How efficient is your client’s home?

by Vanessa Roman06 Apr 2015
Home efficiency seems to be on everyone’s minds these days, from existing home renovation projects to new home construction developments. Even many local businesses choosing to use products that save energy and reduce utility bill costs while leaving a smaller carbon footprint on the planet.
The reason energy efficiency is such a hot topic globally is because the carbon dioxide released from burning fossil fuels, such as oil, coal and gas, are causing serious and damaging changes to our global climate.
Natural Resources Canada has three programs – the EnerGuide Rating System, ENERGY STAR® for new homes and R-2000 initiatives – that were designed to assist home owners, home buyers and home builders to make better decisions regarding home efficiency.  
EnerGuide Rating System
When planning a home renovation this year, increasing the overall level of energy efficiency should be the top priority. Not only will this help your clients save money on operating costs by lowering energy consumption, it will also reduce the home’s environmental impact and add value to the property upon resale.    
But before improvements can be made, home owners will need to know the current efficiency level and you can find that out by having an EnerGuide home evaluation. This is performed by a licensed energy advisor who uses many tools to detect the source of home energy loss from blower doors, infrared cameras, furnace efficiency meters and surface thermometers.   
The advisor will review your property’s utility bills for the past twelve months then assess every room in the home from the basement to the attic to determine how much energy the house consumes, how much it wastes and what measures can be taken to increase the energy savings.
The homeowner will receive a written report highlighting the areas of energy loss and provide recommendations on the best efficiency upgrades which should be done. The house is given a rating for the current level of efficiency and a potential rating once the home renovation and efficiency upgrades are complete.
What do the EnerGuide numbers mean?
House Characteristics Typical EnerGuide Rating
Older house not upgraded 0 to 50
Upgraded older house 51 to 65
Energy-efficient upgraded older house 66 to 74
New house built to building code standards without energy requirements 70 to 76
New house built to building code standards containing energy requirements 77 to 80
Energy efficient new house 81 to 85
High-performance, energy efficient new house 86 to 99
Net zero house 100
Source: Natural Resources Canada Website  
This is a program which was started by the US Environmental Protection Agency to conserve energy through innovations in technology by identifying energy-efficient products such as kitchen appliances, computers and televisions.
Since then, the program has expanded to include roofing materials, commercial products, indoor air quality products, commercial buildings, industrial structures and new homes. Currently, it is an internationally recognized symbol for high energy-efficient performance.
Having a new home qualify for the ENERGY STAR label means it was constructed by a government-certified builder, using high-efficiency products such as insulation, windows, doors, heating and cooling systems and overall, an ENERGY STAR home is 20 per cent more energy efficient than a home built to code. 
Homes with the R-2000 designation set the benchmark for being the most energy-efficient, technologically advanced, and environmentally sensitive properties available within the marketplace.
Natural Resources Canada developed the stringent program standards almost 30 years ago to exceed the current Canadian building codes. The R-2000 designation surpasses the ENERGY STAR-qualified new homes because they are even more energy-efficient and have clean air and environmental features.
The R-2000 Standard is updated as new technologies and housing building codes are developed. In 2012, the Standard was increased by almost 50 per cent compared to the previous version.
There are two simple things you can do in the land of real estate that make sense – and save cents! – to reduce your individual carbon footprint and lower greenhouse gas emissions. The first is to ensure all of your clients’ home renovation projects increase the overall level of home energy-efficiency. The second is to encourage your clients to purchase a new home that has been constructed using ENERGY STAR or R-2000 Standards.
Go green!

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