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Discover all the advantages of a Savings by Design home.

Energy Efficiency Explained

For a home to be truly energy efficient, every component needs to work together as a system. That’s how a Savings by Design home achieves 25% better energy performance than one built to the 2012 Ontario Building Code (OBC).

When working with an SBD builder, be sure to ask about the energy efficient features they are using in the new home. Some builders will also have model homes set up that showcase the energy efficient upgrades being used in that development project.

 

Click a number on the image below to see how a Savings by Design home achieves 25% better energy performance than one built to the 2012 Ontario Building Code (OBC).

Illustration of a house with a basement. There are numbers throughout the house to indicate where the different Savings By Design features are. 1. A tight building envelope. 2. Advanced framing. 3. Air sealing or weatherproofing. 4. High performance windows. Increased R value insulation. 6. Basement insulation. 7. Energy efficient heating and cooling systems. 8. Advanced ventilation. 9. High efficiency water heater. 10. DWHR (Drain Water Heat Recovery) units. 11. Energy efficient appliances. 12. Energy efficient lighting such as CFLs and LEDs. 13. Water conservation measures. 14. Future Proofing.
1. A tight “building envelope.”

House built to Savings by Design standards

Your home’s walls, insulation, roofing, windows and doors together make up your building envelope. Every Savings by Design home is built with the tightest envelope possible. A tight envelope reduces air leakage inward, preventing unwanted drafts, so your home feels more comfortable. It also reduces dust and pollen entering your home, which helps to improve indoor air quality. Air tightness reduces air leakage outward as well, preventing lost warmed or cooled air, condensation and mold growth. When an SBD home is verified by a 3rd party certified energy rater to ensure that it performs 25% beyond code, the energy rater will conduct a blower door test, which measures the home’s air tightness.

House built to 2012 Ontario Building Code (OBC) standards

In a home built to the 2012 Ontario Building Code (OBC), the standard air leakage is 3.5 ACH (Air Changes Per Hour)11 . A Savings by Design home typically has a (lower) leakage rating of 2.5 ACH. A home built to code is also not verified and tested by a 3rd party energy rater to ensure air tightness.

2. Advanced framing.

House built to Savings by Design standards

The “Framing System” is the “skeleton” of your house. Reducing the amount of framing in your exterior walls allows for more insulation and saves trees. It also reduces thermal bridging, which slows down a home’s heat loss. Savings by Design homes could be built with 19.2” or 24” O.C. (on centre) framing, creating more room for insulation than the 16 OC framing in a home built to the 2012 Ontario Building Code (OBC).

House built to 2012 Ontario Building Code (OBC) standards

In a home built to 2012 OBC, the stud walls are built on 16” centres with cavity insulation, and the wood portion of the walls makes up 25% of the volume. Unlike a Savings by Design home, there are no special modifications made to the framing.

3. Air sealing or weatherproofing.

House built to Savings by Design standards

Did you know that 30% of heat loss in a typical home is through air leakage? And lost heat means higher energy bills because your furnace will need to work harder to heat your home. Proper sealing in your Savings by Design home will help to eliminate air and water leakage throughout the house, for a more comfortable, durable and energy efficient home. SBD homes are also tested for air tightness by a 3rd party energy rater.

House built to 2012 Ontario Building Code (OBC) standards

In a home built to 2012 OBC, the air tightness is determined by a visual inspection. Unlike a Savings by Design home, an OBC home is not verified and tested by a 3rd party energy rater to ensure air tightness.

4. High-performance windows.

House built to Savings by Design standards

Leaky windows can increase your energy bills because of lost warmed or cooled air. Savings by Design homes are built with high-performance ENERGY STAR® rated windows. Better windows will help to eliminate costly drafts, which can reduce your heating and cooling costs and improve home comfort. They will also help prevent mold-causing condensation and can allow for solar gains, which heat your home, and solar shading which helps cool your home.5

House built to 2012 Ontario Building Code (OBC) standards

In a home built to 2012 OBC, the standard is high-performance windows to help reduce leaks and conserve energy. However, an OBC home can be built without ENERGY STAR rated windows, while an SBD home only uses ENERGY STAR® rated windows.

