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How much do sustainable homes cost?

Tuesday, November 3, 2020   /   by Earl Gaddi

How much do sustainable homes cost?

As a homebuyer, you probably have a list of main things that you need to consider a house as your home. For certain homebuyers, it is important to find a property with enough square footage. The proximity to facilities or good schools is a dealbreaker for some. But for 86% of millennial homebuyers, buying sustainable homes is just as critical as a large kitchen or renovated master bathroom. 
If you're looking for one of these houses, it's a good idea to know what makes a home sustainable. You should also remember how much they cost you, and where you should go to find them.

What makes a home sustainable?

Next, let 's talk about what we mean by talking about sustainable homes. A sustainable home may be either a purpose-built home or an existing home that has been retrofitted. They consume very little energy to operate and use very little water. Energy-efficient homes may or may not be made using environmentally friendly materials. Some homes may exist within the context of wider sustainable development or may be a stand-alone project. 
An excellent way to assess whether or not a home is sustainable is by evaluating its Energuide ranking. The Energuide rating service was created by Natural Resources Canada to provide Canadians with a universal way to assess the energy efficiency of their homes. The Energuide method tests the productivity of the home on a scale of 0 to 100. A zero-rating home has major quality problems, including severe air leakage issues, no insulation, and very high energy consumption.

A home with an Energuide rating of 100 is extremely airtight, has excellent insulation and produces its own electricity, typically from solar panels. This BC Hydro guide is the ideal starting point for understanding the Energuide label. 

Homes are measured by Qualified Energy Evaluators for Energuide ratings which are based on a classification system that is the same from Nova Scotia to British Columbia. If you are searching for an older sustainable home, Energuide should be at least 66 or higher. Newer eco-friendly households should have an Energuide ranking of at least 75.

Where do you look for sustainable homes for sale?

Sustainable homes are available on the Canadian real estate market, but they are not abundant. If buying a sustainable home with many green features is important to you, here's where to look and how much you'll have to pay for it.

Look for existing housing

If you're looking for energy-efficient homes for sale in Canada, there are a few choices. First, let your real estate agent know that a high Energuide rating is vital to you, so they can weed out any possible homes that are not eco-friendly. Second, you can use websites like EcoProperty.ca to watch the green house listings in your city. 
Sustainability is a selling point like every other special attribute in a home like a finished basement or a revenue suite. Still, you're not paying a substantial premium to purchase an eco-friendly home. According to GreenBuildingCanada.ca, sustainable homes sell between 0.5% and 2% higher than average homes. That means if you're trying to buy a home in the Toronto area for an average sale price of $1,000,000 in that city, you can expect to pay an additional $20,000 for green home features.

Find sustainable home developments and builders

Unfortunately, sustainable homes are still relatively scarce in Canada. In some cities, it might be more prudent to pursue construction based on sustainable principles or to create a sustainable home on your own. 
Luckily, there are many eco-friendly home builders available to help make your dreams come true and claim to be able to do so without any premium. For example, this builder in Winnipeg, Manitoba, claims that you can buy their eco-friendly homes at the same cost as the typical prefabricated home. Other reports say that after rebates and discounts, you can pay around 5% more for a sustainable home. If you're interested in building, here's a list of homebuilders across Canada who have experience building net-zero homes.

Suppose you want a new home that is highly energy efficient, to the point of not using any outside energy at all. In that case, you will need to look explicitly at sustainable home projects, like existing homes or sustainable condo buildings. If you are looking for sustainability in a new construction condo house, keep an eye out for LEED certification. This qualification is an eco-friendly certification programme for larger buildings operated by the Green Building Council of Canada.

Sustainable homes won’t be rare forever

Although it's true that eco-friendly homes – brand new or current – aren't easy to come by today, that won't be the case forever. Efficiency standards for homes have drastically changed. Net-zero criteria for all new homes constructed by 2030 will continue to be met. This means that all new homes constructed in 2030 would generate as much energy as they consume. 
Until then, sustainable homes that exist are not exceptionally more costly than conventional homes. Typically, they would pay the value forward in the form of lower energy requirements, outstanding convenience, overall durability and higher value.