EcoHomes Through Novoclimat 2.0 Certification
You recycle everything that can be recycled. You’re careful not to overheat your home. You’re mindful of your water use. You do your laundry in cold water. You refuse to buy over-packaged products.
In other words, you are an environmentalist, and protecting the environment is one of your priorities. Now you’re looking to buy a new home, but how can you be sure you’ll find one that’s just as green as you are? In Québec, the answer to this question is simple: purchase a Novoclimat 2.0 certified home.
A Bit of Historical Background
Before getting into detail about Novoclimat 2.0 certification, let’s look at some of its history. In order to promote the construction of more energy-efficient homes, the Agence de l’efficacité énergétique du Québec introduced Novoclimat certification in 1999. The aim was to make sure that energy efficiency measures were offered, by establishing standards for building insulation and airtightness, the quality of doors and windows, and efficient heating, ventilation, and heat recovery. Novoclimat certified homes guaranteed 25% savings on heating costs compared to standard homes. Plus, to encourage participation, financial aid was provided to the buyer as well as the builder.
Through the years, Novoclimat certification increased in popularity. Buyers have shown interest and the number of builders offering Novoclimat certified homes has been growing, since this certification now represents a selling advantage. The program was such a success, in fact, that the Régie du bâtiment du Québec decided to incorporate the majority of the Novoclimat certification standards and requirements into the 2012 edition of Québec’s Construction Code. The advantage of this decision is that, ever since the new Construction Code came into effect, all newly-built homes in Québec have had the same energy efficiency as Novoclimat certified homes previously did. However, this also rendered the Novoclimat certification obsolete. Hence the necessity for the Régie du bâtiment to introduce a new certification: Novoclimat 2.0.
So, what exactly is Novoclimat 2.0 certification? How does it differ from the old Novoclimat norms that are now included in Québec’s Construction Code? Three major factors distinguish the new certification from what is currently found in the Construction Code.
Firstly, all the standards and requirements regarding building insulation and airtightness, as well as the energy efficiency of heating, air-conditioning, ventilation, and heat recovery, have been greatly increased. This is especially true of building insulation and airtightness.
Secondly, all heating, ventilation, air-conditioning and heat recovery equipment, as well as doors and windows, now need to be EnergyStar certified. Ventilation systems must always be installed by a professional with Novoclimat 2.0 certification. A pipe that can allow for the installation of a radon detector is mandatory. As a result of the higher standards and the requirement for EnergyStar equipment, Novoclimat 2.0 certified homes will consume 20% less energy than homes constructed following Construction Code standards.
Lastly, the introduction of sustainable development measures distinguishes Novoclimat 2.0 from its predecessor. We aren’t only talking about energy efficiency here; now we’re entering the realm of ecohomes. Measures like water management through the installation of low-flow equipment and the use of “green” materials such as those without volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are now taken into account in Novoclimat 2.0 certification. Furthermore, the inclusion of these sustainable development measures operates under a points system. Each measure implemented is worth a certain number of points, and the certification takes the total number of points accumulated from all the measures combined into consideration. This approach borrows from the method used for obtaining LEED certification, which also uses a points system.
How Novoclimat 2.0 Works
Novoclimat 2.0 certification relies above all on construction contractors. If they want to put Novoclimat 2.0 certified homes on the market, contractors must register for the Novoclimat 2.0 program with the Bureau de normalisation du Québec, the Québec certification organization that is now responsible for running the Novoclimat 2.0 program.
Contractors who register for the Novoclimat 2.0 program commit to undergoing training and providing their staff with training on the standards and construction techniques required for Novoclimat 2.0 certification. They also agree to have independent Novoclimat 2.0 certified inspectors check, both during and after construction, to ensure that all of the Novoclimat 2.0 standards and requirements are met. In addition, contractors commit that 90% of the buildings they build and sell in the province of Québec will be Novoclimat 2.0 certified homes. If they commit to making 100% of their homes Novoclimat 2.0 certified, contractors then become members of the Novoclimat 2.0 Select Group.
If you’re looking to buy a home in Québec with high energy efficiency and sustainable development or ecohome features, you will want to do business with a Novoclimat 2.0 certified contractor. In addition, buyers receive $1,000 in financial aid when purchasing a new Novoclimat 2.0 certified home. The contractor also receives $1,000 in financial aid.
And, since Novoclimat 2.0 certification has higher standards and requirements and involves a points system, many ecohome experts believe that it shouldn’t take much effort to render a Novoclimat 2.0 certified home on par with LEED Canada for Homes certification. Ecohome enthusiasts, take note! This means that it’s possible to obtain a Novoclimat 2.0 certified home while talking with your Novoclimat 2.0 certified contractor about including the additional features required for obtaining LEED Canada for Homes certification. Granted, it will be more costly, but you’ll enjoy the privilege of owning a home that is both Novoclimat 2.0 and LEED Canada for Homes certified.