5. Increased R-value insulation.

House built to Savings by Design standards

It’s good to have a “thick skin” and your home is no exception. Better insulation helps to keep heat in during the winter and out during the summer.3 The higher an insulation’s “R-value”, the higher its thermal resistance. On the above grade walls (walls above ground level), a Savings by Design home can have R-22 insulation plus R-5 insulated sheathing – a warm, protective coating that reduces condensation and helps to prevent mold growth. Insulated sheathing improves your wall’s overall energy performance by 25%.

House built to 2012 Ontario Building Code (OBC) standards

In a home built to 2012 OBC, the standard insulation used on above grade walls (walls above ground level) is an R22 batt fitted into a 5.5 inch-deep wall cavity. Unlike a Savings by Design home, an OBC home does not include R-5 insulated sheathing, which reduces condensation, prevents mold growth and improves your wall’s overall energy performance by 25%.

6. Basement insulation.

House built to Savings by Design standards

Energy efficiency starts right at the foundation of your Savings by Design home. A properly insulated basement helps to prevent heat loss and excessive mold-causing condensation. 8 While homes built to the 2012 Ontario Building Code use R-12 insulation in the basement, SBD homes are built with R-20 insulation – almost double the thermal resistance. Some SBD homes also have the option to include “under slab insulation,” which is insulation installed under your concrete basement floor. The result is a more comfortable living space, with a floor not nearly as cold as one without insulation.

House built to 2012 Ontario Building Code (OBC) standards

In a home built to 2012 OBC, the standard is full height R-12 basement ‘blanket’ insulation in the basement. Savings by Design homes are built with R-20 insulation in the basement – almost double the thermal resistance!

7. Energy efficient heating and cooling systems.

House built to Savings by Design standards

Your Savings by Design home’s energy efficient heating and cooling systems give you a more comfortable indoor environment overall. Proper sizing allows for even air distribution and fewer “cold spots,” such as the room over a garage. Not only that, a high efficiency furnace with 2 heating stages provides even, efficient, comfortable air delivery with a DC blower that uses 80% less electricity than a standard furnace. An SBD home’s air conditioner has a Season Energy Efficiency Rating (SEER) of 15, while an AC in a home built to the 2012 Ontario Building Code (OBC) has a SEER of 13. (The higher the number the better.)

House built to 2012 Ontario Building Code (OBC) standards

In a home built to 2012 OBC, the standard is a single stage furnace with 94% AFUE (Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency). The single stage furnace is usually oversized and cycles. A proper sized furnace with 2 heating stages as in a Savings by Design home provides a comfortable indoor climate, and is more energy efficient. (An SBD home’s energy efficient furnace has 95% AFUE.) When a builder installs an air conditioner in an OBC home, it has a Season Energy Efficiency Rating (SEER) of 13, while an AC in an SBD home can have a SEER of 15. (The higher the number the better.)

8. Advanced ventilation.

House built to Savings by Design standards

A “healthy” home must be well ventilated to ensure better indoor air quality. In a Savings by Design home, high efficiency Heat Recovery Ventilators (HRVs) and Energy Recovery Ventilators (ERVs) provide fresh air on a continuous basis while conserving energy. Stale warm air is used to preheat incoming fresh cold air, maximizing indoor air quality and reducing your energy costs by 20%.

House built to 2012 Ontario Building Code (OBC) standards

In a home built to 2012 OBC, the standard is a minimum efficiency Heat Recovery Ventilator (HRV) at 60% sensible recovery efficiency – for both whole house ventilation and spot ventilation with exhaust fans in bathrooms. By contrast, a Savings by Design home’s energy efficient HRV has 75% sensible recovery efficiency, helps to maximize indoor air quality, and reduces your energy costs by 20%.

9. High efficiency water heater.

House built to Savings by Design standards

Next to home heating, water heating is typically the second biggest use of energy in the home. 6 Hot water heating accounts for 25% of your household energy costs. A high efficiency tank in your Savings by Design home can reduce this by 50%, meaning more money saved.

