Dayle Laing

The ‘coolest shade of green’ is the sustainable choice. Dayle Laing is a Professional Speaker and Author who uses her experience and training as an educator, a designer and a LEED Accredited Professional to empower Conscious Consumers to make practical yet beautiful choices for sustainable living, reducing their carbon footprint while enhancing their body, mind & spirit.

What does the EnerGuide Rating System (ERS) mean to you?

energuide_rating_200Why is this important when buying, selling, renovating or operating your home or advising your client? How does this information translate into cost of energy and comfort during summer and winter?

Following up on my home Energy Audit,  I received an EnerGuide Rating from the energy advisor. It bears some explanation because it is not as simple as the score you might receive on a test if you had studied particularly hard!

The energy advisor performs a home visit where he looks at heating and cooling systems, hot water heater, house construction, roof, skylights, doors and windows and performs a ‘blower door test’ to determine air leaks. He then puts data from the audit into a computer program. Software compares the results from your home to a typical house of similar size in the same regional climate. The rating system bears some explanation.

energuide_rating_descriptions_500 Natural Resources Canada   has set a rating for houses and describes it as follows: “A home's energy efficiency level is rated on a scale of 0 to 100. A rating of 0 represents a home with major air leakage, no insulation and extremely high energy consumption. A rating of 100 represents a house that is airtight, well insulated, sufficiently ventilated and requires no purchased energy.”

It is important to understand that you will not achieve a rating of 100 unless you build a new house that is either off-grid or produces as much energy as it consumes, often referred to as a ‘zero energy home’.

New homes can typically range from a rating of 66 up to 90, depending on their energy efficiency. Consumers can look to certification from LEED for Homes, R-2000 and Energy Star to guide them in their purchase selection. Consumers can expect that the better the rating, the lower the energy costs will be to operate their new home.

Older homes would be considered excellent to reach an EnerGuide rating as high as 74. The difference between each rating point can be astoundingly difficult to achieve.

certainteed_insulation_in_progress_300For example, my energy advisor estimated that adding attic insulation to bring the ceiling from R-20 to R-50 would potentially increase my rating by 1 point. As described in our article on Attic Insulation,  I decided to insulate to R-62. The building code is now R-50, so it made sense for a relatively small extra cost to go beyond the basic standard. I don’t want to have to do this again in a few years! My pay-back is estimated at 2-3 years and then the savings will really kick in; as energy prices will likely rise further. I have already noticed increased comfort with less of a temperature differential between night and day (despite the same lower winter thermostat settings at night).

Doing everything on the energy advisor’s list would have potentially netted a 5 ½ point improvement in the EnerGuide rating! For homeowners with old furnaces and air conditioners, and no insulation in the walls, of course, improvements in the rating could be much more dramatic. It is a no-brainer to consider all of these energy-saving options when renovating. A recent report by McGraw-Hill Construction  found that renovators report green renos cost about 8% more than non-green. As budgets permit, starting at the highest impact options will net the largest energy savings first and be the most economical for life cycle cost.

The energy advisor said to stick the EnerGuide rating label to the furnace for reference. I am keeping my receipts in a file and scanning them into pdf form to store on the computer. I also took photographs of the work as it was being completed for additional proof. All this work and expense will come in handy when I eventually do sell my home. In the meantime, it will mean more year-round comfort and lower my operating costs.

Realtors are benefiting from my seminars on “Greening of Real Estate”. To book a seminar for real estate agents or conscious consumers, please contact the office at 905-846-3221 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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