Increasing the Energy Efficiency of Low-Income Homes in Tantramar

Project Summary

Emissions inventories done in Sackville, Port Elgin and Dorchester New Brunswick in 2011 showed that emissions from residential buildings were 29%, 27% and 42% of total community emissions, respectively. These amounts represent the largest proportions of emissions in Port Elgin and Dorchester and the second largest in Sackville (after commercial emissions). There is a need to make homes in the region more energy efficient in order to decrease emissions and reduce human-caused climate change. As a result of EOS’s summer 2015 survey on climate change and energy issues in Tantramar, as well as numerous workshop evaluations, we know our region needs three things in order to save energy: more education, practical skills, and help with the costs involved. This project addressed these issues with two components: (1) direct retrofit installs of energy saving household items; and (2) by testing draft-proofing work parties through a pilot program. Priority was given to low-income residents across Tantramar. This report summarizes the project goals, methodology, activities and results. It concludes with recommendations for next steps to further increase energy efficiency and reduce emissions in Tantramar.

The goals of the project were to: (1) increase awareness and understanding of the importance of energy efficiency and draft-proofing; (2) increase practical draft-proofing skills; (3) increase energy efficiency of homes in Tantramar; (4) decrease leaks and reduce emissions; (5) build community and increase inclusion of a wider segment of our local population in taking actions to fight climate change; and (6) help low-income residents save money on energy and heating costs.

The methodology for this project involved two parts – (1) the direct install of LEDs, high efficiency shower heads and hot water pipe wrap; and (2) draft-proofing parties. Both activities were for low-income residents in the Tantramar area of New Brunswick and involved a number of partnerships as outlined further in the report. NB Power provided the materials for the direct installs, and EOS promoted the project and obtained participants. EOS installed the items and tracked results. 30,000kwh hours and 8.7 tonnes of emissions are now being reduced annually.

EOS staff about to install LEDs, hot water pipe wrap and shower heads in low-income homes across Tantramar.

EOS then partnered with certified home energy advisors with Enercheck Solutions to conduct draft-proofing work parties as a pilot program. EOS promoted the project and selected three applicants. Homeowners and party guests learned where to look for air leaks, which ones are most important to seal, and how to do the work. The three homes are now much more comfortable and the homeowners are saving a total of 12.9 tonnes of carbon emissions annually. A total of 21.6 tonnes of emissions are being saved annually now due to this project.


Certified energy advisor shows draft-proofing party guests how a blower door unit works.

It is recommended that the direct install program be replicated across the province. Furthermore, the draft-proofing work parties should be developed into a full program including offering draft-proofing work parties for community buildings. Emissions reduction and climate change can be addressed in a positive way when people come together to help each other build skills and community.

Read the final report here:

EOS Efficiency Final Report March 2017


EOS Eco-Energy wishes to thank and acknowledge the following groups and individuals for their support and assistance with the project. First, we want to thank local residents who asked EOS to develop programs for low-income residents and Rob Robichaud, residential energy advisor with NB Power, for help developing the retrofit installs project. NB Power donated $15,000 worth of materials. Westmorland-Albert Community Inclusion Network and the Economic and Social Inclusion Corporation, as well as the Mount Allison Students Union’s Green Investment Fund provided funding for the project. Dylan Wooley-Berry, EOS summer student, worked long hours installing LEDs, shower heads and hot water pipe during summer 2016. Payzant’s Home Hardware in Sackville, NB donated materials for the draft-proofing work parties. Enercheck Solutions partnered with EOS and taught staff and homeowners about draft-proofing. CBC New Brunswick broadcast the first party and helped to promote it across the province. After hearing the CBC story, Royal LePage Atlantic sponsored the third party party, covered the cost of air sealing materials and provided a crew of 10 agents to help at the party. Finally, a big thank you to all of the homeowners who welcomed us into their homes and to their guests who helped them save energy, reduce emissions and save money.