Windows contest winners add efficiency to 1913 bungalow

The 1913 bungalow of the Victoria couple who won Power Smart's Windows Contest last fall. The couple installed 11 new windows in the craftsman-style home.

Rob Klovance

Christine Nykiforuk and Reece Tibbitt have added a dandy twist to the adage "Out with the old, in with the new."

The enterprising Victoria couple, winners of last fall's Power Smart Windows Contest, not only found new, energy-efficient windows that fit the character of their 1913 craftsman bungalow. They also found a way to keep the old windows out of the landfill.

"We're going to use the old windows as a mini green house — put the windows on a frame and set the frame over the soil," Christine wrote as part of the story submission that earned a prize of up to $5,000 to cover the cost of the windows upgrade. "The [old] windows are shutter windows, so they look aesthetically pleasing."

Ditto for the 11 new ENERGY STAR-rated windows, which they employed to add light to the old home – which now includes a basement suite — without sacrificing energy efficiency. The trick was to find new, single-hung vinyl windows that didn't look out of place, and they found just what they needed at Van Isle Windows.

"We were very pleased to purchase ENERGY STAR-rated windows that were also true to the character of the home," says Christine, who lists efficiency, durability and affordability as priorities in the selection of the windows. "The new basement windows allow plenty of natural light into the new suite."

Getting it right

Complicating the renovation project on the home was the arrival of the couple's first child, born last February, a month after the couple took possession of the home. But Christine and Reece's planning, which included a delayed move-in until June, made it possible to add many other energy efficiencies to their new home.

"As first time homebuyers and new parents, Reece and I intentionally bought a small home in a central neighborhood with great walkability," wrote Christine. "For us, a smaller home means we consume less energy and fewer consumer goods. We drive less because all our amenities including shops and schools are in easy walking distances."

To maximize energy efficiency, the couple started with an energy audit on the old home. They then followed up with a series of changes, including:

Christine reports that the efficient washing machine is really coming in handy, as the laundry load has increased with the couple's decision to go with cloth diapers. And the house is apparently getting noticed by the neighbours.

"The arrival of our new windows generated plenty of curiosity," she says. " We were and continue to be enthusiastic about how the look of the "new" blends seamlessly with the old while we enjoy the benefits of energy efficiency."

Rob Klovance is managing editor of