In a country like Canada where the seasons can bring wide ranging temperature changes, buying an energy efficient home is one of the smartest things you can do for your finances. That’s because Energy Star-certified homes use on average 20% less power than homes built to the Ontario Building Code.
As costs continue to rise in the province, investing in a home that consumes less hydro can be a smart financial decision, even more so for people who are looking at retirement. Anything you can do to cut back on everyday expenses can help you budget for your retirement dreams.
But there’s more to building an eco friendly home than just using less power. Energy Star Certified home builders follow stricter standards for superior indoor air quality, water conservation, and emissions. Not only are these homes better at reducing your monthly costs, they also lead to better health and a more comfortable home overall. When you have an Energy Star Certified home, you enjoy:
- Energy savings;
- Better resale value long-term;
- Indoor comfort;
- Healthier air quality; and
- Peace of mind.
What does it take to be energy efficient in your home? There are three pillars to the Whole-Home Approach used by Energy Star Certified Builders: a building envelope, heating and cooling, and ventilation.
The Building Envelope
A high-performance barrier created by floor-to-ceiling insulation and better doors and windows helps you control the climate inside your home with lower energy consumption.
Sealing and Insulation
Did you know that 45% of the average energy bill goes toward heating and cooling alone? Airtight construction and insulation are one of the best ways to make sure that the energy you are using doesn’t go to waste.
Simple sealing tricks include weather stripping on doors and window caulking, while you can even enjoy even more savings from insulated attics.
Energy Star Doors and Windows
More efficient windows and doors also go a long way toward reducing waste as well. While there are a number of things you can do to improve the efficiency of existing windows, such as fixing air leaks, caulking, and using window treatments the right way, with a new home, you can invest in energy efficient glazing types and gas fills that reduce waste.
When you’re buying a custom bungalow, talk to us about your options for windows and doors that will reduce your bills.
Heating and Cooling
You want end-to-end comfort that doesn’t cost a fortune. With an Energy Star Certified home, you can comfortably heat and cool bigger square footage for less.
Energy Efficient Furnaces
The furnace is a work horse in your home. If you’ve ever experienced a furnace breakdown in a deep freeze, you know how quickly a home can cool down. They use a lot of power and there are a lot of ways they waste it, especially older models.
Today, while the minimum efficiency available is 80%, you can also find furnaces that offer up to 98.5% efficiency, meaning they only waste about 1.5% of the hydro that goes into them.
Properly Sized Ductwork
The ducts are a major source of energy loss, and simply installing properly sized ductwork and equipment makes a huge difference in your energy bill. They should all be sealed to reduce air leakage.
A great green feature to have is a smart thermostat that automates heating and cooling. It means an end to fiddling with the thermostat, cranking the heat when you get home or forgetting to let things cool down when you’re away on vacation.
Smart thermostats can be controlled using an app on your phone or a smart home system like Alexa. A whole lot of waste comes from fiddling with the thermostat because you want your house to heat up or cool down faster. A smart thermostat times everything so that you don’t have to worry about it.
Energy Star ventilation improves air quality, saves energy, and cuts back on the pollutants in your air at home.
Energy Recovery Ventilation
As new home builders in Niagara, Blythwood Homes goes above and beyond when it comes to energy performance. One of the ways we strive for excellence in our homes is using the most up-to-date technology to make our homes more comfortable and energy efficient.
One way we achieve that is through Energy Recovery Ventilators (ERVs), the lungs of your new home. In the past, Energy Star homes were required to use Heat Recovery Ventilators (HRVs), which brough fresh air into the home but also more humidity during the summer and dry air in the cold months. The ERV fixes that predicament by removing moisture from outdoor air in the summer and adding it to winter air.
The ability to adjust to different humidity conditions makes the ERV vastly superior, but what does it do?
An ERV starts by bringing in outdoor air while exhausting stale air from the inside. An Energy Recovery Core draws the heat from stale indoor air to heat incoming cold air (in the winter), and cools down hot summer air on its way in. This system improves air quality without using excessive power to heat or cool the fresh air being drawn indoors.
Smart Water Consumption
In addition to the energy efficient technologies that make an Energy Star Certified Home, you can also save money with smart water consumption technology.
Showerheads and Toilets
Trimming your electricity bill is one thing, but what about water? Water bills can also be a significant household expense. There are some easy ways you can reduce your water consumption without having to cut your showers in half, too.
Toilets can consume as much as 30 to 40% of the water used in the average home. A low-flow toilet can save as much as 12,000 gallons a year. Meanwhile, a low-flow showerhead comes with different flow rates and even the option to pause water flow. When you’re working with us as custom home builders in Niagara, feel free to ask us about energy efficient fixtures.
A Better Hot Water System
Hot water is yet another major energy sink. While turning the temperature of your water heater down can help you reduce how much energy goes into keeping water warm and ready to be used all day, a tankless water heater is a great way to scale back on heat consumption and always have hot water available.
Buying Your Home in Niagara
The Niagara climate is uniquely temperate in Canada, benefiting from cooler lake air in the summer and a longer spring and fall. It’s a beautiful place to buy a home for many reasons, but it’s still Canada. Keeping energy efficiency in mind makes sure your home is as comfortable as can be. As new home builders in Niagara Region, we strive to build homes where you can relax and feel cozy in any season.
Energy efficiency isn’t just about cutting down on your monthly bills. Energy Star Certification is about building a more comfortable, healthier home.
It’s much easier to buy a new home with Energy Star insulation, sealing, and appliances than retrofit later, so now is the perfect time to ask about the options you have available to you.
Find out how much you gain from an Energy Star Certified home at https://www.uniongas.com/residential/save-money-energy/energy-star-homes/benefits