Energy Efficiency and Your New Home
We’ve all heard it, in fact you’d have to have been living under a rock for the past 2 decades to not have been inundated with the message that “Green is Good”. The message is so pervasive that nearly every business in every industry, to some degree, looks at ways that they can convey the message that they are “environmentally friendly”.
But why should you consider energy efficiency in your new home, and more importantly, is it worth investing your hard earned money into sometimes costly energy efficient features? There is a multitude of ways that I could attempt to answer that question, from the idealistic “to leave a better planet to my children” to the more practical “to save money on my utility bill”. For most people however, the true reason lies somewhere in the middle of those two. And often forgotten is the reason that likely impacts your life the most; your day to day comfort of living experienced in your new home.
Let’s start with your utility bill. It is a fact that homes built to a certain energy efficient standard will use far less energy than a home built to basic Building Code standards. At Brost, we have tested many of our homes using the Built Green standard as our measuring stick (www.builtgreencanada.ca). We have discovered that our typical home built to our standards with little to no additional money spent on “extra” energy efficient features will usually rate at the Gold level on the Built Green scale (we have also built many homes that achieve a Platinum rating) which saves you money through less energy usage.
Now let’s move on to your comfort in your new home. There are the obvious contributors to comfort such as a tight building envelope or low E glass in your windows. Moving on from that, there are many other contributors that are less obvious initially but are immediately noticeable once you live in the home. For example, you can have a completely air tight home but still feel a sensation of a cool draft by the window. Why? Hot air rises, and on a tall window the warm air will hit the top of the glass, cool quickly, and then rush down the face of the glass giving the sensation of a draft. It is in fact a “draft” (i.e. air movement) just not air moving from the outside to inside, and it is just as uncomfortable as the real thing. How do we prevent this? Our basic window spec calls for a high performance glass that insulates better and therefore is more resistant to this convection current effect. Another example is hot water. If you live in a 2-storey, like me, you can probably turn on a second floor shower’s hot water and go brush your teeth before the water even gets warm. Now why is that? In a 2-storey home, there can be anywhere from 20-60’ of hot water pipe between your hot water system and your shower. Over the course of an hour or two, the water in that pipe will cool so when you go to have a shower you have to completely empty that pipe before you will start to get warm water. What if you could have hot water instantly, thereby saving water usage and cost? With a Brost home you can because our homes always come with a hot water recirculation line meaning we are constantly recirculating warm water from your water heater and though the hot water pipes making sure the water is hot and ready when you need it.
There are many other energy efficient features that we include in our homes that will ensure you are comfortable in a Brost built home. In early 2013 we were awarded the CHBA-Medicine Hat Region award for “Greenest Builder” and we have 4 Built green/R-2000 trained individuals on staff, myself included, who would be more than happy to go over the benefits of “Going Green” with you any time.