Live in a Home That Will Love You Back: Net Zero Energy
…coming soon to a builder near you! An action plan for net zero energy housing in Canada moves forward.
by Sonja Winkelmann, Director, Net Zero Energy Housing, Canadian Home Builders' Association
The Canadian Home Builders’ Association (CHBA) has established a Net Zero Energy (NZE) Housing Council to guide its efforts in high-performance housing. The 56 Council members were selected for their demonstrated competence and experience in NZE or R-2000 housing as well as their knowledge or capability in specialized areas important to advancing NZE housing.
The CHBA supports innovation in the industry with the goal of helping members succeed and prosper as they pursue NZE performance. To make this happen, the CHBA is launching a NZE Labelling Program to distinguish and recognize NZE homes and builders/renovators. Builder and renovator members who want to be part of this exciting development will have to take training as part of the qualification process. This will help get the necessary knowledge in to the hands of early NZE adopters and accelerate the capacity of builders and renovators to achieve NZE. A pilot of the NZE Labelling Program is launching nationwide in fall 2015 and “version 1.0” will be released once the pilot is complete.
NZE homes offer whole-house comfort, excellent indoor air quality, and superior energy performance using proven advanced technologies and construction practices. The result is a superior-quality home that exceeds current and anticipated building code requirements. Each NZE home will be verified by government-licensed, third party service organizations and recognized by CHBA for its achievement.
Significant strides have been made over the last 5 to 10 years by industry innovators. This has reduced the additional costs of NZE homes by as much as 50%—and in many cases we’re now able to achieve cost neutrality when operating costs are considered. This means that the extra cost of NZE homes can be offset by the monthly energy savings—at net-zero monthly cost!
This year the first nationwide market preference study for the homebuilding industry was conducted. TheCHBA report, produced in partnership with Avid Ratings Canada, provides in-depth insight into what homebuyers are looking for—and demonstrates the importance of energy efficiency to today’s homebuyers. 1,581 new homeowners across six provinces of Canada (BC, AB, SK, MB, ON, NB) participated in the study.
The top 10 “Must Have” home features identified by the study participants were:
• Walk-in closets
• Energy-efficient appliances
• Overall energy-efficient home
• High-efficiency windows
• Kitchen islands
• Linen closets
• Open-concept kitchens
• Large windows
• 2-car garage
• Walk-in pantry
These study results confirm that homeowners expect energy-efficient homes. Canadians want their homes to be as tough as they are to be able to endure Canadian winters with ease! CHBA members will meet the housing aspirations of Canadians and renew Canadian leadership in high-performance housing by offering consumers a “made in Canada” solution: NZE homes!
Live in a home that will love you back. Buy a Net Zero Energy home...coming soon to a builder near you!