One aspect of home building and renovations that is continuously gaining traction is energy efficiency.
“This is an evolving industry,” says Barry Walker, Community Outreach Coordinator at Efficiency Nova Scotia. “Actually right now, energy efficiency has a growth rate far exceeding any industry in the country, certainly here in Nova Scotia.”Walker adds that, approximately 1,200 people are employed through the programs and services affiliated with Efficiency Nova Scotia.
Efficiency Nova Scotia experts will be on hand in full force at the Real Home Show to answer an array of questions, from making your new home as energy efficient as possible to reducing your existing heating bill, whether you rent or own.
One of Energy Efficiency’s flagship programs is the Home Energy Assessment. “From the energy assessment, the homeowner gets a very detailed report which prioritizes areas for improvement,”Walker says. Using this, homeowners can apply for rebates – up to $3,000 for electrically-heated homes and up to $1,500 for non-electrically heated homes. An interest free financing program for major renovations is also available.
Those building a new home can have their building plans evaluated by one of Efficiency Nova Scotia’s Certified Energy Advisors – this must be done within 30 days of receiving their building permit – to find out how to increase the energy efficiency of their design and to be eligible for rebates.
And saving money isn’t the only benefit of energy-efficient homes. At the Real Home Show, you can talk to many professionals who can elaborate on the additional benefits, such as health and comfort.
Jamie Muirhead, owner of MJM Energy, is no stranger to providing solutions to homeowners with their variety of energy-efficient products and services.
“Quite often people will come to us because there is a problem, like being cold and uncomfortable, or dealing with cleaning surface mold, or reoccurring musty smells,” shares Muirhead. “When we address the root of the problem, the feedback we get is always positive, with many homeowners saying that they have never felt so warm and comfortable in their homes.”
MJM Energy is the only Insulation Contractors Association of America (ICAA)-certified company in Canada, and Muirhead says there are now a lot of foam and coating products that can improve a home’s performance. “If everybody took the same effort in choosing a proper insulation package as they did their colour, or granite countertops or flooring, we would have exceptionally healthy housing stock that is energy efficient,” he says.
Muirhead encourages all those, whether they are building a new home or wanting to address a problem in their current home, to come visit their booth at the Real Home Show.
“Energy efficiency is an investment that will pay for itself as long as you own the house, and I challenge any other feature in the home to be able to provide that same kind of return,” he says. “It’s a win-win-win: the house will be more comfortable, it will have better indoor air quality and it’s going to cost less to operate.”
What you’ll find at the Show
There will be great information on your energy efficiency needs at the Real Home Show – insulation tips, upgrade suggestions, heating recommendations and the professionals who can answer your questions.
In the Nova Scotia Home Builders’ Association booth you will be able to see a computerized comparison of 10 homes, all ranging in size and style from a starter home to large custom home. These models show the performance at building code requirement stage and what certain upgrades can mean to the overall energy efficiency of the home. Included in this will be a mortgage calculator so you can see what the upgrades will mean in terms of value and the impact the costs will have on your mortgage.
Drop in to the booth, bring your questions and find out how you can make your new home as energy efficient as possible.