Dyer: DIY energy audit with solar bonus material

Kristy Dyer is a columnist for Black Press Media who writes about the environment

I am sure that the world is going to start up again. There are two other things I am sure of:

  1. Climate change will still be a problem and
  2. Interest rates are going to be really low for some time as the economy recovers

This creates a new environment for renewables. My favorite way to measure the value of renewables is the Internal Rate of Return. It’s complicated to calculate but it asks: “If the money was invested somewhere else, what interest rate would be required to match the financial performance of the project?”.

Image: BC Chamber of Commerce

The government of Canada is working hard to cushion the effect of social distancing, but nowhere in the plan will it help you pay your utility bill. The construction industry has been able (with precautions) to maintain much of their momentum. This means that an excellent use of your spare time during COVID 19 is to reach out to (but not touch!) a solar installer and get a free site evaluation of your home.

Use your COVID 19 time to reach out to (but not touch!) a solar installe

These Okanagan solar installers are doing remote and drive-by solar quotes. Skyfire Energy has created a video just for COVID 19 which demonstrates how to take the photographs that they turn into a solar quote.

  • SkyFire Energy
  • Swiss Solar Tech
  • Powermax Electric and Solar

    Energy efficiency comes first, so back to our list of DIY home energy audit items. I don’t need to know the brand or the model of your major appliances. All I need to know is the year because manufacturers made no attempt at energy efficiency until threatened by California.

    7. Refrigerators (plural) are a problem. New refrigerators are much more energy efficient, therefore the electricity used by refrigerators across BC should be decreasing. Instead the energy is increasing. The problem is that people don’t replace refrigerators: when they buy a new refrigerator, they put the old and inefficient refrigerator in the basement or garage. If you are using a second refrigerator as a beer fridge or as an extra freezer, that’s a whopping part of your energy bill. Your goal is to have a single refrigerator newer than 2001.

    READ MORE: B.C. offers businesses and homeowners more money to save energy, cut emissions

    6. “Argh!” appliances. In our house they include the hot glue gun and the iron (for quilting, not clothes). You can identify them because when they have been on all day Mom says “Argh!”. In your house they may be different. Track these things down and put them on a timer. You can now buy sophisticated plug that answers to Alexa/Google Home bur my favourite is the Belkin Conserve Socket (ships to Canada via Amazon.com). Amazon.ca offers the Simple Touch c30004.

    To be continued…

    Missed last week’s column?

    Dyer: Use your COVID-19 time to fight climate change

    About Kristy Dyer:

    Kristy Dyer has a background in art and physics and consulted for Silicon Valley clean energy firms before moving (happily!) to sunny Penticton. Comments to Kristy.Dyer+BP@gmail.com

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