Tag Archives | Energy Efficiency

Living with an Older Home – Maintenance-Insurance-Energy challenges

The charms of living in an older home can be many – history, style, craftsmanship, quirks. But there’s no denying that living in such a home has its challenges. Maintenance can be tricky and expensive, especially if certain systems and features have been neglected over the years. Let’s take a look at some common situations found in many older homes:

  • Energy inefficiency is probably the number-one issue with older homes. Most older homes were constructed with single-pane windows; if these windows are still there, they likely don’t fit very well. Replacement windows can be very expensive, but will contribute immensely to reduced energy use and heating and cooling costs. Most replacement windows are available in several styles, so finding one that suits the look of your older home is easier than ever.
  • Like single-pane windows, poor (or no) insulation will also result in wasted energy and money. The most important and easiest area of the home to insulate is the attic, but walls and floors above ventilated crawlspaces should be insulated as well if possible. The attic may already have insulation but it may be inadequate by current standards.
  • If your home has older water pipes, have them checked to identify the material and determine if they need to be replaced. Some older materials such as galvanized steel, iron, and even lead are subject to deterioration and are still in use today even though new construction does not allow them. Replacement options include copper and CPVC piping.
  • Outdated electrical systems can still sometimes be found in older homes and may not only be dangerous, they can make the house uninsurable. Even if no danger is present, we use so much more electricity in our homes now that the capacity of your older system may be inadequate. Only a qualified electrician should attempt any repairs or updates to your home’s electrical system.

Reprinted with permission: Doug MacDonald, Registered and Certified Home Inspector
Proudly Serving Red Deer, Airdrie and Surrounding Areas. For more information, please contact your local Pillar To Post home inspector.

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Comment by Elke: We often get requests to show homes which were built before 1930. There are most definitely insurance concerns for many of the older homes in inner city Communities or in satellite towns so it’s best to be prepared for the questions you need to ask your insurance company before looking at the cute doll-houses you have seen on the MLS®. Call us for a free consult (403-295-3336), a referral to a local home inspector.

 Selling Calgary Group     Elke Babiuk
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Building a Green Home

Benefits of building Green include lower energy and water bills; reduced greenhouse gas emissions; and less exposure to mold, mildew and other indoor toxins which emit harmful Volatile Organic Compounds. Knowing that the lumber used is traceable to responsibly managed forests is Environmentally responsible and an even Deeper Shade of Green (Ottawa Citizen).

Building Green – Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED)

LEED® Canada for Homes is a rating system that promotes the design and construction of high-performance green homes where the net cost of owning such a home is comparable to that of owning a conventional home. The system attempts to provide national consistency in defining the features of a green home and to enable builders anywhere in the country to obtain a green rating on their homes. It’s a consensus standard for green homebuilding and is part of the comprehensive suite of LEED assessment tools offered by the Canada Green Building Council to promote sustainable design, construction, and operations practices in buildings.

The LEED® Canada for Homes Rating System measures the overall performance of a home in eight categories:

  1. Innovation & Design Process (ID). Special design methods, unique regional credits, measures not currently addressed in the Rating System, and exemplary performance levels.
  2. Location & Linkages (LL). The placement of homes in socially and environmentally responsible ways in relation to the larger community.
  3. Sustainable Sites (SS). The use of the entire property so as to minimize the project’s impact on the site.
  4. Water Efficiency (WE). Water-efficient practices, both indoor and outdoor.
  5. Energy & Atmosphere (EA). Energy efficiency, particularly in the building envelope and heating and cooling design.
  6. Materials & Resources (MR). Efficient utilization of materials, selection of environmentally preferable materials, and minimization of waste during construction.
  7. Indoor Environmental Quality (EQ). Improvement of indoor air quality by reducing the creation of and exposure to pollutants.
  8. Awareness & Education (AE). The education of the homeowner, tenant, and/or building manager about the operation and maintenance of the green features of a LEED® home.

The Costs and Financial Benefits of Green Buildings:

A recent study by California’s State and Consumer Services Agency concluded that there are indeed financial benefits to green-building design. The sustainability taskforce reviewed the construction costs of 33 green buildings across the U.S. and found that although it costs nearly 2% more on average to construct a green building than one using conventional methods, the cost premium yields savings of more than 10 times the initial investment during the life of a building (approx. 20 years according to the study).

RESOURCES:  Canada Green Building Council, LEED Canada for Homes

 Selling Calgary Group     Elke Babiuk
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