EcoHouse Canada 1 - Green Building Programs, which one is right for you?

Green Building’ is red hot right now and it will only get hotter. Everyone’s talking about it. It’s in every newspaper and on every home improvement show, but if you have never built anything green before you may be wondering where to start and what guidelines to follow. Green homebuilding programs give guidance beyond the basic requirements of the building code, so being willing to learn new concepts is key to enjoying green building. After an open mind, the first step is to choose a green building program from the several that are available. Here is a summary of each program, along with the web sites to find out more details.

By Andriana Beauchemin

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ENERGUIDE

The national EnerGuide program can stand-alone or be coupled with the programs below and it is often a tied to incentives. An EnerGuide Rating measures the efficiency of a home through the Hot 2000 computer energy model and a Blower Door Test [BDT]. A BDT measures a home’s air changes per hour. A lower air change rate is preferable because less heat is lost through leaks, less energy is required to heat the home, and there is less potential for moisture to be carried into the walls by moving air. The EnerGuide program does not require membership or green building experience, but a Certified Energy Advisor [CEA] is required to do the energy model, site inspection and BDT. Contact a local CEA to discuss costs and get started.

http://oee.nrcan.gc.ca/energuide/15896

LEED

LEED is an international third-party certification that stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design. [Note the acronym does not end in an ‘s’.] LEED focuses on innovation, site, water, materials, air quality, and energy, LEED is a well-known brand and good for marketing, does not require any membership to certify and is best for builders with some green building knowledge. There are two residential LEED Rating Systems: LEED for Homes [1-3 stories] and LEED Midrise [4-6 stories] under which projects complete a BDT, two on-site inspections, typically an energy model, and a certification review. Homes and Midrise projects are supported by a Provider [15 in Canada such as Envirochem in BC], which helps with the process.
http://www.cagbc.org/Content/NavigationMenu/Programs/LEED/RatingSystems/Homes/default.htm

Adriana beauchemin is a Sustainable Building Consultant with evirochem. andriana.beauchemin@envirochem.com , www.envirochem.com

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