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R-2000 lowdown

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The rise of R-2000 homes

The rise of R-2000 homes

Powering your home can be expensive. Heat, gas, and water are all costly needs, potentially harming not only disposable income, but also the environment. In order to cut back on these costs, Natural Resources Canada has rolled out new R-2000 standards, which aim to encourage builders and consumers to improve energy efficiency of new homes.

The R-2000 Standard is a voluntary program that lays out strict requirements of how to make a new home efficient and comfortable. An R-2000 home consumes approximately 30 per cent less energy than a normal house, has whole-house ventilation, uses environmentally friendly building materials, has water conserving plumbing and uses safe heating.

Wayne Rowbotham, the president of Enertest Corporation, an organization that is licensed to inspect R-2000 homes, hopes this program will make a difference.

"It's time builders upped their game and realized that the building codes are only the minimum requirements. It's a great time to think about being more energy efficient and making more comfortable homes that will last," says Wayne.

Although the R-2000 Standards have been around since 1982, they are periodically updated to certify that R-2000 houses are at the leading edge of cost effective technology. The most recent update took place in 2012 and requires homes to be twice as energy efficient as they had to be in 2005 when the requirements were last changed. 

Urbandale Construction in Ottawa was the first company in Canada to build a R-2000 house that complied with the newest standards. This house cost $25,000 to $30,000 (as stated in the Ottawa Citizen) more than the same house would that could meet only the basic Ontario building code requirements.

This house boasts greater energy efficiency, better air quality, and a more uniform temperature than its counterpart.

Builders of new homes often use materials that minimize air leakage from floors, windows and chimneys. This prevents often cold, but always fresh air from entering a home, which can lead to ventilation problems.

An R-2000 home now must combine the energy efficient technologies with heat recovery ventilation systems. These allow for filtered air from outside in to all the areas in the home. Usually this ventilation system has the capacity to change all the air in the house every three hours.  

For someone interested in having an energy efficient house that will save on costs, Wayne recommends that they talk to builders: "I think this is going to get really big next year because there is a huge interest in the environment and builders are figuring out how to build really great houses."

So, for people interested in reducing their carbon footprint, becoming less reliant on fossil fuels or saving money on energy bills, relying on the strict R-2000 standards could be a great way to move forward.

Written by Alyssa McMurtry

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