Archive for the ‘Energy News in Ontario’ Category


It’s not what you think


The First Ten Words by Rich Larson

Chris Cornell, 1964-2017

Chris Cornell died early Thursday morning. His band Soundgarden played a show on Wednesday night at the Fox Theater in Detroit. Two hours after the show ended, he was gone.

For two days, I’ve been working on a piece to pay tribute to him, and it’s been a struggle. Usually when I have a problem like this it’s because I’m staring at a blank screen trying to figure out what I want to say. That’s not the problem this time. The problem is I have way too much to say.

I’m not going to sit here and claim to have been a huge fan of Soundgarden. I didn’t dislike them, I just had to take them in small doses. I was a fan of Cornell. I love “Seasons,” the solo song he had on Cameron Crowe’s movie, Singles. It’s a droning acoustic song about isolation and the…

View original post 1,454 more words


Choose to do Something, Environment Week #emptythetanks #environment #blackfish


I have been working behind the scenes to help others with work in sustainable energy for awhile. I am online frequently and try to bring awareness to news and views with respect to the environment, animals, science etc.

I live in the Niagara region, and I am currently championing an excellent campaign in Ontario called “Green Energy Doors Open”. I am trying, however, I choose to do something I had not done before. I gathered with somewhere over 100 people recently to publicly express my heartfelt unhappiness for at least one very lonely & depressed creature in my local neighbourhood.

Now to be clear, yes, I care about animals, and yes, I have rescued a dog from an abuser.  But this particular, sentient and beautiful creature I am speaking of is not one that I can just simply intervene on by myself.  There are others who feel the same, and I respect that.

My participation is coming from a genuine concern and I could get into the whole back story, but here is the specific focus:

Marineland is holding the last ORCA, the last Killer Whale for entertainment purposes, in Canada, in a swimming pool that, relative to its’ natural environment in the oceans, is like sticking a child into a cage, period.

Being a killer whale, Kiska’s inherent and natural feelings and instincts cannot, in any logical way, shape or form, be duplicated, accommodated or replicated in tiny pools.  Being alone, without her true family, her bloodlines, or even any related company, I can only guess the perpetual sadness and stress that must keep her grinding her almost non-existent teeth (is that even in any way acceptable that her teeth are in such bad shape?). And also, how many times can a killer whale, held in a sardine box pool, become pregnant and in some way not be expected to abort.  This may sound really sick to some or sad to others, but if I was held in captivity, in a cage, forced to become pregnant, alone, hurting and depressed, I would most likely, being a mother, think that my body would reject any child, knowing consciously and with feeling, that their life would be just as bad?

All anyone needs to do is Google Marineland and/or any other SeaWorld Parks and there is not a pretty, entertaining picture being painted.

It bothers me.  I have seen the place behind the scenes where most regular people don’t get to go.  This is the truth.  The tiny holding pools for things like the dolphins, and especially the caged up walruses were such unhappy a to animals see.  There is a conscious sentient being looking back at you when you look them into their eyes.  And their look is utter sadness.

They should never have been put there in the first place and deserve rehabilitation.

There should never be any more wild animals held in cages, in tiny pens.

People can help, with one small step at a time.  People are saying ‘no more’ and understand that these beautiful amazing sentient creatures have families, have feelings and are doing something.

I appreciate the people who attended the gathering at Marineland in Niagara Falls.  I met many people from different places, feeling, reaching out.  They are just regular people, who are doing something.

It may not be what you, as the reader of this blog, may agree with. You may even think it’s ‘loserish’. However, the people who came out to express their concerns are really doing something.

All I suggest is that during this time of Environment Week, we all think about possibly making one choice, one small step and actually do something about something to do with the environment.

I cannot find any logical way to agree that Kiska is in a safe or healthy environment.  She cannot stand up for herself.  She is not being heard by those who own her in any real way, as she is merely property to them.  And those who have taken care of her in the past, present and future will definitely be affected by it, and I hope they too will come out and express their concerns.

I cannot be like Captain Paul Watson, I don’t have the freedom of the seas to do as he does.  I do have a voice, and I do have sons, who also feel that holding any wonderful beautiful sentient creature, out of its’ natural environment, is just wrong.

