Best Practices in Energy Efficiency for Homes and Buildings

An energy efficient home or building controls the flow of heat, air and moisture in and out of the building. Read more below about the best practices in energy efficiency.

House as a System Building Science

A house is more than just four walls and a roof. It's a complex system of different components that interact and determine the performance of the home and the health, safety and comfort of the people living in it. Along with improvements in the technology, the building industry has gained a better understanding of air, heat and moisture movement in a home, and the need to manage the indoor environment in a deliberate and systematic way.

Components of a model energy efficient home

  1. Weather Barrier Outside
  2. Continuous Air Barrier
  3. Moisture Barrier Inside
  4. Thermal Barrier
  5. Mechanical Ventilation
  6. High Efficiency Heating
  7. High Efficiency Hot Water Tank and Low-Flow Fixtures
  8. Thermal Window System


Best Home Ventilation Practices

The green arrows in the image above shows the stale, or moisture laden air being expelled correctly through range hoods, fans, dryer vents, fire place inserts, and a high efficient heating sytem that is vented directly outside.

Where does the energy go in a residential home?

  • Space heating 46 %
  • Cooling 1 %
  • Water heating 30 %
  • Appliances 17 %
  • Lighting 6 %

What are the top five energy efficiency upgrades?

  1. Improve the insulation in your attic, walls, basement and crawlspace
  2. Upgrade your heating system to a high efficiency model (in most cases, look for ENERGY STAR®).
  3. Upgrade your hot water heating system to the most efficient possible and install low flow showerheads and faucet aerators.
  4. Make your home as airtight as possible with air sealing and weather stripping while also adding proper ventilation systems.  
  5. Apply for related grants and incentives to help you lower the up-front cost of your renovations.

Best Practices in New Home Construction

EnerGuide Rating System for New Houses

Certified Energy Advisors use a modeling software for your blueprints to confirm that your homes are built with the most advanced construction practices for energy efficiency. Receive upgrade suggestions related to passive solar gain (window placement and size), high efficiency heating, increased insulation, air tightness and more.

ENERGY STAR® for New Homes

An ENERGY STAR home has an EnerGuide rating of 80 or better and ENERGY STAR products throughout the home. They are built by a licensed ENERGY STAR builder and verified by an independent energy advisor licensed by Natural Resources Canaada (NRCan). ENERGY STAR for New Homes uses the same logo as the familiar labeling program for appliances.

R – 2000

R-2000 is made-in-Canada home building technology with a worldwide reputation for energy efficiency and environmental responsibility. The R-2000 Standard is a series of technical requirements for new home performance that go way beyond building codes.

Built Green Certified Builders in BC

These builders have completed the CHBA-BC certification process and are trained to build homes that meet a collection of the items on the Built Green Checklist. Categories include: Energy, Operational Systems, Building Materials, Exterior & Interior Finishes, Indoor Air Quality, Waste Management, Water Conservation, Business Practices and Innovative Design.

Canada Green Building Council – LEED Building Certifier

Information on how to get LEED certification for Canadian builders or buildings. LEED stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design and is a Green Building Rating System. Builders receive points from building choices from five principal LEED® categories:

- Sustainable Sites
- Water Efficiency
- Energy and Atmosphere
- Materials and Resources
- Indoor Environmental Quality

Net zero

A Net-Zero Energy Home supplies to the grid an annual output of electricity that is equal to the amount of power purchased from the grid. In many cases the entire energy consumption (heating, cooling and electrical) of a Net-Zero Energy Home can be provided by renewable energy sources.


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