House built to 2012 Ontario Building Code (OBC) standards

In a home built to 2012 OBC, the standard is a 50-gallon power vented hot water tank with an energy factor (EF) of .67. By contrast, a Savings by Design home’s energy efficient water heater has an efficiency of 90%, which can make a big difference in your water heating costs.

10. DWHR (Drain Water Heat Recovery) units.

House built to Savings by Design standards

All Savings by Design homes can be equipped with DWHR (Drain Water Heat Recovery) units – which recover the thermal energy from hot water that goes down the drain. For example, the thermal energy from shower water is used to preheat incoming cold water. Drain Water Heat Recovery “captures” the energy from shower water and preheats your domestic hot water tank. This can double the output of your water heater while using less energy,9 and DWHR can reduce your natural gas consumption by 20%!

House built to 2012 Ontario Building Code (OBC) standards

DWHR units are NOT mandatory in homes built to 2012 OBC, which means they likely won’t be included. They are common in Savings by Design homes.

11. Energy efficient appliances.

House built to Savings by Design standards

On average, appliances and lighting can account for up to 25% of a home’s energy consumption. All Savings by Design homes can be equipped with energy efficient appliances – such as your fridge, stove, laundry washer and dryer. The more energy efficient an appliance, the less it costs to operate. 9

House built to 2012 Ontario Building Code (OBC) standards

In a home built to 2012 OBC, there are NO minimum efficiencies for appliances – such as your fridge, stove, laundry washer and dryer. By contrast, when energy efficient appliances are included as in a Savings by Design home, they can lower operating costs.

12. Energy efficient lighting such as CFLs and LEDs.

House built to Savings by Design standards

On average, lighting accounts for 10% of your electricity bill. In your Savings by Design home, energy efficient lighting such as CFLs and LEDs can reduce your consumption on lighting by 75%. (when compared to traditional lighting such as incandescents).

House built to 2012 Ontario Building Code (OBC) standards

In a home built to 2012 OBC, there is NO minimum requirement for energy efficient lighting. But in Savings by Design homes, they come standard and can reduce your consumption by 75%.

13. Water conservation measures.

House built to Savings by Design standards

In addition to helping you save on energy, Savings by Design homes also incorporate water conservation measures. One example is rainwater harvesting barrels, which collect water to use on your lawn or garden. Another is greywater harvesting, which collects water from showers and bathtubs and uses it to flush toilets10. This can reduce water consumption up to 30%.

House built to 2012 Ontario Building Code (OBC) standards

In a home built to 2012 OBC, the standard is 4.8 litre toilets and showerheads are a maximum of 9.5 LPM (Litres Per Minute). Unlike Savings by Design homes, there are NO additional water conservation measures such as rainwater and greywater harvesting.

14. Future Proofing.

House built to Savings by Design standards

Your Savings by Design home is designed to be “future proofed” – with quality craftsmanship, using the latest products, materials and techniques. Every SBD home is verified by a 3rd party certified energy rater to ensure it meets the 25% beyond code requirement. 25% better energy performance means 25% lower energy bills in the years to come, putting more money in your pocket for future investments.

House built to 2012 Ontario Building Code (OBC) standards

Unfortunately, a home built to the 2012 OBC standard cannot be considered “future proofed.” For a home to be considered “future proofed,” it must be designed with rough-ins for future installation of technologies and products, as Savings by Design homes are.




1 http://www.esnewhomes.ca/index.cfm?id=7396
2 http://www.futureproofmybuilding.com/energy-efficiency-basics-how-to-be-energy-efficient-at-home/
3 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/R-value_(insulation)
4 http://www.greenbuildingadvisor.com/green-basics/energy-efficient-framing-aka-advanced-framing
5 http://energy.gov/energysaver/articles/energy-efficient-windows
6 http://www.nrcan.gc.ca/energy/products/categories/water-heaters/13735
7 http://www.watercycles.ca
8 http://www.insulation.com.au/products-1/pink-thermal-slab-underslab-insulation
9 http://www.nrcan.gc.ca/energy/publications/efficiency/604
10 http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/gray+water
11 http://www.nrcan.gc.ca/energy/efficiency/housing/new-homes/5109