Please make a choice to support a healthy & safe environment for all creatures & the environment.  One step.

Thank you to all who support #emptythetanks and Sea Shepherds.



Thank you to all those who love animals & understand how important they are.

Now go do something about it!

But hey, what do I know?


1 Old Cell Phone in a Landfill is 1 Too Many


Recycle My Cell makes it easy for Canadians to do their part for Earth Day 2014

OTTAWAApril 16, 2014 /CNW/ – Recycle My CellCanada’s free cell phone recycling program, is calling on Canadians from coast to coast to recycle their old cell phones and accessories in support of Earth Day on Tuesday, April 22. Almost 582,000 devices were recovered through the Recycle My Cell program in 2013. Results from the2013 National Cell Phone Recycling Study released today show that while Canadians replace their wireless device approximately every 30 months, only 10% of survey respondents recycled their old device when they purchased a new one, with 42% putting the old device in storage.

Canadians can participate in Earth Day by visiting the bilingual Web site – – and enter their postal code to locate the 10 drop-off locations closest to them where their old wireless devices will be accepted, regardless of brand or condition. If a consumer cannot get to one of the drop-off locations in their neighborhood, the Web site offers printable postage-paid labels that can be used to mail the device back to Recycle My Cell at absolutely no cost to the consumer.

The Web site also provides information about the program, facts and figures on e-waste, FAQs and links to provincial e-waste management sites. There is also a downloadable brochure and information about how consumers can clear their device of all personal data before dropping it off for recycling.

Other notable findings from the 2013 National Cell Phone Recycling Study include:

  • Nearly half of survey respondents (49% nationally) report knowing about cell phone recycling programs.
  • Satisfaction of those who utilize the Recycle My Cell continues to be high, with 96% of respondents citing a positive experience.

“Canadians are world leaders in the way they embrace new technology, particularly when it comes to wireless devices,” said Bernard Lord, President & CEO of the Canadian Wireless Telecommunications Association (CWTA). “It is also our responsibility to be world leaders in protecting our environment for generations to come. There is simply no reason that an old cell phone should ever end up in a landfill.”

All of the processors involved in the Recycle My Cell program are ISO certified or verified to be operating in conformance with the requirements of the Electronics Recycling Standard (ERS), so they all have environmental management systems in place that guarantee accountability and knowledge of the environmental impacts associated with recycling.

The Recycle My Cell program also supports numerous local and national charities through the proceeds from the recycled devices.

“In recognition of Earth Day, we join in encouraging Canadians to recycle their used mobile devices which will not only help reduce the growing e-waste in Canada’s landfills, but also generate much needed funds for mental health initiatives across the country,” said Peter Coleridge, National CEO, Canadian Mental Health Association.

Businesses and community organizations can also support the Recycle My Cell program by hosting a drop-off location. Registration is quick and easy and all set-up materials are provided at no cost. For more information, please visit or contact

Recycle My Cell was created and is maintained by the Canadian Wireless Telecommunications Association (CWTA) in conjunction with cell phone carriers and handset manufacturers who have come together to raise awareness about the importance of cell phone recycling. The program’s partners include: Bell, BlackBerry, Eastlink, GEEP Inc., GREENTEC, LG Electronics Canada, Inc., Lynx Mobility, MTS, Nokia, ProMobility, Rogers Communications, Samsung Electronics Canada Inc., SaskTel, Sims Recycling Solutions, Sony of Canada, Tbaytel, TELUS, Videotron, and Virgin Mobile Canada.

Canadians can contact a Recycle My Cell representative by e-mail at, or call toll-free at 1-888-797-1740.

About Recycle My Cell
Recycle My Cell is Canada’s national recycling program for mobile phones and accessories. The bilingual Web site – and – allows consumers to simply enter their postal code to locate the 10 drop-off locations closest to them where their devices will be accepted, regardless of brand or condition. The free program is run by the Canadian Wireless Telecommunications Association (CWTA), in conjunction with cell phone carriers and handset manufacturers, who have come together to raise awareness about the importance of cell phone recycling.

