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Boost your home's energy efficiency

(NC) Aside from replacing light bulbs and buying energy-rated appliances, any homeowner that is serious about money-saving efficiency is assessing their entire house.

It's estimated that heating and cooling accounts for as much as 62 percent of a Canadian home's annual energy consumption. In many cases, the amount of air escaping from cracks and gaps in the building envelope can have a significant impact on the overall efficiency of the heating and cooling system.

Escaping air means the furnace or air-conditioner must work overtime to compensate and to maintain a comfortable living temperature. This results in high energy use and of course, high bills.

Consider the quality of the insulation. While some homeowners may think simply layering more insulation on top of existing insulation will do the trick, typically these traditional insulation types are unable to provide a thorough air seal or promote better heating and cooling efficiency. In fact, all the small gaps left behind by regular insulation materials (like fibreglass) can add up quickly.

One consideration is replacing traditional insulation with high-performance spray foam insulation, which air-seals and insulates to stop air leakage from occurring. This allows homeowners to reduce energy consumption, effectively control their indoor environments and live greener. Leading brand, Icynene explains:

When installed, spray foam insulation expands to completely seal a home's walls, floors and ceilings to prevent air leakage. Insulation experts from Icynene note that quality spray foam insulation can noticeably reduce heating and cooling costs, in some cases by up to 50 percent. More information can be found at www.icynene.com.

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