What an EnerGuide Rating Means When Buying a House


By Kari Kylo, BC Hydro Power Smart

There are many benefits to buying a home with a high EnerGuide rating, but many homebuyers do not completely understand what an EnerGuide rating means, or what the value is to them.

Simply put, an EnerGuide rating is a number between zero and 100 that a home receives after a Certified Energy Advisor inspects it, and then rates its level of energy efficiency against a standard measure. A low EnerGuide rating (< 65) means a low energy efficient home that may have air leakages and insufficient insulation. A high rating (> 80) means that the house is well insulated, sufficiently ventilated, and energy efficient. A rating of 100 means that the home does not require any purchased energy at all.

It usually takes an energy advisor a few hours to conduct a home energy evaluation. They perform a “blower door test’ which allows them to monitor the amount of air leakage there is throughout the house, and where the air leakages are taking place. They also inspect the home’s mechanical equipment, windows, building envelope and insulation levels. Finally, they provide a report with the recommended renovations for the home in order to improve its energy efficiency.

Once the homeowner completes all of the recommended renovations, the energy advisor performs another blower test, and the homeowner is provided with the evaluation report and official label that shows the EnerGuide rating of the home.

This is important information to know for homebuyers as the EnerGuide label in a brand new home provides potential buyers with an understanding of how energy efficient the building envelope is. However, if it is an older house with a low EnerGuide rating, it means that the potential buyer may have to implement additional renovations after purchasing in order to improve the energy efficiency and comfort of the home. Overall, the EnerGuide label can help homebuyers determine what renovations are needed, if any, as well as what their approximate monthly and annual energy bills will cost. It also allows them to compare the energy efficiency of comparable homes across Canada.

Besides reduced energy costs, and a more comfortable environment to live in, energy efficient homes with high EnerGuide ratings use less energy compared to standard homes, ultimately reducing greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to climate change.

For more information on EnerGuide rating service, visit the Office of Energy Efficiency’s website at www.oee.nrcan.gc.ca/EnerGuide.

To read more about BC Hydro’s Power Smart residential programs, visit www.bchydro.com/powersmart