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This week Jeff and I and, by extension, Anointment Natural Skin Care, were the recipients of the Premier’s Award for Energy Efficiency. We attended a gala evening in Fredericton and were presented with a beautiful award made by New Brunswick potter Tim Isaac.
Jeff and April MacKinnon – Energy Efficiency Champion – Residential Sector
Jeff and April MacKinnon and their three children moved from Nova Scotia to Sackville in April 2011, and into a 150-year-old Victorian farmhouse overlooking the Tantramar Marsh. Even before taking possession they began to research how to make their home more comfortable and much more energy efficient. The MacKinnons had some experience with energy efficiency upgrades having improved the EnerGuide rating of their Nova Scotia home by 30 rating points and reducing their energy bills by almost 50 per cent.
Shortly after moving in they had an energy advisor conduct a pre-upgrade assessment, the first step in their extensive energy efficiency retrofit. The most significant recommendation from the assessment report was to replace their home’s electric baseboards with an energy efficient central heating system. Jeff determined that with the grants available from the Efficiency NB’s Residential Energy Efficiency Program and the federal ecoENERGY Retrofit – Homes program, a ground source heat pump would provide an efficient system with low operational costs and a reasonable investment payback period.
Over a five month period the family took a top-to-bottom approach to make their home more efficient. The heritage home that, at one time, was the site of a post office, blacksmith shop and grocery store, was retrofitted from an EnerGuide 36 to 76, as energy efficient as an average new home built today.
In addition to the ground source heat pump and modern ductwork and controls, the MacKinnons added spray foam insulation to the basement stone walls (R12) and the header space (R18), blown-in insulation to the attic bringing the level from R0 to R50, they replaced six windows, choosing ENERGY STAR qualified models in locations that would maximize solar heat gain and they also carried out extensive air sealing with the use of caulking and weather stripping throughout the home.
Jeff says prioritizing which areas to improve, selecting products to use and working with contractors & suppliers was made easier with the resources available on Efficiency NB’s website. The site’s Resource Centre features presentations and other helpful links and resources on topics such as insulation, heating systems and building materials. “With the use of these resources we were able to make informed decisions,” he explained.
The MacKinnons are proud of what they have accomplished over the past year and have become advocates for energy
efficiency and Efficiency NB in their community. Jeff feels that retrofits are better for the environment than building a new home considering the total carbon footprint required to clear land, create and transport new materials, construct the building and dispose of waste. “The greenest and most efficient home is one that’s already built,” he says. They are often asked about the work they’ve completed and are quick to emphasize to the importance of doing research and using resources like those available through Efficiency NB prior to undertaking an energy retrofit.
Jeff and April were chosen as the recipients of the Energy Efficiency Champion – Residential Sector Award for their
impressive retrofit which improved their home’s EnerGuide rating by 40 points and reduced energy consumption by
over 60 per cent.