This homeowner wanted to do the right thing by making his home energy efficient (he went through an energy audit with Efficiency NB), and then installed renewable energy to lower his use of electricity from NB Power. After going through the energy efficiency upgrades, such as better insulating his basement, providing new windows, and sealing up cracks, they achieved an Energuide rating of 76. A wood stove insert was then added to their fireplace, which is far more efficient a source of heat, and uses 2 cord of wood per year. Their oil boiler is also a high efficiency (86%) Kerr Saturn system.
They also decided to have solar energy help offset their oil and electricity use. They have a solar hot air unit (Solarsheat) installed to offset space heating needs. The unit draws cool air from the basement and heats it, circulating it with a built in PV powered fan into the upstairs living space.
A solar hot water system was also installed, to preheat the domestic hot water, with an electric element back up, in case the sun doesn’t produce enough heat. Rather than the electric element coming on automatically, it is connected to a timer, so that before a shower is needed, for instance, the element can come on for 5-30 minutes to ensure there is enough hot water for their needs. This helps conserve energy by not heating water when it isn’t needed. The panels are adjusted at the equinoxes to increase their efficiency.
They are very happy with their choice to have an energy efficient home that uses renewable energy, and have a low monthly electricity bill as a result.
Since our initial meeting, the oil furnace was removed 6 years ago and was replaced with an electric boiler that is almost never used. To avoid pipes from freezing in the hydronic heat circulating system, the owners replaced the water with glycol. In 2016, the owners installed a Fujitsu Halcyon mini split heat pump that warms the downstairs during the winter. They have also added a Bosch clothes dryer that condenses and drains the water, and does not vent to the outside.
The solar hot water heating appliance is now 11 years old, and has not needed any maintenance! The air heater (Solarsheat) is the same age and works the same as it did on Day 1.
Their house is quite similar to many bungalows in Fredericton, and it demonstrates what progress can be made through retrofits.