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REDUCE YOUR CARBON FOOTPRINT – SAVE MONEY & ENERGY!
What home buyers need to know about Energy efficient homes.
Living in a place like beautiful BC, with its extravagant valleys bordered by creeks and lush natural wildlife, is a constant reminder of your personal environmental impact. How can you reduce your footprint but continue to live a lifestyle that you are accustomed to? The options at your fingertips to do your part are seemingly endless; from using less water in the shower, to donating your old clothes instead of throwing them in the trash, to using the cool setting on your hairdryer, to composting and recycling – there is something that everyone can do.
This list of options is also continually growing. As a result of the need and the want to save our earth, energy efficient housing is now on the rise. Not only will these new (and improved) Energy Efficient Homes help you to save money, be more environmentally conscious, and improve cities and towns throughout Metro Vancouver, but they will also help you save the world!
Before we get into all of the facts about why Energy Efficient Home are, oh so, wonderful, there is an elephant in the room that needs to be addressed. Why is this energy efficiency important to the environment? (Feel free to skip this and the next paragraph to jump to the end of our story about why saving energy is the right thing to do). In BC, electricity is provided through hydro-electrical dams. While these dams create power from a renewable resource (that being power sourced from the kinetic energy stored in water as it flows out of the dam), the dams themselves can be highly disruptive to the surrounding eco-systems through the stoppages of natural water flow, flooding areas that were previously a habitat for land animals, and other man-made infrastructure changes to the natural landscape including powerlines and roads.
While these things may seem small in the grand scheme of the world – it is a perfect example of the butterfly affect. Each and every part of the world’s natural balance is affected by the smallest of changes. Hydroelectric dams can create a slippery slope where the habitat is changed for fish and they suddenly begin dying off with the native species of plants. In response to the lack of fish population, the animals that survive by eating the fish will need to adapt or relocate. This may bring bears into our neighborhoods and create the fear that is answered to by killing the animal. And it’s all downhill from there!
“But hydroelectric power is a one of the better options” you say? This is absolutely true. But, by consuming less energy in your home, you can save your tax dollars from building new hydro infrastructure and save the environment from disruption of its natural balance. It’s that easy!
Now, here is everything that you need to know about Energy Efficient homes from what to the why.
What exactly is an ENERGY STAR certified home?
ENERGY STAR homes are built by a licensed builder certified by the Government of Canada to incorporate energy-efficient features into their homes to ensure that it can meet the New Homes Standard. These homes, on average, are 20 per cent more energy-efficient than those built to the typical provincial or national building code. Providing an extra insulated home, with airtight buildings that reduce heat-loss and retain heat longer, bring down your monthly energy costs as well as overall usage – saving you money in the long run.
What is the ENERGY STAR for New Homes Standard?
The New Homes Standard is a comprehensive national guideline that specifies the technical requirements for a house to be considered an ENERGY STAR certified home. It covers all topics of building code and usage of materials, as well as requirements, pertinent references, and compliance options. Builders and Developers are required to apply for the certification and build accordingly, once each home is completed, they will be tested and given a specific rating to assure you that your home has not only been certified and built by an Energy Star partner, but it will also receive its very own rating score.
What are all the steps involved for a home to become ENERGY STAR certified?
- Step 1: A licensed builder enrolls a home with their service organization (who then enrolls the home with Natural Resources Canada).
- Step 2: A certified energy adviser works with a builder at the design stage to ensure the home will meet the Standard.
- Step 3: On completion of the home, the energy adviser verifies that the home has met the requirements of the Standard. The builder shares in this responsibility.
- Step 4: The energy adviser submits the home information to the service organization and labels the house with the ENERGY STAR certification label.
- Step 5: The service organization reviews the file, then it is sent to Natural Resources Canada.
What are the builders doing differently to get Certified?
- Heating and Cooling Systems: More energy efficient space conditioning systems, such as furnaces, air conditioners and water heaters.
- Windows, Patio and Doors: Fenestration products—such as windows, glass doors and skylights—that are ENERGY STAR certified. This feature alone may reduce energy costs by more than 10 per cent.
- Walls and Ceilings: There is often more insulation in the ceilings and walls of an ENERGY STAR certified home than required by the building code.
- Airtightness: ENERGY STAR certified houses must meet a specified maximum air leakage limit, which helps save energy for heating and cooling and increases comfort.
- Electrical Savings: Each ENERGY STAR certified house has a minimum of 400 kilowatt-hours (kWh) of electrical savings measures, such as ENERGY STAR certified lighting or appliances, which help reduce electrical loads.
Now, we’ve noted that you will be saving on your hydro bill, but there’s more! You can also save on your Fortis BC bill. The air-tight quality of these ENERGY STAR certified houses will reduce the amount of heat that escapes from your home; keeping it warmer and lowering your bills! Now, if this is something that the Strata covers, it’s possible your strata fees will also be reduced! How can you not love that?
All of the aforementioned steps to become certified and defining what exactly ENERGY STAR certified means that not only are you creating a better place for your grandchildren to grow up, but you’re also saving money while being assured that you are protected in making this investment. In simpler terms, this certification allows you peace of mind while purchasing a new home – you can be confident that you are getting what you’ve paid for.
Finally, there is an option for you and your family to settle into a gorgeous new home, save money on your energy consumption, while being an environmental superhero. Clayton Street is a collection of 74 side-by-side garage homes in a family-oriented neighborhood of Clayton Heights, in Surrey and they are Metro Vancouver’s ONLY Energy Star Townhomes. Visit www.claytonstreet.ca today to learn more and to visit our designer display homes.