EnerGuide Home Evaluations
An EnerGuide rating and label demonstrate the energy performance of your home. It estimates the net amount of energy a home consumes in a year. Our energy advisors produce a rating by collecting house information during an on-site evaluation and entering the data into Natural Resources Canada’s energy simulation software. The calculation uses standard operating conditions to ensure the rating focuses on the house rather than the occupants’ behaviours. For more information, visit our blog post “Alberta transitions to ERS version 15.”
What is included in an EnerGuide evaluation?
During the on-site evaluation, our advisors will collect the following information about your house:
- Complete review of the building envelope (windows, doors, ceilings, walls, foundation)
- Visual inspection and measurement to determine surface area and insulation levels
- Complete review of mechanical systems (heating system, air conditioning system, ventilation system and domestic hot water)
- Blower door test
- Depressurization test where required (combustion spillage)
- Measurement of air changes per hour at 50 Pa
- Location of major air leakage areas
- Energy modeling of all components to determine the energy efficiency of your home
- Compared to a new home built to 2010 NBC National Building Code
- Individual recommended upgrades with associated potential energy savings
- ERS certified label for your home as it currently stands
- Intensity energy rating of your home
The energy assessment will provide you with calculated potential energy savings on an individual basis, so you can determine where you will benefit the most from your upgrades and increase energy efficiency. The advisor’s job is to empower you to make informed decisions that are right for you.
The on-site assessment takes approx. two to 2.5 hours to complete and we are there to help you understand your utility bills, your energy efficient upgrade options, and what potential savings are available.
The energy modeling is completed in the office, which provides a custom certified ERS report and label for your home. The information provided is unbiased and there is no requirement that you undertake some or any of the work. This is purely a consulting service.
A follow-up evaluation provides you with a revised and improved EnerGuide rating, label, and Homeowner Information Sheet and demonstrates how your upgrades have increased your home’s energy performance. The follow-up evaluation takes approximately one hour to complete and includes a blower door test. It is typically suggested when:
- There are government grants attached (currently, in Alberta there is only the CMHC mortgage insurance rebate)
- If you have made significant improvements to the energy efficiency of your home since the initial inspection and you wish to use the new rating when selling your home, then a follow-up assessment is suggested
Commissioning and Problem Solving
The latest building regulations emphasize the importance of commissioning a heating system that is compliant with the regulations, is energy efficient and cost-effective. Unless commissioning is completed correctly, the chances are the system will not perform to its design specification.
Because forced-air heating and cooling systems are assembled on site from multiple parts, there are many ways for installers to make mistakes. Researchers have repeatedly shown that a high percentage of residential forced-air systems have major problems, including duct systems that are poorly designed, poorly located, and leaky.
The classic solution to these problems, in addition to the obvious step of better duct system design, is to insist on a more rigorous commissioning process. Commissioning refers to the process of testing and adjusting installed equipment to be sure that it performs in accordance with the manufacturer’s specs and the designer’s intent.
VerdaTech’s HRAI certified RASDT & RHDT energy consultants can help you solve and prevent a host of problems that will reduce the efficiency of an H-VAC system.
Geothermal / Geoexchange System Design
The warm earth and groundwater below the surface provide a free, renewable source of energy for as long as the sun continues to shine. The earth, under an average residential lot, can easily provide enough free energy to heat and cool the home built on it.
The free energy has only to be moved from the ground into your home. This is done either by pumping water from a well (open loop) or by pumping a heat transfer fluid through a horizontal or vertical circuit of underground piping (closed loop). The fluid, called the heat transfer fluid, absorbs the heat in the groundwater or soil and transfers it to the heat pump. The heat absorbed by the fluid from the solar-heated ground is extracted from it by the heat pump, and the now-chilled fluid is circulated through a heat exchanger over and over again to extract more heat from the earth.
If your home is located near a suitable pond or lake, you can use a Geo- Exchange System (GXS) to draw on this excellent source of free energy.
Burying a loop in the ground around your home is like owning your own oil well, but instead of pumping oil from an underground pool and burning it to create heat (and greenhouse gases), you tap into clean energy that will be there for as long as there is a sun.
More than two-thirds of the energy delivered to your home by a GXS is renewable solar energy stored in the ground. This is great for your wallet because it is free energy. It is also good for the environment because there are virtually no toxic emissions. Each kilowatt-hour (kWh) of electricity used to operate a GXS draws more than 3 kWh of free, renewable energy from the ground.
