Regional Reports / Canada

Study Uncovers Savings Opportunities on Summer Cooling Bills

According to a recent study conducted by the University of Toronto for Direct Energy, 64 per cent of Canadian homeowners who use air conditioning set their thermostats at 22°C or lower. While maintaining their thermostats at frosty levels, 48 percent of those homeowners surveyed admitted they do not know how much energy they consume.

“It’s clear Canadians can do far more to make their homes and energy usage patterns more efficient,” said study lead Dr. Kim Pressnail, associate professor of civil engineering at the University of Toronto. The research found that homeowners could potentially save as much as $693 on their annual energy bills by making the following three changes:

• Increasing the thermostat from 22° to 24° during the summer months can save up to $253 on the annual energy bill;

• Topping up the insulation in an attic can save up to $75 on the annual energy bill. Boosting insulation levels in the basement can result in additional savings of as much as $120; and

• Sealing air leaks around the baseboards and attic hatch, caulking drafty windows, and air sealing along the basement headers can result in a savings of up to $245 in energy costs.

Additional findings from the survey reveal that many Canadian homeowners (47 percent) don’t know what they’re paying for electricity per month. The survey also showed that:

• Seventy-seven percent of Canadian homeowners are unaware that their central heating and cooling system is the biggest energy user in their home;

• Twenty percent of Canadian homeowners said that they set their thermostat at a chilly 19° or lower, while another 30 percent set their thermostat between 20-22°;

• Fifteen percent of Canadian homeowners don’t know how much electricity they consume per month, but do not care how much they consume; and

• Only 12 percent of Canadian homeowners plan to get rid of old appliances that could be upgraded to more efficient ones.

The survey was conducted online from May 4-6, 2011, among a randomly selected, representative sample of 2,010 Canadian adults who are Angus Reid Forum panel members. The margin of error is ±2.2 percent.

Publication date: 07/25/2011

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