The Greens Go Green

One family’s journey to energy efficiency & renewables

The Greens have talked about going solar for some time, they knew this was the route they wanted to take. They were used to losing power all the time due to big storms. Once they had children, and one particular storm had left them without power overnight and the house went to almost below zero, they decided they needed an alternative heat source.

The owners’ home was equipped with a heat pump that helped to cool during warmer months, however it was not rated for winter time at temperatures below minus 15 Celsius. So they started their journey with a high efficiency fire place (RSF brand, installed by Sunpoke). With a split entry house, the fireplace provides heat for both floors. The fireplace burns wood, while minimizing its emissions.

Once the fireplace was installed, they noticed a drastic reduction in their power bill. So they started to look at their habits and where they were spending the most power. Without proper knowledge, it was a challenge at first. Then they started to look at how they could reduce their electricity usage. They bought a generator initially to help with the outages.

RSF Fireplace

The Greens knew they wanted to get solar, so they got 3 different quotes. The final quote, from MJM Solar, they were asked what their power bill was like. They worked together with MJM to figure out ways to reduce the overall power usage in order to meet the family’s energy needs. If they planned to their current energy use, they could not fit enough panels on their roof to support the load.

So the owners learned about battery packs, grid-tied systems, and then looked again at their current monthly bill. It still did not make sense to just put up solar panels. They needed to work on energy efficiency measures first.

The Greens decided to install a heat pump water heater for their house this past Fall. It works like the reverse of a refrigerator. After the installation, they noticed another significant drop in their monthly energy bill. Before they were using roughly 3000kWh/month, but this February saw usage as low as 800kWh/month!

Heat pump water heater

Along their journey, they replaced all of their lights with LED’s. They installed low-flow shower heads, reduced their water usage by filling their sinks to do dishes as an example, and turned heaters off at the breaker that were not being used. The Greens decided to make new habits each month, that are both affordable and achievable.

They are a family of 4 who realize they still have room for improvement. But it is possible to tackle one thing at a time each month, working towards larger sustainable investments. They continue to read articles, do research, and focus on their habits and changing their usage patterns. They have made a commitment as a family to live a greener lifestyle.