Since the late 70s – early 80s people start talking about saving energy. These years have been known in the history of mankind as “energy crisis”. Various political games and embargoes imposed by OPEC lead to increase in the prices for oil, natural gas and electricity. Everyone start feeling this increase in higher prices for gasoline for the cars and heating fuel for homes. Car manufacturers began their work on development of the hybrid vehicles and builders and government agencies start looking for improvements in residential and commercial construction.
This created the whole new approach to construction techniques and materials. According to stats from David Suzuki foundation residential sector accounts for 5.9% of Canada’s greenhouse gas emissions, while the commercial sector contributes 4.7 per cent. Most of these emissions come from the use of fossil fuels, mainly fuel oil and natural gas, for space and water heating. Lighting, cooking, heating, cooling and home entertainment also use electricity, which is often generated from fossil fuels. Reduction in greenhouse gases in Toronto homes therefore is imperative for protecting our environment and at the same time saving energy used for house needs.
There are various ways to build an energy efficient home in Toronto. One of the widely accepted standards was an introduction of R-2000 home. This is an industry-endorsed technical performance standard for energy efficiency, indoor air tightness, quality and environmental responsibility in Toronto home construction. Since its introduction over 25 years ago, the R-2000 Standard has become the benchmark for energy efficient new home building in Canada. It includes the use of high performance windows, high efficiency mechanical systems, prescribed minimum insulation levels for the main walls and foundation, as well as air tightness requirements along with adequate ventilation.
The other type of energy efficient home is an ENERGY STAR qualified home. This house is on average 25% more energy efficient than the average home that is built to the minimum requirements of building code. Residential ENERGY STAR program is administered by Natural Resources Canada and supported by qualified builders who are interested in offering more energy efficient homes to consumers. The ownership of home involves much more than just the purchase price. Payments like mortgage, property taxes, utilities and maintenance should be considered. In fact, energy costs rank as the second largest overall monthly expense. Properly built ENERGY STAR homes can save their owners on average between 25 to 30% in the cost of utilities. And these savings can also reduce substantially greenhouse gases emissions to help protect the environment.
And what about older Toronto homes? Obviously they are also in the need for improvements. Various retrofits could be performed to improve the efficiency of the old house, however it is always important to remember that the house is a system, and improvements should be done so as to keep this system functional. For example, replacement of the old drafty windows and upgrading wall insulation will result in reduction in air leakage and heat loss. This may require changes to the heating and ventilation equipment. If in doubt it is always better to have an independent energy advisor to conduct energy audit and model the house in energy efficiency software. This assessment is crucial and will help you to prioritize different aspects of your retrofit work.
We have a solid understanding of building science and are equipped with the state of the art technology that will allow us to provide you with the most economical but at the same time the most efficient advice about your project.
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