Winterization: At Cascades Like at Home

Preparing your home for cold winter weather will help you reduce your energy consumption.

In northern regions, life revolves around the changing seasons, and winter is upon us. Some of us dread having to bundle up before braving the cold, but many underestimate the arrival of cold weather and the preparation it requires.

Winterizing your property is very important if you want to control temperatures and avoid unnecessary costs during the winter season. As the diagram below shows, approximately 65% of energy consumption goes to heating your house in cold weather. Heat loss has a significant impact on your energy bill.

 

Here are some tips for winterizing your home:

1. Turning down the temperature setting on your thermostats a few degrees at night and when you’re not at home can save between 5% and 15% on your heating bill.[1]

2. Leaving the blinds open during the day to let the light in helps heat the house, and closing them at night creates an extra layer of insulation.

3. To prevent heat from escaping, it’s important to make sure your windows and doors are well insulated. In addition, check for spots where the cold could seep in, such as cracks, electrical outlets and ceiling lights.

4. Finally, try to avoid the overuse of exhaust fans in the kitchen and bathroom to minimize the amount of heat you let out.

What about at Cascades?

Now, all of this preparation needs to be done at the plant, too! Just like our homes, Cascades units feel the impact of winter conditions. Our total energy consumption in the winter is about 7% higher than in the summer, which translates into additional costs of more than $3 million. Fortunately, there are different things we can do at the plant to help control additional costs related to cold temperatures.

In addition to making sure that the heating systems are well maintained, it is important to ensure that all thermostats are in good working order and have been set appropriately. The steam traps need to be inspected in order to prevent the heating elements from freezing or even cracking, and the filters should be inspected to ensure that an adequate flow is maintained.

To avoid heat loss, check that the insulation is still effective and, if it isn’t, add more. It’s a good idea to make sure that all windows and doors are closed and the weatherstripping is tight.

Along the same lines, you can also save energy by turning off unnecessary exhaust systems leading to the outside, reducing the number of air changes per hour, and closing or covering any air intakes that aren’t required for optimal operations.

These small gestures all add up to help minimize the impact of winter and the associated costs, both at home and at the plant. After all, energy efficiency pays!

PHOTO SOURCE: coutsenergie.aee.gouv.qc.ca


[1] cmhc-schl.gc.ca

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About the Author
Cynthia Marchand

Cynthia Marchand is an intern at Cascades Energy Action Group (GIE). She is currently a student in Biotechnological Engineering at the Université de Sherbrooke. Why did she choose GIE? “GIE is giving me the opportunity to expand my knowledge about energy efficiency, which I think is really important in an industrial setting. People tend to underestimate how much you can save, since the cost of energy is an important contributor to a plant’s operating costs.” With the experience she gains at GIE, Cynthia hopes to play a key role in her future profession by sharing her passion for energy efficiency.

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1 comment
  1. Pipe Winterization at 9:51 am

    Hey Cynthia. Interactive and very thoughtful tips on winterization. Preparing your home for cold winter weather will help you reduce your energy consumption. Completely agree. Pipe insulation is very important in the season of winter. If everyone takes few precaution before starting winter season then winter will be very enjoyable..

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