Now is the time to get your home energy proof for the winter, says Manitoba Efficiency

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Maybe you are someone looking to reduce your environmental footprint. Or, like many others, you’re looking for ways to save on your gas and energy bills to lower your overall budget.

Tracy Sterdan is the Director of Communications and Customer Experience at Efficiency Manitoba, a new organization dedicated to energy efficiency in the province. It was launched two years ago, replacing Manitoba Power Smart.

Sterdan says there are plenty of ways to reduce your energy use around your home and business. She says many people will come to them to save energy, but don’t know where to start. Sterdan says Manitoba Efficiency has a helpful tool on its website called a “virtual energy review.” The quick and easy resource generates a report on your home’s energy use, and then provides you with recommendations on energy-saving opportunities around your home.

In addition to some larger projects that qualify for rebates, Sterdan says there are some everyday habits that can also save you money on your energy and gas bill, like simply using your appliances efficiently.

“So when we’re talking about your laundry room, washing your clothes in cold water is a really good way to save energy, when it comes to heating that hot water, as well as hanging your clothes up for they dry in the summer. The air is cool and drying those clothes outside is a great way to use your dryer less. Other things to do around the house, always be sure to unplug. Even small appliances that are not in use can consume some power. We call this backup power or phantom power.”

Overall, Sterdan says getting into the habit of unplugging small appliances, appliances, and electronics are really good habits for saving some energy.

With the long expectation of summer weather, you may not want to think about the upcoming winter. However, Sterdan says it’s actually a really good time to tackle some of your energy efficiency projects. “Specifically, since last winter, I think we’ve all really felt it on our energy bills. So taking a look at improving your home and getting ready for next winter is is a great time.”

One of the best ways to save energy and money is to seal and caulk your home. “Your home may have leaky areas without you even knowing it. Hot air escapes in the winter but also cool air escapes in the summer. So we want to seal all those leaky spots, not just for the summer , but get ready for winter too.”

The energy efficiency assistance program is another program promoted by Sterdan. Sterdan explained that this is an income-based offering for landlords, renters and landlords. Through the program, experts will be on hand to help you make free or subsidized energy upgrades to your home.

“Basically, we go out, we do a free energy audit of your house, we provide you with energy-saving items. If your house qualifies, we actually provide the insulation upgrades for free.”

If you’re using an old, standard-efficiency natural gas furnace, Sterdan says they also offer a replacement program. “We can help you with the cost of upgrading that standard-efficiency furnace to a high-efficiency furnace for one low monthly payment.” The payment is equivalent to $9.50 per month for five years. If you go from medium efficiency to high efficiency, Sterdan says they can help you with a monthly payment of $25 over five years.

Sterdan says Manitoba Efficiency is a one-stop shop for energy efficiency in the province.

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