Thursday, April 26, 2012 - 8:30 AM

City Promotes Energy Reduction Strategy for New Homes

The City of St. John's Public Works, Environment and Protection Standing Committee and the Department of Building and Property Management invited media to view a new home April 26 which illustrated the City's energy reduction strategy in conjunction with initiative partners takeCHARGE, a joint initiative between Newfoundland Power and Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro (Hydro), and the Canadian Home Builders' Association - Newfoundland and Labrador (CHBA-NL).

"This is a major step forward and we are very pleased at the level of support our energy reduction strategy has received since we announced it in June 2011," explains Ward 5 Councillor Wally Collins, Chair of the Public Works, Environment and Protection Standing Committee. "Building science, construction materials and techniques are far more advanced today and these changes are in line with consumer standards and expectations. The great news here is that through rebates provided by takeCHARGE and new Eco-Mortgages being offered by the banking industry these improvements are basically cost neutral."

Erco Homes, a member of the Canadian Home Builders' Association, prepared 125 Blue Puttee Drive to demonstrate the improvements required to meet the City's new energy reduction strategy, which officially came into effect Sept. 1, 2011. The policy affects new one and two-family home constructions in the City, which must be built to meet energy targets of 80, as specified in the EnerGuide Rating System. Improvements will include the mandatory insulation of basements, upgrading windows, ventilation, heating and electrical systems.

The City of St. John's has been very appreciative of the support from its initiative partner the Canadian Home Builders' Association from the inception of this new strategy.

"The CHBA-NL is very proud of this strategy and the results we see in this house," says President Craig Williams. "Our members have been working closely with the City of St. John's to ensure everyone benefits from initiative: Consumers get more efficient homes with lower energy, utility and maintenance costs and builders are provided with the opportunity to become more innovative and share best practices in the residential construction industry."

The Canadian Home Builders' Association is currently busy with preparations for the Home Show, which will take place May 5 and 6 at Mile One Centre. The Home Show is Newfoundland and Labrador's largest building and renovation show. With a focus on sharing information on energy efficiency, healthy housing and the value provided by doing business with professional product and service providers, it promises to be another great show.

Natural Resources Canada has confirmed that an un-insulated basement can lead to a loss of 20 to 35 per cent of a home's total heat, a low comfort level for the homeowner during cold winter nights and the potential for condensation which can lead to the formation of mold and mildew. These changes to building standards will also pay off in terms of reductions in greenhouse gas emissions.

In the development of this new policy the City has also been working with partners from takeCHARGE, which is a joint initiative between Newfoundland Power and Hydro aimed at providing Newfoundlanders and Labradorians with information, tools and programs to assist them in using energy wisely. It is intended to encourage consumers to take charge and take action in their own homes and businesses to reduce the energy they use and save money. Consumers are encouraged to visit takechargenl.ca for tips and rebate programs to save money.

"Building a new home with energy efficiency in mind will help homeowners save energy and save money while creating a more comfortable home," says Peter Upshall, Energy Management Engineer, takeCHARGE. "With our takeCHARGE Energy Savers Rebate Programs, customers can get money back when they make wise energy choices when it comes to insulation, thermostats and ENERGY STAR windows."

The EnerGuide Rating System gives a standard measure of your home's energy performance and shows the level of energy efficiency in your home.

Backgrounder

For further information:
Jennifer Mills
Communications Officer
City of St. John's
Phone: (709) 570-2037
Cell: (709) 690-7586
E-mail: jmills@stjohns.ca

Wally Collins
Ward 5 Councillor
Chair, Public Works, Environment and Protection Standing Committee
City of St. John's
Phone: (709) 576-8584
E-mail: wcollins@stjohns.ca

Michele Coughlan
Director, Corporate Communications
Newfoundland Power Inc.
Phone: (709) 737-2821
Cell: (709) 682-1470

Victoria Belbin
Chief Executive Officer
Canadian Home Builders' Association - Newfoundland and Labrador
Phone: (709) 753-2000
E-mail: ceo@nfbuilders.ca