January 16, 2013
Silvana Longo chats with co-owner of Nostco Construction Peter Khatami and finds out the checkpoints for a healthy home and the green measures you should be taking for your next renovation.
Q You had a busy holiday season — first prepping for it and then enjoying some much needed holiday cheer time with loved ones — which means you never got around to weatherproofing your home for the winter. Is it too late to be proactive? What can we do at this stage to keep the cold outside and more money in your wallet than on your energy bill? When is it time to replace the furnace? What are the signs to do it this winter and not next?
A The weatherproofing in your home should be seen as a complete system, made up of passive individual components typically starting from the outermost exterior cladding (brick, stucco, etc.), then housewrap, sheathing, insulation and vapour barrier. The absence or breakdown of any of these components will in some way compromise the weatherproofing system. The Ontario Building Code determines the minimum necessary requirements in terms of materials and installation methods for the weatherproofing in your home. Unfortunately, upgrading the passive components of the weatherproofing are typically quite expensive if not installed properly at first. However, if the weatherproofing is okay but the furnace is the culprit, know that the average furnace lasts approximately two decades. So if your furnace dates back to the very late ‘80s or early ‘90s, you should anticipate replacing the furnace soon. Depending on the time of year, there will be numerous incentives and rebates available through the government and energy companies for replacing a furnace. You will typically require an energy audit ($300-$400), which is partially offset by a government rebate of $150. So if the furnace is around 20 years old, and you are able to take advantage of the available rebates (typically $750 – $1,500+), I would get it done now.
Q New year, new renovation projects to tackle. That new year’s resolution couldn’t ring more true than for Canadians who choose to renovate more as an investment in lifestyle than just for reasons of property resale. A recent market research study conducted by Houzz, the world’s largest database of home renovation and decorating ideas, portrays Canada as “a renovation-nation” revealing that more than 72 per cent of Canadian homeowners plan to remodel or redecorate their homes in the next two years. With the majority of Canadians planning some sort of renovation, it is an opportunity to incorporate energy-efficient green technologies in their projects. Could you tell us about the latest green initiatives and why you would recommend them for upcoming renovations this year?
A One of the best steps you can take before planning your renovation is to get a home energy assessment from an independent certified home evaluator. Your energy assessment will identify how your home uses energy, where it is being wasted, and how to improve the comfort of your home, and cut heating and cooling costs. Typical green initiatives include replacing or upgrading the heating system with high-efficiency equipment – look for Energy Star-certified products, adding insulation where/when possible and installing new energy-efficient high performance windows. Visit www.Renomark.ca and look under the “EcoReno” tab for a great resource of eco-friendly renovation options.
Peter is co-owner of Nostco Construction, a design/build, project management and contracting firm serving residential and commercial clients throughout the GTA. With more than 10 years of industry experience, Peter prides himself in working tirelessly on behalf of his clients to transform vision to successful reality on every project. nostco.com
Filed under: FROM THE EXPERTS