Energy Efficiency: The Quest For A Better World

At Habitat Studio, our goal is to minimize the impact of our homes on the environment with energy conscious building practices that will benefit Edmonton and the Earth for generations.

Energy efficiency ratings

 In 2016, the EnerGuide rating system was changed. The new EnerGuide rating is simply the number of gigajoules (GJ / Energy) that a house uses per year. The higher the GJ per year, the less efficient the home. Therefore, a house with an EnerGuide rating of zero is the most efficient and is called “net-zero”.

How does the EnerGuide rating of Habitat Studio homes compare to that of a typical home?

A typical home uses between 110-150 GJ/year depending on many factors including the size of the house, insulation levels, air tightness, etc. At Habitat Studio, we do better. Our homes consistently use less than 100 GJ/year and are typically closer to 40-90 GJ/year. Since the adoption of the new Energuide rating system, we have had two homes that have received an EnerGuide rating of zero; technically net-zero. Now, we are able to design and build net-zero houses on most sites.

Science-based modeling

Most Builders often have no idea how efficient (or inefficient) their buildings really are. We use NRCan’s HOT2000 program early in the design stage to predict how much energy a house will use. This lets us fine-tune the insulation, the windows, the shape, the mechanical system, and other features to get you the best value per dollar.

Third party verification 

We have found that real estate studies show that houses with third party energy performance verifications sell faster and for higher prices. By enhancing the resale value of your house, third party verification assures you that you will get the energy reduction benefits that you pay for. This means you will be protected against greenwashing and any other dangers related to real estate. We have had dozens of our houses rated under the NRCan EnerGuide for Houses (EGR) system and when possible we apply for LEED certification in projects that meet the requirements of those programs.

Passive House 

Passive House is the highest energy efficiency standard in the world. Meeting the standard in Alberta is a significant challenge. We embrace the Passive House methodology and have been incorporating selected aspects of it into our houses.

Renewable energy 

A better building envelope will take you a long way toward a sustainable house. After optimizing energy savings, it is worth considering renewable energy sources.

These include:

  1. Passive solar energy (used to some degree in most of our houses)
  2. Photovoltaic energy (solar electricity)
  3. Geothermal energy
  4. Air source heat pumps
  5. Solar thermal energy

For more information on our environmental standards and practices, do not hesitate to contact us.