EnerGuide for New Homes
EnerGuide for New Homes is a Canada wide evaluation program that shows a home purchaser the energy performance of their home, both prior to construction and after. Developed by Natural Resources Canada, EnerGuide for New Homes rates a home’s energy-efficiency just like the EnerGuide labeling program does on a new fridge, washing machine or other major appliance.
For new homes, prior to construction the home's construction plan is assessed for insulation values of it's envelope: walls including windows and door, roof and floor. Once construction of the home is completed it is then checked using a blower test to determine if it was built to specifications and then certified and labeled as to it energy-efficiency.
A desirable rating for a new home is 80 (EnerGuide 80). Studies by NRCan show that an EnerGuide 80 rated home will save 30% in energy costs. NRCan studies also show that every additional point on top of 80 will save an additional 3 to 5% - i.e. EnerGuide 86 could be as much as 50% in savings.
An EnerGuide evaluation report also makes suggestions to the home owner about possible upgrades that they could do that will make to their home more energy-efficient.
Why should I care if my new home is EnerGuide 80 Rated?
1. An EnerGuide evaluation can help you build the most energy-efficient home possible.
2. The attributes that give a home its EnerGuide 80 rating also make it a more comfortable and healthier home.
3. A EnerGuide 80 rated home will help reduce your heating bills by 30 per cent or more per year for as long as you own the home.
4. Every province and territory in Canada has agreed to use the EnerGuide for New Homes program. Sometime in the near future (2012) EnerGuide will be mandatory for all home construction in Canada.
5. It’s also much easier and more cost effective to make your home energy efficient when it’s being built rather than during later renovations. This is particularly true for properly insulating and air sealing your house – a relatively straightforward procedure during construction but an often complex, messy and expensive job after the fact. *a
6. Studies show that pay-back for recommended upgrades, such as energy-efficient mechanical systems, is less than 2 ½ years in most parts of Canada, as low as 1.4 years in northern regions.
7. Your home equity will remain high in future years. It will not be reduced when new building code standards for energy-efficiency change. Building experts agree that when EnerGuide becomes mandatory (2012), a home rated EnerGuide 80 will have a higher resale value than a home rated less than EnerGuide 80. They also say that homes rated lower than EnerGuide 80 will have much lower value as more EnerGuide 80 homes are constructed.
8. Get what you pay for. Post construction tests conducted for an EnerGuide rating tells you if your new home was well constructed. Simply stated, any builder can say they can build an energy-efficient home. Under the EnerGuide program builders have to prove that they can.
9. You may qualify for a rebate. Some provinces and many Canadian communities are now offering rebates for energy-efficient homes.
10. You may qualify for a mortgage reduction and or better lender terms. Most lenders recognize that an energy-efficient home reduces operating cost and frees funds that can be applied to principal. If a new home wants to, the money saved in energy expenses can be made to pay down the loan and save thousands of dollars in interest payments.
11. Greener and more environmentally friendly. EnerGuide 80 homes require less fuel and produce far less emissions.
What kind of dollar savings are we talking about?
In 2009, a new house in Alberta built to an EnerGuide 86 rating reduced its energy consumption on average by 97.5 Gigajoules (GJ), natural gas and electricity combined. Based on highest rate fuel cost to date of $9.90/GJ, it would save $965.25 per year!
That’s just fuel savings, because an energy-efficient home’s mechanical system runs less for time these systems have proven to have a longer life span further reducing home operating costs.
How does the EnerGuide rating work?
EnerGuide rates a home’s energy-efficiency on a scale of 0 to 100, zero being poor and 100 being perfect. A 100 rating signifies a house that is airtight, well insulated and requires no grid power.
Presently the desirable minimum 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 to hundreds of dollars per year and many thousands over the life of a home built to energy-efficient standards. Comparison studies show that in northern regions in Canada pay back from building to EnerGuide standards can be a short as 1.4 years.
Typically a home built to pre 2010 building codes can expect to reach an EnerGuide rating of 72. Post 2010 building codes will require EnerGuide ratings of 80 as the minimum requirement.
EnerGuide rating chart for a new home:
Why does Greensmart want me to know about EnerGuide 80?
Only advanced envelope systems meet the high performance requirements of EnerGuide 80. Greensmart's Structural Insulated Panel (SIP) walls and roofs are recognized as advanced envelope components. SIPs provide 30% more insulation and 4 times more air tightness than typical wood frame construction. SIPs are the most affordable advanced envelope system and generally out perform all other advanced methods. For these reasons SIPs have become North America’s most preferred method of energy-efficient envelop construction. SIPs measurable higher performance also makes them the preferred choice by building professionals in LEED, Built Green and R 2000 projects.
NAHB Research Center says " 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".
No additional cost to achieve energy-efficiency!
Using SIPs as an alternate to conventional construction doesn't mean it will cost more to build.
SIPs cost the same because they eliminate:
• construction labour time by 55%
• installation of insulation
• installation of vapour barrier
• installation of 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.
Learn more about EnerGuide on their website here Office of Energy Efficiency, .
Learn more about EnerGuide on their website here
*a Estimates for retrofitting a home to achieve EnerGuide 80 is $20,000. Estimates to build new to an EnerGuide 80 standard is around $5,000, mostly for mechanical systems. This is because it’s much easier to install required piping and venting for such things as a high-efficiency furnace passive solar assisted water heater and heat recovery ventilation systems during new construction.
*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.
***Life Cycle Analysis of SIPs, Franklin Associates.
Please Note: If you’re thinking of incorporating renewable energy, such as solar power, at a later date, consider incorporating rough-in provisions during new home construction.
Checkout the links below for more information on Building an Energy-efficient Home