Energy Efficiency

Energy efficiency means living our lives the way we are used to, only using less electricity or natural gas to do so.

Energy efficiency contributes to:

  1. Comfort: your buildings stay warm in the winter, cool in the summer, and free of cold spots and drafts.
  2. Health and safety: good air circulation helps prevent humidity and condensation from building up. Excess humidity and condensation can cause mould, which can trigger a variety of health issues.
  3. Environmental stewardship: using less energy helps improve air quality and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, which contribute to climate change. Energy efficiency supports The City's Environmental Master Plan, which includes targets to reduce community energy use and greenhouse gas emissions, and improve air quality.

Click below to learn about our programs and ways to be EnergyWise.

EnergyWise for Residents

The EnergyWise Guidebook for Residents (pdf) has all the information you need on simple ways to reduce energy use in your home.

All About Home Energy Efficiency

How energy is used in an average Canadian homeHow much energy your home uses depends on the size, type, age of your home, and how many people live in your home. According to Natural Resources Canada, 62 per cent of the energy used in the average home is used to heat the space.

 

 

What makes a home energy efficient?

  • Better building envelope: airtight construction, air sealing, better insulation
  • High performing equipment, windows, lighting and appliances

 

View larger image (pdf)

Energy and Water Conservation Toolkit

If energy efficiency is new to you, a good starting point is to find out how much electricity your appliances and devices use and which areas of your home might be wasting energy. Borrow the Energy & Water Conservation Toolkit for free today! Available at Red Deer Public Library courtesy of The City of Red Deer's Utilities department. Click here for more information.

Heat Losses and Air Leaks

Before making improvements to your home, you may want to get a better idea of how much heat your home might be losing and where air leaks may be coming from. There are several ways to do this:

1. MyHeat.ca - MyHeat is a webpage that lets you see the amount and location of heat escaping from your home. Visit MyHeat.ca, select Red Deer from the dropdown list, and search for your home. Note that not all homes are included.

2. Borrow a thermal camera - a thermal imaging camera is available for free from the Red Deer Public Library. These cameras use infrared technology to take pictures of your home and how where the heat and air are escaping so you can see which areas can be improved. .

3. Sound and touch inspection - large air leaks can be detected by listening for whistling noises on windy days, or where you can feel air escaping. For example, on a cold day, touch different parts of your windows and doors to find where air may be leaking.

4. Visual inspection - check the following areas for cracks and gaps:

  • Electric outlets
  • Door and window frames
  • Baseboards
  • Vents and fans (including behind furniture and appliances)
  • Around pipes and wires

5. Incense smoke test (appropriate if you live in a house; if renting, you must have permission from your landlord) - close your doors and windows, turn off your furnace and water heater, and turn on your bathroom fans. Move an incense stick or candle around windows, doors, light switches, electrical outlets, and pot lights. If the smoke moves away from these objects, there may be an air leak. Watch how it’s done here.

How to be EnergyWise

Ready to take action? Improving the efficiency of your home doesn’t have to be complicated or costly. To get started on saving energy, read our ten tips below:

  1. Turn down the temperature. Space heating makes up over 60% of total energy use in your home. Think about your daily routine and how you can adjust the temperature at certain times of the day. For example, turn down your thermostat by a couple degrees before you leave your home or before you go to bed.
  2. Close the doors. Keep the doors closed to rooms you are not using to help keep the rest of your home warmer.
  3. Weatherstrip your windows and doors to reduce air leaks. Not sure how? Check out the EnergyWise Guidebook for Residents (pdf) .
  4. Close the blinds. In the summer, keep your home cooler by closing the blinds on the east side in the mornings, on the south side all day, and on the west side in the evenings. Closing your blinds can block up to 65% of the heat. In the evenings, open windows to allow air to flow through.
  5. Open the blinds. In the winter, open your blinds during the day to allow the heat from the sun to warm your home. Close your blinds in the evening.
  6. Save water to save energy. When you reduce how much hot water you use, you’re using less energy. Try reducing your shower times to cut down on your water use.
  7. Hang dry laundry. Your dryer uses the most energy of all appliances in your home. Try hang drying your laundry instead of using the dryer. If using a dryer, use dryer balls, which help separate your clothes and get more separation in them to reduce drying time.
  8. Wash laundry in cold water and use cold water detergent.
  9. Switch to LED. Not all lights perform the same. LED light bulbs are the most efficient bulbs on the market. They last 30 times longer than traditional incandescent bulbs while using less energy. Bonus - they don’t heat up and instead remain cool to the touch.
  10. Turn off the lights when you’re leaving the room, even for a short period of time.

