Energy Efficient Homes in YYC - The Time is Now

Why is 2017 the year of building green?

Thanks to a series of fortuitous events, Calgary, it seems, is set to experience a revolution in energy efficient home building. 2017 is already doubling last year’s numbers for new green builds, and as the year progresses, industry insiders predict that higher efficiency standards, above all else, will mark an essential competitive edge between builders. 

The newest edition of the Alberta Building Code — a set of construction regulations created by the National Research Council and Natural Resources Canada — includes a new important section. Never until now has energy efficiency been specifically singled out, and as such, section 9.36 is getting a lot of attention. In an effort to reduce green house gas emissions, the code affects the construction of internal and external building components, like:

•    interior and exterior walls
•    roof and foundation
•    interior and exterior lighting
•    heating, ventilation and air conditioning
•    systems used for water supply

Raising the standard of efficiency and reducing our demand on the province’s energy resources is certainly a thing to celebrate, however, homeowners and builders alike are concerned with the inevitable extra costs. While Municipal Affairs Alberta recognizes these costs, they remind us that lower energy bills will help offset the increase in mortgage fees. Additionally, the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) offers mortgage insurance rebates of up to 25% for homes certified “green.”

“The 2016 Canadian Home Buyer Preference National Study shows that 62 percent of homeowners say a high performance home is a ‘must have.’”

But it’s not just codes and guidelines responsible for the sudden demand for energy efficiency; Jenifer Christenson, Executive Director for Built Green, recognizes that consumer interest is on the rise: “The 2016 Canadian Home Buyer Preference National Study shows that 62 percent of homeowners say a high performance home is a ‘must have.’” Possibly, this must-have status is due to the fact that certified green homes have a proven better re-market value, or that their durability and lack of renovation needs trumps that of their less efficient rivals. Possibly, Albertans are recognizing that green living means healthier living both at the individual and community level, and that improved air quality and superior comfort are well worth the extra dollars upfront.

In any case, the remarkable difference in Built Green enrolment from the first quarter of 2016 (177 homes) to that of 2017 (346 homes) speaks volumes for the economy, the Calgary construction industry and, most importantly, the environment. 

June 5th, 2017
Updated: September 1st, 2017

Due to a stronger market climate, consumer demand, and provincial building code changes, 2017 is set to be the year for substantial green home builds in Alberta.