Greener home can improve comfort and save you money

March 29, 2014 by  
Filed under Wind Energy Tips

To many people “green” means environmentally-friendly. For Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC), green also means healthy indoor environments, energy efficiency, resource conservation and affordability — all of which are integrated under CMHC’s “Healthy Housing” principles. You can add affordable Healthy Housing features to any house, new or old, in the city, suburbs or country. Applying Healthy Housing features will make your home both better for the environment and more comfortable for you.


Occupant health and comfort is essential to Healthy Housing. This means ensuring the superior quality of indoor air, water and lighting. Ways you can improve indoor air quality include installing proper ventilation in the kitchen and bathroom; adding whole house heat recovery ventilation, choosing paints, furnishings and building materials that do not give off volatile chemicals; and, replacing that moisture-retaining carpet in the bathroom with a waterproof flooring option to prevent mold from growing. For new homes or renovations, make use of natural daylight by installing large energy efficient south-facing windows — you’ll save on energy costs too.

Healthy Housing is energy efficient. It relies on insulation and air sealing combined with efficient ventilation and heating systems that minimize heat loss in winter and gain in summer. It also reduces consumption of electricity and other fuels and may include renewable energy such as solar hot water or electricity producing photovoltaic panels. You can cut down on your energy consumption by putting automatic timers and dimmer switches on lights and by replacing incandescent light bulbs with longer-lasting compact fluorescent or ultra efficient LED (light emitting diode) bulbs. Make the switch to high-efficiency appliances (dishwasher, washer, refrigerator, etc.), which can cut energy consumption by 15 per cent or more. Front-loading washers remove more water than top-loading washers, so you’ll use your dryer less.

Healthy Housing also makes efficient use of our natural resources. To reduce water consumption, install a low-flush toilet, low-flow showerhead and aerator taps. Buying durable materials such as solid countertops and ceramic tile will ensure their long life and prevent waste. When building or renovating, choose renewable materials, such as fast-growing wood species for trim and moulding, or materials that contain recycled material, such as fibre-reinforced drywall – which also creates less dust during installation.

Healthy Housing promotes environmental responsibility. Many of the features that improve your health are also good for the environment, such as building materials, paints and natural furnishings that do not give off volatile chemicals. Outside, install a cistern (water storage tank) to collect and save rainwater for watering plants, and switch to hardy native grasses or native trees and shrubs, which don’t require much watering. You can also create a garden for growing your own vegetables. Buy a backyard composter so you can put most of your food wastes back into the land and keep them out of landfills.

Affordability is the final cornerstone of Healthy Housing. Energy-saving features such as dimmer switches and low-flow showerheads are not expensive to buy and can reduce your energy costs. Other features, such as energy-efficient appliances and low-emission paints and building materials, may be more expensive at the outset but they will reduce your energy consumption — and therefore your costs — over time and help create a healthy indoor environment. Making your home easily adaptable to accommodate life’s changing needs can reduce costs associated with full scale renovations or a move to another home. All this makes Healthy Housing affordable.

For more tips on how to create a green home that is better for you and the environment, visit CMHC’s Green Housing Web page at 

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