5 Cost-effective ways to build a BUILT GREEN® home

In order of effect on the home

Built Green Canada recognizes there are many paths to success for the energy section of our program. Here's one of the ways:

1. Tighten up your building envelope by air sealing – $200 

This is your least expensive option with $200 worth of caulking, plus a couple hours of your insulator’s time. For best results seal all air gaps while doing your pre-drywall Blower Door Test (≈ $150 - $300).


2. Add a Heat Recovery Ventilator – $1,000

If you’re going to tighten your envelope, you have to mechanically ventilate the home. HRV is the best way to do it because you both ventilate the home and recover energy from the expelled air. 


3. Add a tankless water heater – $2,000 

Most “high efficiency” hot water heaters are a maximum 70% efficient. Tankless hot water heaters can be as much as 96%—plus there’s the benefit of endless hot water (great for teenagers)! 


4. Add Drain Water Heat Recovery Unit – $1000 

This unit is attached onto your drain stack and recovers heat energy from simultaneous water usage (showers). It requires nothing but purchase and installation—cost cover purchase and installation. No maintenance, lasts 50+ years. 


5. Upgrade Windows  $1,000 – $1,200 

Upgrade to triple-pane, low thermal emissivity, argon-filled windows. Triple-paned windows offer reduced heat loss and noise pollution and increased air tightness of the home. Based on an average house, this is about 14 - 20% of costs over normal window-related fees. 


Total: $5,000 – $5,500 


What else do you need to do? 

If you do these things, you’ll have the energy side of BUILT GREEN® certification—similar costs to those required to be compliant with the prescriptive side of 9.36. Take this route, and you can pursue the performance side with confidence. The rest: by working with your suppliers, the remainder of Built Green’s requirements should be cost neutral. 


Tip: talk to your customers about the benefits of a BUILT GREEN® home—educate them so they understand the value. And talk to them about the “green” features they can choose from—just as you talk about granite counter tops and hardwood floors.