Home Energy Efficiency
Enhancing the energy efficiency of your home is one of the best ways to reduce your personal greenhouse gas emissions with the added benefit of saving money on your utility bills. There are many things you can do to make your home more efficient like installing ENERGY STAR certified appliances, windows, doors, and heating systems, or adjusting your behaviours to consume less energy. This page will cover three main topics to get you started on your journey to a more energy efficient home.
Click to skip ahead to the following sections:
Find out how to get a free energy audit and discover exactly what systems in your home need updating or replacing with a home energy audit.
Learn more about a new Federal program that provides cash incentives for enhancing your home's energy efficiency.
The future of home heating and cooling. Learn more about this technology that could save you thousands of dollars in home energy costs, and reduce your household greenhouse gas emissions by over 95%.
ATTENTION NORTH BRUCE PENINSULA HOMEOWNERS!
What is a Home Energy Audit?
-"The home energy audit, conducted by an efficiency expert, consists of a series of tests designed to pinpoint air leaks, test insulation levels and gauge the efficiency of your home’s heating and cooling systems. Ultimately, learning how efficiently your house is using energy will help you prioritize key projects and improve the comfort of your home."
Why Should I Get a Home Energy Audit?
Receiving a home energy audit is the first step to saving money on your energy bills, lowering your greenhouse gas emissions, and making your home a more comfortable place to live. Further, a home energy audit is also required to qualify for rebates and incentives associated with the Federal Greener Homes Initiative.
How Much do they Cost?
The initial assessment visit costs $400, and a follow up, post-retrofit inspection costs $200, for a total of $600. However, through the new Greener Homes Initiative, you will be able to be fully reimbursed for this cost.
Where do I Sign Up!?
If you would like to book an energy audit for your primary residence on your own, you can register your home for the Greener Home Initiative Here.
NOTE: There is currently high demand for energy audits, and going this route may lead to a wait time of several months and you may need to pay a fee for an auditor to travel to our area.
If you would like to book an energy audit for a home that is not your primary residence you can book through one of the many Service Organizations listed Here.
NOTE: Audits done on a secondary residence will not qualify for the Greener Homes Initiative.
This year, the Government of Canada launched the Greener Homes Grant in an effort to lower household greenhouse gas emissions, and save Canadians money on home energy bills.
Through the Grant, Canadian homeowners will be eligible to receive up to $5,600 for home energy retrofits. In order to be eligible, homeowners must first book an energy audit by registering their home on the Greener Homes registration site.
To apply and learn more about the program Click Here.
List of Eligible Retrofits
|Retrofit Item||Maximum Grant Amount|
- Improve insulation in attic, ceiling, exterior walls, exposed floors, basements, and crawlspaces.
- Improve the air-tightness of your home. (i.e. weatherstripping).
Windows and Doors
- Replace old windows and doors with ENERGY STAR® certified models.
- Install a smart thermostat.
- Switching to more efficient home heating equipment like an Electric Heat Pump to save money and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
- Install solar panels.
Click Here for more information on eligible retrofits.
Click to jump ahead to the following sections:
Heat pumps are ultra high-efficiency systems that act as an air conditioner in warm weather, and a heat source in cold weather. They are fully electric, and they are 3-6 times more efficient than electric baseboard heaters or other forms of electric resistance heating. Their low operating cost makes heat pumps one of the most affordable and environmentally-friendly methods to control the temperature in your home.
See below for information on how heat pumps work, how they can lower your home energy bills, where you can find local installers, and local testimonials from Northern Bruce Peninsula residents who already use heat pumps in their homes or businesses.
Heat Pump Quick Facts!
Lower Home Energy Bills
Because Ontario boasts a low-carbon electrical grid, electrification is the key to reducing our greenhouse gas emissions. Further, modern electric heat pumps are far more efficient than electric baseboard heaters and older heat pump technology. Installing a heat pump is one of the best ways to cut your household carbon emissions and energy costs.
A recent study compared the average cost of heating a home in Ontario with different fuel sources. The study indicated that homeowners could, on average save about $1500 per year on heating by switching to a heat pump! The results are summarized below.
The high estimates are for homes further north in Ontario, and the low estimates are for cities further south. The Northern Bruce Peninsula estimate was created using an average between Ottawa and Sudbury.
The same study noted above also identified the average household greenhouse gas emissions associated with different heating sources in Ontario. Switching to a heat pump from a fossil fuel heat source like oil or propane can reduce heating emissions by 85%-95%! Switching from electric baseboards can reduce emissions by 55% A summary of these results can be found below.
Heat pumps transfer heat energy between your home, and the outside air or the ground. The example below of an "Air-Source Heat Pump" shows how this works.
Most heat pump systems consist of one outdoor unit and at least one indoor unit. Refrigerant is cycled through a closed-loop pipe system transferring heat between the indoor and outdoor units. In cooling mode, a heat pump works just like an air conditioner cooling the air in your house. In heating mode, the cycle is reversed and the outdoor unit captures heat energy from the outside air to provide warm air inside. Indoor temperature is set with a thermostat which decides whether the system should be in heating or cooling mode.
You might be wondering - "How can the outside air in the winter possibly be used to heat my home?" The key to the heat pump is the unique thermodynamic properties of the refrigerant in the lines between the indoor and outdoor units. Although they lose some of their efficiency at lower temperatures, cold-climate heat pumps are specifically designed for harsh Canadian winters. Even on a cold day, they are more efficient and cost-effective than baseboard heaters. If you would like a more in depth explanation of the technical processes of heat pumps, check out the video below!
