Improving your home's building envelope is the most cost-effective way to conserve energy and save money. Blocking air leaks will reduce drafts and heat loss, protect the building, and minimize noise and dust from entering.
 
In a previous post I provided some resources for sealing leaks and reducing heating costs.
 
If you are able, replacing single pane windows with more efficient ones is a good investment. There are many options with windows and in our climate double or triple pane windows with Low-E are a great option. Where you put different types of windows depends on the orientation of your home so talk to an expert. Some detailed information on windows on the Natural Resources Canada Site under the Residential Section.
 
If replacing your windows is not an option, you might want to consider your window coverings. There are newer products on the market that can reduce heat loss from windows by as much as 50% including a "honeycomb within a honeycomb" design currently produced by Hunter Douglas which creates more air pockets for insulation.
Kirstin Hogg with Normandeau Interiors (403-801-6434) has made available complimentary consultations to folks. Give her a call if you would like to see the new options available.
 

Info courtesy of livegreencalgary.com  and Kirstin Hogg of Normandeau Interiors.

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Calgarians use about 340 litres of water per person per day in their homes. In the UK each person uses about 147 litres per day.
 
Wondering how you can reduce your water use?
 
Review your appliances and see if they are matching your needs. For example, do you have a large family that requires daily use of the washing machine? If so, consider a high efficiency front load washer which uses substantially less water than a traditional top load model.

Check for leaks. A faucet losing one drop per second wastes up to 25 litres per day or over 10,000 litres per year.

Check for toilet leaks by adding a few drops of food coloring to the toilet tank. Wait 10 minutes and look in the bowl. If there is coloured water in the bowl, you have a leaky toilet.
Replace your 18 litre per flush toilet with a low flow 6 litre per flush model and use 70% less water.
If you let the water run while brushing your teeth or shaving you can let 45 litres of water run down the drain in 5 minutes.

Keep drinking water in the fridge so you don't have to run the tap to get cold water. Water plants with unused drinking water.
 
The Sanitary and Storm Sewer charges on your ENMAX bill are based on a flat monthly fee plus a charge per cubic metre of water use. So if you conserve water you will save money for both the clean water coming into your house and the waste water leaving.
 
The City of Calgary can help fix that leaky faucet or toilet. www.calgary.ca and search: "Repairing Taps and Toilets".
 
The City of Calgary also provides a $50.00 rebate on the replacement of high water use toilets. www.calgary.ca/waterservices and click on 'Toilet Rebates' under "Quick Links" on the right hand side. Also check out the "Water Use Scorecard" and many additional resources available.
 

Info courtesty of www.livegreencalgary.com and additional info from www.calgary.ca

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Just recently I finished my requirements to be certified with the National Association of Realtors (NAR) Green Designation.  It is the only green real estate professional designation recognized by NAR, the association that represents all Realtors in the USA. I am also working on my certification in Canada with the National Assocation of Green Agents and Brokers (NAGAB).
 
What does all that mean? Well, it means I have the personal interest to invest in my ongoing education and I have chosen this field as one that really needs to be well understood. 
 
I am finding more clients asking about energy efficiency, safer building materials, design choices and about buying better homes. These questions aren't asked as 'green'. They are just folks wanting a better home, lower maintenance cost, more efficient homes, safer materials for their children and a sense that their personal choices make a difference in the global picture. Are green homes better? A lot of folks believe so. It all depends on the conscious choices that are made and if they align with your personal goals.
 
I also have a personal interest. I have a family myself and also want to make the best choices for us regarding our home, community and contribution.
 
My question to you is this. Are you a 'green' client? Contact me and let me know what you are looking for either in a home or in specific information and I will be happy to find out and share it.
 
Cheers.
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It is August, but the winds and rain of yesterday reminded me to do some some annual maintenance that is sure to have an impact.
 
Every year it is a great idea to have a look at the weather stripping and caulking around doors and windows to make sure it is in good condition and doing its job. Poor weather stripping and deteriorating caulking can have a major effect on your heating/cooling costs. As heating accounts for an average of 60% of the energy used in your home in Calgary, I'd say any improvement is worth the effort. Sealing leaks also has the added benefit of reducing noise and dust from entering your house.
 
The Government of Canada's Office for Energy Efficiency has some great resources for finding leakage areas and fixing them.
 
 
 
 
 
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This week's issue of Home to Home Calgary included a great feature article titled "Your Blueprint to a Greener Home'.  If you haven't seen it pick up a copy of Home to Home in most any grocery store or real estate office. An online version of the article is also available.
 
The interest in greener homes seems to be increasing though I am still left wondering what how most folks define a 'green home'. Is it energy efficiency, materials, method of building and what do they use to evaluate how green a home really is? Are folks open to innovative construction methods and do they see some of these technologies as a benefit or a risk? Are you interested in building or purchasing a Green Home?
 
The article focuses on much of the done by Built Green Canada and the Built Green Checklist.
 
You may also be interested in checking out the EnerGuide Rating System for homes which shows the standard measure of a home's energy performance.
 
Cheers.
 
 
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