fire!
You can also reduce costs by lowering your thermostat by 3 C or more for at least eight hours a day – it’ll result in a 4% savings.
If you invest in a smart thermostat, it can be controlled remotely so you can adjust the temperature when you’re not home. It will also learn your behaviour and adjust the temperature depending on if you’re home or not.
Hydro offers a 15 year, 4.8%, up to $30,000 loan, through the home energy efficiency loan (HEEL). The federal government also offers a 10 year, 0%, up to $40,000 loan through the Canada greener homes loan.
Make better choices today
Selkirk’s energy efficiency program is jointly funded by Efficiency Manitoba and delivers on the city’s strategic objective to help citizens make better environmental choices.
You can contact Hruden through CitizenSupport at [email protected] or by phone at 204-785-4900.