Benefits are not always visible
Green Homes are Healthy Homes
We often hear homebuyers asking for information on the benefits of buying a “greener” built home. The fact of the matter is this: the visible signs may be difficult—in some cases impossible—to see. Take, for example, low VOC (volatile organic compounds) paint and carpets; low toxicity sealants used for window and door installation and weather stripping; and insulation made out of recycled content. These are just a few of the materials BUILT GREEN® builders use when constructing their homes, and although inhabitants’ health certainly benefits from these quality materials, they likely won’t notice that they’re not inhaling these toxins, typical to code-built homes.
These invisible benefits make it more challenging to translate green home benefits into tangibles; however, BUILT GREEN® homes offer a healthier place to live. A healthier home environment means improved health and comfort for your family, as there is less stress on the respiratory and immune systems. “I love my Built Green Platinum home. It’s efficient, comfortable, and has environmental features that I chose, like hardwood floors and an improved air filter. My kids breathe easier, and their asthma and allergies are not as severe in this home!” says Derek Satnik. From a comfort level, temperature variances are greatly reduced in a BUILT GREEN® home, due to the home’s air tightness (blower door tests are performed on BUILT GREEN® homes to test for air tightness so homebuilders can then balance the ventilation the house needs). “I don’t feel drafts around my windows and have noticed how well they block the outdoor noise.”
Here are some of the benefits:
- Many homes use triple-paned windows, which, in addition to offering superior energy efficiency, offer substantial sound reduction from exterior sources.
- Built Green Canada homes are well ventilated. Indoor air quality may also be improved with a Heat Recovery Ventilator, which consistently circulates air and removes allergens from the air. These ventilators also replace old stale air with filtered, fresh air (and recover heat from outgoing stale air).
- Energy efficient homes have less temperature variance from room-to-room. They are more airtight, which reduces noticeable drafts.
Homebuyers are able to get involved with the building process and have the freedom to choose the level of efficiency for their home, based on a variety of features. BUILT GREEN® builders are passionate about the program and happy to discuss options with the homebuyer. It's no longer just about the granite countertops.
Features are focused on energy efficiency, indoor air quality, resource use, and overall environmental impact. Homeowners can work with their builder to choose from a series of options, to name a few:
- Indoor air quality—low or zero VOC, low or formaldehyde-free building materials and third-party certified floor coverings all contribute to healthier indoor air quality.
- Energy efficiency—furnaces and air conditioners, windows, appliances (Energy Star), etc.
- Electrical efficiency—Compact Fluorescent Lamps (CFL) and Light-Emitting Diode (LED) to timers and motion sensors to whole home automation.
- Water efficiency—water saving toilets, to low-flow showers and faucets, to xeriscaping, and more.
A note on saving money:
- Improved efficiency means cost savings. Homeowners enjoy lower monthly operating costs—water, electric, and gas bills. A home built in the BUILT GREEN® program should save a minimum of approximately 10% in annual utility bills compared to a code-built home. Cumulatively, the savings can be substantial. Better energy efficiency means long-term savings.
- Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) and Genworth Financial mortgage insurance rebates are available for BUILT GREEN® homes.
- BUILT GREEN® homes offer the benefit of increased durability through the efficient use of building materials and processes. This means a longer life for the home, which doesn’t require substantial renovation every five years. A such, maintenance costs are lowered. Durability options can range from engineered lumber that resists warping to extremely durable exterior features, such as 30-year shingles.
- And for those homebuyers considering the resale value of their home: homebuyers who purchase a BUILT GREEN® certified home will benefit from an increase in market and resale value. Recent research released by the Canadian Home Builders’ Association has shown homes with green certification sell for close to 10% more on average than homes without green certification. For those reselling, a prospective buyer will reduce the asking price by more than the cost of a needed renovation—and will appreciate the savings your home offers. Further, there are many jurisdictions in Canada where an energy assessment is necessary before a home is sold.
So, as a homebuyer, how do you know if a home is BUILT GREEN® certified? Builders place their BUILT GREEN® seal (which also shows to what level of certification the house has been awarded) on various places; sometimes the seal will appear on the home’s furnace, electrical panel, or in the builder manual. Therefore, you should ask the realtor or home builder to see their BUILT GREEN® seal.
If you would like to purchase a BUILT GREEN® home, visit our website (www.builtgreencanada.ca) for a list of our builder members in your area.
BUILT GREEN® homes offer a healthier home environment, improving the health and comfort of your family. Our third-party certified homes are built using a holistic approach to building, and builders are governed by a professional code of conduct. BUILT GREEN® certified homes reduce their environmental impact both during the build and in the day-to-day operation of running the home—preserving our natural resources means leaving more for future generations, while living more sustainable lives.