Challenge Accepted! 

For ten weeks this fall, Canadian Geographic magazine challenged five families across the country to Live Net Zero. They went head to head, tackling everything from cutting commuting carbon to making their homes as energy efficient as possible.

Each family got help from a team of experts, and that’s where we came in. Capture Energy worked with the Leung family from Vancouver on the “Home Envelope Challenge.” Nancy and John and their two teenagers live in a 1930s home and our goal was to figure out where exactly their house was losing heat.

blower door test

The first order of business was a walk-through and blower door test to see where the opportunities were for air sealing.

The Leung Family

The Leung family.

Not only does tightening your home envelope make your house more comfortable to live in, but it’s more energy efficient, which saves your money and helps the environment too.

From the attic to the basement, we looked at every bit of the Leung’s home to find out where the warm air was escaping and the cold air was sneaking in.

One place you may not think about air leakage is in the basement. A lot of times there are old vents and crawlspaces that haven’t been sealed. For any unfinished walls, make sure they are insulated and then use an air barrier before putting up drywall to keep your home nice and cozy.

Thermal imaging camera

Besides the blower door test, we also use a thermal imaging camera so that we can actually “see” the airflow and any moisture damage.

It tells us how well different materials are conducting heat and also if insulation is missing in a wall or ceiling. We can even spot if there’s a water leak because water retains heat much longer than surrounding surfaces.

It turned out that one of the biggest areas they were losing heat was through their old single-pane windows. Nearly 30% of their heat was
literally going straight out the window.

So to fix the problem, they called in the window experts at Centra Windows to have a chat. And since they are the experts, we asked our friends at Centra about how windows can help the Leungs and all of us live net zero.

“When it comes to limiting energy usage in your home, heating and cooling will be an even bigger factor as more extreme swings in temperature become common. Cutting the need to regulate temperature as much as possible is one of the best ways to deal with this. High-performance, energy-efficient windows and doors are an integral part of improving the home’s envelope and its overall ability to retain or deflect heat when needed. New window technology, low emissivity coatings, multi-chamber frames, and hiring experienced installers all make a major difference, cutting down on energy consumption and keeping homes comfortable all year round. The Leung family recognized this on their net zero journey, and Centra Windows is very excited to be part of their fantastic project.”

This entire journey was a lot of fun and we can’t wait to see how it all turns out. The winning family will get a brand new electric vehicle. Canadian Geographic Magazine will announce the winner soon, so stay tuned!

Leung family nat geo challenge

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