Energy Efficiency Series: Energy Star Qualified Homes

In our energy efficiency series of articles featured each Thursday, we provide strategies or information on how to make your new home energy efficient and comfortable.

ENERGY STAR® for New Homes, like ENERGY STAR® for appliances and electrical fixtures, is a performance based ranking system. ENERGY STAR® for New Homes is an initiative to promote energy efficient home building backed by Natural Resources Canada and supported by progressive builders interested in offering a more energy efficient house to their customers.

Performance tested, third party verified and government backed – the ENERGY STAR® for New Homes label is your assurance that your new home is built to exacting, energy efficient guidelines.

ENERGY STAR® for New Homes mandate is really very simple: To stimulate the construction of better built, more energy efficient homes in Ontario, resulting in daily savings for homeowners and significant environmental benefits.

Earning The ENERGY STAR® for New Homes Label

To achieve ENERGY STAR® for New Homes status, builders select from an array of possible improvements (for instance, achieving an acceptable R-value for your home’s insulation, can be achieved using a number of different techniques). Homes can earn the ENERGY STAR® for New Homes label only after a neutral/3rd party verification. Independent Home Energy Evaluators conduct on-site testing and inspections to verify that the homes qualify.

Invisible to the naked eye, most ENERGY STAR improvements are hidden ‘under the skin’ of your new home. The specifications that have to be met to earn the ENERGY STAR® for New Homes label fall into two main categories – 1) improvements to the envelope and 2) better mechanical systems.

An ENERGY STAR® New Home features state of the art:

Building Envelope (Walls, insulation, roofing, windows and doors. A ‘tighter’ envelop yields a more comfortable more energy efficient structure.)

Effective Insulation

High-Performance Windows (utilizing protective coatings, gas between panes, improved frame assemblies and more)

Tight Construction and Ducts (minimizing air leakage through unseen openings).

The Mechanicals…(Better and more energy efficient appliances, lighting and heating, air conditioning and ventilation)

HVACHeating Ventilation and Cooling (High efficiency furnaces and air conditioners coupled with an HRV (Heat Recovery Ventilator found in many ENERGY STAR® qualified homes) unit and a modern water heater do an amazing job of reducing energy waste from your home’s biggest energy consumer. Whether it’s fuel (gas, oil) or electric, you are probably using more energy heating and cooling than anywhere else in your life.

Lighting and Appliances (ENERGY STAR® qualified homes would also normally be equipped with ENERGY STAR® qualified products — lighting fixtures, compact fluorescent bulbs, ventilation fans, and appliances, such as refrigerators, dish washers, and washing machines. These ENERGY STAR® qualified products provide additional energy savings to the homeowner (while also helping the home earn its ENERGY STAR® for New Homes label).

For more information about ENERGY STAR® qualified new homes, visit the ENERGY STAR® New Homes website or the OEE (Office of Energy Efficiency) of NRCAN (Natural Resources Canada).

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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