In the past, building an energy-efficient home could be costly - most had to be custom built. Today, thanks to programs managed by Natural Resources Canada, new home buyers looking to upgrade their building plans have a wide array of options to ch...
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Male Speaker: Energy Efficiency, this buzzword is everywhere these days, but what does being Energy Efficient really mean. One field that has been a leader in defining Energy Efficiency is the designing and building of environmentally-friendly houses. We consume tons of energy heating our homes in the winter and cooling them in the summer, and don't forget about the large amounts of water we use for bathing, washing, and keeping our gardens green. In the past building an energy efficient home could be costly. Most have to be custom built. Today thanks to programs that Natural Resources Canada manages like the EnerGuide Rating System, R-2000 Standard and ENERGY STAR for new homes. New home-buyers looking to upgrade their building plans have a wide array of options to choose from when it comes to making their home energy efficient. Natural Resources Canada developed the EnerGuide Rating System to determine a home's level of energy efficiency, the more energy efficient the home, the higher the ranking on the 0 to 100 scale. Homes built through the R-2000 Standard achieve a minimum energy efficiency rating of 80 on the EnerGuide Rating scale. This translates to a home that uses approximately 30% less energy than a similar non-R-2000 home that was built to minimum building code requirements. ENERGY STAR for new homes is available in some areas. ENERGY STAR qualified new homes are designed to be significantly more energy efficient than those built to regular construction standards. But what does all this mean? What actually makes a home more energy efficient? From the design to the construction, to the types of appliances you install, including energy efficiency upgrades during the construction process, helps to increase your home's energy performance and comfort. For example windows were traditionally a weak point, but due to advancements in technology, you can get better installation practices and great energy efficiency without sacrificing on esthetics. Typically you will find energy efficient windows in R-2000, or ENERGY STAR qualified new homes. A home's ventilation system is another place to consider watching for possible energy efficiency improvements. For example R-2000 homes require the use of a whole house mechanical ventilation system called a Heat Recovery Ventilator or HRV. Installed by certified contractors, it will not only remove stale air and humidity but also bring fresh air into the house. In winter the HRV saves energy by capturing the heat from the outgoing air. An HRV can also help you breathe easier. Properly ventilated homes have better indoor air quality. Homes built to R-2000 Standards are also constructed using healthier building components such as low VOC paints, ceramic tile and hardwood flooring. All of which bring less chemicals into your home, further improving your home's indoor air quality. Using energy efficient light bulbs, low flow showerheads and water conserving toilets are some easy solutions to improving the energy efficiency of your home. Also consider choosing building materials, such as insulation, dry wall or wood trim that were manufactured using recycled materials. Choosing ENERGY STAR qualified appliances and electronics will also make your home more energy efficient. You might also like to consider including renewable energy sources in your new home, or plan to install them later on. When you choose the Solar Ready option your builder will design cost-effective adjustments for your home, so you can install solar equipment in the future. When thinking of buying a new home it's a good idea to discuss these options with your builder in advance. It's often less expensive to build energy efficiency features into a home during construction than to make modifications later on. You could find a list of builders that are involved in these programs at NRCan's website. Opting to buy or build an energy efficient home will save you money on your energy bills. And because most of the energy we cons

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