Energy efficiency and conservation are the first and most important steps to clean, green energy. Falls Brook Centre aims to promote energy efficiency throughout all aspects of life. FBC’s strategy is to reduce future investment costs in new electricity generation infrastructure and reduce reliance on fossil fuel energy by integrating energy efficiency measures into all on-site infrastructure.
FBC has performed a major upgrade of its main building to increase its energy efficiency rating. The overall efficiency of the building has been increased through the installation of improved insulation, with future upgrades planned for the walls, windows, and water fixtures. All aspects of this work have been and will be documented and made available to the public as an educational opportunity! FBC’s renovated main building will serve as a living demonstration of our energy efficiency program area.
FBC is also developing an energy efficiency strategy and strives to ensure that any appliances used on site rate as high as possible on the energy efficiency scale by choosing ENERGY STAR® rated appliances or equivalent.
In October of 2013, FBC moved to a new location in Glassville, NB. FBC’s new site features a a beautiful old farm house that serves as its main office. Like many other homes and buildings in the area, the office is in need of restoration and TLC to increase its level of energy efficiency.
Throughout the project, FBC will participate in NB Power’s Home Insulation Energy Savings Program to access grants to improve the insulation levels and air sealing in the farm house. FBC will perform a series of necessary upgrades to bring the building up to reasonable energy efficiency standards. Throughout the process, workshops will be given and all stages of the upgrade will be documented here. At the end of the process, FBC will produce a simple guide to arm homeowners with the information they need to access grants and perform energy efficient upgrades to their own home.
A representative from NB Power came to Falls Brook Centre to perform a pre-upgrade evaluation for the Home Insulation Energy Savings Program. He performed a short walk-around of the building, making note of the wall and window sizes and locations, the current insulation type, and specific areas that may contribute to heat loss (such as attics, basements, and windows). Following the walk around, he sat down with us to give us his recommendations on how to proceed with insulating the office, based on the data he had collected.
The next check was to investigate the air sealing in the house. All of the windows in the office were shut, and a fan was placed over the door which created a negative pressure difference between the office and the outside. By walking next to the windows and doors, the locations for drafts in the house could be found! Similarly to the insulation, the auditor provided us with his recommendations on how to best deal with reducing the air leakage in the house.
The cost of the initial energy audit was $210, which provided us with recommendations for insulating and air sealing the office, as well as a report (which will be arriving in the upcoming weeks) which will contain all of the office’s data recorded by the auditor. The Program Guidelines show the cost savings associated with new insulation and better air sealing.
In total, the initial energy audit took around two and a half hours to complete. The next step for us is waiting to receive the report from NB Power so we can plan our energy efficiency upgrades for the office!
Our Renewable Energy Coordinator spent a frosty day at our demonstration site to plan out the retrofits with our contractors!
After receiving NB Power’s recommendations, we hired contractors John Bell and Andy DeMerchant to install some much-needed fiberglass insulation in our basement and attic. The basement’s bare concrete walls were framed with 2x4s, then layered with R20 fiberglass batts and a vapour barrier. Finally, they were covered with plywood, for a functional basement space! Extruded polystyrene was installed in the header space, as a cost-effective and space-saving way to keep the first floor toasty warm.
Our attic’s sloped ceilings already had an insulation rating of R20, but we decided (on NB Power’s recommendation) to install more insulation to bring the overall thermal resistance rating up to R60.
Now, we just need a representative from NB Power to perform our post-evaluation, so that we can reap the benefits of this great program.
You can read more about the retrofitting process in our blog post.