Helping you build sustainable and affordable, low energy, carbon-storing homes.
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sustainable high performance homes:
Not sure what a high performance home is??No problem - grab a coffee and here's what you need to know!
Building a high performance home requires you develop some basic 'fluency' around energy use and carbon-smart materials, and that is where Fluent will help you out! See the summary here:
A high performance home is essentially a well-insulated and air-sealed home that has a low energy use and is healthy and comfortable to live in. Ultimately the house is built of carbon-storing materials (rather than carbon-emitting materials), and the house operates with minimal to no greenhouse gases (i.e., carbon) emissions. A high performance home is healthy because it offers superior ventilation using a Heat Recovery Ventilation (HRV) system, which combined with a well air-sealed house, creates great indoor air quality (IAQ). Done right with good integrated design planning at the front end of a house project, a high performance home will save you money over the long run. It will save money because it diminishes energy use and energy bills. It uses well-sized, efficient mechanical systems (i.e., heating and cooling devices, HRV's) and promotes the use of Energy Star appliances. And a high performance house does not need to cost much more than a code-built house, as long as good planning up front moves resources around to the key components. INSERT STEP 3 COST INCREASE QUOTE HERE. In summary, a high performance home is a feel good home on numerous levels, and it offers a bright vision of sustainability so we can do our best to look after this amazing planet for our kids, grandkids and all future generations.
A high performance house is also sustainable. What make's a sustainable house? A sustainable house is a healthy, comfortable, efficient and durable home. A sustainable house is also a solution to the climate crisis we are encountering now. Ultimately, success means enjoying this amazing short journey we have here on earth, and that means feeling good about how we live our life. Sustainable housing helps us achieve this feeling. It also helps Canada meet our international commitments to reduce GHG's under the 2016 Paris Climate Accord. Essentially we reduce the amount of GHG's (e.g., carbon) we emit with: (1) the building materials we use; and (2) how we operate the home. Fortunately, there are many common building materials and mechanical systems now available to help us acheive this goal (win!).
A low energy use house is meant ultimately to help reduce our dependance on energy sources that emit greenhouse gases (GHGs); therefore, it is no longer enough to just be a low energy house if we want to futureproof the value of your home. We must also be carbon-smart. All new homes built will come with an EnerGuide Label (INCLUDE LINK HERE TO ENERGUIDE LABEL!) that includes the 'Rated Greenhouse Gas Emissions" of the home! So if you are selling your new home, people will now know right away by looking at the label if they are buying a polluting home or a clean home. This means we attempt to use carbon-storing (not carbon-emitting) materials to build the home, and we use heating and cooling systems that produce minimal to no carbon emissions (i.e., GHG's). In a world where carbon (pollution) tax is increasing over time, you will want to minimize the GHG-based house systems that increase these financial-related risks over time. Thus, a high performance house makes for a healthy, comfortable and durable home, and coincidentally for bold climate action you can feel really good about. Your EA should be talking to you about both energy and carbon if you want to futureproof your home value and maximize long term resale value!
A high performance home design subscribes to a new idea of the "House as a system". That is, you plan to reduce energy use through good design and then you properly size your mechanical systems (e.g., often you can reduce the heating system size to save money) and choose energy efficient Energy Star appliances. In summary, all parts of the house , including the appliances, are planned out to work efficiently with each other. This is a new idea and it can save you money by reducing long term energy costs! Gone are the days of walking into a hardware store and just picking any old furnace that's in stock (despite if it is two times too big and twice as expensive to run). Now we look at the home's size and modelled efficiency, and then we pick only the smallest heating system you require to keep all purchase and operating costs as low as possible. Fortunately, there are many great high performance home building resources available online for free such as BC Housing's research library. Fluent can help you navigate through this website and other key documents as a start point on your home building journey.
There are six key elements to a high performance home. Hover your mouse over the links below for a quick overview of what you want to look at doing in your home design:
Net Zero Ready
Lastly, the BC Energy Step Code will make it mandatory that all new homes in BC be Net Zero Ready by 2032! This is a remarkable requirement because it implies that every new home in the future will generate all the power they need on-site - most typically from a rooftop solar panel system. And relying on a solar system will work best on higher performing homes with a well sealed building envelope and low energy use. Have an older home you are wondering about?! No worries - consider an energy evaluation on your existing home to identify future retrofit ideas to make your house high performance. Each upgrade presented will summarize the energy saved. You decide which ones do for the best bang for your reno dollars. Renovation rebates are forthcoming HERE.
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