What is it that makes a GreenHouse™ good? GreenHouse™ Certified Construction is an initiative offered by EnerQuality to progressive, quality-focused builders who want to go above and beyond the building code to deliver homes that truly outperform. From foundation to rooftop, and from insulation to indoor air quality, GreenHouse™ Certified homes use less energy, generate less greenhouse gasses, require less materials to build and offer a fresher, healthier living environment. And, on top of all that, a GreenHouse™ Certified home will actually save you money from the day you move in.
(Which Means Up to 30% Less Energy to Pay For!)
GreenHouse™ Certified homes have to meet stringent energy efficiency guidelines. Many things affect energy consumption within a home and the GreenHouse™ program provides a menu of energy efficiency options, from which a builder can choose, to achieve the GreenHouse™ standard. Substantial energy savings are the result of using proven, advanced building materials, techniques and standards; if you build a house better‚ you get a better house. What follows is a summary of many of the energy reduction strategies outlined in the GreenHouse™ Certification program.
- Insulation – Increased insulation is a cornerstone of energy efficient design. Insulation levels are increased in exterior walls, attics, basement walls and foundations to minimize heat loss and, therefore, energy consumption.
- High Efficiency Furnace – A state-of-the-art furnace burns less fuel more efficiently which reduces both heating costs and greenhouse gas emissions
- Windows – Energy Star™ qualified windows are big energy savers. When installed with flashing on four sides, air leakage and the risk of moisture damage can be virtually eliminated. Multi glazing and low-e Argon offer energy benefits and protection for furnishings from the sun’s harmful rays.
- Air Barrier – A tight building envelope minimizes air-leakage through walls, ceilings and basements. A well-sealed home, properly ventilated with a Heat Recover Ventilator, is an energy efficient home!
- Heat Recovery Ventilators (HRV) – Controlled ventilation through air exchange systems remove the energy from outgoing (exhaust) air and transfer it to incoming fresh air, recovering 60-70% of energy that would otherwise be lost.
- Electricity – Energy Star™ qualified appliances, energy efficient lighting and a host of other measures, reduce electricity consumption which, in turn, reduces the need to burn coal and helps reduce greenhouse gas emissions
- Hot Water – Hot water accounts for about 20% of a home’s energy use, so it’s a great place to look for savings. Incorporating an efficient hot water heater and a waste water heat recovery system can deliver real savings.
Canada’s wealth of fresh water reserves have been misunderstood and misrepresented for years. Two things are clear: we don’t have unending supplies of replenishable fresh water and the cost of supplying water to homes, businesses and institutions, is one of the largest expenses faced by municipalities today. Less water used means less water to move and great cost savings for consumers.
- The GreenHouse™ Certification guidelines employ a number of measures to help conserve this important resource. By improving just four or five areas in the home, water use can be significantly reduced.
- Toilets – Low volume and dual flush toilets create instant savings by utilizing a lower volume flush without sacrificing performance.
- Faucets/Showerheads – Aerators sustain water pressure while reducing the flow, so for washing, cleaning and showering you can accomplish more with less water.
- Appliances – Energy Star™ qualified appliances (where installed) are water-frugal additions to a GreenHouse™ Certified home.
Indoor Air Quality:
Dust, viruses, bacteria, humidity, pollen, pollution and chemicals all affect the air quality of a home. Superior filtration and ventilation, along with intelligent choices of home-finishing products (like low-VOC paints and carpets) help maintain a fresher, healthier home‚ an important consideration to any family concerned about allergies, asthma or respiratory ailments.
- Air Filtration – GreenHouse™ Homes are equipped with 10 MERV (Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value) air filters that eliminate anything larger than 0.3 microns in diameter. 0.3 microns is a very small measurement‚ smaller than ragweed pollen, pet dander, mold, many bacteria and viruses. The result is a home that offers a fresher, healthier indoor environment.
- Ventilation – GreenHouse™ Certified homes are equipped with heat recovery ventilators (HRV) that, in winter, use the heat energy from outgoing air to warm incoming fresh air. In summer, the effect is reversed and homeowners reduce their energy consumption all year round. Efficient and effective ventilation also helps control the moisture and humidity in the home minimizing the chance of moisture problems around walls, windows, kitchens and bathrooms.
- Indoor Contaminants – Various chemicals (Volatile Organic Compounds or VOC’s) are off-gassed from many new manufactured products and materials used during the construction of a new home. The use of paints, carpets and other products that reduce the amount of chemicals in the indoor environment, are required by GreenHouse™ Certification guidelines. This minimizes a common source of irritation; great news for allergy sufferers and others with chemical sensitivities or those with respiratory concerns.
When planning and designing a GreenHouse™ Certified home, great care goes into the selection and ordering of materials. Waste is significantly reduced, by applying a ‘measure twice, cut once’ philosophy. Less to order; less to ship, less to pay for… It all adds up to savings. Using high recycled content products and recycling construction waste are important parts of the GreenHouse™ program that greatly reduce the volume of waste sent off to landfill.
- Recycled Products – There are many places throughout a house where recycled or partially recycled products, like lumber, drywall, insulation and concrete offer proven quality and environmental benefits.
- Engineered Lumber – Engineered lumber reduces the amount of new wood and, in many applications, can actually outperform its nature-grown/old growth competitors with better rigidity and resistance to warping and splitting.
- Recycling – On the building site, wood goes in one box and drywall another (etc.) Where available, GreenHouse™ builders are required to take advantage of municipal recycling programs in order to divert construction waste away from landfills.