eMERGE Guelph

 

When we think of efficient homes we think of insulation and sealing, of construction and renovation. While owners at 36 Freshmeadow Way included efficiency in the design plans of an extension, they are a prime example of how behaviour and habit might be the cheapest and most effective place to start reducing your household impact!

The Maitland home doesn’t boast fancy new electronic equipment. In fact their thermostat isn’t even programmable. But they do keep a keen eye on energy and water use. Opting for slippers and sweaters in the winter, owners keep their house temperature setting slightly lower, during the day, dropping it at night and when away.

In summer laundry is hung out back. In winter, laundry is hung in the basement. Seldom is the clothes dryer used, eliminating the electricity associated with one of the biggest energy using appliances in a house!

These good habits extend to behaviours through the day. From showers, to washing dishes, to lighting, owners use what’s needed to keep happy and comfortable at home.

While behaviour has been a key component to household utility use, this 1993, two story home has seen a handful of modest changes to go along with a well-planned extension. While improving insulation in household walls can be an expensive yet satisfying retrofit, when considering beefing up the walls during a household extension, the marginal added cost is insignificant to the benefit received.

The 250 square foot extension was considered with care, and a contractor who knew their stuff (Braden Homes). The addition included beefed up insulation in the surrounding walls and the addition of insulation in attic spaces. Insulation was included under the foundation for a noticeable difference on the feet between the new and old construction. Of course serious attention was also given to air sealing.

While being efficient with energy was one focus from homeowners, these avid gardeners also take water conservation seriously, boasting low flow toilets, fixtures and featuring a sizable cistern collecting water which eventually feeds a generous veggie garden out back.

Sustainable features include:

  • Upgraded wall insulation
  • Upgraded attic insulation
  • Insulation under concrete slab of house extension
  • Heat reflecting window shades
  • Low flow water fixtures
  • Rainwater harvesting cistern