Your family’s
heating bills are high and you suspect that there are ways for you to conserve
energy and save money. But how? Is warm air leaking out through the roof?
the windows? the doors? If only you could see what is happening! Actually,
you can. You need help from an instrument called a thermal scanner.
It measures invisible radiant heat. Then, with the help of a computer,
the scanner changes the measurement into a “picture of heat” that you can
see on a video screen. This process is called thermography. It helps
show where heat is being lost from a home. Thermographs have been used
too show that homes can lose heat energy in many ways. Both the federal
and provincial governments have programs that encourage construction practices
that reduce this heat transfer and energy loss.

Saving Heat


Source of heat loss
walls and roof Increase the amount of insulation in the basement walls, the roof,
and .the exterior walls
air leakage Use a sealed air/vapour barrier to reduce air leakage and the buildup
of moisture. The barrier is made of plastic and is placed on the inside
of the walls.
windows and doors Install windows that are wither double- or triple-glazed, or use storm
windows. Use doors that are made from good insulating materials or use
a double-door system. Ensure that all windows and doors have tight weather
lack of exposure to sunlight Whenever possible, face the home toward the Sun (east-west, with a
southern exposure) and use special designs to take advantage of solar energy.
Use a screen of trees to protect the north side of the home from cold winds.

The Cost of Saving

None of these additions to the construction of a home come
for free. Each energy-saving feature that is added to a home makes it more
expensive than a home that does not have the feature. Many people cannot
afford a home with all of these features. And some people think that not
all the features are necessary, or that they cost more than they save.

The Cost of Not Saving

We know that in Canada’s cold climate, we must have heat for
our homes. But we also know that when we burn fuels, we add carbon dioxide
to the atmosphere and we are using up a nonrenewable resource.


Self Check
1. What are the advantages of including heat-conservation features
in a home?
2. a) How does each feature help save energy? 

    b) How does each feature add more to the
cost of a home?
3. Why do we need to conserve energy? 



Try This
Proposal: All new homes constructed in our community
must be built using all of the latest energy-saving features.

  • We waste too much energy, especially heat energy, in our homes. We are
    also using up precious fossil fuels. Better insulation would reduce heat
    loss and the amount of fuel used in heating homes.
  • Although the homes will cost more initially, they will save money in the
    long run through lower energy expenses.

  • We already have good building standards. By adding more, all we do is increase
    the cost of a new home, making it too expensive for most people.
  • Energy-conserving homes take a good idea and go too far with it. Although
    there is a need to conserve energy, there are other less costly ways to
    do so, such as turning off lights when they are not needed.
.What Do You Think? 

  • Are you in favour of allowing only energy-conserving homes to be built
    in your community? Would you favour some of the energy-conserving features,
    but not others? Why or why not? Research the topic thoroughly and prepare
    for a class discussion.
Journal Entry: During the preparation for the debate,
did your concern for the environment affect your decision in any way? Explain
your answers.