One of the best parts about the bullfrogpowered community is that it brings together so many individuals and businesses that all have an interest in sustainable choices. Even better, many have unique expertise to share to help us live green.
Today, we have some advice for new home buyers, courtesy of one of our newest bullfrogpowered businesses: Ottawa’s Cardel Homes.
Here are 4 questions about energy efficiency that new home buyers should research or ask their builder before closing the deal. Keith Blair, VP of Production at Cardel Homes, also provided some reasons why these questions are so important.
- Are new homes more energy efficient than old homes?
Keith: The answer is likely to be yes. Here’s why: The National and Ontario Building Codes have both been undergoing regular and stringent upgrades with regard to the energy efficiency and performance of newly constructed homes. Current standards are much higher than they were even a few years ago. That means that the newer the home, the more likely it is to have been built with higher efficiency standards.
- What features are you including in your home that exceed the industry or building code standard?
Keith: Upgraded components can have a significant impact on the long term costs of operating the home. Improved insulation, increased air tightness, or higher efficiency ratings for mechanical equipment, can all result in substantially lower utility bills for the entire duration of the life of the home.
- What provision has been made in the new home to protect air quality compared to an older existing home?
Keith: Find out if your home has a Heat Recovery Ventilator, (commonly referred to as an HRV). Older homes generally don’t include HRV’s, but these devises improve air quality by significantly improving ventilation of the home, so that contaminates are continuously exhausted. Cardel Homes also include rough in provision for soil gas extraction, so that if radon or other naturally occurring harmful gasses happen to be migrating into the home from the soil beneath, there is an easy way to efficiently and safely deal with them. These are recent new innovations that were not considerations for home builders just a few years ago.
- Do you participate in any energy efficiency labeling programs?
Keith: Labeling programs such as Energy Star and EnerGuide ensure that homes are inspected and tested to verify performance and that efficiency components are in place. Participation by a builder in recognized Energy Efficiency programs lifts the standard for all the staff and trades working for that builder and results in a home built with more care and attention to detail.
And for readers looking for a new-build home in the Ottawa area, we asked Cardel Homes: How is Cardel making energy efficiency a priority for the homes you build?
Keith: First, Cardel’s homes are 29.6% more energy efficient than standard built homes. That’s because Cardel has made a decision to include energy efficiency as an integral consideration in the design of all of its homes. Each Cardel home incorporates highly efficient mechanical equipment, high levels of insulation in walls and ceiling, and careful attention to sealing of potential heat losses in the building envelope. We are among the first builders to embrace the concept of continuous insulation in the exterior walls. We use an insulated structural sheathing for the outer skin of our homes that combines the benefits of exterior foam insulation with the strength of wood based structural panels.
Once you have the keys to even a really efficient home, you should still think about the energy you’ll use! New homeowners and renters alike can reduce their home’s environmental impact even more with Bullfrog Power’s green energy products, customized for condos, townhomes and detached houses.