June 28 2019, 14:14 PM
Summer can be the perfect time for home renovations and energy efficiency should be top of mind. Our Total Home Energy Savings Program can help. Big or small- a renovation can make a big impact on the look, comfort and even value of your home. But where should you start? We’ve asked our in-house building expert, Lauren Lipka for his top tips to help make your renovation a success.
Start with a plan
Sounds simple- but a little bit of planning can go a long way to making your renovation a success. Write down your goals, what your needs are and include a wish list or Pinterest inspiration board. That all-white kitchen, though stunning, might not be the right fit if you like to cook big meals or have young kids.
From his years of building experience with the Canadian Home Builders Association, Lauren says that your renovation goals should reflect how you live day-to-day. You’ll want to factor in things like how people move through, and use the space you’re renovating. You’ll want to make sure your goals and plan fit into your budget.
Find your perfect contractors
Whether it’s a big or small renovation, a reputable contractor can help make sure the job is done right; under your budget and help you navigate and get any needed permits. Home renovations can come with lots of surprises. A reputable contractor can help you make the best calls when an unexpected expense or issue pops up mid-reno. They also know the ins and outs of local and National building codes and can ensure your renovation is done the right way to help keep you safe. Great contractors have a track record of satisfied customers and can provide you with customer references upon request. We encourage customers to obtain three quotes and references prior to selecting a contractor.
Make Your Home Energy Efficient
Want a renovation that puts money back in your pocket? Consider how you can build efficiency into your plan. Upgrading appliances? Look for the ENERGY STAR® certified label. Redoing your kitchen? Opt for LED lighting to brighten up your cooking space.
If you’re doing a major remodel, Lauren recommends having a certified Energy Advisor come and do an evaluation of your home through the Total Home Energy Savings Program. These evaluations show you where heat or cool air are leaking from your home. Energy Advisors will recommend upgrades that help improve your home’s envelope to keep your heating or cooling inside where it belongs. This keeps you and your family more comfortable year round. Plus, when you’re not heating the outdoors, it’s good for your wallet too. Check out this video to see what else is involved in an energy evaluation.
Make Your Home Healthier
What better outcome from a renovation than to have a healthy, comfortable home for you and your family? This can be of even bigger benefit if someone in your home suffers from allergies, asthma or other health conditions. Consider ENERGY STAR certified air exchangers, dehumidifiers or heat pumps when doing your renovation. They’ll not only make the air in your home cleaner, but they’ll help save you money in the long run too.
Did you know there are lots of products on the market that are sustainably made or environmentally friendly? From lumber to flooring, there are many ways you can green up your renovation. Cork flooring is one flooring option that’s a sustainable choice. Consider natural stone for counter tops for a sleek, yet environmentally friendly option. Roof shingles made from recycled plastic, sustainably certified lumber and composite beams are all great options as well. Check with your contractor or local renovation store for the best green options near you.
What is your biggest renovation lesson? Tell us about it in the comments below!
June 17 2019, 11:48 AM
Building a smarter grid
As the energy industry continues to transform and diversify, New Brunswickers will have more choices on how they use energy to power their lives. Customer expectations are changing. To keep pace, we are changing too.
Today, we are building the power grid we need tomorrow - a modern digital energy network that will:
- give New Brunswickers more options for saving money, time and electricity
- communicate with us so we can respond to outages more quickly
- connect with renewable energy sources
The electricity grid is a complex system with one important job: to deliver safe, reliable electricity from power plants across New Brunswick to our customers’ homes and businesses. A modern grid is smarter, cleaner, more resilient and efficient.
What a smarter grid means for you
In the future, you may want to do more than use electricity. You may want to produce it and save it for later, like during a power outage. Or maybe you want it to play a different role in your life, not only at home but on the road.
You’ll have more choices and opportunities in the future for how you use energy.
Smart meters and the grid
Smart meters are one step on the journey to a smarter grid. A smart meter looks similar to our current meter. What makes it different is that it allows two-way communication, over a secure network, giving New Brunswickers the information they need to see and manage their energy use.
Picture this- you’re sitting at home catching up on your favorite TV show, and a lost signal message pops up on your screen. In many cases, before you even have a chance to grab your phone and call your provider, your favorite show is back up and running.
When you lose signal, your cable box sends a signal to your service provider to let them know about the issue. With current technologies, they can send a signal back to your box to try to diagnose the problem. Smart meters enable a similar two-way communication.
Utilities with this feature are seeing improved reliability and restoration speed. Their customers appreciate the added convenience.
