For the warmer months, cool down with these tips and perhaps you can put some of that extra cash you save towards a summer vacation. Take a look at our previous blog on how to make improvements in your home to save heat and money. 

Install a Programmable Thermostat
Set it at a lower temperature at night and during the day when you're away. This can be done automatically without sacrificing comfort through the easy installation of a programmable thermostat or an automatic setback. With the former, you can turn on heating or air-conditioning based on a pre-determined schedule. Programmable thermostats are a great way to save on your energy bills as heating and cooling account for about 42% of energy costs. A majority of these costs come from heating and cooling empty or unused spaces. Each degree below 20° saves you 3-5% on heating costs. 

Replace Your Furnace Filter
By replacing your furnace filter, you will optimize performance since clogged filters reduce airflow which in turn causes the furnace to work harder. Most people don't give much thought to furnaces so long as it does its intended purpose. However, for it to perform optimally and prevent possible malfunctions, furnace filters need to be cleaned or changed on a regular basis.

Use Curtains
Windows can be one of your home's most attractive features. Windows provide views, daylighting, ventilation, and heat from the sun in the winter. Unfortunately, they can also account for 10% to 25% of your heating bill by letting heat out. During the warmer months, your air conditioner has to work overtime to cool down hot air from sunny windows. By installing ENERGY STAR®-qualified windows and using curtains and shade, you will be able to hit two birds with one stone by giving both your air conditioner and energy a bit of a break!

Being green saves you green. Stay tuned for additional energy and money saving tips as we will be posting home renovation blogs over the next few months!

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Amendments to the BC Building Code have been introduced and effective as of December 19, 2014. The amendments include an additional section entitled 9.36 Energy Efficiency which are new requirements for houses and small buildings. This section is concerned with the energy used by buildings and outlines new requirements for insulation, ventilation and radon mitigation rough-in. The update sets out mandates for increased energy-efficiency standards for home construction and should result in further efficiency in how new homes are built. The building construction regulation is a provincial responsibility and thus, other provinces are at different stages of adoption.

A house with green features feeds the need to be environmentally sustainable while positively impacting the construction and quality of the dwelling. There are many reasons as to why being energy-efficient can help you cut costs and we've listed out some tips here: Home Renovations: Heating Edition.

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One might ask, how is it possible to save money by making home renovations? Follow along and we'll show you how. 

Home Upgrade Rebates Through BC Hydro and FortisBC
There are a variety of incentives and rebate programs available for homeowners who would like to make energy efficient upgrades to their home. The home energy rebate top up contest gives homeowners a chance to win $2,500 towards your upgrades (or a $500 secondary prize). The clock is ticking as the December 12th application deadline is quickly approaching. For additional information on the contest and other available rebates, check out the Home Energy Rebate Top Up Contest.

High-Efficiency Heating System
Opt for systems with the energy-efficient stamp of approval by looking for the ENERGY STAR label. These products help you save energy (and money, in the long-run) while being environmentally responsible. An ENERGY STAR qualified heating system will help you significantly reduce your monthly utility costs. 

Insulation & Weather Stripping
Insulating your home will help keep your heating and cooling systems using the least energy possible. The installation process is typically more important than the material used. One of the most cost-effective ways to keep your home well insulated is to insulate your attic.

Quick Fix Tip: Insulator film is an inexpensive option for temporary use in the winter months. This thin, clear plastic film can be applied to windows as a way to reduce heat transfer. 

Weatherstripping is highly useful for blocking air leaks around doors and windows. They are rubber-esque strips that are designed to work under compression so it is recommended to search for products that are flexible and spring back to their original shape quickly. 

Pipe Insulation
Insulating your pipes and electric hot water tank will minimize heat loss and is a simple way to save energy (and money). Insulating your hot water pipes will help reduce heat loss, as well.

Stay tuned for more money saving tips in our next edition of Home Renovations.

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We've outlined "green" location decisions in our previous blog which can be viewed here: Ways to Save $$$ with Location Decisions

Once you have chosen a location and narrowed down your housing choices to *the* one, you have to think about financing options. Lucky for you, most financial institutions offer "green" mortgages. Making eco-friendly decisions will save the environment and some money while you're at it.

[1] Bank of Montreal Eco Smart Mortgage

This is a five-year fixed closed mortgage that rewards you for planning to purchase or already owning a home with energy efficient features. Members are qualified for a great rate when they apply under a BMO representative. This mortgage features prepayment options that will allow you to pay down your mortgage faster and reduce your interest costs. Have peace of mind in knowing that your mortgage rate will not rise during the term.

For additional information, check out the BMO Eco Smart Mortgage.

[2] RBC Energy Saver Mortgage

If eligible, you could receive a $300 rebate on a home energy audit. What exactly is a home energy audit? It is a report assessing your home's major heating and cooling systems. A licensed professional will be able to make recommendations as to how you can improve your home's energy efficiency and lower your energy costs.

For more details on energy and money saving tips, visit RBC's Energy Saver Mortgage.

[3] Vancity's Bright Ideas Home Renovations

Making energy-efficient renovations has its advantages, both economically and environmentally. With these renovations, you can increase your home's re-sale value by having an energy efficiency rating which informs buyers that your home is more energy efficient. You will also be able to improve the efficiency of your home in the short and long-term. These renovations translate into cost-savings by offering you a personal loan at prime + 1% rate for up to ten years. Mortgage rates are low and the payment options are flexible! 

More details can be found here: Vancity's Bright Ideas Home Renovations

[4] Pay-as-you-Save (PAYS) Financing Model

Innovative programs are being launched to help home owners and businesses leverage home renovations for energy efficient improvements. This financing model spreads out the cost of the renovations over a substantial period of time in which the energy savings from said renovations will help pay for the financial loan through BC Hydro or FortisBC. 

Further details can be found here: PAYS Financing Model

Contact us today if you have any questions and we'll be more than happy to assist you in any way possible. E-mail us at or give us a ring at 604-801-6654.

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