City of Saskatoon introduces free energy coach services

An energy coach can suggest effective ways to improve your home’s energy efficiency, helping you to save money and fight climate change.

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Whether moved to action by escalating energy costs or concern over the alarming impacts of climate change, an increasing number of Saskatoon residents are considering energy efficiency home improvements.

The City of Saskatoon is making it easier than ever to make homes more energy efficient and sustainable by providing access to free energy coaching services, through a contract with Canadian energy experts, Summerhill.

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“We are dedicated to helping our clients and customers see and use energy differently, empowering them to make decisions that lead to significant energy savings and lessen their impact on the environment,” says Wendy Lalonde, an energy coach with Summerhill. “We deliver many programs across Canada for different utilities and government agencies.”

Recently, Summerhill worked with the City of Edmonton to support their Home Energy Retrofit Accelerator Program, designed to facilitate home renovations that save energy and reduce carbon emissions.

Now, the City of Saskatoon is working with Summerhill to offer energy coaching services to residents interested in learning more about energy efficiency renovations. Best of all, energy coaching services are free to all Saskatoon residents.

worker caulks window to prevent heat loss
An energy coach can suggest easy ways to lower utility costs and improve your home’s energy efficiency, including caulking windows and doors to prevent heat loss. SUPPLIED

How can an energy coach help you?

“Our energy coaches will walk homeowners through the basics of starting a home energy improvement project,” says Lalonde.

“We educate homeowners on upgrades that can reduce energy use, which may include upgrading insulation, replacing windows and doors, installing air source heat pumps, solar panels and more.”

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Summerhill’s energy coaches will also provide information on the financial incentives and rebates available to make energy efficiency upgrades more affordable.

These financial programs include the Canada Greener Homes Grant, which offers grants up to $5,600 and interest-free loans up to $40,000 for eligible renovations.

Start with a home energy audit

To qualify for the Canada Greener Homes Grant, homeowners need to schedule an EnerGuide Home Energy Assessment. “Your energy coach can explain the benefits of a home energy audit and help homeowners understand the report results,” says Lalonde.

Conducted by a certified EnerGuide advisor, an energy audit typically costs $500 to $600 for the pre-project audit and $300 to $400 for the post-project audit.

Lalonde points out that up to $600 of the cost of the evaluation will be reimbursed when homeowners pre-register for the Greener Homes Grant and complete a home renovation through that program.

“During the pre-assessment, the EnerGuide advisor comes in, evaluates your home and provides you with recommendations for your energy efficient renovations,” says Lalonde.

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The advisor inspects the home for air tightness, insulation levels, evaluates the size and efficiency of the home’s heating and cooling equipment and reviews any other factors impacting the home’s energy performance.

Upon completion of the audit, the homeowner is provided with an EnerGuide rating and a renovation upgrade report.

“We ask the homeowners to send the report to us and we review it with them, talking through what makes sense for them to do first and what will save them the most money,” says Lalonde.

“We can provide a virtual or in-person walkthrough of their home and assist with prioritizing upgrades based on factors like cost, comfort and energy reduction. We help them get started on their renovation journey.”

Smart thermostat saves energy dollars
Adjusting your thermostat by a few degrees when you leave the house will result in energy savings. SUPPLIED

Everyday energy savings

There are many ways to reduce energy consumption and save on utility costs that don’t involve major home renovations, advises Lalonde.

“Our energy coaches can suggest habits and tips that will help reduce day-to-day energy consumption without extensive renovations or spending a lot of money.”

Here are just a few easy ways to reduce energy consumption and save money:

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  • Install weather-stripping around doors and windows to prevent cold draughts and keep warm air inside.
  • Change your furnace filter every month in the winter and every three months in the summer.
  • Wrap your water heater tank with an insulated blanket.
  • Switch to LED light bulbs.
  • Air dry clothes.
  • Adjust your thermostat by a few degrees when you leave the house or before bedtime. A smart thermostat can make those adjustments automatically.
  • Several times a year, vacuum the vents on your fridge and clothes dryer. The appliances won’t have to work so hard and will use less energy when they are cleared of dust and debris.

Climate action starts at home

When it comes to fighting climate change and protecting the environment, all Saskatoon residents have an important role to play.

The impact each individual has upon the environment is reflected in this surprising statistic: In 2021, residential buildings accounted for 42 per cent of Saskatoon’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions related to energy use and almost one-quarter of overall community emissions.

By investing in energy efficiency upgrades, residents can lower their utility costs while reducing GHG emissions and fighting climate change.

To learn more about the free energy coach services, go to saskatoon.ca/energycoaches. To contact a Summerhill energy coach, you can also call toll-free 1-888-834-1889 or email: [email protected].

The energy coach project is being carried out with assistance from the Green Municipal Fund, a fund financed by the Government of Canada and administered by the Federation of Canadian Municipalities.

THIS STORY WAS CREATED BY CONTENT WORKS, POSTMEDIA’S COMMERCIAL CONTENT DIVISION, ON BEHALF OF CITY OF SASKATOON UTILITIES & ENVIRONMENT.

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