Sustainable building expert and CoPower Green Bond investor Jup Bhasin has invested in energy efficiency at home and via his portfolio. Check out his tips for reducing your energy use and energy bill while increasing the comfort of your home.

For Jup Bhasin, an instructor of Building Science and the Environment at George Brown College in Toronto, the course material he teaches hits close to home.

Over the past nine years, he’s devoted himself to retrofitting his own century-old home in Toronto’s Junction neighbourhood. The house haemorrhaged heat, energy and dollars when he bought it in 2009. Since then he’s made impressive progress, decreasing energy consumption while increasing the comfort level, and sharing the results with his students each step of the way.

“I don’t just want to have my home’s energy come from sustainable sources,” he explained. “I actually want it to use as little energy as possible.”

 


“Enbridge actually called to see if something was wrong with my meter because I was using no natural gas...”


 

He's doing this through efficient design: With ultra-effective insulation, the right coloured roof, a heat-recovery system and a slew of other innovations, he’s cut his energy consumption by half. He’s even brought his natural gas bill down to $0 from late spring to early fall.

“Enbridge actually called to see if something was wrong with my meter because I was using no natural gas”, he said with a laugh. “Now I pay $20 just to be a customer but hardly use it.”

The house has been a labour of love for Bhasin, a LEED accredited professional. Since purchasing it nine years ago he has:

  • Upgraded his home’s insulation (“They didn’t believe in insulation when my home was built”);
  • Replaced his dark roof with a light-colour metal roof shingle which reflects heat rather than absorbs, allows snow to remain on the roof an act as a layer of insulation and allows him to harvest water for his vegetable garden;
  • Installed a solar thermal hot water system to supplement his tankless water system;
  • Put up thermal curtains to keep the temperature in a room consistent;
  • Upgrades all his lights to LED bulbs;
  • Installed low-flow shower heads;
  • Ensured his shading on the south side of his home uses passive solar design, allowing the heat from the sun to enter during the winter months but not the summer;
  • Used low VOC paint, cutting down on the number of toxic chemicals circulating in a home after a fresh coat of paint. 

“The project is still ongoing,” he said. “There is always something I want to upgrade or fix or maintain.”

Bhasin’s interest in sustainable building practices initially came from a deeply emotional connection to the earth, after spending a year travelling and reading Naomi Klein’s book, No Logo.

“I used to feel so strongly that we needed to protect Mother Earth. And while I still think that we’re doing massive damage to the other species around us, I now know that the earth itself will be fine. It’s us, humans, whose existence is threatened.”

 

Jup BhasinA light-colour metal roof reflects heat and allows Jup to harvest water for his vegetable garden in summer. In winter it allows snow to remain on the roof and act as a layer of insulation.

 

The course he teaches at the college is geared towards students enrolled in any type of building program, and covers topics ranging from the fundamentals of how air, heat and moisture move through homes to the environmental impact of the various types of materials used in construction.

“As the climate changes and weather becomes crazier all the time, it’s important to think about how we create resiliency and that starts with how we build our homes and neighbourhoods.”

 


“As the climate changes and weather becomes crazier all the time, it’s important to think about how we create resiliency and that starts with how we build our homes and neighbourhoods.”


 

He understands that not every home builder or buyer will go to the lengths that he has gone to ensure energy efficiency in their home but thinks that the financial incentives alone make the upgrades worth their while.

“Energy efficiency is a solid investment,” he explained. “My own home upgrades have given me both impressive savings, comfort and better indoor air quality, which is a complete no-brainer.

“That’s also why things like CoPower Green Bonds that invest in projects like LED retrofits in multi-unit residential buildings, where there are elevator and hallway lights left on 24/7, make total sense to me. I know the energy savings on these projects can be high as 80 percent, so it’s clear where my interest payments are coming from. I’ll put my money there - no question.”

 


“Energy efficiency is a solid investment. My own home upgrades have given me both impressive savings, comfort and better indoor air quality, which is a complete no-brainer."


 

So what should a homeowner or prospective home buyer do to maximize their home’s energy? At the very least, they should make sure their next home isn't bleeding heat or energy – both of which translate into lost dollars. Starting with a home-energy audit, they can test for air leakage, sufficient insulation and check the basement for moisture-signaling mould.

And if not for your own comfort and cost savings while you live in the home, it may be worth your while to think about energy efficiency for resale value alone, Bhasin noted. A number of studies point to “green labels” (LEED certification or Energy Star appliances, for example) as a way to increase the resale value of a home with economists at UCLA reporting that California homes sold “at an average premium of 9%” compared to similar homes from 2007 to 2012.

 

Bhasin top three recommendations for homeowners:

  1. Insulate, insulate insulate!

  2. Airseal your home and add either a Heat or Energy Recovery Ventilator.

  3. Choose fibreglass over vinyl windows since they don’t expand and contract and will last far longer.

 

Many home upgrades aren’t just good for the homeowner, but for the electricity grid itself so most provincial governments offer financial incentives to people willing to invest in making their home more efficient.

To find a list of energy efficiency incentives available in your province, check out this listing from Natural Resources Canada.

 

 

Meet CoPower's new Green Bonds, 6-year, 5% interest annually

 

Editor’s note: Jup invested in CoPower’s second Green Bond issuance (Green Bond II) in 2017. CoPower’s third issuance (Green Bond III) is now available for investment.

The client testimonial that appears on this page was solicited by CoPower and may not be representative of the views of other investors or potential investors in CoPower Green Bonds.  Please consult the CoPower Green Bond Offering Memorandum for all material information in respect of CoPower Finance Inc., CoPower Green Bonds and the terms of the offering.