EnerGuide Energy Assessment
Our energy advisors will come to your house to evaluate your home’s energy performance. During the on-site evaluation, our advisors will collect the following information:
- Complete review of the building envelope (windows, doors, ceilings, walls, foundation)
- Visual inspection and measurement to determine surface area and insulation levels
- Complete review of mechanical systems (heating system, air conditioning system, ventilation system and domestic hot water)
- Blower door test
- Depressurization test where required (combustion spillage)
- Measurement of air changes per hour at 50 Pa
- Location of major air leakage areas
- Energy modeling of all components to determine the energy efficiency of your home
- Compared to a new home built to 2010 NBC National Building Code
- Individual recommended upgrades with associated potential energy savings
- ERS certified label for your home as it currently stands
- Intensity energy rating of your home
Energy Code Compliance
As of November 2016, the Alberta Building Code has adopted section 9.36, Energy Efficiency, requiring stricter construction practices of new homes to ensure higher energy efficiency levels are met. The code applies to all residential new construction and major renovations and additions. There are three paths to compliance:
- The Prescriptive Compliance Pathway uses a checklist approach to ensure that minimum requirements in the energy code are met. This method is the most straightforward, as energy efficiency requirements are listed by building component, including mechanical/ventilation requirements and minimum effective R-values for all wall, ceiling and foundation assemblies. The Prescriptive Path can net significant savings to high volume home builders that use consistent construction specifications.
- The Trade-off Path allows more flexibility in the design as it allows you to trade elements within the above ground building envelope to demonstrate an equivalent level of performance without meeting every prescriptive requirement found in 9.36.2. The Trade-Off path requires a calculation to demonstrate that while the proposed design does not exactly meet the prescriptive requirements, the amount of energy consumed will be the same or less than would be consumed by following strict prescriptive compliance.
- The Performance Compliance Pathway compares the modeled energy consumption of the proposed house to the modeled energy consumption of an identical reference house. The proposed house is in compliance if its modeled energy consumption is lower than or equal to that of the Code Reference house. Once construction of the house is complete, a blower door test is performed and a Natural Resources Canada EnerGuide Rating System label is issued.
- The EnerGuide Rating System for New Homes Compliance offers the same design flexibility as the Performance Path but also includes EnerGuide labelling. A blower door test must be completed for all homes and the home’s rating must be minimum 5% better than a typical new home.
To complete a 9.36 performance model, we will require the following:
- House plans
- Equipment specifications including the following:
- Window details
- Mechanical systems (domestic hot water, ventilation, heating system)
- Wall construction type
- Orientation of the house
- Foundation construction details
- Roof construction details
- Details of all other building envelope components such as exposed floors, cantilevers, vaulted ceilings, etc.
Contact us today to find out which compliance path best fits your needs.
HOT2000 Energy Modelling
The HOT2000 building energy simulation tool is the most current reference calculation program for the EnerGuide New Housing Program and the basis for government policy work in energy efficiency in Canadian housing and building codes.
Our designers can:
- Forecast energy consumption for your residential construction projects more accurately than ever before
- Project energy costs and performance of natural gas, electric, propane, oil, and wood heating equipment
- Check to make sure your low-rise residential designs comply with energy regulations before you start to build
- Calculate thermal resistance of envelope components, including thermal bridging of construction materials
- Improve the energy efficiency of your building designs for better cost-control and materials use
- Predict and control natural, temperature and wind-induced air infiltration to reduce your clients’ energy bills
- Exploit the potential of passive solar heating to increase the energy performance of your buildings
- Plan for adequate interior ventilation for good indoor air quality and superior comfort.
- Estimate energy requirements for space heating and cooling, water heating, lighting, and appliances at the design stage
RETScreen® International is a clean energy awareness, decision-support and capacity building tool. This standardized and integrated clean energy project analysis software can be used worldwide to evaluate the energy production, life-cycle costs and greenhouse gas emission reductions for various types of energy-efficient and renewable energy technologies (RETs).
RETScreen modeling can be used to evaluate any one of or any combination of the following applications: power, heating, cooling, single buildings or multiple buildings, industrial processes, communities, district heating and district cooling. Further, it permits analysis with a wide range of renewable and non-renewable fuels (which can be used in parallel), including landfill gas, biomass, bagasse, biodiesel, hydrogen, natural gas, oil/diesel, coal, municipal waste, etc. Finally, these fuels can be evaluated using multiple types of power, heating and/or cooling equipment, including reciprocating engines, gas turbines, gas turbine – combined cycle, steam turbines, geothermal systems, fuel cells, wind turbines, hydro turbines, photovoltaic modules, boilers, heat pumps, biomass systems, heaters, furnaces, compressors, absorption chillers, etc., all working under various operating conditions (baseload, intermediate load and/or peak load).
RETScreen modeling is used to help the user estimate the greenhouse gas (GHG) mitigation potential of the proposed project. ACACIA evaluators can help the customer estimate the sensitivity of important financial indicators in relation to key technical and financial parameters to help optimize the project from an energy use and cost standpoint.
What is Infrared Thermography?
- Infrared Thermography is a technique that uses specialized imaging equipment to create visual images of heat. This is especially useful to determine the energy efficiency of a building and to detect problems that cause heat and energy loss.
What does Thermography show?