SOURCE Canadian Wireless Telecommunications Association


Who Will Be There? All-Energy Canada Trade Show and Conference Toronto #AllEnergyCA


Hello energy enthusiasts, I’m coming back after a long hiatus.  I’m back – back in an All-Energy mood.  Spring is here and the sun’s warmth reminds me how the clean energy landscape in Canada keeps growing – sometimes quickly, sometimes slow. But still growing.

My media creds now official for All-Energy Canada (April 9-10, Direct Energy Centre, Toronto) I get to enjoying supporting several organizations, including the show’s associates. ‘Nuff said.


Here’s an advance on some of the exhibitors & speakers:

Biomass Innovation Centre

The BIC was established by Nipissing University’s School of Business in the spring of 2009 as a centre for knowledge and support in the development of an expanding clean technology industry.

Working with organizations and individuals to:

  • Identify biomass supply opportunities in the forestry and agricultural sectors.
  • Support projects that transform biomass into fuels and high-value products.
  • Develop market capacity and demand for bio-fuels and bio-refinery products.

Services include education, technical marketing, advocacy and research that spans from the forest to the marketplace. They focus on bridging the information gaps between knowledge and application and are dedicated to educating the industry as a whole.

Fronius Canada

Their technology boasts (solar) “… year-round autonomous energy supply involving photovoltaics was previously only possible by having environmentally-damaging diesel generators to fall back on. Fronius has found a new solution – the Fronius Energy Cell. In future, the energy cell can be used to convert excess energy into hydrogen for storage, converting it back into useful power when needed.”

Chiefs of Ontario

“The Chiefs of Ontario is a political forum and secretariat for collective decision-making, action, and advocacy for the 133 First Nations communities located within the boundaries of the province of Ontario.  Guided by the Chiefs in Assembly, they uphold self-determination efforts of the Anishinaabek, Mushkegowuk, Onkwehonwe, and Lenape Peoples in protecting and exercising their inherent and Treaty rights.   Keeping in mind the wisdom of our Elders, and the future for our youth, we continue to create the path forward in building our Nations as strong, healthy Peoples respectful of ourselves, each other, and all creation.

The activities of the Chiefs of Ontario are mandated through and guided by:

  • Resolutions passed by the Chiefs in Assembly of the 133 First Nations in Ontario
  • The Political Confederacy made up of the Grand Chiefs of Political Territorial Organizations (PTOs) and Independent First Nations
  • The elected Regional Chief for the Chiefs of Ontario”

STEEP Building Systems Canada:

An Ontario based manufacturer of energy efficient structural panels, will display their building product. STEEP panels have been used in scores of large and small buildings built across urban and rural southern Ontario with this quick, durable and cost effective construction technique.

Working with Far North Developments, STEEP Canada will also demonstrate how the construction benefits of STEEP panels can be integrated with renewable energy and storage technology. This approach makes STEEP panel buildings suitable for use as housing, schools and offices in rural, resource based communities and remote First Nation locations.

More speakers (International):

DR. WOODROW (WOODY) CLARK II (Keynote Speaker)
Chief Executive Officer, Clark Strategic Partners/Nobel Peace Prize recipient

A noted lecturer and senior advisor to governments worldwide, Dr. Woodrow Clark was one of the contributing scientists to the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (UNIPCC), which as an organization was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in December 2007 along with Al Gore and the film An Inconvenient Truth.

Professor Bassim Abassi from Al-Balqa’ Applied University in Jordan, to discuss the use of Building Integrated Photovoltaics (BIPV) in the Mediterranean basin (case study).

Donnadelliah Maluleke, Consul Political at the South African Consulate General in Chicago.

More speakers (Canada):

William Lahey, Chairman of Efficiency Nova Scotia, from Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, to discuss consumer demand management and saving energy.

Elisa Obermann, Atlantic Director of Marine Renewables Canada, from Halifax, Nova Scotia, will be providing an overview of the Canadian marine energy market.

Matt Jameson, Director of Economic Development from Six Nations of the Grand River, the largest First Nation in Canada.

Martin Damphousse, Mayor of Varennes, Quebec, to discuss their leading role in community energy projects.

This is by no means a complete list.

The Trade Show part is free but you should register.  Please visit by clicking => All-Energy and come out.

Lots of companies to connect with, pose questions, get answers, network and support All Energy in Canada.


