Thanks to a heads-up last month by nobodyhere
, this morning we got our house re-assessed by the local energy-audit services. This is the twilight days of the federal grant which reimburses homeowners for energy upgrades, and we squeaked in for a small (but worthwhile) cash savings.
Surprises: our old score (from the first assessment, four years ago) went down, due to a few evaluation criteria changes in the intervening four years. The old score went from 49 to 45, which worked to our advantage in terms of the grant: a tidy $378.00. That's actually more than I expected, because all we've done in the interim is insulating. In the balance, I guess I'm not surprised by our new EnerGuide score, which is... 50.
Oh, and according to them, our retrofits are estimated to reduce our energy needs by 13%, and reduce CO2 emissions by 1.5 tonnes per year. Go, us.
He recommended wall insulation in the basement (which continues to look prohibitively expensive, but he claims could save us 25-50% of our energy needs), caulking around the basement headers to reduce air leakage (which I suppose I could do myself, if slowly), a better seal on the attic-access door in our bedroom, outlet covers (the childproof kind) throughout the house to reduce air leaks, and lastly, replacing windows, as a lower priority item. I sort of take issue with their low priority for windows: their claim is that you don't see so much of an improvement replacing them; they will continue to radiate a fair bit of heat. He joked that they could rename their program "The don't bother replacing windows program." But in our case, I think we are leaking a lot of air around the windows, which are metal and slide horizontally. We can't add storms, we can't even easily put up the shrink-wrap stuff, due to the window design.
Still, their list of recommendations is shorter than it was the last time, since we've done all of the weatherstripping and insulating they recommended for the main and 2nd floor. And the house is warmer and less drafty than it was beforehand.
At the end I chatted with the assessor about their work. They've been around longer than the federal grant program, and they don't see their amount of work going down too much after the program ends. There will be a new grant program from the Conservatives, which should start up soon. From the looks of it, the new program will cost the consumer more at the outset, and get them a bigger grant afterward, so it's a shell-game that hurts people who can't lay out $300 upfront. Why is this a good idea? Only in that it improves the odds that people will sign up for the reassessments, I suppose.
...Now for this morning's second bit of fun, I'm waiting for Urban Wildlife to show up and (ideally) install a temporary Skunk Exclusion Barrier.