9 Traits Of An Ideal Home For A Net Zero Renovation

As the federal government has set a goal of all new homes being Net Zero by 2030, a program for Net Zero Renovations is also being implemented to address the millions of homes that lack energy efficiency.

A Net Zero Home is designed and built to produce as much energy as it consumes. The key to achieving this is to reduce energy consumption through improved insulation values, significantly more efficient windows, and well thought out mechanical systems.

The same goal of building a home that produces as much energy as it consumed can be achieved by renovating a home to Net Zero standards.

But not every home is an ideal candidate for a Net Zero renovation.

To help those that are considering a Net Zero Renovation, or thinking about buying a home that could be renovated to Net Zero standards, we’ve put together a list of the most important items to consider.

1. House Was Built Pre-1980s

The house was built before 1980.

Why is this important? Older homes were built with little or no insulation, so the increase in insulation and the addition of a proper air barrier will make a tremendous difference in energy efficiency. Although even homes post 1980 homes have lower insulation value, the benefit will not be as significant.

2. Simple House Shape

A square or rectangular house is ideal for energy efficiency.

Why? The square or rectangular house will generally have the lowest exterior wall to square footage ratio – or put more simply, the least amount of exterior wall compared to the size of house.

3. Simple Roof Shape

A simple roof shape will allow for the greatest amount of area to place solar panels.

Complex roof lines, dormer windows and roof valleys tend to reduce the amount of space a roof has for placing solar panels.

4. Good Solar Potential

This relates to the position of the house relative to the travel of the sun . A house with a good amount of south facing roof, or south west facing roof will be ideal for potential energy generation.

Along with a good roof orientation is a lack of obstructions – such as tall trees or tall buildings that may block the roof from sunlight. This is especially important to consider in Toronto, where older neighbourhoods have tall trees that block sunlight from reaching the home.

If you don’t have energy generating capabilities, the home will not be considered Net Zero, although you can still benefit from all the other aspects of Net Zero, such as better insulation and lower energy consumption.

5. Adequate Space At Perimeter

Often the best place to place additional insulation is on the exterior of the home – placing it on the interior can potentially reduce room sizes. Placing it on the exterior requires enough room around the perimeter of the home, so the additional insulation does not encroach on zoning setback requirements, and also that it does not impede walkways.

6. Old exterior Finishes

A home with siding that is due for replacement can be ideal, as this will already be a significant expense to remove siding and install new exterior finishes. Adding insulation to a home that already has a significant exterior project then becomes a smaller incremental expense.

7. No Recent Major Upgrades

Imagine you’ve bought a house that has just had the kitchen remodeled, or basement finished – and you want to now make it a Net Zero home. Significant value will be destroyed during the renovation, and the waste generated may not justify the work being done.

8. Deferred Maintenance

A home that has had maintenance deferred is ideal, especially if you’re looking for a home to purchase. A home that needs new siding, or a complete interior renovation will be ideal – because as part of the work of updating the home, additional upgrades to bring the home up to Net Zero can be made at an incremental cost.

9. No Historical Value

Homes designated as historical, or with significant historical value or architectural features would often be significantly altered by such work. Approvals to change a designated structure may be difficult to obtain. Avoiding damaging architectural features may then prevent full implementation of features that would bring a Home Net Zero.

Net Zero Renovations present an attractive opportunity to reduce energy consumption and improve the comfort level of a home, especially when combined with some other type of major renovation.

If your home is located in Toronto, Mississauga, Caledon or surrounding areas in Southern Ontario, we would love to discuss a Net Zero Reno with you.

Contact us to schedule a consultation.