EnergyWise for Organizations & Apartment Buildings

Do you work or volunteer for a local business or community organization? Click below to learn about lower cost actions to improve energy efficiency in your building, or check out EnergyWise for Organizations (pdf) .

More than 20 per cent of the homes in Red Deer are apartments. Click below to learn more about how to improve energy efficiency in apartment buildings, or see EnergyWise for Apartment Buildings (pdf) for step by step support.

Why should building owners and tenants improve energy efficiency?

There are economic, social and environmental benefits to having energy efficient buildings.

 Economic:

  1. Using less energy means spending less money on the variable costs of your energy utilities (i.e. natural gas, electricity).
  2. Buildings that use less energy are less vulnerable to energy cost increases.
  3. Buildings that demonstrate energy efficiency can be more attractive to buyers and tenants, who know that the building is likely to be less expensive to operate and more comfortable.
  4. Increased comfort could reduce the costs associated with resident/tenant complaints.

 Social:

  1. Many actions that improve energy efficiency make the building more comfortable, i.e. warm in the winter and cool in the summer.
  2. Energy efficient buildings tend to have better air quality, reduced drafts and have healthier temperature ranges, which contribute to reduced chronic disease and improved physical and mental well-being.
  3. Energy efficient buildings stay more comfortable and safe during a blackout or disaster.
  4. Owners of very efficient buildings can be acknowledged for their leadership, and energy efficiency can be a way to differentiate yourself from your peers.

 Environment:

  1. Reducing energy use also reduces greenhouse gas emissions. For municipalities such as Red Deer with high-carbon grids, reducing electricity use through energy efficiency is one of the best ways to reduce Greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.
  2. Using less energy derived from fossil fuels helps improve air quality.
  3. Energy efficiency supports The City of Red Deer’s Environmental Master Plan, which includes targets to reduce energy use and greenhouse gas emissions, and improve air quality.
Six steps to improving energy efficiency
  1. Commit to energy efficiency improvement
  2. Assess energy use
  3. Set goals
  4. Make a plan
  5. Implement plan
  6. Evaluate and recognize progress

Learn more about each of these steps in the EnergyWise Guidebook for Apartment Buildings (pdf) or EnergyWise Guidebook for Organizations (pdf) .

Common changes for apartment buildings

The changes that are most commonly recommended to make these buildings more energy efficient are:

  • Recommissioning. Ensure your current system is operating as efficiently as possible. This can include new lamps (bulbs), fixtures, and controls like occupancy sensors.
  • Lighting. This can include new lamps (bulbs), fixtures, and controls like occupancy sensors.
  • Electricity loads. Reduce the electricity used by building occupants and electronic equipment, including Energy Star refrigerators and automated washroom exhaust fans.
  • Heating controls. Only heat or cool when you need to by using building energy management systems and smart thermostats.
  • Air distribution systems. These systems bring air for heating or cooling to building occupants and affect both energy consumption and occupant comfort.
  • Heating and cooling system. Ensure the equipment is sized properly and the most energy efficient option.

These changes save energy and provide good return on investment. Find more detailed information and resources in the EnergyWise Guidebook for Apartment Buildings (pdf) .

EnergyWise for Organizations

There are many lower cost and highly effective energy efficiency upgrades to consider. Some commonly recommended actions include:

  • Determine baseline: Complete a Building Walk-Through Energy Assessment (pdf) to determine current status and areas for improvements
  • Lighting: Install LED bulbs, upgrade fluorescent light fixtures and install occupancy sensors
  • Heating controls: Install and set programmable thermostats to only heat or cool rooms when occupied
  • Water use: Install high efficiency water fixtures in all washrooms and kitchens
  • Building envelope: Replace worn weather-stripping, caulking and door sweeps to reduce drafts and improve occupant comfort

For additional details and actions to improve the energy efficiency of your building, look in the EnergyWise Guidebook for Organizations Guidebook (pdf)  and use the Building Walk-Through Energy Assessment (pdf) to guide you.