Building an energy efficient home isn’t just about reducing your environmental impact. It’s never been more important to be conscious of your energy consumption. Rising hydro rates certainly don’t make it easy to ignore either, but an energy efficient home will also be more comfortable and more durable.
Energy efficiency isn’t just about Energy Star-certified appliances or windows, although those certainly make a big difference. Much of what makes a home consume less energy starts with the construction, and it’s something older homes just don’t have. That makes them costly or even impossible to retrofit.
It’s one of the biggest advantages of working with Blythwood Homes. As home builders in Niagara, we provide you with an opportunity to build your home with all of the energy efficient construction materials and techniques that belong in modern buildings.
Why should you look into an energy efficient home? It’s simple: lower energy bills, greater comfort in your own home, lower emissions, and a more durable home.
#1 Lower Energy Bills
It’s the first thing people usually think about when energy efficient homes come up. The exact amount of money that Energy Star-certified appliances and better construction techniques can save you depends on local rates and climate.
However, living in an energy efficient home can reduce your heating costs by up 20% compared to homes that just meet building code and far more efficient than older homes. These energy star homes have more through airtight construction, superior insulation, and Energy Star windows.
In addition to superior construction materials, windows, and HVAC systems, more efficient appliances can cut your electricity costs in a variety of ways:
- Clothes washers and dryers: Dryers are one of the top appliances for electricity consumption in your home. Energy Star dryers can use 20% less electricity. Meanwhile, an Energy Star clothes washer uses 40-50% less energy. Combining the two provides significant savings on laundry day.
- Dishwashers: While not as energy-intensive as some other appliances, it still adds up. You can find dishwashers that are up to 12% more efficient.
- Refrigerators: Old refrigerators are among the most wasteful appliances you can have in your home. Today’s Energy Star-certified models are 10% more efficient than standard new models and 40% more efficient than models sold 20 years ago.
#2 More Comfortable Living
Inefficiencies in your home don’t just cost you more money; they also make your living environment less comfortable. Your heating system works harder when there are drafts because heat is rapidly escaping your home, and you can still feel cold in certain rooms while others overheat.
Airtight construction, better insulation, and other features that make an energy efficient home help you control the climate in your home with less effort. You won’t be tempted to fiddle with the thermostat or waver between air conditioning and opening the windows.
An energy efficient home is designed to be more comfortable because you have more control over the climate indoors. Superior insulation can also help keep you more comfortable during power outages. Outages usually happen during storms when the weather is at an extreme. Energy efficient buildings stay comfortable longer, retaining cool air or warmth as needed.
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#3 Lower Greenhouse Emissions
More and more homebuyers are coming with a desire to reduce their carbon footprint and invest in a home that doesn’t consume as much energy as an older build would. They’re willing to invest in a home knowing that their energy savings will offset the costs while benefiting the global environment. And in future achieving energy savings may become the law.
#4 Better Durability
Much of the wear and tear that happens to a house is due to the elements. Humidity and moisture build-up can cause mold or mildew. Old windows can cause condensation and mildew on the sills. The big seasonal changes that are common in Canada can cause any number of problems with your home, but better insulation, airtight sealing, and climate control can all help mitigate the wear and tear that inevitably happen every winter and spring.
What Is Energy Star?
Before you buy one, it doesn’t hurt to know what Energy Star homes actually deliver. Energy Star is a program that began in the US with funding from the EPA, but that is now internationally recognized and also backed by the Canadian government.
The program began in 1992 as a way for consumers to make informed decisions about the energy usage of the appliances and products they purchased, as well as help industrial, commercial, government, and utility organizations to deliver energy efficient solutions. It is a certification program that assures you that the product you’re purchasing will effectively reduce energy costs.
The program has resulted in hundreds of billions in energy savings since its inception and resulted in a 4 billion metric ton reduction in greenhouse gas emissions.
Ask Your Custom Home Builder About These Features
According to Natural Resources Canada, there are seven main features that make a home energy efficient:
- Airtight construction
- High performing windows
- Air-sealing around vents, windows, doors, etc.
- LED or Energy Star lighting
- Energy Star appliances
- High performing HVAC and water systems
- Better wall, attic, and basement insulation.
These aren’t the only features your home can use, however. The smart use of shade trees on a property can help shade a house during the summer heat while allowing more light through during the cold winter months.
There are also Energy Recovery Ventilators (ERVs) that can be used in your HVAC system. An ERV helps you bring fresh air into an airtight home. Fresh air is essential for removing low levels of contaminants that can slowly build up in a home.
The ERV brings fresh air in during all seasons while minimizing the work your heating system has to do. It removes moisture from incoming hot summer air, reducing the humidity that can build up in your home if you open the windows, while it retains heat from hot, stale air in the winter to heat up the intake of cold air. It’s an efficient way to keep the air in your home fresh while reducing the costs of heating and cooling it.