When buying a new home with Activa, you will likely be introduced to our ENERGY STAR® standards, but beyond the cost savings and contributing toward a healthier planet, an ENERGY STAR® certified home has plenty of perks for your comfort. Homeowner well-being is of the utmost importance to us, which is why we’re committed to providing these benefits to our customers as standard.
Did you know that in 2019, Activa was named ENERGY STAR ® Builder of the Year by Natural Resources Canada – a recognition given to only three builders across all of Canada? We’re proud to have built 500 of the 9000 ENERGY STAR ® certified homes built in Canada in 2018!
Keep reading to learn more about the science behind what goes into a certified home.
The Building Envelope
Activa homes are built in a way where the exterior shell of a home repels seasonal elements. A building envelope is the physical barrier between the exterior and interior environments enclosing a structure. This includes the foundation, walls, doors & windows and roof.
These parts of a home are key players in ensuring there are no cracks or open edges between materials.
Building envelope components work together to perform critical functions: structural support, moisture management, temperature regulation, and air flow.
The 3 elements below characterize the “control” functions of the building envelope, those facets that ensure a house is energy efficient, comfortable, and sustainable.
- Moisture control
- Air control
- Thermal control
Building envelopes allow for a high level of control over energy consumption, air quality, humidity, and temperature. Throughout the building process, more sealants, caulking, adhesive tape, and energy-efficient windows to create a tight shell to uphold these standards.
Each certified Activa home undergoes a blower test. The test will show areas of heat loss & air leakage throughout the building. As a blower door test is being conducted, a professional goes around the enclosure and finds any possible leaks and seal them up with spray foam, tape, or combination of materials.
Most of our ground-based product (single detached and townhomes) are fitted with triple pane windows that help to keep your home warm in the winter and cool in the summer. Windows can gain and lose heat because of three processes: radiation, convection, and conduction – and that’s where the advantages of triple pane windows come in.
Gas Fill: Did you know that the space in between your window panes is filled with a safe, colourless gas that helps for thermal control? Because triple-pane windows have two chambers, both can be filled with gas. These gases control the temperature that passes through the window. Therefore, installing triple pane windows will provide better overall insulation throughout your home.
Soundproofing: Because of this extra pane of glass, triple pane windows contribute to reduced sound transmission, allowing you to live a peaceful life away from outdoor noise.
Condensation on Glass: Triple pane windows are close to room temperature, meaning that it’s less likely that condensation will form on the window. Triple pane is great for the wintertime when it’s cold and dry, and homeowners desire to have more moisture and humidity inside their home.
With these advantages of triple-pane windows, the cost to heat your home will be less, leaving you with more money in your pocket. Plus, you’ll have peace of mind knowing that you’re breathing better air quality and hearing less outdoor noise, for a better, more comfortable home.
Another perk of buying an Activa home is that a Heat Recovery Ventilator (HRV) system (or in some cases, an Energy Recovery Ventilator (ERV) system) is already installed. Think of an HRV as a nose, but for homes! They have two ventilation ducts running next to one another and are passing between the inside and outside of a house. One hose carries cool fresh air and the other carries moist stale air out of the house. Both airstreams run through a device called a heat exchanger, which allows the outgoing air to pass most of its heat to the incoming air without the two airstreams mixing. There’s a fan in each air stream duct that can be turned up or down manually or automatically depending on the temperature and humidity levels of the home.
Science aside, an HRV can greatly reduce pollen and other allergens with the filter in its system – so the whole family can stay comfortable. It also helps to reduce moisture, condensation, mold, and even cooking smells to keep your home smelling its best. Plus, HRVs can also greatly reduce energy usage in your home to keep you warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer, leading to better cost savings and a healthier planet.
Tankless Water Heaters
Tankless water heaters are different from the typical tank water heaters found in most homes. Instead of water going into a tank to get boiled, a tankless water heater gives you hot water on demand at any time. When a hot water tap is turned on, cold water travels through a pipe into the water heater where a gas burner heats the water; once the water is heated, it quickly flows to the faucet that’s in use – all in a swift process. The advantages of these water heaters is that they save energy, they’re typically small and more compactable, and there’s no risk of flooding. Plus, they provide unlimited hot water, so there’s no fear of the water suddenly getting cold when running the water for a soothing bath.
Curious about the energy-efficient features in our homes or communities? Be sure to ask one of our Sales Representatives for more information. Plus, you can become familiar with other energy-efficient standards in our homes and learn more about our ENERGY STAR ® testing in the video below: