New Homes « Envirocentre

By: Envirocentre  09-12-2011
Keywords: air quality, heating and cooling, Energy Advisors

New Homes « Envirocentre

If you’re building a new home, we can help you make it not only energy-efficient, but more comfortable and healthier to live in. One of our Certified Energy Advisors can use your plans to model the energy dynamics of your house before it is built, taking into account:

  • Insulation levels
  • Position, design, and glazing of windows and doors
  • Effects of solar gain in winter and overheating in summer
  • Heating and cooling system efficiency and sizing
  • Ventilation and draft sealing
  • Potential for solar domestic hot water and other renewable energy devices.

An initial analysis of your house design should score over 80 on the EnerGuide for Houses scale, because starting in 2012 the Ontario Building Code will require all new homes to score 80 and the benchmark for energy efficient homes will be EGH83.

Your advisor will then suggest how to improve the score through better choices for foundations, walls, roofs, windows as well as your heating and ventilation systems. Some changes might not cost anything at all. Upgrading to higher insulation levels or a different heating system could give you an excellent return on investment!

Getting independent advice beforehand is really valuable because it’s less expensive to change your plans than change things already built.

Our New Home Service, which includes one round of consultations and plan changes, costs $500 (plus HST) , including the EnerGuide for New Homes rating label, and can be expanded to include more analyses charged at $75 per hour (plus HST).

At least one of the meetings should be with your builder so that they know where the targeted areas are. You may also want to consider an optional blower door pressure test as soon as the vapour barrier is finished and before the drywall is put up because it will quickly show if there are any leaks and allow your contractor to seal them up at little additional cost.

Make sure that your house is as air tight as possible, below 0.15 Air Changes per Hour (ACH) of natural ventilation, and that it comes with a properly installed and maintained Heat Recovery Ventilator (HRV). Only a blower door test can provide a scientific measurement of the ventilation level of your house.

Remember there is no such thing as a house that is too tight, only a house with inadequate mechanical ventilation. Contrary to popular belief, leaky houses have the worst air quality. Tight houses with moisture problems come second, while tight houses with proper ventilation are the healthiest and most energy-efficient.

Please note that our New Home Service does not include all of the environmental sensitivity aspects covered by the R-2000 program but the advisor can give you general advice and practical tips for good indoor air quality.

The information in this article was current at 06 Dec 2011

Keywords: air quality, Blower Door, Blower Door Test, Certified Energy Advisors, Energy Advisors, Heat Recovery Ventilator, heating and cooling, Recovery Ventilator

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