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Save money on your heating bills — and get paid doing it

By MELANIE VOLLICK

Currently, our homes use too much energy, and as residents, we are responsible for a portion of the greenhouse gas emissions that lead to climate change.

The prevalent untapped source of energy in this country is the energy that we waste. We need to tap into this vast resource and become more energy efficient and, at the same time, make our homes more comfortable.

By plugging those energy leaks, emitting fewer emissions and keeping more money in Canadians’ pockets, we are achieving a meaningful goal that can be done in a very practical way.

Take advantage of this opportunity and save in the future with lower energy bills. Plan to save up to $700 a year in energy savings with a retrofited home.

The government will give you up to $10,000 in federal grants and Ontario rebates for your home improvements.

eco-ENERGY is an initiative of the federal government to help to reduce emissions and conserve energy.

“This program is designed to stimulate the economy by creating employment for private sector, delivering agents and encouraging homeowners to improve their homes either themselves or with the help of professionals,” said Michele Rich from the Environment Network in Collingwood. Obama even suggests the need to “innovate and create a more sustainable path,” and wants to “retrofit homes that need to be energy efficient,” and by reduced energy consumption through programs such as eco-ENERGY, you can benefit not only consumers and utilities, but society as well.

To help you save money and, make your home more comfortable and improve the environment, begin upgrades that will improve your home’s energy efficiency.

Effective March 30, 2009, the government is now offering 25 per cent more money back in rebates. Already in the Simcoe County region, the government has rebated more than $120,000 in grants.

If your home is more than 10 years old, chances are very good that it is losing a lot of energy and, as a result, you are losing money.

Hidden cracks and improper insulation in your home can amount to as much heat loss as having a window open all year round.

One of the best and easiest ways for consumers to save on their energy bills is to make sure that their home is properly insulated.

In Simcoe County, more than 2,000 residential energy evaluations have been performed, reducing carbon dioxide emissions, and lowering homeowners’ energy bills.

It is estimated, according to Natural Resources Canada, that improvements of one house can reduce yearly carbon dioxide emissions by about 2.89 tonnes.

Other ways you can reduce your consumption of energy and save big money is to look for ENERGY STAR® products when making your purchases for your improvements. Products with this symbol are the best in their class for energy efficiency.

Have shorter showers and turn out the lights when not in use. Teach your children to ‘turn off’ as well.

And, put on a sweater, keep the heat down, prepare dinners at home by hand, and enjoy a cold meal once a week.

These are just a few tips. Be smart and you will save money while conserving.

Since all energy consumption leads to some kind of environmental impact, you can help to reduce your contribution to the problem by simply plugging those leaks.

For more information on energy conservation or to book an audit, please, feel free to call the Environment Network at 446-0551, or visit our website at www.environmentnetwork.org.

About the author

Melanie Vollick

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