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I just returned from the first day of meetings with educators from around the world, and met two folk from Quebec.  They asked about what an energy specialist does and when I described as best as good (as French being his primary language) the range of education the translated question was “do you insulate or do solar panels?”

It brings up the difference between retaining space heat and generating/distributing heat (as well as the difference of providing technical assistance and referrals versus doing installations).  The cost of each (retaining vs. generating) relies to a good extent on overhead fixed costs for materials or equipment.  Yet everyone in the business pretty much agrees that the ‘low lying fruit’ of investment and effort should first be put into insulation and heat retention before even deciding what form of generation (or distribution) you should take on.

In cases where there is hydro (such as Montreal, thus providing electricity at $.09 a kilowatt hour) the cost put into further insulation will not have great an advantage as putting in a new, more efficient heating system but it will most likely still be the biggest bang for your buck to insulate first. (And of course the cost of fuel- local or imported- plays into the amount which generation will top insulation improvements).  What was your bill the last quarter of Sept. 1 2016 to Dec. 31 2016? What R insulation do you have in your attic, walls and floor?  Have you had any weatherization blower door test to see how secure your vapor barrier is? Or have you ever had an infra-red gun analysis of the exterior of your home?  These would be good things to look up before getting through the next quarter (ending April 30, 2017)!