As you can imagine, running a business while living in an 108 year old home means that there is always a project to be worked on. I say we joke about how the list of priorities is always being re-arranged, but it’s actually the truth. We’ll think we’re going to tackle one project, and another will come up which becomes the top priority. Because the past two years were so busy while both of us were teaching, a number of little jobs that need to be done have piled up; however, our top priority has become saving energy.
This big, old, home is beautiful, but not energy-efficient. We have original cast iron radiators that throw wonderful heat in winter, but the water that runs through them is heated with oil. As is the hot water we consume. You can just imagine – using oil to heat the water used for six family members to bathe/shower, plus three rooms’ worth of guests, plus all the laundry we do each day, plus the water that needs to be heated for the radiators. Did I mention that an energy audit concluded that the draft in our home with four fireplaces & poor insulation is the equivalent of a two square foot hole in the side of our house? And we don’t want our guests to feel cold? (Family? Sure. Guests? No.)
The result? We burn approximately 8000 Litres of oil each year.
Oil this year has cost $1.10/Litre – before tax.
Starting next month, we’ll be performing some big renovations: installing a new roof, adding insulation in the basement & exterior walls, and installing two new solar collector panels to pre-heat our hot water. We’ve been told that we may be able to reduce our yearly oil consumption by up to 75% as a result.
We have a short window of opportunity to get the work accomplished, because we’ll (obviously) have to close out the B&B while much of the work is being performed. Since our tourist season is quickly approaching, we’re scheduling workers around our guests who have already booked, hoping to cause the least amount of disruption. The next two weeks are quite busy here due to the Truro Music Festival, a Bridge tournament, and the Colchester Home Show, so we’ve got the work scheduled to begin in early May. While the work is being done, we’ll also be painting fences, replacing worn doorsteps, and doing the other small jobs that need to be done.
My goal is to have the B&B ready-to-go by the time the Tourism Industry Association of Nova Scotia (TIANS) Annual General Meeting is held in Truro on May 24th & 25th.
We’ll keep you posted…