Monday November 24, 2014


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Energy efficiency make-over for Weyburn homeowners


Prairie Lightning electrician Thomas Megenbir prepares the wiring for the new furnace at a home in Weyburn as part of Sask Energy's Home Energy Legacy Program (HELP). The program is a collaborative effort of SaskEnergy, Habitat for Humanity and Magnus Insulation which helps select low-income families across the province by reducing their energy costs by receiving upgrades and improvements to their home.

Doreen was a little leery about the SaskEnergy Home Energy Legacy Program when she first heard about the information meeting in January.

"I was skeptical when I first heard about the program. I wasn't going to go to the information meeting," she said May 21, day two of her home efficiency make-over. "I was so excited when I heard they picked me. Things like this don't happen - at least not to me."

SaskEnergy, Habitat for Humanity and Magnus Insulation teamed up for the 2014 SaskEnergy Home Energy Legacy Program (HELP). The project aids selected low-income families from across the province by receiving upgrades and improvements to their homes to reduce energy costs.

"The strength of this program is that it brings together community partners and volunteers to help participating families lower their energy costs - something especially relevant following one of the coldest winters in decades," said Shannon Doka, community involvement leader at SaskEnergy.

SaskEnergy network member, B. May Plumbing and Heating will be installing ENERGY STAR qualified furnaces, water heaters, water saving toilets and programmable thermostats for the selected households.

Doreen's furnace was 65 years old and needed an upgrade. The HELP initiative removed the old furnace and replaced it with a high efficiency furnace. Installing an ENERGY STAR qualified furnace can have the greatest impact for homeowners. Space heating is the largest energy user in a home, accounting for approximately 50 per cent of a home's energy use.

"I'm not the only one out there who is in an older home. I can't thank (SaskEnergy) enough. I want to stay here. I love my old home," said Doreen.

After years of renting, Doreen purchased her first home last year. She often tells people that the home suits her. "We are both old, and we match."

Through HELP, Doreen will be receiving a high efficiency furnace, two water-saving toilets which will help improve her energy consumption and help her stay in her character home longer.

"I'm happy this is happening. I'm very fortunate. It's the best program," said Doreen.

Two other projects will take place in Weyburn through this program.

Phyllis is the third generation to own her home, which was first purchased by her grandmother in the early 1970s. She has already worked hard at saving energy by making simple improvements such as putting a timer on her block heater and using compact fluorescent lamp light bulbs. When she applied for the HELP, her furnace was on its last legs. Through HELP, Phyllis will receive a high efficiency furnace and water heater, water saving toilet and attic insulation that will help her continue to save energy in her family home.

Larry and Dawn have been foster parents for 35 years and have lived in their McTaggart home for 16 years. During that time they have completed many renovations and upgrades to make it more energy efficient. In 2007, they installed a high efficiency furnace and new water heater and the results have encouraged them to keep working on saving energy within their home. Water damage in their roof made for some expensive repairs and they had to put some of their planned upgrades on home. Through HELP, they will receive attic insulation to help further improve the efficiency of their home.

HELP was introduced in 2011 in partnership with Habitat for Humanity. Based on income criteria, selected homeowners receive up to $10,000 in home energy efficiency upgrades. Thirty-six home owners have been helped in six communities across the province.



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