Energy Retrofits Part 1

Over the past 2 years, I have taken on an extensive energy retrofit  and renovation project on our home in Nelson BC. 

House before the energy retrofit

The house dates back to 1955. It was built with 2×4 walls, insulated to about R8, and approximately R28 in the attic. None of the basement walls had insulation to speak of, except for about 1 ½” in some places. The windows were a single pane, wood window, with storm windows that had to be removed in the spring and installed in the fall. 

Of course, when we think of energy retrofits, we think of increasing the energy efficiency, which in turn saves you money in the long run. However, for myself, there were other reasons equally important:

  1. Overall comfort: I wanted a home that was free of drafts, and radiant heat transfer from my body to the cold surface of the windows and walls.
  1. Broken windows, broken siding: Many of my original windows were partially broken, and inoperable. They were a double hung wood windows, and the wood looked great, but they were single pane glass, with storm windows on the outside. I had to remove several storm windows in the summer and reinstall them in the fall. The other issued with storm windows is that you lose your egress in case of fire, and are therefore not building code compliant. 
  1. Eliminate fuel burning appliances – and co2 emissions: My furnace was a mid efficiency gas furnace from the 70’s. It actually  stopped working during the retrofit work. My other motivating factor was to have a home that does not burn fossil fuels for heating. 
  1. Save money in the long run: Contrary to what most people think, saving money was not my first priority. I knew full well going into it that the money invested would take a long time to pay back in energy cost savings alone. However, I did reduce my overall utility bills between 50 and 60%. I’ll explain later how I calculated that.

Ecosave – City of Nelson Energy Retrofit Program

This is a unique to Nelson program to encourage clients of Nelson Hydro to complete EnerGuide home energy evaluations and access energy upgrade support to learn how to lower energy bills.

Through the program, I was able to access both funding and expertise to help navigate the process. 

I will blog about the process in separate posts. Stay tuned.