Feb 2011 11

A Green Future For Canadian Real Estate

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Photo by Sean McGrath Photo by Sean McGrath

Home builders in Vancouver are busy with a variety of high rise projects, but new single family detached houses continue to be popular among those who can afford them. Environmental enthusiasts have a reason to cheer, as a trend towards energy saving buildings speeds up its pace. Many construction firms are beginning to offer Energy Star and Greenhouse rated homes to keep up with demand.

This is encouraging also for the Canadian Energy Efficiency Alliance and the Canadian Home Builders’ Association, which certify the various levels of energy savings achieved by the new generation low-rise houses and train professionals for the green housing industry. The four levels by which is the energy efficiency of a new house qualified are Energy Star, followed by a stricter R2000 standard, the third is the Greenhouse Certified Construction standard and the last but not least, highest of all the standards is the Gold or Platinum LEED level. 13 per cent of all newly constructed homes in the country were rated Energy Star or better in 2008, which jumped to 22 per cent in 2009.

If you buy a house that is rated Energy Star, the savings can be considerable. According to many case studies and researches, heating and electricity bills can be cut by 25 to 30 per cent. So why isn’t each and every new home at least an Energy Star home? Corey McBurby of Enerquality Corp., an organization supporting the Ontario green housing industry, says that builders aren’t able to take on that much innovation in such a short time.

With housing accountable for 40 per cent of energy consumed in Canada, the pressure for a more energy efficient housing construction industry is likely going to build up.

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