Air Tightness Testing Helps Homebuilders

Published on May 29, 2018

New changes to Ontario’s Building Code will affect home builders in the coming years. Even today, a home that's built with the latest energy performance elements will consume substantially less energy than a similar house built in 2005. And by the year 2022, energy performance requirements will allow a new house to use about 60% less energy than a similar house built in 2005.  As a builder, it’s important to get ahead of the new changes to Ontario’s Building Code and start performing air tightness testing on homes now. This way, you know – and prove – that your homes are being built to the coming standard or above.  As such, air tightness testing helps homebuilders to better accommodate client needs and keep the competition wondering how they do it because of these three reasons.

Building better quality homes and improving energy efficiency

By updating Ontario’s Building Code with far more demanding energy efficiency targets, the building sector in Ontario will continue to reduce its carbon footprint, and help home owners reduce their hydro bills and live more comfortably. With a view to effect changes by 2020 and 2022, the Ontario Government is focused on improved energy efficiency requirements (similar to performance changes in 2006 and 2012).

Amongst the new code standards, building air tightness is of primary concern. Adopting new standards with a step ladder approach will eventually turn houses into Net Zero Homes. Consequently, air tightness testing helps home builders to build more energy efficient homes and to better sell homes. By 2022, the aim is to mandate air-tightness requirements for all new homes - 2.0 air changes/hour (detached homes) and 2.5 air changes/hour (attached homes).

By starting air tightness testing now, there will be no surprises when the codes kick in.

Building better homes and keeping ahead of your competition

Adopting the newest Building Code requirements will allow home builders to build more energy efficient homes overall - a selling feature that will allow builders to stay ahead of the competition.With air tightness testing becoming a mandatory code requirement, this will encourage builders to integrate better air sealing systems and more effective insulation in new home construction.

Astute home builders should also be considering the long view for 2022. In proposing longer-term changes to Ontario’s Building Code, the government proposes further energy efficiency requirements (on new homes), aiming at an extra 20% reduction in energy use over 2020 levels. Here again, those builders who have started air tightness testing before it becomes mandatory stay ahead of the curve and benefit the most.

Keeping abreast of planned changes to Ontario’s Building Code

Looking forward to 2020 and 2022, changes to Ontario’s Building Code are designed to support the government’s Climate Change Action Plan. It’s all about reducing GHG emissions and applying energy-efficiency in new homes and buildings. The long-term aim is to construct “net-zero energy buildings” – this is where the energy used is equal to the renewable energy that’s created on site.

Throughout the building industry, practically everyone will be affected in some way - architects, builders, contractors, and installers alike. Everyone should be taking note of the changes and everyone should keep abreast of the new requirements. From air sealing to continuous insulation, the entire building will be impacted. This is also where starting air tightness testing now helps homebuilders know how to build better than the code.

Air tightness testing from the experts at Barrier Sciences Group

At Barrier Sciences Group, our energy efficiency experts use the “blower door test” to accurately assess a building’s airtightness. The test measures “air changes per hour” and gauges the extent of air infiltration and/or exfiltration throughout the building envelope – a critical measurement.

Air tightness testing helps home builders to better accommodate current and proposed changes to Ontario’s Building Code for newly constructed homes. The result:  building more energy efficient homes, while adding a unique selling feature. Barrier Sciences Group will provide you with quality testing and objective reporting, which will lead to real benefits for home builders.  

Contact BSG today to get started with air quality testing and get ahead of Ontario’s Building Code changes today!


The Canada Greener Homes Grant offers home efficiency renovation grants up to $5,000.

Homeowners Canada-wide are eligible for the Canada Greener Homes Grant, announced on May 27, 2021. This new incentive offers up to $5,000 in grants for home efficiency retrofit renovations, plus a $600 reimbursement for pre- and post-work EnerGuide evaluations. Eligible retrofit scopes include home insulation, heating, doors, windows, photovoltaic solar panels, resiliency measures, and thermostats.

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