Earlier this month, the Canadian Home Builders’ Association (CHBA) officially launched the Net Zero Home Labelling Program, taking another step towards building fully energy efficient communities.
“CHBA supports leading-edge innovation in the residential construction industry with the goal of having those innovations as a voluntary and affordable choice for consumers,” said Kevin Lee, CEO. “The Net Zero Home Label will help to meet the energy efficient housing aspirations of Canadians, and renew Canadian industry leadership in high performance housing. CHBA members have always been leaders and innovators – this program continues that trend.”
The Program benefits builders and buyers by clearly defining the two-tier requirements for Net Zero and Net Zero Ready Homes. It also identifies the builders and renovators who provide Net Zero services.
To put the idea of Net Zero in perspective, let’s take a quick look at the Building Code requirements. Everyone is familiar with ENERGY STAR; any home that is ENERGY STAR qualified is 20% more energy efficient than the Building Code requires. A Net Zero Ready home is up to 80% more efficient than code, and a Net Zero home is 100% more efficient than code! The reason a Net Zero home is 100% more efficient is because it produces as much energy as it consumes.
Special training has been developed for members of the building and land development industry who are interested in achieving Net Zero. There are CHBA Net Zero Qualified Service organizations, energy advisors, and trainers that will work with builders and renovators to plan their next Net Zero project.
“CHBA would like to thank all of our Net Zero Council members and industry stakeholders who participated in the development of the Program through the pilot phase,” said Sonja Winkelmann, Director, Net Zero Energy Housing. “Your advice and leadership throughout the process helped shape Net Zero and the future of energy efficiency in housing.”
It’s becoming increasingly important to build and market energy efficient homes and communities. The CHBA conducted a nationwide homebuyer preference study and discovered that four out of the top 10 ‘must have’ features in a new home were energy efficiency related.
Top 10 ‘must have’ features in a new home:
1) Walk-in closets
2) Energy efficient appliances
3) High-efficiency windows
4) Linen closets
5) Overall energy efficient home
6) Kitchen islands
7) Open concept kitchens
8) Large windows
9) 2-car garage
10) HRV/ERV air exchanger
“Our National Home Buyer Preference Study confirmed that consumers want and expect an energy efficient home,” said Lee. “Our members have a long history in delivering high performance homes and are ready and eager to deliver the next generation of high performance housing to discerning Canadian home buyers. Our Net Zero Home Labelling Program provides third party confirmation for both the industry and the consumer.”
Will Net Zero communities ever become the norm in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) and all of Canada?