Beating Old Man Winter

People who read my blog regularly may recall an earlier article (Kyoto to Doha to Innisfil – My Environmental Challenge) that discussed my effort to reduce my household use of natural gas for heating by adding insulation and improving the heating system. I’ve been tracking the use of fuel and other factors for the past 6 months and can reveal the results:

  • The total cubic metres of gas used was 10% more than for the same period last year but 2% less than a four year average
  • The past winter was 55% colder than 2011/12 as measured in heating degree days (HDD)
  • The gas-related charges of my fuel bill were about 7% less than the same period last year

That may not seem like much of a saving but we have to keep in mind that gas prices have been at historic lows. Last year the average price was about 8.5¢/cuM. The price is on its way up, now at 10.7¢ per cuM. Back in 2008, the price of natural gas peaked at just over 38¢ per cuM.

It looks like an investment in insulation is an effective way to save money, avoid price shocks, and limit environmental impact. Over in York Region, Windfall Ecology Centre has announced cash incentives of up to $2,000 under the Enbridge Community Energy Conservation Program for homeowners who install at least two energy saving measures and reduce fuel use by at least 25%. But it looks like homeowners outside York Region are out of luck on that one. [update] Enbridge customers in Simcoe County may qualify for an incentive based on income. Here in Innisfil, Statistics Canada figures (census 2006) showed that about half of all housing was constructed before 1986 and 6% of dwellings were “in need of major repair”. An appropriate candidate for conservation incentives, I’d say.

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