How to Eliminate the Invisible Pollution Produced by Your Home
Do you know that your home produces an invisible gas with no odor that is polluting the environment everyday? Can you guess what it might be? If you guessed Carbon Dioxide or C02 you are right! While technically the only CO2 your home actually physically produces is what you and your family breath out, the CO2 we are considering is the gas produced to create the energy used to power your home. But don't panic, there are solutions beyond turning off all the lights and unplugging your furnace.
The optimum solution is to build a home that could produce as much energy as it uses; this can be relatively simple and more economical than you think. The ultimate goal of course is for all building to be built to this standard so we can hit our GHG emissions targets recently set in Paris. This type of home is referred to as a Net Zero Energy (NZE) Home and this standard can be applied to both new homes and retrofits.
Of course there are additional benefits in having a NZE home that may be more obvious to you as the homeowner than the elimination of that invisible gas. Some of the more tangible benefits are as follows:
- Better thermal comfort - an energy efficient home is one that is well sealed with really good windows and lots of insulation in the walls, roof and basement. This eliminates the cold drafts and keeps the home cool in summer.
- Healthier home - A well-sealed home needs to have a properly designed and installed whole home fresh air system that exchanges the damp stale air and replaces it with fresh outdoor air. Of course to save energy the ventilation system needs to scrub the thermal energy from the exhaust air and transfer it to the fresh air. This unit is called and HRV, to learn more check out my blog on indoor air quality.
- A durable home - To achieve the energy efficiency required to deliver a home that could produce as much energy as it uses, the construction detailing needs to be of a very high quality. This attention to detail ensures that moisture both from outside and inside never collects inside the home, walls and roof. This eliminates the risk of mold and mildew and ensures long term low cost performance.
- Better resale value - Evidence is starting to show that home buyers are recognizing the benefits of energy efficient construction and are willing to pay a premium to get them.
So, what is a Net Zero Energy home? Here is the definition developed by the Canadian Home Builders Association (CHBA) for the purpose of their national Net Zero Energy Labeling program:
- A NZE home is one that is designed, modeled, and constructed to produce as much energy as it consumes on an annual basis.
RDC has a long history of building towards a net zero energy standard and has completed 2 homes that produce their own energy. All our homes are designed and tested for energy efficiency and we are also qualified to deliver CHBA's Net Zero Energy label and will begin construction on our 1st NZE Ready labeled home in February: stay tuned for more updates on this exciting new project.
The CHBA NZE Label uses Canadian software call Hot 2000 to model the energy use of your design. The modeling is key in the design process to ensure that the energy use can be matched to the energy production from the available roof area. The modeling software, developed in Canada in the late 1980's for the original R-2000 program (R-2000 certified new homes are best-in-class energy-efficient homes that include high levels of insulation, clean air features and measures to help protect the environment). In fact the R-2000 standard was used to develop the Passive House Standard that is becoming popular today. While Passive House likes to present itself as the ultimate in sustainable green construction, both R-2000 and the NZE label will deliver very similar homes with somewhat more design flexibility and a broader choice of construction materials. The Hot 2000 NZE Home would come with same EnerGuide label as an Energy Star, R-2000 or Built Green home would. The only difference is that it would show a 0 for energy use - how nice would that be! (Not even a passive House can get you to 0!)
If you are interested in a home that is either able to produce as much energy as it uses or just uses as little energy as possible please give us a call.
If you check out the the homes in our web site Projects tab you can see some of the certified projects we have completed in the past.
From the RDC Team
Posted: Wednesday, November 30, 2016