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Three of Guelph's most energy efficient homes

eMERGE event showcases three homes
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This home at 49 Caledonia St. in Guelph's Old University district is considered one of the most energy-efficient in the city. (Rob O'Flanagan/GuelphToday)

There is a lot more to 49 Caledonia St. than its tasteful, sophisticated exterior might suggest. It has also been deemed one of Guelph’s most energy efficient homes. You have a chance this Saturday to see just how efficient it is.  

The beautiful home in the city’s Old University neighbourhood is among three that will be featured this Saturday during an eMERGE Guelph Sustainability event that showcases homes with alternative energy systems and building methods, and highly efficient water systems.

Part of the province-wide Green Energy Doors Open, the eMERGEEfficient Homes event goes Saturday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The other two homes on the tour are historic 40 Spring St., built in 1869 but retrofitted in recent times, and 197 Goodwin Dr., a new Reid’s Net-Zero Home. This is the first year for the event.

During the showcase, all three homes will be open to the public, with hosts on hand to explain the efficient measures in place, how and why they work so well. Each visit is a one-hour in-home consultation on saving money and reducing pollution.

EMERGE helps people save money by reducing their home’s negative impact on the environment.  Visit to learn more.

Steve Yessie is eMERGE’s home tune-up advisor. He said energy efficient homes look about the same as any other home, only with some hidden features that reduce energy and water consumption.

Whether the structure is very old or much newer, energy efficiency is always possibility. Investing in energy-saving measures cuts down on heating and cooling costs, and water consumption. Money is saved in the long run.

“We’ve heard a lot about energy efficient becoming more of a thing in general, across the board,” said Yessie in an interview. “It means a lot of different things to different people, but what we want to do is focus their vision as they come around to the houses, and point out to people that an energy efficient house is not some technical marvel.”

Instead, any house can become much more energy efficient, given the proper retrofits and inputs.

The foremost worry on the minds of homeowners interested in energy efficient renovations is the costs involved, he said. A total makeover of the home is not necessary, however. Improvements to insulation, especially in the attic, can have major impacts on efficiency.

He said the historic 40 Spring St. home has seen its energy bill drop from over $3,500 annually, to $700.

“Whenever we’re in homes we always say the attic is probably the best place to start,” he said. “It’s easy enough to get to, and it will make a difference.”

Before tearing down walls, make sure the work and the costs fit with your lifestyle and budget, he added.

Visitors are welcome to visit the three homes throughout the day on Saturday.