Every year, the International Energy Agency – of which Canada is one of 31 member countries – meets to discuss trends in energy production and consumption around the world, and to provide roadmaps for solutions to energy crises.
As with all IEA Annual Meetings, the 2022 meeting showcased its findings and presented suggestions for government, business, and consumer improvements in the coming year. Let’s take a look at some of the most significant findings, and ways that Lightspark can help you work to implement solutions that will help you get more in line with energy efficiency goals
1. Home energy bills are skyrocketing – and the gap between high-and-low efficiency homes is stark
2022 was a turning-point year for fossil fuels and for the energy sector. Global events, including the Russian invasion of Ukraine, have led to unprecedented levels of chaos and crisis in the energy sector. As a result, higher global fuel prices have seen a shock to home energy bills around the world.
One such study done in the United Kingdom saw an enormous gap in annual energy bill prices between homes rated ‘B’ (optimal) in energy efficiency, and those rated G (poor). While B-rated homes spent approximately $1700 USD on average in annual energy bills, G-rated homes spent a staggering $7000 USD. Numbers in Canada have seen similar gaps, particularly since the onset of the global pandemic, and homeowners are having a difficult time adjusting. As of 2022, 53% of homes in Canada are still heated by gas – the most inefficient heating method this-side of coal.
One of the most beneficial energy efficiency upgrades you can make in your home is a transition away from gas heating. Lightspark has demonstrated the advantages of heat pumps to energy bills in the past – averaging about 20-40% annual savings on energy bills with a simple upgrade. Heat pumps, combined with a coil-based electrical heating system, are popular upgrades in Alberta right now – particularly with the government of Canada’s retrofit grant program.
2. Global electricity cost has gone up by 30% – and the weather is partly to blame
The IEA estimates that energy costs on electricity supply went up by a staggering 30% in 2022 – a number exacerbated by extreme weather events like droughts, heatwaves, and extreme cold snaps. At home, this meant extreme strain of power grids in order to run at-home heating and cooling systems, and spiraling utility bills beyond what many homeowners can afford.
One of Lightspark’s cornerstone home improvement suggestions has to do with windows and draftproofing. Upgrading to EnergyStar-rated windows is the most efficient way to optimize your home’s energy flow, and protect against the heat loss (or gain) that comes during extreme weather events. Simply replacing your single-paned windows with double-paned glass can save between 21-31% annually on heating and cooling costs – and Lightspark can help you find the right provider through our extensive trade networks.
Draftproofing – or ‘weather stripping’ as it is sometimes known’ – is the best form of preventative maintenance against wasteful air leakage. And it’s not particularly difficult, either. Often, all it takes is trips of foam weather stripping, and measuring tape. Then, in an afternoon, you can ensure that windowsills and crevices around sliding doors aren’t unnecessarily wasting that hard-earned heat.
Sadly, more extreme weather events aren’t here to stay. If you want to protect your home against the cost and temperature fluctuations that go along with them, let Lightspark help you modernize and weatherize your home’s infrastructure.
3. The global energy crisis has led many governments to revisit their energy policies – including Canada. That means money for you
While the immediate aftermath of the 2022 energy crisis saw governments secure available energy supply in order to protect consumers, many governments around the world are pivoting to a clean energy and efficiency emphasis in the near-to-medium future.
Canada has long been a leader on clean energy solutions, and have set ambitious goals for the future – including a 40-45% greenhouse gas emission reduction target by 2030, and net-zero by 2050. As part of this, the government has adopted a number of energy initiatives aimed towards securing energy efficiency measures as central pillars of its economy. Among those, the Greener Homes Grant guarantees between $125 – $5,000 worth of home-owner grants for eligible retrofits, while the Canada Greener Homes Loan promises between $5,000 – $40,000 in interest-free home owner loans on a 10-year repayment plan for eligible home improvements.
These programs are all a part of the federal government’s drive to secure energy infrastructure for homeowners, and help facilitate affordable transitions to at-home carbon reduction and energy efficiency.
As part of our platform, Lightspark can help you find what grants, loans, and programs you are eligible for when retrofitting and improving your home. Sign up today to see what money you can save on installations and home improvements.