Energy efficient homes are going to be the future standard in home building. The need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions has become an urgent political issue in the face of climate change, and reducing your carbon footprint just makes good financial sense. An energy efficient home is not just better for the environment, it saves you money on your monthly hydro bills and makes it easier to keep your home comfortable in any season.
As an Energy Star Certified Builder, Blythwood Homes builds homes that provide you with lower energy bills and greater comfort. Our homes are 20% more energy efficient than new construction built to the Ontario Building Code. We achieve better results through better construction and using Energy Star materials to cut down on your home’s greenhouse gas emissions.
The benefits found in energy efficient homes are numerous:
- Your heating and cooling systems never struggle with the extreme temperatures Canada is known for.
- Air quality in your home improves thanks to better ventilation and fewer pollutants and allergens circulating through your home.
- Better insulation standards including windows, doors, and more.
So what makes an energy efficient home? Here are some of the elements of a home that save you money and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
#1 Airtight Construction
Insulation and airtight construction are some of the most important ways you can make a home more energy efficient. Roughly 25% of heat is lost through the roof of your home, 35% through uninsulated walls, another 35% through windows and gaps around them, and another 10% through the floor.
Airtight construction and insulation seal your home against drafts, heat loss, and cooling loss. It’s one of the most effective ways of reducing your need for heating and cooling.
#2 Energy Efficient Furnace
Your furnace is the work horse of your home’s climate system, and older furnaces are huge money wasters. Furnaces built before 1992 waste about 35% of their fuel, while furnaces from after 1992 still waste about 20% of their fuel.
More energy efficient furnaces are available and can drastically cut down on wasted fuel. A more efficient furnace also has an easier time keeping your home warm and toasty on those extremely cold days.
#3 Improve Your Hot Water System
Hot water is another major energy drain, but there are a few things you can do to improve water heater efficiency and cut down on your bills. First of all, turning the temperature down to 120° F will reduce your energy consumption. Most of the time, your hot water is just sitting in the tank cooling down and requiring reheating. Insulating lines and using low-flow fixtures will also help you avoid draining energy.
Another way you can improve efficiency in your hot water system is with a tankless water heater that heats water on demand, rather than losing heat and wasting energy keeping a tank full of water warm for when it’s needed.
#4 Replace Your Lighting
Incandescent light bulbs used to be the only game in town, but compact fluorescent and LED lightbulbs have become cheap, durable, and efficient ways to light your home. Incandescent bulbs are actually being phased out completely in favour of CFLs and LEDs.
Comparing compact fluorescent to LED (Light-Emitting Diodes), LEDs have the highest up-front costs but deliver more savings over time. CFLs have an average lifespan of about 8,000 hours and only cost about a dollar more than incandescent bulbs. LEDs cost around $8 per bulb (still significantly cheaper than earlier versions that could cost up to a hundred), and last 25,000 hours. LEDs also use less electricity, but both LEDs and CFLs are vastly more energy efficient than old incandescent bulbs.
#5 Shade Trees
Sometimes the old ways are still worth using. Planting trees around your home is one of the oldest methods of improving energy efficiency and climate control. Not only do trees improve the value of your home, they can also help you cut down on your heating and cooling costs.
Deciduous trees are the perfect way to shelter your home. During the hot summer, the foliage blocks the sun’s infrared rays. Direct sunlight can make your home sweltering and prove a big challenge for your AC. In the winter, the leaves fall and the sun reaches your home, providing some extra heat during the cold weather.
#6 Energy Star Appliances
One of the most important features of new homes that conserve energy is Energy Star appliances. Energy Star appliances do more with less, reducing wasted energy consumption and saving you money. Appliances can be big energy wasters, especially things like your refrigerator, dish washer, and clothes washers and dryers. Energy Star appliances are long-lasting and the savings you enjoy from them will offset the premium you pay at first.
#7 Energy Recovery Ventilators
Energy Recovery Ventilators or ERVs are like lungs for your home. ERVs bring fresh air into your home, but remove moisture from incoming air in the hot, humid summer, and add moisture during the dry winter. ERVs moderate humidity, which as you know, can make temperatures feel considerably hotter or colder, without affecting the thermostat. Controlling humidity is one of the most effective ways to make your home feel more comfortable in any season. Make sure your new home comes with an ERV.
A whole house approach is the most effective way to create an energy efficient home. It makes sure that the various systems in your home are working together to conserve energy and create a more comfortable climate. Everything from the appliances to the windows and walls are designed to reduce your energy consumption. To learn about our energy efficient design and construction, contact us today and ask about our Energy Star homes in the Niagara Region.