- An infrared camera detects heat being emitted from the surface of any object. Thermography is a very effective way to see areas of missing or low insulation, moisture intrusion and to find the source of uncomfortable areas in your home due to air leakage.
Will Thermography damage my house?
- Walls and ceilings are examined in a non-invasive and non-destructive way to discover where heat loss or moisture build-up is occurring. No holes have to be drilled to get a reasonable impression of what is happening within the building structure.
Why should I use VerdaTech as my Thermography testing provider?
- Combining infrared Thermography with other techniques can produce better results. Using a blower door to create air pressure changes in the building is the only effective way to look for air leakage which can be a major reason for heat loss and moisture problems. VerdaTech is one of the few local companies that combine the infrared camera and a blower door during a Thermography evaluation to give the best information. Our trained infrared technician uses a FLIR infrared camera specifically designed for building applications. The blower door and other tools such as moisture meters are used depending on the problem being investigated.
When should I schedule my appointment?
- For most building problems, the best time to image is during the colder months when there is a significant difference between inside and outside temperatures, which makes for clear and crisp images. During the warmer months, Thermography is more effectively performed at night when temperatures naturally drop.
What does Thermography cost?
VerdaTech offers different packages to fit individual situations and needs. We are able to offer the service in combination with the EnerGuide evaluation or as a standalone service. Prices will vary according to individual requirements and desired tests.
Geothermal/GeoExchange System Design
The warm earth and groundwater below the surface provide a free, renewable source of energy for as long as the sun continues to shine. The earth, under an average residential lot, can easily provide enough free energy to heat and cool the home built on it.
The free energy has only to be moved from the ground into your home. This is done either by pumping water from a well (open loop) or by pumping a heat transfer fluid through a horizontal or vertical circuit of underground piping (closed loop). The fluid, called the heat transfer fluid, absorbs the heat in the groundwater or soil and transfers it to the heat pump. The heat absorbed by the fluid from the solar-heated ground is extracted from it by the heat pump, and the now-chilled fluid is circulated through a heat exchanger over and over again to extract more heat from the earth.
If your home is located near a suitable pond or lake, you can use a Geo- Exchange System (GXS) to draw on this excellent source of free energy.
Burying a loop in the ground around your home is like owning your own oil well, but instead of pumping oil from an underground pool and burning it to create heat (and greenhouse gases), you tap into clean energy that will be there for as long as there is a sun.
More than two-thirds of the energy delivered to your home by a GXS is renewable solar energy stored in the ground. This is great for your wallet because it is free energy. It is also good for the environment because there are virtually no toxic emissions. Each kilowatt-hour (kWh) of electricity used to operate a GXS draws more than 3 kWh of free, renewable energy from the ground.
How much heat does your home lose? Calculating its heat loss is the foundation on which your GXS design is built. The care taken in the construction of your home determines how much heat escapes through the cracks around its windows and doors, and how well its insulation is installed. The direction your windows face determines how much solar energy they let into the house. The heat loss calculation, therefore, determines the size of GXS you need.
Commissioning & Problem Solving
The latest building regulations emphasize the importance of commissioning a heating system that is compliant with the regulations, is energy efficient and cost-effective. Unless commissioning is completed correctly, the chances are the system will not perform to its design specification.
Because forced-air heating and cooling systems are assembled on site from multiple parts, there are many ways for installers to make mistakes. Researchers have repeatedly shown that a high percentage of residential forced-air systems have major problems, including duct systems that are poorly designed, poorly located, and leaky.
The classic solution to these problems, in addition to the obvious step of better duct system design, is to insist on a more rigorous commissioning process. Commissioning refers to the process of testing and adjusting installed equipment to be sure that it performs in accordance with the manufacturer’s specs and the designer’s intent.
VerdaTech’s HRAI certified RASDT & RHDT energy consultants can help you solve and prevent a host of problems that will reduce the efficiency of an H-VAC system.
Information on Program Rebates
CMHC / Genworth Mortgage Loan Insurance Premium Rebates
Qualify for up to 25% refund on the mortgage loan insurance premium if you use CMHC insured financing to buy an energy-efficient home, purchase a house and make energy-saving renovations or renovate your existing home to make it more energy-efficient. Visit the CMHC and Genworth website for information on how to qualify.
To qualify for the CMHC or Genworth mortgage insurance rebate, your home must achieve a rating of at least 15% lower than “a typical new home” for a 15% insurance refund or at least 40% lower than “a typical new home” for a 25% insurance refund. Please note that if your house is a new built home, it is already built to stringent energy efficiency codes (i.e. homes built as of 2017 comply with the 2014 Building Code which already includes stringent standard requirements for insulation, energy efficient appliances and windows). For that reason, it may be difficult for your home to achieve the 15% lower than a typical new home EnerGuide GJ/year rating as required by CMHC / Genworth.
Based on our experience, unless a home has significant improvements over conventional construction, it is unlikely that a home in Alberta will qualify for the CMHC mortgage insurance rebate. Significant improvements include the following as a minimum:
- Triple low-E argon windows
- 97% or higher efficiency furnace
- Heat Recovery Ventilator with ECM
- On demand hot water heaters or similar efficiency Domestic Hot Water heaters
Even with all of these installed, there is no guarantee a house will achieve the required rating. The probability to meet the target increases if any of the following are also included:
- Solar PV
- Exterior wall insulation
An alternative method to qualify for the rebate is for your builder to register through BuiltGreen.