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Photo: Ylanite Koppens

Is an efficient, healthy home important to you and your family?
You’re fed up with rising utility bills, we get it. Or perhaps you’re experiencing ecological grief, want to take advantage of the Carbon Tax, or maybe you simply want to contribute to a more sustainable world. Let’s be honest, Alberta’s home building code is not where it should be environmentally, and a standard built-to-code home is not going to offer you the peace of mind you’re looking for. There are many reasons to build a Greener Home, and each homeowner’s motivation may be different. However, you’re worried about the cost. Homes are already such a big investment, how could you find room in your budget to build a healthier, more sustainable home? We’d like to help you understand what the return on your investment would be when building a Greener Home.  
What is an Energy Efficient Home?
First, to prove it’s an energy efficient home, it must have an EnerGuide label and the label is affixed to the electrical panel in the most important room of the house, the mechanical room. The room that houses all of the equipment that keeps you and your home healthy and comfortable. Energy Efficient homes are assessed by a third party, such as Natural Resources Canada or BUILT GREEN® and each third party has a variety of tiers that can be reached, depending on how efficient the home is. We pre-analyze your house plans before construction begins so you know what the out come will be for energy efficiency ratings. The EnerGuide system by Natural Resources Canada is the most popular assessment of efficiency. The EnerGuide Rating System (ERS) tracks Gigajoule usage, where a rating of 0 represents Net Zero, Net Zero meaning the home produces as much energy as the home consumes annually. BUILT GREEN® is a non-profit, third party verification that recognizes the authenticities of green features in homes. This third-party verification includes both an EnerGuide label and a BUILT GREEN® seal. 100% of our custom homes have received the BUILT GREEN® Platinum seal, the highest seal awarded for efficient, low environmental impact homes.This is the goal we always strive for. When a home is assessed for Platinum, it isn’t only the home’s energy efficiency that is considered. It also mandates that materials used are locally sourced and non-toxic, air quality and ventilation are assessed and must be superior, the home’s water conservation must be high, and waste management and other business practices must be environmentally responsible.  
How Much More Does an Energy Efficient Home Cost?
An energy efficient home can, but not always, cost more to build but it does not cost more in the bigger picture. A well-built energy efficient home will always cost less to maintain and operate, and any extra cost associated with efficiency can be recuperated over time. So how much more does it cost? It depends. When your EnerGuide label reads “0” and you get to slap a BUILT GREEN® Platinum seal on your home, you know you’ve got one of the most efficient homes in the world. But… Building a more sustainable home is not All or Nothing. It is possible to strike a balance between efficiency and budget. Each home and each build are different, and there are a few things that can affect your home’s performance. One thing to note is your home’s orientation. The direction in which your home faces will affect its ability to utilize passive solar gains from the sun. The ideal layout is to have south-facing windows, and to minimize windows on the North face of the home. So, if you’re renovating an existing structure or have your heart set on a specific lot to build on, it may be more difficult to work with, but don’t worry, your options aren’t exhausted. There are fundamental principles that Greener Homes Ltd. incorporates into its builds to immediately make homes more efficient. These things are:
  1. Staggered stud wall system, highly insulated to eliminate thermal bridging and heat loss
  2. Highly insulated attic {R-60 +} to minimize heat loss through the ceiling in the winter, and heat gain in the summer time
  3. Tri-pane windows with certain coatings depending on the orientation to maximize efficiency
By spending approx. 7% more, you can have an up to 40-50% more efficient home by building a Greener home. This means that your finished home could cost you 40-50% less on utility bills and maintenance and meet BUILT GREEN® Platinum standards. With further investment down the road, your home could also become Net Zero.  
Can Any Home be Upgraded to Net Zero?
Short answer, possibly, but your standard built-to-code home will not be built for the future. Simply installing solar panels to your home when it wasn’t constructed with energy efficiency in mind is not going to be entirely effective as you’ll need to purchase a much larger solar array than should be necessary. This is because most of what makes an efficient home efficient, is included in the building envelope. A well-built envelope will include super insulation and air sealing, which minimize energy loss, meaning that less energy will be required to operate the home. These upgrades to your home’s envelope are where the extra 7% will be spent. As a result, you’ll have a home that could reduce your utility bills by half, and you’ll have a comfortable, quiet, healthy home that will give you some peace of mind about volatile gas and energy prices. Let’s not forget to mention that, according to Green Building Advisor, your home will be worth about 10% more with a Green label. This means that by spending 7% more on your home, you could immediately be putting 3% equity in your pocket.  
Still Not Convinced an Energy-Efficient Home Will Save You Money?
We wouldn’t call our homes sustainable if we didn’t build them to stand the test of time. Greener Homes Ltd. builds to absolute quality, where “good enough” is not good enough. We assure you that our homes will require less maintenance than your standard home, saving you even more money in the long run. Because our homes are third-party verified to be sustainable through BUILT GREEN®, you’ll be eligible for an up to 25% rebate on home insurance through CMHC and Genworth. Greener Homes Ltd. is Lethbridge and Area’s leading and only Green builder, as well as a 6 consecutive year award winner of energy efficient homes. We are not just a custom home builder, but a Personalized Home Builder. We work with our client’s budget and house plans. We will go through revision after revision until the clients are 100% happy and comfortable with the outcome of the plans for their new home, it being exactly what they’re looking for. If you’re looking for an age-in-place home built with accessibility in mind, such as no stair or less stairs leading up to your front door, wider doorways, elevators etc. we can help. We believe homes should be healthy, and we won’t cut corners when it comes to your home’s energy efficiency, air quality, and comfort.  

What Questions Do You Have? Contact Us

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