Renovation Rules

Renovation Rules

Summer is here and the time is right for doing all kinds of renovations. The best time to improve the efficiency of your home is when you are doing renovations. I was recently at a presentation by Rob Dumont (who is one of my energy heroes!) and Frank Dietz. To wrap up their presentation, Rob talked about Richard’s Rules of Retrofit with Robert’s revisions. Here they are with my commentary.

I would like to add (from recent experience)—always make sure your contractor knows you want high efficiency equipment.


1. The best way to save energy is to turn a device off (ie: lights, TVs, computers, compressors, etc.).

2. If a device is on 24 hours a day, ask why and consider a motion sensor.

3. Efficient fixtures can be as important as efficient lamps in reducing consumption.

4. Make sure all appliances are Energy Star Tier III for best efficiency.

5. Any electric motor that is on 24 hours/day should be of the highest efficiency. This would be in things like your heat recovery ventilator and your furnace.

6. Don’t forget that in addition to savings in energy costs, more efficient lamps generally last longer. Higher efficiency motors tend to last longer as they run cooler.


1. If the pipe is hot to touch, insulate the pipe. The safety hazard and heat loss will be reduced. Check out the pipes around your water heater.


Cold Water Use

1. Toilets are usually the single largest indoor water users. Any more than three or four litres per flush is too much. (Older toilets used as much as 22 litres per flush, the new standard is 6 litres.)

2. Shower heads should use less than 7.6 litres of water/minute (Two US gallons/minute). Check the WaterSense web site for suitable models.

3. Faucet aerators are very costeffective. They are like low-flow showerheads for your taps, and are available in a variety of flow rates, down to 1.9 litres/minute. For the kitchen you can get aerators that allow full flow for filling pots and sinks, and aerated flow for rinsing hands and dishes.

4. Exterior landscaping water use should be minimized using timers and rain sensors on sprinklers. Any new vegetation should be native plant materials with minimal water requirements.

5. Energy Star Tier III clothes washers and dishwashers should be selected when equipment is replaced.

Hot Water Use

1. Use Energy Star Tier III dishwashers and clothes washers. Front loading clothes washers are preferred. They use less water and have higher spin speeds, so clothes need less drying.

2. Low flow shower heads and faucet aerators save both cold and hot water. Check the EPA WaterSense Web Site for suitable models of water efficient devices.


Richard’s Retrofit Rules. Canterbury Energy Engineering, LLC.

Case Study: Natural Gas, Electricity and Water Retrofit of Monticello Condominium, Saskatoon. Frank Deitz and Rob Dumont, EMTF Presentation March 5, 2014. Presentations.

angie smallAngie manages energy conservation projects for the Saskatchewan Environmental Society, and is an active member of McClure United Church. You can contact her at

“The earth is the Lord’s and all that is in it, the world, and those who live in it.” (Psalm 24:1)