Understanding energy efficiency – A house is a system

A house is made up of components that work together to form an integrated system.

The performance of one component depends on its relationship with other components in the same system. Your home’s ventilation and heating components, construction materials, their assembly and the behaviour of occupants all interact – a change to one affects all others.

Changing one component of a house without considering how it influences other components and the entire house system can waste energy and money. Here are a few examples of how EnerGuide rating service energy advisors apply the “house as a system” concept to provide expert advice:

Your high-efficiency furnace won’t run at peak performance without adequate weatherstripping around windows and doors and sufficient insulation in the walls and attic. Investing in the proper sealing of the home can provide the right kind of conditions to allow the realization of substantial savings.

New high-efficiency windows won’t prevent your home’s condensation problems if they are improperly sealed or insulated, the humidifier on the furnace has not been adjusted or if kitchen and bathroom exhaust fans are rarely used or are improperly vented.

A properly functioning home incorporates airtightness and good ventilation. An EnerGuide rating service energy advisor makes sure that any recommended upgrades will take both these factors into account as well as other components of the house as a system, thereby ensuring the health and safety of the occupants.

All energy advisors that have been certified through the EnerGuide Rating System know how house components work together to achieve a superior level o energy efficiency and indoor comfort. This includes the ability to assess how a home will use energy and which areas may need improving. Adjustments or upgrades are only recommended after considering their influence on other aspects of the house system and how those upgrades can reduce costs elsewhere.

Before you build, call an energy advisor to make sure that your plans fit into the system.

Content source: Natural Resources Canada, Office of Energy Efficiency (OEE).

Each Thursday, we will feature a blog entry about energy efficient new homes, covering a range of topics from building innovations to ratings systems to “score” your home’s efficiency. Subscribe to the DrummondHousePlans blog to make sure you get the latest news on how to make your new or renovated home energy efficient.

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