Building Zero Energy Homes a Modest Cost Increase

Published on November 20, 2018

Building Zero Energy Homes a Modest Cost Increase

A recent report by the Rocky Mountain Institute, The Economics of Zero-Energy Homes, examined the financial viability of building zero-energy homes, and provided recommendations for helping builders and policymakers drive zero-energy home construction and market penetration.


In the report, it was determined that the increase in cost to build a zero-energy or zero-energy ready home is modest, and is less than what consumers, builders, and policymakers may often expect.


“A zero-energy home is a highly efficient home that produces as much renewable energy as it consumes over the course of a year,” said the report.


Much like a zero-energy home, a zero-energy ready home is also highly efficient and also uses renewably sourced energy, but it differs as it is required to only offset most of its annual energy consumption with renewable energy, and it may be pursued when building a zero-energy home is not feasible.


This means that not all homes may be built to zero-energy standards, but any home can be made to reach zero-energy ready standards


According to the report, zero-energy and zero-energy ready homes only account for less than 2 percent of new residential homes that are constructed, and it says that this is largely due to the assumed cost of building to zero-energy standards as being either overstated or outdated.


“As this report highlights, zero-energy and zero-energy ready homes can be built without a significant cost burden,” says the report.


It also adds that as the zero-energy market matures, costs are expected to continue to decline, making zero-energy homes more affordable for homeowners.


Working Towards Higher Levels of Efficiency

Improving home energy efficiency is a significant and cost-effective way of improving a home’s: value, comfort level, air quality, and utility costs - even without building to zero-energy or zero-energy ready standards. By having our Registered Energy Advisors conduct a Home Energy Assessment, you can gain a look at how efficient your home actually is, and you will also receive a detailed list of what energy saving solutions would be the most cost-effective for you to consider.


Quite often, the most cost-effective way that a home may improve its efficiency is through simple modifications or retrofits such as additional attic insulation or finding and sealing air leaks. But by having one of our Registered Energy Advisors on hand, you can be certain of which energy saving solution will be the best fit for your needs.


Our advisors are also able to perform efficiency evaluations while a new home is being constructed, as this can ensure a high level of efficiency before the home is even done being built. Catching small and unseen air leaks before construction is finished is an easy way to improve your new home’s energy efficiency, and as a result it can lower your future utility bills and help to increase your home’s affordability.


By conducting a Home Energy Assessment on your already existing home, you are able to help your home qualify for the many rebates for home renovation that are currently available from both Enbridge and Union Gas.

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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