Do You Know if Your Home is an Energy Star Certified Home?

Published on November 14, 2018

Do You Know if Your Home is an Energy Star Certified Home

An ENERGY STAR certification is more than just a label that gets attached to appliances - it can also be attained for a home, ensuring that it is much more energy efficient than a typical home built in the same year. To determine if a home is energy efficient enough for Natural Resources Canada to declare it an Energy Star Certified Home, the home builder must have the home assessed by a certified third party to verify that the standards have been met. Although BSG is unable to provide ENERGY STAR Certification, our Registered Energy Advisors are able to provide other ways of ensuring that you are meeting or exceeding those standards.

Energy Star Canada is a voluntary partnership with the Government of Canada and organizations of the public within private and non-profit sectors, in order to promote energy efficiency within Canada. Internationally recognized, the ENERGY STAR symbol is a trusted mark of high energy efficiency, meaning that any new home, building, or industrial facility that bears this symbol is guaranteed and certified to be energy efficient

What Does an Energy Star Certified Home Look Like?

As any new home is capable of becoming an Energy Star Certified Home, they come in all shapes and sizes! However they often have a few energy saving characteristics in common, such as: higher insulation levels than what is required by building code, high-performing windows and appliances, and a high level of airtightness.

Working in cooperation with energy auditing companies such as BSG, contractors who are licensed as Energy Star Builders will build with energy efficiency in mind, and are able to build a new home with a high amount of styling and design freedom, while also building to a higher efficiency standard than the building code of a region. This allows a new home to be built specifically to be energy efficient, while still adhering to the homeowner’s design specifications, desires, and regional building code.

For anyone who may be looking to construct a new home, or those who are about to do renovations, it is valuable to consider building towards the energy efficiency levels of an Energy Star Certified Home, or to achieve certification. However, there are more options than ENERGY STAR certification, especially for home builders. We will touch on these nearer to the end of this article, but keeping options open – and still meeting or exceeding ENERGY STAR standards is always an option.

What Benefits Can You Expect From an Energy Star Certified Home?

As it is with any home that is built to a higher energy efficiency standard, the most significant and noticeable benefits of an ENERGY STAR Certified Home are an increase of interior comfort and a reduction in the cost of utility bills - up to $300 per year!

No one likes a drafty home - where interior air is freely exchanged with exterior air. A drafty home is typified by one where, in the winter, cold air can intrude and hot air can escape, and in the summer, cold air can escape and hot air can intrude. And although your home does need to ‘breathe’, it is important that this happens in a controlled and regulated manner.

With a focus on reducing drafts and unwanted air leakages, ENERGY STAR Certified Homes have had an airtightness test conducted to ensure that heated or cooled air stays where it belongs. This test shows our Registered Energy Auditors exactly where the problem air leaks are occurring, so that they may be properly sealed by an insulation company, such as our friends at GNI. By fixing the unwanted air leaks, the home sees an increase in comfort simply by removing drafty air currents - preventing them from wafting down hallways or into living spaces, in addition to an increase in energy efficiency, due to the fact less air needs to be consistently heated or cooled in order to reach a desirable interior temperature level.

What Other Benefits Do Energy Star Certified Homes Have?

Through the use of energy efficient appliances also bearing an ENERGY STAR Certification, certified homes are capable of using fewer resources to operate than the average home, contributing to a more environmentally friendly practice and at a lower utility cost.

Natural Resources Canada estimates that an Energy Star Certified home conserves energy to such an extent, that it reduces greenhouse gas emissions by more than than 1000 kilograms per year. This is estimated to be approximately the same amount of emissions that are emitted from a car driving from Calgary to Toronto, and then back again - a 6000 kilometre drive!

Additionally when it comes time to sell, if your home is up to the efficiency levels of an ENERGY STAR Certified Home, or is registered as one, it becomes an attractive option for potential buyers, working to increase your home’s value. Our Registered Energy Advisors are able to determine exactly how efficient your home is, and what steps could be taken to reach Energy Star Certification levels, even in older buildings.

What Are My Other Options As A Home Builder?

EnerGuide Ratings – the Canadian Standard for energy efficiency – is becoming an extremely popular alternative to ENERGY STAR. EnerGuide provides reports, labels and ratings to help homeowners and home builders understand where their building stands in terms of energy efficiency, and where upgrades can be made to improve it. BSG has Registered Energy Advisors capable of providing EnerGuide reports.

Another alternative, especially for home builders, is a stand-alone airtightness test. Airtightness tests lead to fewer call backs from the homebuyer, help you find faulty areas before the home is sold, and increases overall comfort. You can expect an increase in referrals and positive reviews from your happy buyers.

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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