How much heat does your home lose? Calculating its heat loss is the foundation on which your GXS design is built. The care taken in the construction of your home determines how much heat escapes through the cracks around its windows and doors, and how well its insulation is installed. The direction your windows face determines how much solar energy they let into the house. The heat loss calculation, therefore, determines the size of GXS you need.
HOT2000 Energy Modelling
The HOT2000 building energy simulation tool is the most current reference calculation program for the EnerGuide New Housing Program and the basis for government policy work in energy efficiency in Canadian housing and building codes.
VerdaTech designers can:
- Forecast energy consumption for your residential construction projects more accurately than ever before
- Project energy costs and performance of natural gas, electric, propane, oil, and wood heating equipment
- Check to make sure your low-rise residential designs comply with energy regulations before you start to build
- Calculate thermal resistance of envelope components, including thermal bridging of construction materials
- Improve the energy efficiency of your building designs for better cost-control and materials use
- Predict and control natural, temperature and wind-induced air infiltration to reduce your clients’ energy bills
- Exploit the potential of passive solar heating to increase the energy performance of your buildings
- Plan for adequate interior ventilation for good indoor air quality and superior comfort.
- Estimate energy requirements for space heating and cooling, water heating, lighting, and appliances at the design stage
What is Infrared Thermography?
- Infrared Thermography is a technique that uses specialized imaging equipment to create visual images of heat. This is especially useful to determine the energy efficiency of a building and to detect problems that cause heat and energy loss.
What does Thermography show?
- An infrared camera detects heat being emitted from the surface of any object. Thermography is a very effective way to see areas of missing or low insulation, moisture intrusion and to find the source of uncomfortable areas in your home due to air leakage.
Will Thermography damage my house?
- Walls and ceilings are examined in a non-invasive and non-destructive way to discover where heat loss or moisture build-up is occurring. No holes have to be drilled to get a reasonable impression of what is happening within the building structure.
Why should I use VerdaTech as my Thermography testing provider?
- Combining infrared Thermography with other techniques can produce better results. Using a blower door to create air pressure changes in the building is the only effective way to look for air leakage which can be a major reason for heat loss and moisture problems. VerdaTech is one of the few local companies that combine the infrared camera and a blower door during a Thermography evaluation to give the best information. Our trained infrared technician uses a FLIR infrared camera specifically designed for building applications. The blower door and other tools such as moisture meters are used depending on the problem being investigated.
When should I schedule my appointment?
- For most building problems, the best time to image is during the colder months when there is a significant difference between inside and outside temperatures, which makes for clear and crisp images. During the warmer months, Thermography is more effectively performed at night when temperatures naturally drop.
What does Thermography cost?
- VerdaTech offers different packages to fit individual situations and needs. We are able to offer the service in combination with the EnerGuide evaluation or as a standalone service. Prices will vary according to individual requirements and desired tests.
Ret Screen Modelling
RETScreen® International is a clean energy awareness, decision-support and capacity building tool. This standardized and integrated clean energy project analysis software can be used worldwide to evaluate the energy production, life-cycle costs and greenhouse gas emission reductions for various types of energy-efficient and renewable energy technologies (RETs).
RETScreen modeling can be used to evaluate any one of or any combination of the following applications: power, heating, cooling, single buildings or multiple buildings, industrial processes, communities, district heating and district cooling. Further, it permits analysis with a wide range of renewable and non-renewable fuels (which can be used in parallel), including landfill gas, biomass, bagasse, biodiesel, hydrogen, natural gas, oil/diesel, coal, municipal waste, etc. Finally, these fuels can be evaluated using multiple types of power, heating and/or cooling equipment, including reciprocating engines, gas turbines, gas turbine – combined cycle, steam turbines, geothermal systems, fuel cells, wind turbines, hydro turbines, photovoltaic modules, boilers, heat pumps, biomass systems, heaters, furnaces, compressors, absorption chillers, etc., all working under various operating conditions (baseload, intermediate load and/or peak load).
RETScreen modeling is used to help the user estimate the greenhouse gas (GHG) mitigation potential of the proposed project. VerdaTech evaluators can help the customer estimate the sensitivity of important financial indicators in relation to key technical and financial parameters to help optimize the project from an energy use and cost standpoint.
Contact us today for pricing, available rebates in your area and to schedule an appointment.