Kudrinko’s Grocery Opens It’s Sustainable Doors to #GEDO13


The KudrinkosNeil Kudrinko from Kudrinko’s Grocery, Sustainable Building & Busines

Neil Kudrinko from Kudrinko’s Grocery,  Sustainable Building & Business

What were the motivations, or inspirations surrounding how Neil became involved or how Kudrinko’s vision of ‘green’ came to be?

Neil’s main inspiration or his “aha” moment came while at Carleton University.  He gives much credit to Professor Patricia Ballamingie of the Geography and Environmental Studies Department.

“Professor Ballamingie opened my eyes to the possibilities and potential that exists in building efficiencies into our built environment so that our buildings would be more efficient in light of the exterior climate.”

Neil goes on to say that it was very important to look at all the different systems at Kudrinko’s.  HVAC, refrigeration, air quality inside etc. – all these systems had to be made efficient and were done at the same time, in order for the building to gain the maximum investment potential & energy efficiency & savings.

“All of the systems need to work together – in a holistic way.” Neil says.

Neil enjoys being involved, he likes to share information and knowledge, and encourages peers in investing in sustainable building and business practices.

Neil’s Message of Renewable Energy Inspiration

“Your success will only be measure in your desire to make it happen.  Have faith in your understanding of what is possible and go for it.”

Please visit the Kudrinko’s on October 5th for Green Energy Doors Open (click it for the website).


Technology and Words Changing First Nations – Right or Wrong?


I was offered the opportunity to participate in an Ontario Power Authority initiative  – Giibimidowing Gidakiiminaan – Keeping, Respecting & Caring For Our Land Treaty #3 Conference – August 21 – 23, 2012 in Kenora, Ontario at which I jumped readily.  It was my opportunity to motivate, encourage & talk about possibilities – in renewables, but even beyond.

My dealings with First Nations, in the past, have taught me that I am but a stranger, an outsider to them.  How would I know anything about who they are or how they live?  Perception & reality are significantly different in my books.  However, I always make it a point to speak from the heart and this opportunity was no exception.

So off I flew to Thunder Bay where I met some of the other speakers and together we set off by car to Kenora, Ontario.

Trees, grass, water.  Clean air. True blue skies.  Not like the haze many have grown to become accustomed to in the Greater Toronto Area.

Sunset in Kenora, Ontario – beautiful, priceless

However, this area is not without its environmental – economical – technological – societal problems, quite the contrary.  Another type of unhealthy haze has been inflicted, and it is one that separates us huge concentration of southerners from the realities & truths of those living in the true north (which people in Kenora laugh and say they consider themselves in the south of the the north!).

Kenora, Ontario, some 5 hours drive from Thunder Bay – 3 hours drive from Winnipeg, Manitoba, lies in Treaty #3 First Nations area.  Unfamiliar with Treaty #3 and its’ important historical significance in Canada?

“Treaty 3 was an agreement entered into on October 3, 1873, by the Ojibway Nation and Queen Victoria. The treaty ceded a vast tract of Ojibway territory, including large parts of what is now northwestern Ontario and a small part of eastern Manitoba, to the Government of Canada. Treaty 3 also provided for rights for the Métis and other Ojibway, through a series of adhesions signed over the next year.

It was the third in a series of eleven numbered treaties between the Crown and North American First Nations. Despite being the third of these treaties it is in fact more historically significant in that its text and terms served as the model for the remainder of the numbered treaties. Treaties 1 and 2 covered an area about the same size and in fact had to be amended to reflect some of the developments arising out of the negotiation of Treaty 3. At the time that it was negotiated it was anticipated that the terms of Treaty 3 would serve as a model for future treaties and would require the amendment of Treaties 1 and 2 [Letter from Minister of the Interior Campbell to Lieutenant-Governor Morris, 5 August 1873, Public Archives of Canada (“PAC”), RG10, vol. 1904].

