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An energy efficiency building effectively controls the flow of air, heat and moisture through the building.
People spend 80 - 90% of their time indoors - at work, school and home. An efficient building maintains moderate temperatures, low humidity and increased air quality. Plus energy efficient buildings use less energy and cost less to operate and produce fewer greenhouse gasses, which is good for you and the environment.
A model energy efficiency building controls the flow of air, heat and moisture. Insulation, ENERGY STAR® certified windows, and air sealing work to keep the air inside the building warm and dry. Mechanical ventilation systems (fans, heat recovery ventilators and air exchangers on heating systems) circulate the internal air as well as expel unwanted moisture and other pollutants. Properly sized, high-efficiency furnaces or boilers use less energy to heat buildings and, by controlling the air flow throughout the building, minimize the occurrences of hot and cold spots across all rooms.
Improving your home or building's energy efficiency will save you money. For example, the average homeowner participating in the LiveSmart BC grant program will reduce energy use by approximately 30 percent, providing financial savings of $600 on a $2000 annual heating bill.
Just think of all the kettles, fish tanks, plants and even people who are expelling moisture into the air. Plus, microwaves, photocopiers, printers and even carpet and paint fumes all pollute indoor areas where we live and work. Controlling the airflow with mechanical ventilation helps confirm that the air in the building is being refreshed with outside air as often as required by building codes. For example, the air in a home should be completely replaced with fresh air every three hours. Fresh air takes less energy to heat than the inside air that slowly becomes contaminated with moisture and odors. An energy efficient and well-ventilated home is a healthy home.
10 to 50 litres of moisture are released inside a house each day. Humidity levels over 40% can create air quality problems. City Green advisors will show you how to reduce condensation and fogging on windows, staining on walls and ceilings, peeling paint, mould growth and odors.
When humidity is above 50%, airborne diseases become more difficult to control. To protect health and houses, all moist, stale air should be replaced with fresh air every 3 to 4 hours.
Finding the balance between minimizing air leaks and ensuring appropriate ventilation is critical. City Green's Certified Energy Advisors are trained to assess your home's energy needs based on a 'house as a system' building science approach. Only the "house as a system" building science approach to retrofit planning will prevent problems that single product installations may cause.
Energy efficient buildings typically have longer lifecycles, lower maintenance fees, and cost less to operate. Rental properties are more comfortable to live in, are quickly occupied, and report lower tenant turnover rates. The natural light, comfortable temperatures and increased indoor air quality of energy efficient commercial buildings results in increased staff productivity. And, homeowners benefit from increased control over their energy bills while living in a home that supports their lifestyle needs.
Through energy efficiency retrofits, the average home built 20 years ago has the potential to lower their energy bills by 30% – and to reduce the amount of greenhouse gasses the house produces by 4.5 tons per year. Lowering the total amount of greenhouse gasses in the atmosphere is an important step to reducing the impacts of climate change, both locally and globally.