This is What the Cheapest House to Build Actually Looks Like

Published on May 28, 2019

This Is What The Cheapest House To Build Actually Looks Like

When you think about what the cheapest house to build might look like, you likely have an image of a poorly constructed home, with a phoned-in house design, that will probably be outdated and rife with problems in only a few years. The main issue with this image, is that a home’s affordability and overall costs extend much further than to construction costs only.

When you are determining what the cheapest house you could build is, (that would still provide you with all the amenities and comfort that you would expect from a new home), you have to take future operational costs into account. This means involving energy efficiency and forward thinking in your house design, ensuring that you will have a comfortable and affordable home for years to come.

The more energy efficient your home is, the more resilient you will be to rising energy prices and energy shortages. The average Net-Zero Energy home represents a fantastic example of energy efficient house design, which also combines onsite renewable energy sources capable of producing as much energy as the home consumes over 12 months. Although they are extremely cost-effective to operate and are now only marginally more expensive to construct than a code-built home, not all new homes need to be built to Net-Zero Energy standards in order to be made affordable and energy efficient.

Airtightness Tests Should be Done Before Drywalling

On your path to discovering what the cheapest house to build is, there is one major trick you should keep in mind: have an airtightness test done before you have your drywall put up. An airtightness test (also called a blower door test), finds any and all air leaks in the entirety of your home’s building envelope, allowing them to be easily sealed - a process which is significantly more cost-effective if done before the air leaks are covered up by drywall and left unsealed.

By mentioning to your home builder that you would like to have a pre-drywall blower door test done to check for air leaks, you are not only contributing towards the energy efficiency of your future home, but also towards the affordability of your home’s construction. With a pre-drywall blower door test, your homebuilder can evaluate and be certain of the quality of their work before they move on to the next step of the construction process. This helps to prevent unforeseen costs that can be involved with home construction, such as having to redo work in order to fix a problem.

An airtightness/blower door test can also improve the effectiveness and accuracy of your home builder’s work, which will help maximize the quality of your new home. In fact, all it takes is for our Service Organization Manager, Rick Miller, to conduct one pre-drywall Blower Door Test for a home builder in order for them to declare that they will never finish a house without one again.

Affordable House Design and Energy Efficiency Go Hand in Hand

Planning your house design to include energy efficiency is the most effective way of avoiding high energy bills for years to come - especially during energy shortages or as utility prices continue rise. For example, a code built home may pay an approximate $200 / month in utilities, but that cost would rise more dramatically from an energy price increase than it would in an energy efficient home. The energy efficient home may only be paying something closer to $90 / month (or less), but with the higher energy prices, they may only be paying $20 / month more, compared to the $45 / month more that the code-built home may experience.

What this means, is that energy efficiency not only saves money on utility costs immediately, but it also lowers the amount that the home is affected by energy prices. A home such as a Net-Zero home, that incorporates on-site renewable energy sources (such as solar panels on the roof), will likewise be even less affected by rising energy prices, as the homeowners have already invested in energy efficiency and renewable energy sources.

An Energy Efficient Home is for Everyone

Having a solid house design is one of the single most important factors involved with constructing the cheapest house to build possible. By ensuring that your home will be built towards strong levels of energy efficiency right from the blueprint stage, you are investing in a number of benefits that will make your daily life more affordable and enjoyable.

Improving on your home’s energy efficiency - or building a home to be energy efficient right from the get-go - not only makes your home more affordable to operate due to lower utility and maintenance bills, but it also greatly improves home comfort, interior air quality, and it helps to prevent the build up of harmful gases inside your home. A home that is even slightly more energy efficient than a code-built home also has a higher demand on the housing market, as low operational costs and high levels of home comfort are often at the top of the average homebuyer’s list.

For current homeowners, or those who are currently underway with the construction of their new home, it is worth having an energy audit (aka an energy assessment) done to be sure that the most cost-effective upgrades or construction methods have been targeted, and that the home is being built to effective and substantial levels of energy efficiency. An energy audit can also ensure that the home is being built correctly, as it includes a blower door test (which can be done pre or post-drywall), and it allows for the home builders to be certain of the quality of their work before they finish construction.

Additionally, an energy audit can help your home qualify for home reno rebates from the new Home Efficiency Rebate Program. This program provides financial incentives to homeowners who improve their home’s energy efficiency through home renovations and/or retrofits. This includes upgrading your home’s: insulation and airtightness levels, HVAC system, and even your windows/doors. Both Union Gas and Enbridge Gas customers in Ontario are eligible to apply. Our Registered Energy Advisors can help you make sense of your options, and determine which home improvements will qualify you for the biggest rebate possible.

To get started on improving your home’s energy efficiency, or to receive help determining what the most energy efficient house design is, contact us now through our free phone consultation service - our Registered Energy Advisors are happy to answer any questions you may have regarding: energy efficient house design, how you can improve the energy efficiency of your home, and your potential rebate options.

The Province’s HRRP Now Offers New Eligibility, New Territories, & New Incentives.

There’s great news for homeowners who are planning to do residential renovations or upgrades! The Ontario Government has significantly enhanced the province’s Home Reno Rebate Program. And the bottom line for homeowners - higher rebates! By doing renovations or upgrades that will improve a home’s energy efficiency, homeowners may be eligible for substantial rebates of up to $5,000 from Union Gas. Simply put, there are long-term payoffs with an energy efficient home.

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