A second price tag?

Over the coming months, I’ll share some great ways to save money by reducing utility bills. At BUILD, we’ve lowered utility bills in 5,300 Winnipeg-area homes, which will save people more than $15 million in the next decade alone. Did you know that upgrading insulation, installing a water efficient toilet and replacing your furnace can earn you a 10 to 100 percent rate of return?

I’ll also point out some common misconceptions, such as the idea that replacing windows is a great way to save energy. There are actually much better things you can do with your money if reducing the utility bill is your goal.

Lower those operating costs

For the first few blogs, I’ll be focusing on how to get your home’s operating costs down.

The very first thing I’d recommend, if you haven’t done so already, is to gather your utility bills from the past year. This will help give you an idea of how much you’re paying to operate your home and vehicle(s). Many people can tell you how much their new home or vehicle costs to the dime, but few know how much each costs to operate. Energy experts call these operating costs, “the second price tag.”

Incentives can make it easier

The good news is that the Federal Government is currently offering both energy-saving advice and incentives (up to $5,000 per home) through the ecoENERGY program (www.oee.nrcan.gc.ca/residential/personal/grants.cfm?attr=0). However, this program will be cancelled on March 31st, 2012. Many provincial governments and some utilities also offer incentives which can be added to Federal incentives.

So, my first pieces of advice are to first find out your second price tag and book an ecoENERGY audit.

In my next blog, I will discuss the importance of staying decent. Ken Klassen, Manitoba’s leading expert on home energy efficiency says that an un-insulated home is similar to going outside in the winter “buck naked!” Through time-lapse photography, you’ll see my workers at BUILD putting a pair of pants on a house.


Image: flickr/one2c900d