Getting to Net Zero Energy
What Makes a Home in Guelph Energy Efficient?
Simply put, an energy efficient home consumes 60% less energy than the Guelph average. That might seem like a lot, but your neighbours are already doing it. They are making behavioural changes and home retrofits that can actually exceed this reduction. Ultimately, this saves people money, fights climate change, and helps us reach 100% Renewable Energy even faster.
Unfortunately, the overwhelming majority of homes in Guelph don’t meet the current Ontario Building Code (OBC) standards because they were built before the 1980s. While new homes and renovations are built to the current code standards, they do not sufficiently address the climate crisis. Thankfully, there are building standards out there that can reduce our residential impact on the environment by as much as 80%. The idea behind these standards are quite simple: build it tight and vent it right.
These homes have higher levels of insulation in a tight building envelope (the parts of our home that separate us from the outside – or the ground), efficient ventilation systems, and use clean and efficient heating and cooling systems.
Net Zero & Net Zero Ready Homes
Net Zero Homes
Net Zero Homes are 80% more energy efficient than those built to OBC standards and produce as much energy as they consume. Some features of a net zero home include:
- Well-insulated, airtight building envelope
- Efficient heating and cooling systems
- Exceptional ventilation (Energy Recovery Ventilation or ERV)
- Upgraded and efficient windows and doors
- Smart thermostats
- High-efficiency appliances (EnergyStar certified)
- High-efficiency lighting (Light Emitting Diode (LED) Technology)
- Renewable energy sources like solar panels
- A low EnerGuide rating – which means it is very efficient
Net-Zero Ready Homes
A Net Zero Ready home is designed and built to the same standards but without solar panels, allowing for future installation. In essence, a Net Zero Ready home provides a Net Zero home’s benefits without the initial financial investment. For more information, see the Canadian Home Builders Association website.
By buying a Net Zero Ready Home, you have an extremely efficient home that’s easy to upgrade to a Net Zero Home when you’re ready!
What is a Passive House?
According to the International Passive House Association, the term ‘Passivhaus’ refers to a low-energy construction standard developed in the 1990s by Dr. Wolfgang Feist of the Passivhaus Institut in Germany. It is a construction concept that can be applied by anyone. Some of the features of a passive house include:
- Can save up to 90% of energy compared to a typical building and over 75% compared to the average new build
- High air quality
Net Zero versus Passive House: What does it all mean?
A Net Zero home’s purpose is to produce as much energy as it uses (the total energy consumption is Net Zero). Comparatively, a Passive House is all about energy efficiency and comfort. The main goal of both is to reduce the need for additional heating/cooling. See Dalhousie University’s explanation for more information.
In summary, energy-efficient homes are:
- Comfortable and healthy
- Always adding value
- Kind to the environment
*The above graphic does not feature an air-source heat pump.
Learn how you can make your home more energy-efficient.
Take charge of your home’s energy performance with an EnerGuide energy efficiency home evaluation.