Buying an Energy-efficient Home
If you are in the market for a new home, please spend some time learning about energy efficient options. When making your decision, also consider the quality standards of the materials used to construct the home to ensure they are sustainable, healthy and long lasting. Be informed about upcoming legislative changes to provincial building codes and energy saving initiatives that may affect the value of your home in the future.
A new home has two price tags, the 1st price is the cost of buying it and the 2nd price is the cost to maintain it for the time period you own it. Just like buying a new car, you might want to own a Hummer but you may not want to pay the cost of operating it. When buying a vehicle you are informed about the operating cost because the Kilometres per Litres are on the sticker price.
Now information and documentation about how energy-efficient a new home actually will be, or is, is readily available to the new home buyer through the EnerGuide program.
Natural Resources Canada’s EnerGuide For New Homes program is being implemented into the building code of every province and territory.
EnerGuide rates a home’s energy-efficiency on a scale of 0 to 100, zero being poor and 100 being perfect. Presently the desirable rating is 80, which means that the home will use a minimum of 30% less energy* and save it’s occupant 50% or more in energy costs** compared to a house rated less than 80. Savings from reduction in energy costs can add up hundreds of dollars per year and many thousands over the life of a home built to energy-efficient standards.
Each EnerGuide step to rate a home's performance is carried out by a certified independent auditor. First they use software to model the new home's construction plan using its performance potential and then after construction they examine and test the home to see if it was built to the planned specifications. The home’s documentation is registered and the home is permanently labeled (see label).
*Total energy usage is determined by: occupant contribution, efficiency of windows and doors installed, region.
**Savings is based on energy cost which varies by region.
Structural Insulated Panels and Energy-efficiency
In a SIP built home, purchasers' will see:
Lower fuel / energy costs
superior Indoor air quality
Lower maintenance / operating costs
Increased market and resale value
Lower environmental impact
SIPs are recognized by NRCan' s ECOEnergy program as advanced envelope systems because they achieve the parameters required to meet EnerGuide's 80 rating. Their measurable higher performance also makes them a preferable choice by building professionals in LEED construction and Building Green projects.
“The basic design concept for SIPs is elegant in its simplicity, and offers several advantages for constructing walls and roofs. Bonding the foam core to the stiff outer skins creates a web-and-flange structural strength (along the same principal as an I-beam) across the length and breadth of the panel. With the capacity to handle axial, bending, racking, and shear loads, properly designed and assembled SIPs not only replace conventional framing, but will withstand high wind, and seismic forces".
"Insulation capacity is another advantage of SIPs. There is general agreement that SIPs provide better overall air tightness and practical thermal performance than conventionally framed walls. Panel systems offer a dense, uniform and continuous air barrier with few thermal bridges, and no opportunity for internal convection.” NAHB Research Center".
Using SIPs as an alternate to conventional construction doesn't mean it will cost more to build. SIPs eliminate: construction labour time by 60%, installation of insulation, vapour barrier and sheathing, framing material waste, construction waste disposal.
An Environmentally Preferable Choice
Life Cycle Benefit Studies of SIPs demonstrate that their superior thermal performance as an insulator combined with low air leakage in the building envelope can make a significant contribution to reduction of global warming***. In North America 25% of all greenhouse gas emissions are generated by buildings and because SIPs are so energy-efficient they greatly reduce the energy used to heat and cool a home. Wood used in SIP fabrication comes from fast growing trees plus homes constructed with SIPs have 30% of the wood of a conventionally built home.
Structural Insulated Panels are a next generation total building system which yields a higher quality home that saves money in energy costs during its entire lifespan. Call us for a free estimate on a SIP package for your home. ***Life Cycle Analysis of SIPs, Franklin Associates.