Let’s look at some of the other benefits of smart meters:
- Knowledge is power
Your online access to detailed energy information will help you make informed usage decisions.
- Save with high bill alerts
You will be able to set up alerts to let you know when your energy use goes up and get tips on how to lower it so you can stay on budget.
- Quicker service
Smart meters enable us to remotely connect and reconnect service to your home so you get quicker service at a time that’s convenient for you.
- Faster power restoration
In many cases, smart meters will send notices to NB Power when the power is out. This allows us to start the restoration as quickly as possible so we can get the power back on faster.
- Greener operations
NB Power can do more work remotely and that means fewer visits and lower carbon emissions.
Meet Sue and Martin Brannon
Here’s a real life example of a couple who are seeing first-hand the benefits of smart meters.
Sue and Martin Brannon were born and raised in New Brunswick, but now share their time between New Brunswick and Florida. They have a smart meter in their home in Florida, which allows them to check their usage, set up bill alerts and receive notices if their power goes out from their home right here in New Brunswick.
June 10 2019, 08:29 AM
Ross Horgan has packed a lot of experience into his 12 years in the nuclear industry.
He graduated from the Electrical Engineering Technology Program at NBCC in 2007, and started working at the Point Lepreau Nuclear Generating Station later that year as an Electrical Instrumentation & Control Maintainer.
“During my first month on-site I believe some station personnel legitimately thought I was a lost student from Take Our Kids to Work Day,” said Ross. “I took pride in joining the NB Power team and was determined to conduct high-quality maintenance on the digital control computers and plant data logging computers for the reactor. Before my employment with NB Power, I had experience maintaining similar systems, but never in the nuclear industry where each individual learns the unique responsibility inherent with using nuclear technology.”
After becoming a Performance Improvement Coordinator at Point Lepreau in 2015, Ross had the opportunity to learn about the major role the World Association of Nuclear Operators (WANO) plays in the industry. He said it was an eye-opening experience working with the organization on ways to leverage other stations’ lessons learned to help here at home in New Brunswick.
In 2017, Ross had the opportunity to be one of PLNGS’s Host Peers for the WANO Peer Review. Peer reviews help members compare themselves against standards of excellence through an in-depth, objective review of their operations. As a Host Peer, Ross was a member of the evaluation team consisting of international nuclear leaders. This experience gave Ross a new goal for his career- to become an industry leader in nuclear safety.
Last fall, he took another step toward that goal when he was selected as the Young Generation Coordinator for the World Association of Nuclear Operators (WANO) from applicants all over the world. This 18-month secondment involves Ross spending half his time in his role at Point Lepreau, and half working remotely for WANO. This includes travelling worldwide representing and financed by the WANO London office.
As part of this new journey, Ross is focused on improvement initiatives for WANO Young Generation which allows nuclear industry leaders to engage the next generation of nuclear workers.
“I work with the Young Generation in nuclear to ensure they’re aware of the benefits of taking on positions and special projects that develop needed competencies to broaden their understanding of the varied roles and responsibilities within their respective organisations,” said Ross. “Through working with a variety of managers who serve as role models in my professional development I’ve been able to accomplish my career aspirations. It’s beneficial to young generation members to be aware of the professional development opportunities WANO provides.”
For Ross, one of the highlights of this experience so far was the 2019 WANO Young Generation Exchange Assembly he organized and hosted in February. The four-day international conference was based in Paris, France, and included a tour of the Gösgen Nuclear Power Plant in Switzerland. Leadership development opportunities, a look-ahead to nuclear power in 2050 and a discussion on how to engage the next generation were all aspects of the four days involving 20 representatives from Stations in Canada, United States, South Korea, Japan, Armenia, US, Russia, India and United Kingdom.
This summer, Ross will also be a speaker at the Canadian Nuclear Society’s annual conference. He will also moderate a roundtable discussion in Obninsk, Russia at the 65th anniversary of the commissioning for the first grid- connected nuclear power plant in the world.
Mark Power, Point Lepreau Station Director, says that this partnership with WANO not only benefits Ross in his development as a leader, but it is an excellent industry networking opportunity for Point Lepreau.
“We are so proud to have Ross representing Point Lepreau and advocating for the younger generation of the nuclear workforce,” says Mark. “Ross has demonstrated his passion and leadership at our Station for years, so it’s exciting for him to have the opportunity to develop and grow at the international level. Our Station is benefitting from his experience which will assist us as we continue our journey toward Excellence.”