If you are building a home, you should be asking yourself a few questions:
1) How do I keep my initial costs and monthly expenses low at a time when energy costs continue to rise?
2) How do I maximize the value of this asset so that it is long-lasting and has a high resale value?
3) As weather patterns all over the globe shift, how important is my comfort and safety?
4) How do I ensure that my new home is not slowly poisoning me, is sustainable, and is not adding to the problem of climate change?
If you’ve been paying attention lately you have probably noticed that green building is getting a lot of attention, and with good reason. Taking simple measures to reduce your dependence on fossil fuels not only makes sense financially, but it demonstrates leadership and a commitment to doing your part for the environment. But what makes a building green? Well most people don’t realize that a building is a system, a system that when optimized can provide a healthy and inviting indoor environment that can potentially produce more energy on a yearly basis than it requires. Take a moment to think about that. An asset that you own can be built to save you money. This is money that other people are spending every month on a luxury which many people would struggle to go without these days.
Now consider that in North America, buildings use more energy than any other sector in our society. If you are concerned about climate change, then it should be comforting that the problem when re-investigated is actually part of the solution. So if you are building a new home, this is great news because from a financial and security perspective, not depending on a system of energy that is polluting and prone to price increases makes a lot of sense. While this has not traditionally been on peoples minds when they are attending an open house, it is something that will become increasingly important as society’s awareness expands. While it might sound odd that a home (or any building for that matter) can produce energy, in milder climates, it can be relatively simple and cost effective to build what is described as a net zero building.
In extreme climates this is slightly more difficult. However it has been demonstrated that homes can be cost effectively built to be up to 85% more energy efficient by utilizing a few simple principles. This is possible and can be cost effectively done even in extreme Canadian climates where yearly temperatures range from -40°C (-40F) to 35°C (96F). In the book “How to Future Proof Your Home: A Guide to Building with Energy Intelligence in Cold Climates” professionally accredited author Shane Wolffe simplifies these principles for the average reader. When understood these principles not only apply to new homes, but they can be applied to existing homes as well. You can get a free version or paid version of the book here.
- These windows are incorporated into a passive solar design and provide great indoor lighting year round while providing free heating in the winter and keeping the space cool in the summer through proper shading.