Well it is great that the City is moving towards a Green Building Strategy/Green Homes Program. As BC's first (and I think still only) certified EcoBroker, I see a lot of this type of thing across the United States where building green seems to have caught on a lot more than here. Its great to see us slowly catching up. Apparently the changes which will come into affect Sept 5/08 will increase the energy efficiency of new homes by 33%......not bad!
Changes will include:
-minimum insulation requirements to improve building-envelope performance of dwellings
-mandatory insulation under basement floors to reduce the amount of heat lost to the ground
-building homes so that 40 percent of their lighting fixtures will not accept incandescent or halogen bulbs
-requiring insulation around electric-powered hot-water tanks
-requiring insulation around a portion of the piping leading to and from the tank on both electric- and gas-powered system
-requiring that all natural-gas fireplaces be direct-vented, and use electronic ignition instead of pilot lights. (Apparently Terasen Gas statistics indicate that pilot lights in fireplaces cost homeowners an average of $120 a year in natural-gas consumption)
-mandatory installation of dual-flush toilets that allow homeowners to choose between flushing a large or small volume of wate
-new homes will also have to include a heat-recovery ventilator. The City's report on this program states that an HRV "continuously exchanges stale indoor air with fresh air while transferring the heat contained in the outgoing exhaust to the incoming ventilation"
-features that allow for the future installation of solar panels and electric-vehicle charging systems will be mandatory (although in Vancouver I am not sure-not knowing enough about the technology-how well solar will work)
-for those who love this kind of gadget (and even for those who don't) mandatory installation of In-home energy-display meters. The meters will allow home owners to see their impact on resource use. Hopefully this will work like the home bathroom scale what we can measure and see gets improved!
The City is planning energy audits on all new dwellings to collect information on the performance of the Green Homes Program. The City predicts that the costs will be two percent or less of the total construction costs; however the City also believes that this will only increase the listing price of a new home by one percent. Weird math to me but even if it does increase the price by 2 percent, its probably worth it if the environmental benefits are there! Apparently once these requirements are imposed, Vancouver will lead the country in having the highest energy efficience standards in the country! Seems like a pretty good start......