Today’s ENERGY STAR-rated homes must comply with stricter standards than homes built to the current Ontario Building Code (OBC).
Because of these tough standards, ENERGY STAR homes use substantially less energy, saving homeowners money and helping reduce emissions. These homes are also warmer in the winter, cooler in the summer, and generally more comfortable throughout the year, thanks to reduced noise and draft.
For these reasons, ENERGY STAR homes offer better value. Yet not all builders charge more for these homes. Some make ENERGY STAR a standard option, which allows them to market themselves as green.
Things will change soon, though. On January 1, 2012, a new OBC will come into effect, making all new homes in Ontario meet benchmarks that are even stricter than current ENERGY STAR’s.
In other words, all new Ontario homes will be as energy-efficient and comfortable as today’s ENERGY STAR-rated homes. In effect, they will be the same—minus the official ENERGY STAR certification.
As a result of these changes, ENERGY STAR will too raise its standards so that they once again exceed the OBC’S.
Of course, the new benchmarks won’t be enforced overnight. That would crush builders. Instead, builders will be given a phase-in period. And therein lies a great opportunity for builders.
If they sign up with EnerQuality by June 2012 to register their homes as ENERGY STAR, they will be allowed to sell homes complying with today’s ENERGY STAR standards, which are the same as those of the new OBC. And the builders will be able to do so until 2014, which is when the new ENERGY STAR standards will be enforced.
In other words, whereas homes that comply with the current OBC code cannot be certified as ENERGY STAR, it will soon be possible to sell ordinary homes, built to the new OBC standards, as ENERGY STAR homes. And this will be possible for two and half years.
Expect to see many more ENERGY STAR homes for the next little while.