Treaty 3 has particular historical significance because of the litigation that ensued between the Crown in Right of Ontario and the Crown in Right of Canada over the significance of the treaty and the respective roles of Canada and the provinces in relation to aboriginal peoples. The first of these cases is the St. Catharines Milling v. The Queen [(1888), 14 App. Cas. 65 (P.C.)] which dealt with the question of the ownership of lands subject to a treaty (a question that was decided in favour of the Province). The second, A.G. (Canada) v. A.G. (Ontario), [(1910) A.C. (P.C.)], dealt with the question of whether or not Ontario had to indemnify Canada for the expenses incurred in negotiating the treaty and the ongoing costs of fulfilling the treaty obligations. Canada lost this case as well with the Supreme Court of Canada and the Privy Council holding that Canada was responsible for Indian affairs and the welfare of Indians and that the treaty had been negotiated to achieve broad national purposes (such as the building of the transcontinental railway) rather than to benefit Ontario. The significance of these decisions is still a matter of discussion in the Canadian courts.

Treaty 3 is also significant as there exists a written record of the native peoples understanding of the treaty. This is known as the Paypom document. It is a series of notes that were written for Chief Powassin during the treaty negotiations, and documents the promises that were made to the First Nations people. The promises in the Paypom document differ in a number of ways from the printed version available from the Canadian government.” – wikipedia

As a result, First Nations has no trust in outsiders and their talk about this and about that.  Not just with this treaty, but with a number of ‘agreements’ and/or ‘contracts’ and/or ‘initiatives’, many First Nations takes the stance that others don’t live up to their end of the ‘bargains’.  This is not to say there are no First Nations people who develop trust or ally themselves with others, however, they do with much caution.  In either case, I don’t blame them.

Making a long story short, I spoke my presentation from the heart and managed to connect with many, like Willy – a 74 year old elder, who has been attending all kinds of meetings and gatherings about the community, “… since 1981.” he said.

“I’m not afraid of progress. But.  There is a right way and a wrong way of doing it.” he almost whispered at me, as his aged wise eyes looked at me, the breeze blowing about his straw coloured, long hair.

Willy, an Elder from Treaty #3 has been attending community meetings since 1981.

First Nations Treaty #3 has a number of issues that are affecting their communities, and in no small manner.

3 hydro electric dams stand at the centre of much controversy.  First Nations describe how the frogs have disappeared.  No longer do the sturgeon grow.  In September of 2011, Grand Council Treaty #3 filed an application for judicial review. Respondents are the Province of Ontario as represented by the Ontario Ministry of Energy and the Ontario Power Authority (OPA).  The main issue at the centre of this review is the Respondents failure to perform their “duty to consult” in good faith with First Nations.

“… the Ontario Energy Minister’s direction to the OPA to develop the Hydroelectric Contract Initiative (HCI) without Aboriginal consultation. In question is the OPA’s development and implementation of the  HCI, the decision by OPA to enter into an HCI contract for existing hydroelectric generating facilities (Calm Lake, Sturgeon Falls, Fort Frances, Kenora, and Norman) in Treaty 3 territory with ACH Limited Partnership (ACH). As of May 2011, these dams are owned by Calgary based BluEarth Renewables Inc.” – GCT3  (Please read here for full text)

Sounds as though, once again, people are not living up to their ends of ‘bargains’ … and so the cycle continues.

How about the proposed ‘solution’ of dumping toxic nuclear waste into the communities up there?  (Click here for full text of story.)  Nuclear Waste Management was on the agenda for the discussions as well.  Their displays, which likely cost thousands and thousands of dollars, took a whole day to put up, I watched it.  They were complicated, showed large pictures of business people and were overwhelming, even for me.

In no way is this an effective way of communicating to First Nations … and again, the cycle continues.

There’s more.

In December of 2011, Treaty #3 launched an education lawsuit against the federal government – the reason? ” … a breach of their treaty right to education.”

Inexperienced teachers & disintegrating schools.  Yes, it’s real and not fixed, even if Mike Holmes has drawn attention to the appalling living conditions, as he did in his December 2011 CBC article entitled, “Stop building junk on reserves.”

And if that doesn’t get you, let’s just go deeper down the rabbit hole and talk about how shocking Pikangikum truly is.

If you have never heard of this place, you need to.

In 2000, this First Nation was given the horrible and terribly sad title of, “Highest Suicide Rate in the WORLD” (I used wikipedia as a reference, but that info is not complete & certainly paints a picture leaning toward female inhalant abuse. It’s way more than that, affecting all.)  And, it hasn’t stopped.

