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Types of Green Programs for Prefab Modular Homes

Types of Green Programs for Prefab Modular Homes

You’ve heard of homes that are “LEED” certified, “R2000”, “Built Green” or “Passive” but what do they all mean and how can I get it in my Built Prefab Modular Home?

These are just a few of the certification programs available in Canada that will allow you to build a better, more environmentally friendly prefab modular home, or possibly receive government incentives.

There are a lot of them, so here’s a little guide to help you understand if one might be right for you.

General
There are two types of available programs, being (i) energy focused building programs like Energy Star and (ii) green features programs like Built Green Canada, R-2000, Net Zero, LEED, and Passive House.

Why so many you ask? Each tries to come at similar problems from a different approach, but all with a view to improve energy efficiency and that a home is a system that works together.

Mainly they do this by ensuring your prefab modular home is built in a sustainable manner with, higher insulation levels, efficient heating and cooling systems and appliances, improved airtightness in your building envelope, high performing windows and doors, and a whole home ventilation system, among other things.

Energy Star

You are likely very familiar with the Energy Star, which is a program that provides information on the energy consumption of products and devices, using standardized methods in 75 different categories including new homes among others. Energy Star is an optional program that is administered by the Government of Canada and if focused on energy consumption.

Energy Star homes are built to a higher standard the minimum specified by building codes by a licensed EnergyStar builder and contain Energy Star appliances – those that are in the top 15 to 30 per cent in energy efficiency for their class. They have an EnerGuide rating of 80 or more.

The program revolves around building better than the required building code for your area and demonstrating at least a 20% more efficient home than the code requires.

As a standard you will typically find a number of features similar to Energy Star in every Built Prefab Modular Home.

To learn more about Energy Star, just click here.

Built Green

Built Green Canada was founded in Alberta in 2003 and utilizing a model established in the US and the program is focused on residential construction for single and multi family buildings.

Built Green has a number of categories that home must meet in order to qualify. Each of the categories are aimed at sustainable building, including: energy and envelope; materials and methods; indoor air quality; ventilation; waste management; water conservation; and business practices.

There a four levels available ranging from Bronze to Platinum.

Homes are inspected by a third party in order to achieve certification and any of those that are rejected go through a full audit. Homes also receive an EnerGuide label and undergo quality assurance checks. You can find a detailed flow chart here.

CMHC and Genworth Canada offer a partial mortgage loan insurance premium refund of 15% for prefab modular homes registered in the program.

As a standard you will typically find a number of features similar to Built Green in every Built Prefab Modular Home.

To learn more about Built Green, just click here.

Passivehaus or Passive House

Passive House was developed in Europe with a view to create low energy home with simple heating and cooling systems. The standard has a goal of 80-90 per cent energy savings per building. The system relies heavily on a seriously thick building envelope, air tightness and managing solar gains and heat loss all focused on drastically reducing energy needs.

While prefab modular homes have been built to the Passive House standard in Canada, they may not be completely appealing due to the added wall thickness, and loss of interior floor space as a trade off. Additionally, in order to achieve some of the thermal barrier requirements, the building will likely need a serious amount of rigid foam insulation which will enhance the cost of building substantially.

We’re not saying that it can be done, but if you want a passive modular home, there will be some trade offs.

To learn more about Passive House, just click here.

R-2000

These homes are built to the R-2000 standard that came into effect in 2012 and are considered best-in-class energy efficient homes. They are built by licensed R-2000 builders using leading-edge technology. Usually, they include these features:

  • High insulation levels in walls, ceilings and basements
  • High-efficiency windows and doors
  • High-efficiency heating
  • Whole-house mechanical ventilation
  • Testing to ensure minimal air leakage
  • Water-conserving fixtures
  • Once inspected and approved, R-2000 homes receive a Natural Resources Canada certificate and a label that is placed on the electrical panel.

R2000 is a pass/fail standard that usually exceeds the performance of a typical home by 50%. A certified home is constructed by a licensed and trained builder and is evaluated, inspected and tested by an independent third-party and is certified by the Government of Canada. The homeowner receives a certificate, label and report confirming the status of the house.

Besides including a whole-house mechanical ventilation system, including a heat-recovery device, R-2000 builders can also include a number of other clean-air measures such as selecting carpet that is certified green, using water-based paints and varnishes and installing cabinets and floor underlayment that is formaldehyde-free.

As well as air quality and energy efficiency, and R-2000 home can also benefit the environment in other ways. For example:

  • Selecting building materials that have less environmental impact
  • Using insulation and drywall made from recycled materials
  • Building with wood studs and trim made from finger-jointed sawmill cuto-ffs that would have been unuseable in the past
  • And installing water conserving toilets, showers and faucets

The R2000 program continues to develop and as standard you will typically find a number of features similar to R2000 in every Built Prefab Modular Home and comes highly recommended.

Net Zero

A Net Zero Energy home is one that annually produces as much energy as it consumes. This is a new concept in Canada, and the government is working with partners to test and evaluate prototypes that are seeking to meet this standard. Typically construction of a Net Zero Energy home can be costlier than a traditional build, but the government’s goal is to reduce the cost of the necessary technologies in order to construct such dwellings on a large scale. Some traits of a Net Zero Energy home are:

  • A Net Zero Home produces as much energy as it consumes and can be up to 80% more energy efficient than a home built to conventional standards.
  • A Net Zero Energy home is built to higher standards than conventional new homes, and a Net Zero Energy home is more durable – with high performance, warm windows and better insulated walls and roof.
  • A Net Zero Home delivers exceptional comfort all year round. Advanced construction methods and materials along with superior heating, cooling and ventilation equipment means even temperatures throughout the house.
  • Exceptional indoor air quality for healthier living. A built-in filtered fresh air system reduces allergens and asthma triggers, such as dust, pollen and outdoor air pollution.
  • Tightly built and well insulated, a Net Zero Home is quieter. Outside noise such as traffic, lawnmowers and barking dogs are virtually silenced.

LEED

Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) is one of the most popular green building certifications in the world.

LEED is made up of a set of rating systems for the design, construction, operation, and maintenance of green buildings, homes, and neighborhoods and its goal is to help building owners and operators be environmentally responsible and utilize resources efficiently.

To participate in LEED, a building needs to meet a list of evaluation criteria, each weighted and aimed at establishing which category the home falls into.

LEED utilizes a rating process and homes may fall into one of the categories ranging from Bronze to Platinum.

To learn more about LEED, just click here.

Summing it Up

Every program has different attributes and some may be more suitable to your situation. Each program comes with an added cost, whether it relates to enrollment or added materials, services or consulting.

The process for enrolling your home starts at the preliminary stages of your design, so don’t hesitate to ask your Built Representative.

If you would like to learn more about options or to discuss your project, get in touch with us at info@builtprefab.com or head back to our site at https://builtprefab.com where you can learn more about us,our product, and our process.

Built Prefab designs and manufactures premium prefab modular homes in Kelowna, British Columbia and ships them across Western Canada.

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