Are You "Energy Staging" Your Home?

It's Open House season, and with home audits and energy taxes on the horizon, you want to be thinking green when staging your home for sale. Why focus just on a new coat of paint and sofa reupholster - when you could do something to help put "eco" into "economy" (and keep the list price of your home as high as possible.)

The popular practice of "home staging" is all the rage on TV design shows, real estate blogs, and even a formal profession of accredited home stagers.

"Eco Staging" is the next generation of the practice: making environmentally-friendly choices when staging your home, to create a largely visual advantage in selling against other properties, such as natural fabrics in your furnishings, replacing faux flowers with fresh-cut bouquets, using chemical-free cleaners in the home.

In May 2008, the National Association of Realtors published a report wherein 9 out of 10 realtors said buyers are looking for green features, and that interest would continue to rise.

The next iteration - beyond eco-staging - is known as "Energy Staging" in some circles (mostly in the US at this point). Energy staging is what we are turning our more sober attention to these days at CENTURY 21 Canada: Helping to save the planet and save homebuyers money.

Location, Price, Energy Efficiencies

Energy staging describes the practice of first assessing, then addressing the energy efficiencies throughout your home - from basement to attic, large appliances to insulation, light fixtures and other everyday savings.

How one's home measures up in relation to energy conservation is growing in urgency to Canadian consumers. According to a recent report by OraclePoll Research, energy efficiencies is the most important feature desired by homebuyers - after price and location.

You might find it useful to work with a "green broker" who has knowledge of sustainability, green features and practices, energy and water efficiencies and conservation, and grants and tax credits available to finance eco-friendly repairs and upgrades.

Drafty Older Home Undergoes an Audit

A colleague of mine owns a 60-year-old brick home that has the original windows and doors (and the drafts to prove it!). Her husband recently called an Ontario non-profit company - certified by the government as "energy advisers" - to schedule an energy audit of their home, at a cost of $325 (the Ontario government will pay them back $150.)

The auditors will provide my friends a report that details all the government rebates and incentives available to do the work required. To actually receive the cash rebates, they need a follow-up audit by the professional advisers again after the upgrades are completed.

A program run by Natural Resources Canada program— called EcoENERGY Retrofit for Energy Efficiency - provides grants of up to $5,000 for Canadian home owners seeking to maximize the energy efficiency of their home.

The grant is per address so it benefits the seller and the buyer by identifying the energy leaks in the house and providing the seller and homebuyer a window of time to retrofit to qualify for reimbursement. A seller would also be aware of the program for any property they purchased.

In this video, CTV goes into detail on Home Energy Audits, and the kind of savings you can rack up while you save the planet.


  1. Brenda King 05/26/2009 at 10:28 AM

    Just a quick comment - the grants available are not "up to $5000.00" but actually are considerably more than that. I just did the insulation in a 60 year old home and actually received $6,800.00 and that was just insulation - not windows, doors, furnace. The numbers that they are giving in the video, are simply the Federal Government amounts. They have not indicated that the Provincial Government actually matches that amount. Also, you do not need receipts necessarily as long as the auditor can see that the work has been done and to what degree. If you do the maximum required by the government, you get the maximum grant available - no matter the cost. I actually received more by way of grant than what I paid for the work. The auditor actually does all the paperwork for you. I had the audit and work done in November and received all of my grant funds prior to the end of April - a no brainer from where I sit. Very very happy with the result as well - fuel savings - 50% this winter!

  2. Don Lawby 06/02/2009 at 8:19 PM

    Thanks, Brenda, for making this good news story even better by including more savings than we reported on. Good for you - you improved an older home, helped the environment and saved yourself many thousands of dollars!

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