Benefits of a Home Energy Audit
It is increasingly popular for homeowners in British Columbia to want to build energy efficient. There are plenty of reasons why a new home owner or builder would want an energy efficient home, including: lower monthly operating costs, reduced greenhouse gas emissions, increasing government regulations, and improved indoor environmental quality. With so much demand around the term it is worth considering: what is an energy efficient home, exactly?
A misconception to many new home owners is that a new house is an energy efficient house. In fact, a new house has energy efficiency features but could be made more energy efficient with some changes prior to construction. Another misconception is that the added cost of making the house more energy efficient is too much. The reality is that the savings in monthly operating costs are normally more than the additional cost in mortgage payments related to the cost of incorporating the energy efficient measures. [1, 2, 3]
What does a home that is energy efficient mean? Is it more appropriate to increase your your budget on for wall insulation, windows, or mechanical systems? How much energy use or relative utility savings is a homeowner expecting from any given design decision? Do planned home improvements make sense based on your objectives? With so many unanswered questions, it is our opinion at 3West that anyone planning to construct an energy efficient home would benefit from an energy audit.
A home energy audit offers unbiased third party verification of a home’s energy use. The EnerGuide Rating Service is regulated by Natural Resources Canada and designed to provide an objective third party measure of the energy efficiency of a household. An EnerGuide Rating will display the home’s annual energy use in Gigajoules and also compares how your home performs to a standard new home.
Screenshot of BuildingPathFinder – The new Building Pathfinder tool is a new preliminary estimation tool that can be used to balance cost and energy savings in British Columbia
By conducting an energy audit, the homeowner will have access to additional information from the energy model as well as the specialized expertise of an Energy Advisor. In addition to determining your home’s energy rating, an Energy Advisor can compare alternative designs to identify the most effective ways to reduce energy usage and utility bills. Additionally, by using an Energy Advisor you may gain access to up to $8,400 from whole building energy efficiency rebates .
Moreover, a whole building energy audit provides a design heating system power output. This is useful in providing an additional check for the homeowner to validate you’re your heating system is properly sized. A properly sized mechanical system will minimize a homeowner’s capital cost, improve the lifespan and operating efficiency of your systems, as well as improve the overall comfort of the home.
Durability and Comfort
Energy Advisors can also help maximize your investment by optimizing home durability and comfort. For instance, Energy Advisors can provide guidance on material and component selection of the best materials to maximize air quality and energy efficiency.
Energy Advisors can also perform air leakage testing during the construction stage. The results of this testing is useful in reducing the travel of moisture-laden air into the building envelope, thereby improving building durability, reducing drafts and resulting in a quieter home by isolating the interior from exterior noise.
In a home energy audit, all these tools may be utilized to align your new home with your energy efficiency objectives and provide a healthier home with less impact on the environment.
References Passive House Cost Comparison https://passipedia.org/basics/affordability/investing_in_energy_efficiency/are_passive_houses_cost-effective
 BC Step Code Metrics https://www.bchousing.org/…/BC-Energy-Step-Code-2017-Metrics-Summary.pdf
 Customized Energy & Cost Estimation tool for new homes in British Columbia www.buildingpathfinder.com
 Rebates are organized by local utility suppliers and are not available in every region