In fact, this area is especially worse than ever.

I met a local from the area who shall remain nameless, due to the sensitivity of this information.

In March of 2012, MacLean’s published a story called, “Living and dying in Pikangikum.”  While it does speak to the horrors of life up in the area, it surely isn’t giving up the whole picture.

Picture a home, barely a structure, empty. No beds, no appliances, nothing.  A First Nations woman, standing in the middle of it, with utter desperation in her eyes.

Where to get another $500.00 together for just one more tab of Oxycontin.

Yes, comfortable ladies and gentlemen, reading this online, having encountered this sad article somehow through the internet because you are able to.

One tab of Oxy goes for $500.00, usually split into 4 – so 1/4 tab per person at $125.00.

How about a mickey?  A mickey of alcohol is $250.00.

Who controls all this?  I won’t write it out loud, but they surely are not angels.

We should all be ashamed of ourselves, allowing such injustices to continue to First Nations.  In fact, one of the Elders, a ‘Grandma’ said,

“First it was smallpox.  Now this.  Why not just give them smallpox and be done with it.”

It is not right to have our eyes shut for us to this, or for us to shut our eyes to it ourselves.

So, if you didn’t know about all this, dig deep.

Go even deeper and talk to First Nations.  What?  You can’t or don’t know how to? That’s bull. Keeping us separate is an excellent way to keep the cycle of abuse going.  I have and no, I don’t always believe everything … whether it’s from the government or from First Nations.  But I have observed this now myself having been there and there is no denying that while technology can most definitely be used to improve the quality of all of our lives, it has also become apparent that it can also create great problems that cannot be swept under the rug: it’s as simple as having the power to transport in drugs and alcohol to remote locations and turn viable people into zombies walking around ghost towns, as some really evil people are capitalizing on the genocide of a people.

But don’t believe me.  As I said, go find out for yourself.  And if you do not find this sad, shocking, angering, then perhaps all is lost and we live in a soul-less, money loving people filled country.

I hope that some of you reading this can connect even more dots in between with the mind-bending and twisted way some of our communities are merely being given perceptions, words & stories that makes the “jobs & prosperity” buzz over resources & technologies sound so great.

If we have such wonderful communication technologies, how come we seem to have difficulty in communicating, educating, negotiating & consulting with First Nations?  If guns kill people, spoons are making Harper fat.

It is also my hope that heartfull, responsible people will step-up and champion the introduction of new ways that are right, to the benefit of our communities and the children of our future.

But what do I know?

OPA Conference for Treaty #3 – Youth & Elders Forum


12 Easy Tips – Your Own Home #Energy Audit – Save $ On Your Energy Bills


Heat moves from the warm side of a barrier to the cold sideThis means that your home loses heat in the winter and gains it in the summer. The goal is to block this heat movement if you can.

All materials resist the movement of heat to some extent. The higher the Resistance to heat movement, the higher the R-value. Insulation helps!!!

Biggest Waste of Energy is Air Getting In.  All of the holes, gaps, and cracks in a home’s walls, ceiling and foundation are areas where there is no resistance to heat movement. The goal is to plug as many of these leaks as you can.

If you added up all of the holes, gaps and cracks in the average Canadian home they would add up to the area of one standard window.   If not plugged, it would be the equivalent of leaving a window open year round. 

So how can we improve the envelope of our home & save money?

Your Own Home Energy Audit Plan


  • The first question to ask is, “Do you know if you have side wall insulation?” If you do, there is nothing to do here. Move on to the next item.
  • If you do not have wall insulation and you are interested in adding some, contact a professional insulation installer (you can find them in the Yellow Pages under insulation), for an estimate.
  • Remember, if you have a choice between attic or wall insulation, insulate your attic. You get more savings.
  • Walls without insulation can be insulated in various ways. Possibly, the simplest is to drill holes in the home’s siding, and blow insulation through the holes into the wall space. A plug is placed into the hole to prevent weather infiltration.
  • If you don’t know if your walls are insulated you may be able to find out by trying a simple test. Take off an exterior wall switch plate (either plug or light switch). If there is a small gap between the electrical wiring box and the wall, look to see if insulation is visible.


