There are different home energy ratings but LEED and Energy Star are two of the most popular. The green home building industry is growing rapidly as government works together with industry to try and reduce dangerous emissions and the damage to the environment caused by energy inefficient homes.
Not only do energy efficient homes help to maintain a cleaner environment, they also save homeowners money every month in the form of lower utility bills. In this post, we will look at the difference between LEED and Energy Star certifications and what they may mean for your new home construction or renovation project.
What is LEED Home Energy Rating?
Recognized in over 160 countries, Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) is a third party ratings system for a building’s design and performance according to several factors, including indoor air quality, resource usage and CO2 emissions.
There are different LEED ratings systems depending on the building in question (new construction, existing construction, commercial buildings), however each system assigns points according to environmentally sound and efficient building choices and the final score results in a certain level of certification: 40 points out of 100 provides the building with a basic LEED certification, whereas 50 points gives Silver certification, 60 points gives Gold certification and 80 points gives Platinum certification.
There are multiple ways for builders to achieve LEED certification with their new construction homes or major renovations. Some of these include enhancing indoor air quality (efficient ventilation, carbon dioxide monitoring), optimizing efficiency in water usage (i.e. in showerheads, toilets, faucets), and selecting low emission products (i.e. Energy Star appliances, furnaces, air conditioners).
For more information on LEED in Canada and strategies recommended for meeting the set standards, visit the Canada Green Building Council.
What is an Energy Star home rating?
Energy Star is another label for energy efficiency that is given to products that meet specifications as set by the United States Environmental Protection Agency. This symbol is recognized in the USA and also Canada and is even actively promoted by Natural Resources Canada as a way to identify top energy performers in the marketplace. The reason for this government backing is that Energy Star products are proven to be in the top of their class of products for energy efficiency and overall reduction in greenhouse gas emissions. So not only do they save Canadians money due to efficiency, they help Canada to meet set environmental goals and emission standards.
Energy Star rated products are found in all areas of consumer appliances, including dishwashers, refrigerators, washers and dryers, gas furnaces, windows, boilers and air conditioners. Each product will have a recognizable Energy Star label on the packaging or the appliance itself.
New homes can also earn the Energy Star label. Energy Star Certified Homes are notable for their energy efficiency and this can be found in a variety of aspects in the design and construction of the home. For example, properly air sealed homes reduce energy loss through gaps and air leaks and this not only preserves the indoor temperature in both winter and summer, but also reduces heating and cooling bills due to less air leakage in and out of the home.
Other Energy Star approved features in the home include energy efficient windows, HRVs, high insulation levels, and high efficiency appliances.