National Resources Canada (NRCan) has recently introduced a change to the EnerGuide Rating System. Under the updated system your house is rated by the amount of energy required to sustain your home for one year. The energy use will be measured in gigajoules (GJ). Under the previous system your house was rated on a scale of 0 – 100, the larger the number the better.
The NRCan housing program is an ongoing success story. More than one million homes have received an EnerGuide Rating resulting in a 20% annual average energy savings and a projected 3 billion dollar savings by the year 2016.
The process to obtain an EnerGuide Rating is relatively simple. An energy advisor who represents a licenced service organization will evaluate your home from attic to basement including an air leakage test. You will receive a personalized report with recommendations for energy saving upgrades for your home. You will receive a rating that indicates your home’s current level of energy efficiency compared to similar homes in your area and your potential rating after retrofitting your home.
The energy advisor will assess the existing amount of insulation, the type of doors, mechanical system, water heating and ventilation. He will also conduct an air leakage test. Standard operating conditions are assumed when calculating your home’s EnerGuide Rating. The assumptions are 2 adults and one child at home 50% of the time, hot water use of 178 to 199 litres per day, thermostat settings of 21°C for daytime heating, 18°C for night time heating and 25°C for cooling. Lighting, appliance and other electrical loads are calculated at 19.5 kwh per day.
There may be significant energy uses not included in the rating. Hot tubs and swimming pools for example are not included in the rating so that comparisons between similar homes can be measured with more accuracy.
The energy advisor will leave you with a Homeowner Information Sheet. This document will detail all of the results of the evaluation. It will identify all of the house details and will include charts that break down into percentages where your annual energy consumption is used and where your home loses heat. You will also be provided with a sticker that can be affixed to your electrical panel for future reference.
Renewable energy is also considered when calculating your rating. Onsite renewable power generation systems such as solar photovoltaic panels, solar water heaters or wind turbines offset your energy consumption and will lower your rating.
The new EnerGuide Rating System clearly establishes the amount of energy that your home is expected to use in a year. It also identifies areas which when upgraded will significantly impact energy consumption.
An EnerGuide Rating can also promote your home if and when you decide to sell. The rating is a standardized and objective measurement of energy efficiency according to the Government of Canada and a can be a useful tool in the selling process.
NRCan also supports an internationally recognized brand called Energy Star. This brand supports new home construction and many new home builders build under the Energy Star brand. An Energy Star qualified new home is on average 20% more energy efficient than a home built to current code. These homes present a practical choice for homeowners looking for a new home that is energy efficient and environmentally friendly.
Reduction of energy consumption in both new and existing homes will benefit everyone. NRCan has taken a leadership role in order to promote programs that encourage energy efficiency. The change in the EnerGuide Rating System has made it more user friendly and aligned it closer to existing systems for appliances and mechanical systems.