It’s Spring! Welcome to build season. Although this year we had a mild winter, it’s a major advantage to make your home energy efficient, whether it’s a new custom build or a renovation of your existing home. An energy efficient home is not only more comfortable to live in, it’s more environmentally friendly and less expensive to operate.
New Home Construction
When planning your new custom home, there are many options that can increase energy efficiency. You can include passive solar energy into the design, make use of higher levels of insulation, and install high-performance heating and ventilation systems. Depending on how far you’d like to go, you can choose green building techniques like straw bale insulation, ICF (Insulated Concrete Forms) basements and alternative flooring materials. Your builder can give you more options depending on your goals.
Additionally, environmentally conscious builders often use “green” building materials which have the added benefit of producing less waste material during construction.
Renovating Your Home
First, find out how energy efficient (or not) your home is. There are many companies you can hire to do an energy audit. Natural Resource Canada has a list of recommended licensed service providers that perform an EnerGuide home evaluation. The EnerGuide rating system evaluates your home’s level of energy efficiency on a scale of 1 to 100 (for example an energy efficient new home would be rated about an 80). Go to http://www.nrcan.gc.ca/energy/efficiency/housing/home-improvements/5005.
Common energy efficiency renovations include adding insulation, caulking and weatherstripping, improving or replacing windows and doors, and upgrading the mechanical systems. These are all simple to include with any other planned renovation – discuss with your builder so everything can be planned accordingly.
Enbridge, Union Gas, Hydro One and Toronto Hydro have various incentive programs for both new home construction and home renovations. Or you can check out Natural Resource Canada’s Energy Resource page which lists grants and financial incentives. http://www.nrcan.gc.ca/energy/funding/efficiency/4947.
Feel free to contact us with any questions you may have, our experience runs the full range from energy efficient homes to fully green custom homes.