Before building an energy-efficient home, ask your builder these 10 questions:
The energy efficiency of a home is measured using Natural Resources Canada’s EnerGuide Rating System (ERS). The EnerGuide Rating System determines the home’s level of energy efficiency on a scale from 1 to 100. Energy-efficient new homes rate at least 80 on the scale.
The national R-2000* Initiative, ENERGY STAR® for New Homes, Built GreenTM and LEED require homes to meet minimum EnerGuide Ratings.
Ask if your builder participates in certification programs such as R-2000, or if their homes achieve an ERS rating of 80 or higher.
Homes built with high ERS ratings generally go beyond the energy requirements of the building code. They are more energy efficient, which can translate into lower energy costs. Often, these homes offer better indoor air quality and include environmentally responsible products in their construction.
Ask your builder how much more energy efficient their homes are compared with minimum building code requirements.
Builders participating in programs such as R-2000 and ENERGY STAR for New Homes are often part of a network of trained, innovative professionals who voluntarily include the EnerGuide rating process in their home building.
The R-2000 Standard is an evolving standard that reflects more than 25 years of research and development by the Government of Canada and the home-building industry. This standard provides the foundation for technical requirements of many regional energy efficiency initiatives.
Builders using these initiatives are often committed to being industry leaders and take training to be aware of the latest developments in home-building technology.
Builders interested in improving the performance of their homes often use higher levels of insulation, incorporate passive solar energy into their designs, install high-performance heating and ventilation systems, and use thorough air sealing to improve energy efficiency and to ensure improved indoor air quality.
Your home’s energy costs will depend on a variety of factors, including the size of your family and lifestyle choices. If your builder participates in any of the programs mentioned above, he or she should be able to give you an estimate of how much energy your house will use each year. Because the living patterns of occupants vary, the estimate will be based on standard operating assumptions. You can use that information to calculate an estimate for future energy costs.
Homes account for 17 percent of all energy used in Canada. Homes with higher EnerGuide ratings work to lower that statistic because they are more energy efficient and produce fewer greenhouse gas emissions that harm our environment.
Also, environmentally conscious builders often use “green” building materials, encourage the use of energy-efficient appliances and produce less waste material during construction.
Builders that participate in programs such as R-2000 must be registered and licensed by Natural Resources Canada (NRCan). This enables NRCan to monitor builder certifications, training and marketing initiatives, and to perform quality assurance reviews. Builders that voluntarily participate in these programs are proud of their achievements and are open to explaining the features of their homes that will benefit you.
Homes built under the national R-2000 Initiative, ENERGY STAR for New Homes, or rated using the EnerGuide Rating System will receive an official label and certification.
These labels contain contact information, specify the initiative under which the house was built and can help with resale because prospective buyers can see proof of an independent endorsement of your home’s energy efficiency.
NRCan conducts random quality assurance on R-2000 certified homes, ENERGY STAR qualified new homes and EnerGuide labelled homes. This quality assurance ensures that these programs have credibility and integrity.
Find out if your builder is constructing your home in partnership with energy efficiency initiatives – or if the home will receive an EnerGuide rating label of 80 or higher.
Not getting the answers you want? Contact us and we can help work with you and your builder to ensure the level of energy efficiency that you are striving for in your new home.