Insulation – How to save the most money for the least cost

Last week I met with Mike Proud of the PEI Office for Energy Efficiency to get the facts behind the idea that it is not the toys (my purchases of wood stoves, pellet stoves, solar etc) that really save you money but stopping the leaks and insulating your home. This is what I found out – I feel such a fool for not starting here.

The Big Picture – Assume an average house on PEI – 1,200 square feet – If you insulate your basement and your attic and block the main leaks you can save up 40% of your oil bill. The average oil consumption on PEI is 3,500 litres. So about $1,200 at current prices. That is a lot of money for anybody.

The details – Your basement and your attic are the key areas. Mike Advises R50 in the attic for older houses and R60-80 for new houses. I discovered that I might have R12 at best. In October I am adding the rest that I should have had all along. I will post the details with pictures and commentary when the work is done.

Here is our basement under the Granny Flat. Robin did all of this herself with the aid of a neighbour’s son. I can’t recall where I was then! Styrofoam on the wall and fibreglas in the edge. It took her less than a day.

Air Leaks – An important part of the situation. 30% of the loss of heat in your house. Our electrical wall sockets are an important area of loss. We are using the child proofing plugs right now but are thinking of going further and removing the plugs and insulating behind them. We also have new windows but this is a huge expense. You can use plastic film. Our doors also did not fit as snugly as they should and we also use insulating door tape that sticks onto the jam.

The PEI Government can help you:

Beginning August 1, four new or amended programs for existing homes will be available through the Office of Energy Efficiency. The programs are budgeted at $1 million, with money coming from the Trust Fund for Clean Air and Climate Change. An energy audit will be required to be eligible for all of the programs. The new programs include:

Low Income Loan Relief – Low income clients who wish to take advantage of the Prince Edward Island Energy Efficiency Loans Program, will now be eligible for up to 50 per cent loan relief. Up to $15,000 in income – 50 per cent of loan will be written off; between $15,000 and $30,000 in income – 25 per cent of loan will be written off. The program provides loans for home improvement measures recommended in an ecoEnergy Energy Efficiency Evaluation Report.

Renewable Heating – Renewable heating systems (wood, wood-pellet, solar, etc.) will be eligible under the Prince Edward Island Energy Efficiency Loan Program, to a maximum of $10,000, as long as the client makes efficiency improvements to the home as well.

High-Efficiency Oil-fired Heating Systems – An additional subsidy of $300 will be available for Energy Star Certified oil fired heating systems installed in combination with an indirect water heater or an outdoor temperature reset control. This will be supplemented by an additional $1,200 already available in other incentives and grants.

A successful program from last year will be returning:

Home Energy Low-income Program (HELP) – Reinstatement of this program will provide low-income homeowners with free assistance in completing comprehensive air-sealing, installation of energy saving devices and free furnace cleaning. Homeowners who have previously utilized this program will be eligible for the enhanced HELP program. The 2008-09 program is particularly focused on controlling air leakages – the major cause of home energy loss.

These programs are in addition to the Prince Edward Island EcoEnergy Audit Assistance Program and the Prince Edward Island Energy Efficiency Loan and Grant Program that were announced in March of this year. Under these programs the province pays half the cost of a home energy audit for households earning more than $30,000 and the full cost of audits for households earning less than $30,000.

Information on these programs is available on the Office of Energy Efficiency web page at

Mike tells me that it is easier to call him and his office at 902 620-3690 or 1-877-734-6336

Here is a great check list if you want to get a handle on what your opportunity to save will be: The pdf is here: air-leakage-checklist-aug-26-2008-1

If you want to do this work your self, Here are some good tips on how to do the work from the Federal Government

Here is the Kit that you can get from the PEI Government:


One response to “Insulation – How to save the most money for the least cost

  1. The easiest and least expensive side of the energy supply / demand equation, especially for the individual home owner who cannot control the world markets for the price of oil or natural gas or electricity IMO is the demand side; reduce the energy consumed.

    We had an energy audit performed on our home last fall as part of our participation in the ecoENERGY Retrofit program and were thankful we did. We learned much about home energy conservation in general. We received energy conservation recommendations specific to our home, their relative costs and energy reduction impacts, charts, graphs, and so on.

    We have posted all of these on our home web site to others can see what is actually contained in a home energy audit report on our ECOENERGY page if anyone is interested.

    After all the window caulking, programmable thermometer, exterior solar shades on the south windows, ENERGY STAR windows installation, and so on, we are even considering solar water heating as well as solar air heating devices for this fall. There is so much out there to learn on energy conservation.

    As well, we are up to 80 different home energy conservation tips from various sources, including the home energy audit report we received, which we have put our on the Energy Conservation page of our home web site to share with everyone.

    The time has come for the individual home owner to do their part to reduce their energy consumption, without adjusting their life style. It all starts IMO with a home energy audit.


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