Green, eco-friendly, energy-efficient. These are just a few of the many popular buzzwords associated with building or buying a home.
So, when I had the opportunity to see behind the walls of an eco-build, I jumped at the chance to learn more about the process.
Vereco—a Saskatoon-based company designing custom smart green homes—partnered with builder Evco and designer bldg.studio.inc. to build an energy-efficient duplex. The group invited members of the Association of Saskatchewan REALTORS® for a tour to better understand what goes into their homes during construction.
Aside from the obvious environmental considerations, one of the biggest reasons homebuyers want to go green is to save money. However, building efficiently tends to be more expensive than traditional builds.
I was somewhat surprised to learn the cost wasn’t much more—as low as 5% higher. While 5% on hundreds of thousands of dollars is significant, Evco believes homeowners can easily make up the difference in finishes. For example, a less elaborate staircase and cut-backs to kitchen upgrades or flooring can easily help offset the added expense.
According to Vereco, the cost to consumers would likely be recovered in five to eight years. Therefore, consumers could see savings in the not-too-distant future.
Not only is the process cheaper than I expected, it’s also extremely flexible. In this case, a REALTOR® would contact Vereco, who would work with the client throughout the building process to define price point, size requirements, style, finishes and location. In addition, the client is able to determine the level of energy efficiency they desire, or if they have specific technologies they would like to use inside the home.
Some of the specific features we saw at the house were double framing, where they would later add three layers of insulation. They also discussed the positioning of windows in the home to maximize heat in the winter and cool air during the summer. (Because this home was a duplex, there were some limitations to this.)
To prove building efficiently doesn’t have to impact the style of a home, we’ve also been invited to see the finished product.
Along with other members of the Association of Saskatchewan REALTORS®, I will have the opportunity to see how comfort (air quality, temperature, lighting, acoustics and safety) merges with energy efficiency in a setting any homeowner would be proud of. Because of course, here in Saskatchewan, green is always top of mind. Just look at the logos of our professional sports teams!
If building isn’t an option, CREA’s “A Homeowner’s Guide to Energy Efficiency” offers a number of tips to help make your clients’ homes more energy efficient:
Editor’s Note: Thanks to Steven Bobiash, Past President and Board Member of the Saskatoon Region Association of REALTORS®, for sharing these insights. REALTORS®, have you ever worked with clients looking to buy or build a smart green home? We’d love to hear your experience in the Comments section below.