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Alberta government stalls in development of more energy efficient building code

Thursday, July 8th 2010 10:59:50am

Alberta government stalls in development of more energy efficient building code

A study commissioned by NAIMA Canada and the Consumer Council of Canada (CCC) has found that the more energy efficient a house is, the more affordable it is.

The costing analysis for upgrades of EnerGuide 80 homes in Alberta concluded that the total incremental renovation cost was approximately $6,000. When compared to a standard home, built to minimum energy efficiency requirements, the EnerGuide 80 homes boasted a positive net value between $6,600 and $11,000.

These findings come as the government of Alberta is struggling to define an interim building code that will raise energy efficiency standards for new homes, and create a building code that will save Albertans money on their heating and cooling costs.

This move will help ease the province’s transition to Canada’s new building code, coming in 2012. The new code will enshrine energy efficiency in its objectives, making the standard for all new homes much better than the current Alberta Code.

The building industry has expressed concern to the government that increasing energy efficiency will raise the price of a new home to such a degree that it would harm the economy. The NAIMA Canada/CCC commissioned study, however, clearly demonstrates that an energy efficient house is a more affordable house.

‘Energy efficiency is the right thing to do for all homeowners, ‘explains Steve Koch, Executive Director of NAIMA Canada. ‘Home owners will recoup the money they spend, and save more on utility bills almost immediately. It’s a good move by the government to ensure today’s building standards are incorporated into a home to make it more comfortable and affordable for the new homeowner.’

The commissioners of the study believe that energy efficient building codes will be a crucial part of Canada’s environmentally friendly, financially responsible future. The government of Alberta needs to recognize this, and take steps to make the transition easy for its building sector.

‘I hope Alberta now moves to take a leadership role for their citizens,’ Koch added. ‘This study clearly demonstrates the affordability of energy efficient homes. What we can’t afford, now, are homes that waste homeowners’ money unnecessarily. Alberta needs to move forward with an energy efficient building code.’

For further information, or to arrange interviews, please contact:

Tina  Siegel, Environmental Communication Options, 416-972-7401, tsiegel@ecostrategy.ca
Stephen Koch, Executive Director, NAIMA Canada, 613-232-8093, cell 613-292-8772

Details about NAIMA Canada are available at: www.naimacanada.ca

NAIMA Canada
is the association for North American manufacturers of fibre glass, rock wool, and slag wool insulation products doing business in Canada.  Its role is to promote energy efficiency and environmental preservation through the use of fibre glass, rock wool, and slag wool insulation, and to encourage the safe production and use of these materials. NAIMA Canada is a sister organization to the North American Insulation Manufacturers Association (NAIMA).

BACKGROUNDER - The Impact of Higher Energy Efficiency Standards on Housing Affordability in Alberta

• The report presents results of a costing analysis completed for upgrades of EnerGuide 80 levels of energy efficiency in Alberta homes. Calgary and Edmonton were considered in the analysis.

• When graphed, land value remained as the primary reason for the rising price of homes in Calgary and Edmonton.

• For a standard two-storey detached house, the total incremental cost to upgrade from the 2006 ABC to EnerGuide 80 levels of energy efficiency is approximately $ 6,000.

• Calgary homes built to EnerGuide 80 energy efficiency standards realized a positive net present value of approximately $ 6,600 (energy savings minus initial capital cost) over the study period. The same upgrades in Edmonton homes resulted in a positive net present value of approximately $ 11,000.

• This means that an investment of $35 a month as part of a mortgage to purchase the package of energy efficiency upgrades returned a monthly energy savings of about $70 in Calgary and $100 in Edmonton.