Canadians are faced with a number of programs which quantify the energy efficiency and “green score” of their homes. As part of an ongoing series of articles on energy efficient new homes, we are presenting information and resources related to each program. This week, we will look at a national program, the R-2000 ranking.


What is R-2000?

R-2000 is made-in-Canada home building technology with a worldwide reputation for energy efficiency and environmental responsibility. The R-2000 Standard is a series of technical requirements for new home performance that go way beyond building codes. Every R-2000 home is built and certified to this standard.

The Canadian Home Builders’ Association works with Natural Resources Canada’s (NRCan’s) Office of Energy Efficiency which manages R-2000 on behalf of the federal government in support of R-2000 technology, builders and consumers.

The R-2000 mission is:

“ To promote the energy efficiency and reduction of greenhouse gas emissions of Canada’s new housing stock through an industry-led, market-driven, leading edge housing standard presented as a co-operative partnership of the private and public sectors. ”

A Brief History of R-2000

When the first “R-2000 homes” were built, it was difficult, even for the visionaries in the industry, to imagine the impact of the technology, and how it would revolutionize the industry.

  • It began in the mid-1970s with a research project in Saskatchewan to develop ways of building homes that were comfortable and healthy to live in during the frigid winters, but used much less energy than conventional homes. The forerunners of R-2000 were modest-looking homes, with thick walls and small windows—a far cry from today’s bright and sunny homes.
  • The research resulted in the “house as a system” concept—a major evolution in building science. “House as a system” thinking recognizes that the flow of air, heat and moisture within a home is affected by the interaction of all the components, i.e., everything works together. If you make changes in one area, it will affect other areas—a simple concept that has profoundly changed the way all homes are built today.
  • The R-2000 Program was created in 1981 as a partnership between the Canadian Home Builders’ Association and Natural Resources Canada to begin moving this exciting new technology into the marketplace. The R-2000 Standard was formalized, home builders were trained in the new design and construction techniques, and consumers began to learn about these “better-built” homes.
  • Since then, thousands of R-2000 homes have been built, and thousands of building professionals trained.
  • Indirectly, R-2000 has influenced the way every home is built today, spawning a new generation of better builders, better materials and products and better homes.
  • Periodic upgrading of the R-2000 Standard has ensured that R-2000 remains at the forefront of construction technology. Over the years, requirements for indoor air quality and resource conservation have been added, along with stricter energy targets.
  • R-2000 technology has enjoyed tremendous international success. Early on in the Program, R-2000 was “exported” to Japan as well as the US where it had a great influence on the evolution of energy-efficient construction. R-2000 homes have also been built in Poland, Russia, Germany, and most recently, England, as a collaboration between Canadian builders and British developers.

Content source: Canadian Home Builders Association (CHBA). For more information on the R-2000 program, follow this link.

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.