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A lesson learned in Japan results in reduced energy bills in B.C.
Mark Timmer’s wife, Tina, is of Japanese descent, but until a couple of years ago, their four children had only experienced life in Canada. To make sure they got to know their Japanese heritage, the Timmers sold their house in Victoria in 2009, Timmer took a self-funded year away from his job, and the whole family moved into a rented house in Yokohama.
That year proved to be educational in more ways than Timmer expected.
“Our monthly electricity bills were huge in Japan,” he says, “nor were they low in our old house in Canada. When we returned in 2010, we knew we needed to re-evaluate our priorities. We rented for a year while we looked for a house to buy. Location was important, and size – we have four kids! – but just as important, we wanted energy efficiency.”
What Timmer eventually found was a 2,700-square-foot bungalow from 1958, walking distance to great schools and shopping. But he was going to have to do a lot of work to make it energy-efficient.
“The incentives available through the LiveSmart BC program were a really important consideration in deciding to do the work,” says Timmer.
A partnership between BC Hydro Power Smart, FortisBC and the Province of British Columbia, LiveSmart BC offers valuable rebates to help make homes more energy-efficient.
“We knew we didn’t want to have to worry about shocking energy bills in the future, but we still had a budget we needed to keep to in bringing the home up to a really efficient standard. The rebates definitely helped,” says Timmer.
In all, Timmer received $1,050 from LiveSmart BC for completing a range of energy-efficiency upgrades to his home, including extensive air sealing around windows, doors and electrical outlets and improvements to attic and roof insulation.
An assessment of Timmer’s home before he did the upgrades gave him an EnerGuide 69 rating; that rose to EnerGuide 81 after the work was complete. EnerGuide was established by Natural Resources Canada; any rating over 80 means that a home is extremely energy-efficient and will use up to 30 per cent less energy on heating and electricity than an average home.
“Our monthly energy bill is now just $101 a month,” boasts Timmer. “It took work, but the house is really comfortable now. I also think that, in future, the EnerGuide 81 rating will help us sell the house more quickly.”
To find out more about the LiveSmart BC program, visit bchydro.com/livesmartbc.
Submitted by BC Hydro