CIBC guide to home energy savings

There are so many things you can do around your house to save energy, reduce your utility bills and help our environment. Whether you’re starting with small improvements in your first home or looking to make a bigger impact on home energy savings, every action makes a difference.

We’ve gathered some options from Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC)1 for energy-efficient upgrades throughout your home as well as some easy changes you can make in your day-to-day life to help you get started.

Things you can do

  • Choose an ENERGY STAR® certified refrigerator and dishwasher to reduce your energy use
  • When shopping for a stove, use the EnerGuide labels to compare the energy use of the different models
  • Purchase an ENERGY STAR certified washer and dryer, or use the EnerGuide labels to compare energy consumption to choose the most efficient model
  • Install water-efficient faucet aerators and water-efficient showerheads to reduce both water and water heating costs

Things a contractor can help you with 

  • Install high-efficiency bathroom fans to reduce electricity costs with timer or automatic control
  • Install properly sized exhaust ducts for bathroom fans

ENERGY STAR versus EnerGuide: What’s the difference?

  • The ENERGY STAR label makes it easy for consumers to identify energy-efficient products without sacrificing performance, features and comfort
  • The EnerGuide label appears on all major appliances sold in Canada. It indicates a products annual energy use and how it compares to similar models

Did you know?

  • An ENERGY STAR certified dishwasher uses 12% less energy and 30% less water, on average, than a standard model2
  • An ENERGY STAR certified ventilating fan or exhaust fan with lighting uses 70% less energy, on average, than a standard model3

Lighting

Things you can do

  • Replace incandescent and halogen lighting with energy-efficient LED general and task lighting 
  • Install timers on outdoor lights or install lights with photocell or motion sensor controls

Things a contractor can help you with

  • Plan lighting, layout and controls to optimize the type and number of lighting fixtures required
  • Maximize use of natural light

Windows

Things you can do

  • Install interior window shades to reduce air conditioning costs
  • Seal windows you don’t plan to use with removable sealant
  • Add temporary heat shrink-wrap window films to deal with drafty windows

Things a contractor can help you with

  • Install energy-efficient windows with low E coatings, insulating spacers and argon gas
  • Install exterior window shades to reduce air conditioning costs

Did you know?

  • ENERGY STAR® certified light bulbs offer great savings compared to traditional incandescent light bulbs. They use up to 90% less energy and the ones using LED technology last at least 15 times longer4
  • ENERGY STAR certified light bulbs include “smart” bulbs that let you use your smartphone to turn them on and off remotely, and dim or tune the colour of your lights, so you get more control over mood and energy consumption4
  • Windows, doors and skylights can make up to 25% of the energy loss in your home.5 Look for the ENERGY STAR symbol to choose the best performers on the market. If the cost of replacing all the windows and doors at once is too steep, consider doing it in phases

Things you can do

  • Inspect and replace worn door and window weather-stripping
  • Inspect outside dryer, bathroom fan and range hood dampers to ensure they shut tightly
  • Seal gaps around pipes, ducts and wiring that pass through external walls and foundation
  • Add gaskets behind electrical switch and outlet plates on exterior walls
  • Make sure attic hatches have insulation on top and weather-stripping to seal tightly

Things a contractor can help you with 

  • Add insulation to exterior walls targeting R20 to R30
  • Insulate basement walls and between floor joists targeting R12 to R20
  • Top up attic insulation targeting R40 to R50
  • When renovating, upgrade older insulation with higher R value materials such as spray-in insulating foam or mineral wool and provide effective air barriers to reduce air leakage and drafts
  • Insulate cold and hot water pipes that are exposed during renovations
  • Seal gaps around lights, pipes, ducts, vents, chimneys and wiring that run from the house into the attic

Did you know?

  • Many people don’t use their basements, so it’s easy to overlook how they might be affecting your home’s energy use. Basements can account for up to 20% of your home’s total heat loss due to poor insulation6

Things you can do

  • Have the furnace and air conditioner serviced annually or as recommended by the manufacturer
  • Replace furnace filters as recommended by the manufacturer
  • Seal joints and gaps in furnace ducts with foil tape
  • Ensure floor and wall grilles are open and not blocked by furniture or window drapes
  • Ensure airflow around the outdoor air conditioner unit is not impeded, and remove leaves and debris from grilles
  • Ensure refrigerant pipes running from the outdoor unit to the air conditioner are insulated
  • Consult with a plumber to ensure the temperature setting for your hot water tank is appropriate for both energy savings and safety 
  • Central Heat and Energy Recovery Ventilation (HRV and ERV) systems: inspect and clean filters and core in the HRV or ERV, operate it at the recommended airflow setting, and have it inspected and adjusted annually

Things a contractor can help you with 

  • Replace your furnace and air conditioner with a properly sized, higher efficiency, ENERGY STAR® certified product
  • Install a programmable thermostat 
  • Inspect ducts and damper settings to ensure proper airflow
  • Select and install an ENERGY STAR certified water heater
  • Install heat traps in the cold and hot water pipes where they connect to the hot water tank

Did you know?

  • Two-thirds of home energy use is devoted to space heating and cooling.7 That is why choosing an ENERGY STAR certified connected thermostat is a “smart” choice
  • An ENERGY STAR certified tankless water heater uses 30% less energy, on average, than a storage tank type8

Things you can do

  • Use toaster ovens and microwaves instead of stoves
  • Use the air-dry option on your dishwater
  • Use appliances during off-peak electricity rate periods
  • Plug audio and video devices into switched power bars that you can turn off 
  • Set or program your thermostat for summer and winter savings
  • Use clothes washer cold water wash and rinse
  • Wash full loads and adjust wash time to laundry needs
  • Clean clothes dryer lint filter after each cycle
  • Regularly clean the kitchen range hood filter and bathroom fan grille and fan blades

Did you know?

  • Standby power consumption can account for 5 to 10% of a household’s electricity bill.9 Reduce energy consumption by unplugging products when not in use and using power bars

Make your home renovations possible with CIBC

When you make payments on your mortgage you build equity in your home. You can refinance your mortgage to access up to 80% of your home’s appraised value10, and with the CIBC Home Power Plan® you can combine a mortgage loan with a home equity line of credit to enjoy ongoing access to funds at a low interest rate, which can help if you need extra funds as your renovation progresses.

Already have the CIBC Home Power Plan?

To review your PLC details, you can use CIBC Online Banking®, CIBC Mobile Banking® or call CIBC Telephone Banking at 1-800-465-2422 Opens your phone app.. Help is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Tools and advice

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Mortgage refinancing and home equity 

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How to find good tradespeople

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How to get the best return on your home renovations 

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How to plan a successful renovation