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Are Ontario home builders and buyers missing an opportunity to talk about energy efficiency?

Monday, October 29th 2007 8:14:52am

Media Release - For Immediate Release
Attention Home/Construction/Energy Reporters and Editors


(Toronto, Canada, October 29, 2007)  Energy efficiency is an important consideration in new home purchases; yet, according to a new survey conducted in the Greater Toronto Area and the Ottawa-Carleton region, many builders could do a better job of talking about energy efficiency options with prospective buyers.

The survey shows that 98% of home buyers fully expect all builders to offer energy efficient features, but only 41% indicate that their builders initiated conversations with them about it. This shows an opportunity for home builders to talk about energy efficiency, and for home buyers to educate themselves and to ask more questions.

The polling indicates that home buyers recognize the value of energy efficiency; specifically, lower energy costs and higher quality construction, and 9 out of 10 said that, in the future, they would seek out a home that is energy efficient:

    * Almost 2 out of 3 "strongly agree" that energy efficient features reduce their monthly operating costs;
    * 9 out of 10 agree that the adoption of energy efficiency will help protect the environment;
    * 2 out of 3 agree that energy efficiency increases the resale value of their home; and
    * There is significantly more satisfaction with the design of a new home when energy efficient features have been offered (828 out of 1,000 on the Builder Rating on Overall Physical Design Index, compared to 676 when it's not offered).

Corey McBurney, Managing Director of EnerQuality Corporation, says, "An increasing number of builders in Ontario are choosing to participate in government backed, third party verified initiatives such as ENERGY STARĀ® for New Homes, the EnerGuide rating system and R-2000, to guarantee energy efficiency. These labels have become more significant in the buying decision as they provide proof that the home has met strict standards."

Of the 10 certification labels considered in the survey, ENERGY STAR for New Homes was the most widely recognized (83%), The EnerGuide rating label was second (63%) and R-2000 was third (41%).

"There is no doubt that consumers see value in investing in energy efficient features. Last year, buyers said the number one reason for purchasing energy efficient features was because of lower operating costs. This year, they put as much importance on higher quality construction as lower operating costs," said McBurney. "Home buyers are recognizing that greater care in design and construction of quality materials are needed to achieve the higher energy efficiency targets set out in the ENERGY STAR for New Homes, EnerGuide rating system and R-2000 initiatives."

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For more information, contact Brent Kulba, e|c|o (EnerQuality Media Relations), 416-972-7401, kulbab@huffstrategy.com


Backgrounder

EnerQuality Corporation commissioned a leading independent research firm to conduct a survey of 2,089 home buyers of new, low-rise homes in the Greater Toronto Area and the Ottawa-Carlton region from May 2007 to July 2007.

Here are the survey findings:

    * 73% say energy efficiency is important
    * 9 out of 10 say they will buy an energy efficient home next time
    * 94% agree that energy efficiency reduces monthly operating costs
    * 76% said it will increase the resale value of the home
    * 91% said the environment also benefits
    * "Lower energy costs" and "higher quality construction" each received 32% of mentions as the key benefit to energy efficiency
    * 98% say energy efficiency should be offered by builders
    * Builder rating on overall physical design was 828 out of 1,000 when energy efficiency was offered vs. 676 when not
    * 58% said a certification label was important to them
    * 77% feel say a certification label is important because it provides proof of a house's energy efficiency
    * 74% prefer government backed certification over other approaches.
    * ENERGY STAR for New Homes was the most recognized label with 83% recognition

The GTA and Ottawa Carleton regions are defined as:

    * GTA: City of Toronto, Durham Region, Halton Region, Peel Region, York Region
    * Ottawa-Carleton: Arnprior, Barrhaven, City of Ottawa, Cumberland, Gloucester, South Gloucester, Kanata, Manotick, Nepean, Orleans, Richmond, Stittsville

In 2006, there were 1,616 new, energy efficient homes completed and labelled; 802 homes ENERGY STAR qualified, 78 homes R-2000 certified, and 736 homes EnerGuide rated. Compared to 2005, there was a 255% growth in new, energy efficient homes, due to the massive number of ENERGY STAR homes completed in 2006.

As of September 25, 2007, there were 265 builders participating in the ENERGY STAR for New Homes initiative, who, together, have built over 3,000 ENERGY STAR qualified homes since the initiative launched in April 2005, and have close to 5,000 more currently enrolled.

ENERGY STARĀ® for New Homes is a label given to homes that meet balanced, whole-house energy-efficiency standards, providing their owners with significant energy savings. New homes that receive the ENERGY STAR label are approximately 30 percent more energy-efficient than those built to the minimum Ontario building code standards.

The ENERGY STAR mark, used with permission, is administered and promoted in Canada by Natural Resources Canada.