Many of you may already be familiar with Canada’s Energuide rating system for homes. It’s essentially a government operated rating system that determines how energy efficient your home is. It’s a great resource, and something that is still probably underused by homeowners here in Canada. Back in my home country of Ireland, we have a similar evaluation system, albeit with one major change; if you’re selling your home, preforming an energy evaluation is mandatory. As with here in Canada, the Irish housing market is a mixture of new, high efficiency homes and older, draughty buildings with very poor efficiency. So it makes sense that prospective buyers should know what they might be getting into, because a less energy efficient home means more money spent on monthly bills. Unfortunately, in Canada these home evaluations are not yet mandatory. This means that prospective buyers are essentially forced to rely and trust some (obviously biased) sources, such as a home’s current owners, in order to try and figure out how efficient the home is. Thankfully, this situation might slowly be changing, with mandatory Energuide rating for all homes on the market on the horizon for at least some parts of Canada. With that possibility in mind, lets take a closer look at the Energuide rating system and see why it can be of benefit to homeowners and home sellers alike.
Energuide rating system up close
There is a ‘sample evaluation’ Energuide report available on the Natural Resources Canada website, and it does a great job of explaining what homes are tested for and what the results of these tests look like. When the evaluation is complete, Energuide will give you an estimate of how much energy you use (covering electricity, fossil fuel and renewable energy sources used in the homes), as well as a breakdown of how this energy is used (space heating, domestic hot water etc.). You will find out where you are losing your energy (homes with poorly insulated walls, outdated boilers and single glazed windows beware!), and you will also get some advice and maintenance tips for your home moving forward. Finally, your home is given a score. 65 is typical for newly built homes built to current standards, a score older homes will struggle to reach, while high-efficiency homes will see a score into the 80’s r 90’s. All in all it’s a great tool for figuring out where you can save money on your monthly bills, and can be a fantastic resource for anyone looking to renovate their home or make their home more environmentally friendly.
A High Rating Great For Resale (and vice versa)
My family home when I was growing up in Ireland was an old terraced house, over 100 years old – something quite common in Ireland. However, comfortable and full of character as it was, the roof was built before the concept of energy efficiency even existed, the windows needed to be replaced, while the heating system was so outdated it was something you might expect to see in a show like Downton Abbey. Now, while most of these issues were fixed over the years, the house was never what you would call energy efficient, and when it came time for my parents to sell up, a poor energy efficiency score was a consideration for more than one prospective buyer.
On the other hand, an excellent efficiency score is a big factor in favour of a home. With an independent efficiency rating system like what Energuide offers, you can legitimately add value to your home. At SunPump we like to brag about how our solar thermal heating system has been shown to add thousands of dollars of value to a home overnight. Having a renewable energy heating system (or indeed any renewable energy system in your home) is something that buyers are looking for. The Energuide rating system acts much in the same way, showing your home off as being one that is efficient and comfortable (if you get a good score, that is!), and therefore more desirable and valuable to prospective buyers.
Use Renewable Energy to score well with Energuide
Every home will be different, but an inefficient heating system and excessive heat loss are two of the main factors likely to make a home score poorly. Of these two, while installing extra insulation is a great way go saving energy, quite often it is the heating system itself that can really drag a home down. Obviously, as a company that makes home heating systems, we feel that the SunPump offers a great solution to this problem. The SunPump is a hybrid, combining the raw efficiency of a heat pump with solar thermal panels that collect clean, renewable solar energy. The solar thermal panels themselves are already highly efficient, so when combined with a heat pump the system can act as a primary heat source, capable of heating a home all year round. The system also works at night, after the sun has set. The combination of high efficiency and renewable energy will make a big difference in securing a good score for your home heating system with Energuide, but of course the advantages go beyond there. You will save big on monthly bills and reduce your carbon footprint, all while keeping your home comfortably heated.
So while some still see the Energuide rating system as an unnecessary extra and might be unhappy about the idea of mandatory testing, really Energuide is an opportunity for you to see where your home is wasting energy (and money) and give you a chance to fix these problem areas. This not only gives you the opportunity to save money on your monthly bills, but can actually add value to your home by making it more attractive to prospective buyers. That’s something worth taking seriously.