There are a number of different construction standards for low energy and/or green homes in Canada. Depending on the region of Canada you are in, you may be familiar with one or more of the following standards:

Energy efficiency is the key objective of virtually all of the certification programs and the EnerGuide rating system is the key reporting mechanism used.

An EnerGuide rating is a standard measure of a home’s energy performance. Ratings are calculated by professional EnerGuide rating service energy advisors (also referred to as a Certified Energy Advisor or CEA) from information collected during the analysis of building plans and the results of the blower door test performed once the house has been built.

The home’s energy efficiency level is rated on a scale of 0 to 100. A rating of 0 represents a home with major air leakage, no insulation and extremely high energy consumption. A rating of 100 represents a house that is airtight, well insulated, sufficiently ventilated and requires no purchased energy on an annual basis and is referred to as a net-zero house.

A rating or 80 or higher is the NRCan’s goal for all new housing.

The rating is determined by collecting detailed information about the home’s energy systems, construction materials and assembly and inputting that information into an energy simulation modeling program developed by Natural Resources Canada. To factor out the influence of occupants habits (i.e., to measure the way the house itself uses energy, not the energy-using habits of its occupants), standard operating conditions are used in the rating.

The assumed variables are:

  • four occupants in the house
  • a thermostat setting of 21°C (70°F) on main floors and 19°C (66°F) in the basement
  • a total domestic hot water consumption of 225 litres per day
  • lighting and appliance electricity consumption of 24 kilowatt hours per day
  • a minimum monthly average ventilation rate of 0.35 air change per hour during the heating season

When construction is complete, the CEA verifies the applied energy upgrades and performs a blower door test. After the data has been collected, the home receives its EnerGuide for New Houses rating.
The home owner is provided an official label to display the rating on the home’s furnace or electrical box.

For more information on the NRCan’s EnerGuide rating system for new homes, visit the Office of Energy Efficiency of 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.