There are two main components of every heat pump system - the source and the distribution method. The source is where the outdoor unit collects the heat energy, and the distribution method is how the heat is distributed throughout your building.
Heat pumps can either be air-source, meaning they get heat energy from outside air, or ground-source/geothermal, meaning they get heat energy from lines filled with glycol buried in the ground. Heat pumps can be paired with many different distribution systems. This section will cover air-source and ground-source systems, as well as ducted, ductless, and hydronic (water-based) distribution methods.
Air-Source Heat Pumps (ASHP)
Air-to-air heat pumps are the most common system, sometimes called "mini-splits". These systems consist of one outdoor unit and at least one indoor unit connected by lines filled with refrigerant.
In heating mode, these units capture thermal energy from the outside air and heat the air in your home. In cooling mode, they remove heat and humidity from the warm air in your home.
Air-to-air heat pumps can also refer to systems that are paired with ducted ventilation systems.
Air-to-water heat pumps are a less common type of ASHP. They are an air source heat pump that makes hot water in a single outside unit. The heated water is piped to a distribution system in the building such as a hydronic or radiant floor system, or fan-coil units.
Ground-Source Heat Pumps/Geothermal
Ground-source or geothermal heat pumps are the most efficient system, but also the most expensive to install. At 6-8 feet underground, the temperature is consistently above 8oC, even if the outdoor air temperature is -30oC. By burying closed loops of liquid underground, geothermal systems access this wealth of heat energy and use it to heat your building. Watch the video below for a short explanation of how they work!
Air-source and ground-source heat pumps can be paired with all three of the following systems, though some combinations are more common than others. Typically air-source heat pumps are paired with ducted or ductless systems, though newer models can also be paired with hydronic, in-floor radiant heating systems. Ground-source heat pumps are not normally paired with ductless distribution.
Ducted Heat Distribution
Ducted systems, sometimes called "Central Heat Pumps", are very similar to traditional oil/gas furnaces.
They consist of one indoor unit connected to a system of ductwork that carries warm or cool air throughout your building. Because heat pumps don't produce the high temperatures of oil or gas furnaces, they don't work well in older ductwork systems and are best suited for new builds. However, it's sometimes possible to modify or improve an old duct system for use with a heat pump.
Ductless Heat Distribution
Ductless systems, sometimes called "Mini Split" systems, consist of one outdoor unit, and one or more indoor blower units or "heads" that are placed around your home. An example of one of these indoor units is pictured here. The number of required heads will depend on the size and layout of your building. Typically, one head will heat and cool approximately 700ft2.
Ductless systems are well suited for replacing expensive to operate electric baseboard heating systems. They also have much better heat distribution than baseboards.
Hydronic Heat Distribution
Hydronic, or water-based distribution use the high thermal capacity of water to distribute heat even more efficiently. Although more often paired with Geothermal heat pump systems, some newer Air-Source Heat Pumps can also be paired with hydronic systems.
Pictured here is the most common type of hydronic distribution, known as radiant in-floor heating. A series of tubes containing water and glycol (to prevent freezing) is embedded in a concrete base. The heat pump warms the liquid in the tubes, and heat radiates from the floor throughout the building.
An added benefit of this system is that the concrete base surrounding the tubing has a high thermal mass. Once the concrete slab is warmed, it radiates heat for a long time. This means fewer on-and-off cycles for the system, improving efficiency and saving costs.
Local Retailers and Installers
Location: Owen Sound
Location: Owen Sound
|Fluker Electrical Mechanical
Location: Owen Sound
|Riddell Contracting Ltd.
Location: Owen Sound
HEAT PUMP REBATE
The following figures are estimates for heat pump hardware and installation based on conversations with local heat pump contractors. It's important to note that prices can vary widely depending on the size and layout of your home, whether it is a retrofit or a new build, and the efficiency of the heat pump.
The following estimates are for a high efficiency, cold-climate heat pump in an average-sized, 4-season home on the Bruce Peninsula with a simple layout. For more accurate estimates, contact one of the Local Installers listed above.
|Type of Heat Pump System||Approximate Cost|
|Air-Source, Ducted using Existing Ductwork||$10,000 - $19,000|
|Air-Source, Ducted with New Ductwork (new builds or retrofit)||$16,000 - $25,000|
|Air-Source, Ductless with 1 Indoor Unit/Head||$6,500 - $7,000|
|Air-Source, Ductless with 2 Indoor Units/Heads||$8,500 - $13,000|
|Air-Source, Ductless with 3 Indoor Units/Heads||up to $15,000|
|Air-Source, Hydronic Radiant Floor Heating (New Build)||$15,000 - $25,000|
|Ground-Source, Ducted with Existing Ductwork||$21,500 - $25,000|
|Ground-Source, Ducted with New Ductwork||$27,000 - $30,000|
|Ground-Source, Hydronic Radiant Floor Heating (New Build)||$27,000 - $30,000|
While installation costs for heat pumps can be significantly higher than oil furnaces or baseboard heaters, your annual energy bill will be much lower. Residents of the Northern Bruce Peninsula who have installed heat pumps, have claimed that the initial investment is paid off in just 4-8 years depending on your system and behavioural habits.