  • While you are evaluating your exterior walls for insulation, you can check for switch plate insulation. Air can leak into and out of a home though switch boxes (plugs, light switches) in your home’s outer walls. Switch boxes usually don’t seal well. Placing a foam gasket behind the switch cover can help plug this leak. These gaskets may be purchased at a hardware or lumber store.


  • The first question to ask is, “Do you know if you have attic insulation?” If you do, the next question is, “How much is there?” If you have attic insulation, and it is 12″ – 14″ deep, there is nothing to do here. Move on to the next item.
  • If you do not have attic insulation, or the depth is 6″ – 8″ or less, and you are interested in adding some, contact a professional insulation installer (you can find them in the Yellow Pages under insulation), for an estimate. Remember, if you have a choice between attic or wall insulation, insulate your attic. You get more savings.
  • Attics can be insulated in various ways, and with various materials. Some common types of insulation are fiberglass rolls (batts), fiberglass loose fill and cellulose loose fill.
  • Some insulation materials, like cellulose, can be dumped into an attic, but more commonly is applied with a blower machine. Blower machines may be rented, however, if you are not comfortable with performing this on your own, contact an insulation professional
  • If you don’t know if your attic is insulated, try to find your access door and check. Use a ruler to measure the depth. If you don’t know where your access door is located, or don’t have one, contact an insulation professional to check for you.
  • Remember to insulate and weather-strip your attic access door.


  • Windows can be a large energy waster. You want to ensure that you’re getting the best performance out of what you have. Because glass has a very low resistance to heat movement, your goal here is to reduce air infiltration. You also want to take advantage of shading at the appropriate times.
  • Make sure the window seals well. If the window is loose in its track, install some weather stripping to tighten it up.
  • If you have cracked or missing panes, have them replaced.
  • If you have storms, use them during heating and cooling season.
  • If you notice cracks between the wall and window molding, apply caulk to plug this leak.
  • If you have shades, open them on sunny winter days to gain solar heat. Close them on hot sunny days to reduce solar heat gain.
  • During cold winter weather, use clear plastic window wraps to stop air infiltration.
  • If you are interested in replacing your windows, contact a professional contractor for an estimate.
  • There are some efficient windows out there. Generally, you want to look for a double pane, argon gas filled window with a low emittance (low E) rating.


  • Doors can also be a large energy waster. Some door materials have a low resistance to heat movement. Foam filled steel doors are very efficient. However, hollow wood doors are not. You want to ensure that you’re getting the best performance out of what you have. Your goal here is to reduce air infiltration.
  • Make sure the door seals well. If the door is loose or warped so you can see daylight around it when it is closed, install some weather stripping to tighten it up.
  • Make sure the threshold seals the bottom of the door. Again, if you can see daylight under the door when it is closed, replace the threshold.
  • If you have a storm door, use it during heating and cooling season.
  • If you notice cracks between the wall and window molding, apply caulk to plug this leak.
  • If you are interested in replacing your doors, contact a professional contractor for an estimate. There are some efficient doors out there. Generally, you want to look for solid core door, or one that has insulation inside. Steel doors with magnetic closing are a good choice.


  • A fireplace provides a large opening for heat to transfer in and out of a home. Fireplaces can have a negative efficiency. This means that they can take more heat out of a home than they provide. Your goal here is to stop air infiltration.
  • Make sure the flue damper closes and seals tightly.
  • Keep the damper closed when not using the fireplace.
  • Install a tight sealing set of glass doors to stop air movement.
  • If you have a wood-burning fireplace, you may consider installing a sealed gas-burning fireplace. These systems are much more efficient. Contact a professional installer for more information.
  • If you don’t use a fireplace, consider adding board insulation to resist more heat transfer. Make sure the insulation is removed before any fire is built.
  • Remember that when a fireplace is in use, even though you may feel warm while near it your furnace can be running more to replace the heat that is being drawn up and out of the home.


