What is a Qualified Net Zero Builder and why is it important?
While some builders have just begun their training to become Net Zero Builders, Kemp has taken the next substantial step and gone through the complex process of building a labeled (certified), Net Zero or Net Zero Ready home, which is how a builder earns the “Qualified” designation – and we haven’t stopped there, we have four more Net Zero homes in production or preconstruction phases this year!
Across BC, only a small number of builders have achieved this qualification and, according to the Canadian Home Builders’ Association (CHBA), as of February 24, 2022, just over 500 Net Zero-labelled, detached homes have been built in all of Canada. That means that actual, hands-on Net Zero building expertise is still a rarity among builders. If you’re going to invest in a Net Zero home, it’s wise to hire an experienced, Qualified Net Zero Builder like Kemp.
How can I tell if a builder is a Qualified Net Zero Builder?
There are two different Net Zero/Ready Home logos that a builder can display – depending on their qualifications. The difference is in the fine print in the logo’s bottom right corner.
1. The Qualified Net Zero Builder logo can only be used by builders who have built a labeled Net Zero/Ready home. To become “Qualified”, a builder must build a Net Zero/Ready home with a team that includes a CHBA-qualified Net Zero Energy Advisor, and work with CHBA (or another Qualified Net Zero Service Organization) to obtain EnerGuide (ERS) and Net Zero/Ready labels for the home.
Once the home has passed a rigorous testing process, and the CHBA has verified that the project has been designed and constructed to Net Zero, or Net Zero Ready standards, the home receives its label and the builder can display the “Qualified Net Zero Builder” logo.
Why does it require so much training and expertise to build a Net Zero home?
1. Rigorous third-party testing and audits:
Every home that is labeled Net Zero, or Net Zero Ready, receives an EnerGuide rating from the federal government – like the ones we’re used to seeing on appliances – in addition to the CHBA Net Zero/Ready Home label.
The EnerGuide rating shows the total amount of energy a home would use in a year for space heating and cooling, water heating, ventilation, lights and appliances, and other electrical requirements – minus contributions from on-site renewable energy sources. A Net Zero home has an EnerGuide rating of 0 gigajoules per year. To obtain these labels, the builder has to pass a rigorous testing and energy audit process that is administered by third parties. The labels are the homeowners’ assurance that their home meets the stated energy efficiency performance levels.
2. The builder requires the knowledge to lead a team of specialists:
It takes a team of experts, working together, to attain the Net Zero labels: the builder, an architect, a qualified energy advisor, and a mechanical systems specialist. The team has to balance the design aesthetics and homeowners’ wish list with the energy-efficiency goals of the project.
Ideally, the entire team is involved in the project from the start. The energy advisor uses software to analyze the architect’s plans and determine how proposed design features will affect the home’s overall energy-efficiency. For example, in Kemp’s Net Zero Ready custom home in Burnaby the wine cooler room produces a lot of heat and the energy advisor on that project made recommendations to mitigate the problem. Similarly, the south-facing windows that frame stunning ocean views in Kemp’s Net Zero White Rock custom home also pose a problem for heat gain, and the team worked together to find ways to offset it.
Once the energy advisor has created an overall system for the home that will allow it to achieve its energy efficiency goals, a mechanical systems specialist integrates all of the technology and heating and cooling systems involved.
The builder is ultimately responsible for the success of the entire project; they coordinate the team, and use their own expertise in building envelope design, wall construction, insulation, and ventilation to both advise and implement solutions. Every detail counts, right down to insulating ducting, electrical panels, and plumbing in exterior walls. You can see some of the energy-efficient solutions Kemp brings to projects here.
A Qualified Net Zero Builder can save you time and money
As a family-owned, intergenerational company, our team cares deeply about the effects of climate change and creating a sustainable future. Housing is a major contributor to greenhouse gas emissions, and Net Zero Homes are one of the ways we’re working to be part of the solution.
Our commitment to sustainability has meant that Kemp Construction has been at the forefront of energy-efficient building techniques and technologies in BC for more than a decade. We don’t just understand how design, construction techniques, mechanical systems, and technology work together to create an energy-efficient home, we’ve been applying the solutions for years – and that experience can save you time and money. If you’re thinking of building or renovating to a Net Zero or Net Zero Ready standard, please give us a call – let’s start a conversation about the future of housing.
What is the value of a Net Zero label on my Metro Vancouver home?
A US study found that an energy-efficient house with third-party certification sells, on average, for 5-8% more than a conventional house.
In 2032, all new homes in BC will have to be built to a Net Zero Ready standard (the equivalent of Step Code 5 in BC). If you build a conventional home today, in less than a decade, that home will be competing in the market with homes that are more cost-effective to operate, with superior cooling and heating systems, clean air, and the ability to adapt to new energy sources. Soon, consumers will be asking to see the energy consumption of a home prior to purchasing it, much the same way they buy a car.