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Frequently Asked Questions

What Is an ENERGY STAR Qualified Home? (Source: NRCan website)

An ENERGY STAR qualified home is a home that has been built by a licensed ENERGY STAR for New Homes builder. The builder incorporates energy efficient features into the home so that it can meet the ENERGY STAR for New Homes technical specifications. To meet the ENERGY STAR for New Homes technical specifications, builders typically incorporate these energy efficiency measures:

Heating and cooling systems - All furnaces, heat pumps, thermostats and fireplaces are ENERGY STAR qualified. The annual fuel utilization efficiency rating (AFUE) of furnaces complies with rigorous Canadian minimum efficiency requirements. As a result, you use less fuel and save money.

Ducts - Ducts gain efficiency by providing heating and cooling to designated areas only. In addition, there is less leakage at duct joints because all supply and return trunk ducts and all take-offs are sealed. This means that less heat is lost as air moves from the furnace to the living areas of your home and air conditioning is evenly and properly distributed.

Windows, patio doors and skylights - All windows, glass doors and skylights comply with Canada's requirements for ENERGY STAR qualified windows. This feature alone could cut more than 10 percent off your energy costs. Walls and ceilings - There is more insulation in the ceilings and walls of an ENERGY STAR qualified home than is required by building codes. This reduces heat loss, puts less strain on your heating and cooling systems and keeps your house more comfortable.

Ventilation and air leakage - ENERGY STAR qualified new homes must meet rigorous airtightness targets. Reduced air movement through the building envelope, as revealed by an air leakage test, means less draftiness for the homeowner. Inclusion of a heat recovery ventilation system (HRV) creates improved air quality.

There are additional homeowner savings if builders supply ENERGY STAR qualified appliances and lighting.

Upon completion of the ENERGY STAR qualified home, an independent third party ENERGY STAR for New Homes evaluator verifies that the home has been built to ENERGY STAR for New Homes technical specifications. After the verification process is complete, Natural Resources Canada issues an ENERGY STAR for New Homes label and certificate to the homeowner. The label is usually placed on the home's electrical panel and includes a regional service organization seal of authenticity.

RGL's role:
In order to position a builder for success with their High Performance Housing site, we work closely with them during the planning and design stages of the project, prior to the first home being built. Through a consultative process we ensure their plan is compliant with the goals they are planning to achieve. Providing guidance on compliance issues is a consultative and technical process that allows the builder to use a number of construction elements, such as heating, ventilation, and insulation approaches that best suits the types of homes being built. Some programs require additional measures addressing water consumption, waste water management, low impact lighting etc. Where programs like Energy Star, and Energuide for New Houses deal with Energy Efficiency and Improved Indoor Air Quality other programs delve further into the realm of sustainable design. Currently one program that represents a sustainable approach to development is the LEED® Canada for Homes program where many more factors are considered and must be addressed to achieve certification. Those categories include:
  • Innovation and Design (a planning process)
  • Location and Linkages (accessibility to transit, open spaces, infill sites, etc)
  • Sustainable Sites (erosion control, no invasive plants, permeable lot, etc)
  • Water Efficiency (reuse-graywater recycling, fixture efficiency, etc)
  • Energy and Atmosphere (Energy Star Homes as a minimum efficiency target)
  • Materials and Resources (material efficient framing, construction waste reduction and recycling)
  • Indoor Environmental Quality (IAQ and comfort)
  • Awareness and Education (educate both trades and homeowners)
The LEED® Canada for Homes program is an initiative designed to promote the transformation of the mainstream homebuilding industry toward more sustainable practices that targets the top 25% of new homes with best practice environmental features.





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