  • Where you set your thermostat setting is a comfort issue. Some of us know that we can save money if we set our thermostat lower in the winter and higher in the summer. Some are willing to pay the higher prices to remain comfortable. Our goal here is to remember that there may be other lower cost ways to keep warm or cool.
  • Turn your thermostat down 5 – 10 degrees in winter when you go to bed at night and use an extra blanket if you need one. Your furnace will have to catch up in the morning, but you will save more than the catch up will cost.
  • Turn your thermostat down 5 – 10 degrees in winter when you are not at home. Your furnace will have to catch up when you get home, but you will save more than the catch up will cost.
  • During cold weather, while home and before going to bed, turn your thermostat down 5 degrees and dress warmer, or use a blanket or comforter.
  • Consider installing a programmable thermostat that will make changes in temperature settings automatically. Contact a heating and air conditioning professional for more information.
  • Turn your thermostat up 5 – 10 degrees in summer when you are not at home. Your air conditioner will have to catch up when you get home, but you will save more than the catch up will cost.
  • Turn your thermostat up 5 – 10 degrees in summer when you are home and use fans to remain cool. Fans use much less energy than your air conditioner.
  • During hot, humid weather, try running your air conditioner in the morning for a short time (20 minutes) to clear the home of humidity. This may cause you to run your air conditioner less during the day.


  • A water heater heats and holds water. As heat moves out of the tank, the water is heated to match the thermostat setting. Your goal here is to keep as much heat in the tank as possible.
  • Newer water heaters have adequate insulation built into them. Older water heaters may benefit from the installation of a water heater insulation jacket. You may also save by installing the first 6 feet of water pipe insulation. These products may be purchased at a hardware or lumber store.
  • Water temperature is another comfort issue. We may know that we can save money if we turn our water heater temperature down, but we want hot water. You can check your water temperature with a candy thermometer.
  • Reduce your water heater temperature.
  • Install a water heater insulation jacket.
  • Install 6 feet of hot water pipe insulation.


  • A clean furnace filter helps your furnace and air conditioner run more efficiently. A dirty filter makes your system work harder to move warm and cool air around your home.
  • Replace dirty furnace filters with clean ones on a regular basis. Every 2-3 months may be appropriate unless the weather is very hot or very cold. Then every month may be necessary. This should be done year round.


  • If your home does not have a basement, it may have a crawl space under the floors. The floor is not a good insulator. Warm air will move in and out of the room through the floor into the unconditioned space below. There are two goals here, stop any air infiltration through the floor and corners, and raise the resistance to heat movement with insulation.
  • If your home has living space above a garage, or a portion of the home is extended over mid-air, the floors here will loose energy if they are not insulated and the holes plugged.
  • The first question to ask is, “Do you know if you have a crawl space, or unconditioned space below a floor ?” If you do, ask the next question, “Is the floor insulated?” If you have floor insulation, and it is at least 6″ deep, there is nothing to do here. Move on to the next item.
  • If you have a crawl space or a floor over an unconditioned space and do not have floor insulation, and you are interested in adding some, contact a professional insulation installer (you can find them in the Yellow Pages under insulation), for an estimate.
  • Because the insulation must be attached to the underside of the floor, fiberglass roll insulation is usually used.
  • If you don’t know if you have a floor over an unconditioned space or if it’s insulated, try to find your access door and check. The access door may be on the outside of the home. If you don’t know where your access door is located, or don’t have one, contact an insulation professional to check for you.
  • Remember to insulate and weather-strip your crawl space access door.


  • If your home has furnace or air conditioner ducting that runs through unconditioned spaces (areas not heated or cooled), you may be reducing the efficiency of your system. Ductwork does not resist heat movement well.
  • Warm or cool air is created by your furnace or air conditioner and then blown to parts of your home. If the ducts that carry this conditioned air moves through an unconditioned space, it can loose or gain heat (depending on the season). Your furnace or air conditioner must work harder to satisfy your thermostat. Special duct insulation may be purchased at a hardware or lumber store.
  • Likewise, if the ductwork has cracks or gaps in it, it will loose air. There are two goals here, improve the resistance to heat movement in the ducts, and reduce air movement out of the ductwork. Duct taping the joints and corners of your ductwork can reduce air losses.
  • Insulate your ductwork that moves through unconditioned space.
  • Duct tape all cracks and gaps in your ductwork.

content: DOE

%d bloggers like this: