The Lesperance Family
Snapshot of Energy Saving Actions
Installed a Solar Hot Water System
Installed a Ductless Split Heat Pump
Upgraded from R12 to R50 insulation
Replaced an outside wood door with insulated metal
Upgraded 13 metal framed to vinyl windows
Installed two low-flush toilets
Changed 80% of lights to energy saver compact fluorescent bulbs
Installed a low flow shower head & kitchen and sink aerators
Joined Team Power Smart
Free Energy and Water Savings Kits
Received a Solar Colwood personal consultation
$50 off a Home Energy Assessment
Solar Hot Water Incentives
Ductless Split Heat Pump Incentives
What do these energy champions say about the program?
1. What would you say are your main reasons for completing home upgrades?
I wanted to bring everything up to the 2000s. It wasn’t up to date – aluminum windows sweating - you can see it on the wood. They’ve been driving the wife crazy. And then, I’ve been looking at my hydro bill, seeing the costs get higher. The only comment I have is that people do all this stuff and Hydro raises the rates so we’re back to paying the same amount again! But, I’m now a bit protected from that. Now, if I had an electric car, I would probably benefit even more.
2. Are you noticing a difference in your home from the changes you’ve made?
Oh yeah, most of the time I don’t have any heat on. My baseboard breakers are now off completely. The only heat I have on in the house is the heat pump and at bedtime, I turn the heat down to 62 or off using the remote control. It’s very easy, you just push a button. Plus, in the summertime, I used the [ductless split heat pump] air conditioner – it was very good.
3. Do you have a sense of how much energy or money you are saving?
We’re saving in excess of 40% since last year. Looking at my Jan Hydro bill, the wife was on equal billing at $230 every month deducted. In Nov, now, the last two bills were $80 and $138 respectively for two months, off equal billing. This year I paid only $138 for Sept and October, compared to $458 for the same time last year.
2011 Sept/ Oct Bills:
$229 for 732 kWh at step one rates; 1430 kWh at step two rates (Sept)
$229 for 644 kWh at step one rates; 800 at step two rates (Oct)
$458 for 1376 kWH at step one rates; 2230 kWh at step two rates
2012 Sept/ Oct Bill:
$138 for 1376 kWh at step one rates; 222 kWh at step two rates
It was the grants that got me to do it. I got almost half what I paid in rebates. [Solar Colwood, ecoENERGY and LiveSmart BC] I spent $16,000 and got back ½.
Total cost - $15,677 - $8,910 in rebates = a payment of $6,767.
That was the cost of the first home energy assessment, solar hot water system, ductless split heat pump, airsealing, and the follow up energy assessment completed in 2012. I completed the windows and several other upgrades the following year.
4. How did you first get involved with Solar Colwood?
It was probably something I read in the paper and then I went to the website and got J.’s phone number and she explained everything to me at her home/ showroom. I got the federal [grant registration] number and had the [home energy assessment] inspection because I was told not to do anything until the assessment had been done. The most important thing to me right away was getting a heat pump.
5. What advice would you have for others choosing to install ductless heat pumps?
Get the people who did mine. Both contractors I chose [Precision Refrigeration and Pacific Solar Smart Homes]. were excellent, very very good service. They were very efficient. They put the heat pump at the opposite side of my home and so they had to run cables through my attic to the power panel and breakers on the other side. Then, they did the insulation after. As soon they put in the insulation, the wife and I could tell right away.
6. What advice would you have for others choosing to install a solar hot water system?
I received an extra deduction for being a part of the native employees teaching program, trained by Pacific Solar Smart Homes. The Solar Colwood deductions came off right at the source. That was good.
Solar is a funny thing. I don’t have as much control as to how I save there other than the fact that I know, especially in the summertime, that I have lots of hot water and it gets up to 140 and the hot water tank for your dishwasher is around 130. Your hot water tank doesn’t work as much.
There’s quite a fluctuation between day and night and I thought it would hold temperatures a bit better. But, I can’t really tell how it is affecting my tank because my electric tank is still on. Still, I’ve got lots of hot water now! This summer, I put out an 8 foot swimming pool for my grand-kids and ran hot water through an 30 foot line for about 5min and it didn’t seem to affect us in the house.
7. What have your friends or neighbors had to say about your process?
Not really anything other than aesthetically, they are impressed with the outside ductless unit and how quiet it is. I have it mounted on the house, not on the ground. That way it doesn’t get in the way of cutting the lawn and such. Well mounted, no vibrations, very quiet. It is also out of the weather, protected by a 2 foot overhang. It matches the new almond color windows which we upgraded from chocolate brown, brightening the house up.
8. Which contractors did you choose to work with on your upgrades?
Certified Energy Advisor: Doug Green, Advanced Home Energy, (affiliated with Building Insights)
Ductless Split Heat Pump Installer – Precision Refrigeration
Solar Hot Water System Installer – Pacific Solar Smart Homes