Building better: Sustainability is built into every house

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There’s an old environmentalist’s mantra about thinking globally but acting locally. Several homebuilders, including Woodbridge, Ont.-based Country Homes are putting that practice into place by committing to build sustainable housing using products like Schneider Electric’s Wiser Energy Smart Home Monitor to help achieve their goals. A smart home is a sustainable home.

Market Ready

“Building better’ is one of our key slogans. We’re always planning for the future. We’re doing what we can now to give our children and grandchildren a healthier planet, and be proud of what we’re building,” says Christian Rinomato Head of Sustainability for Country Homes.

“It’s part of our commitment to quality. Sustainability is an extension of that drive to be good in what you do, and create a good product for your customer,” adds Corey McBurney, Managing Director of Sustainability for the Rinomato Group of Companies, Country Homes’ parent company.

However, builders won’t commit if there’s no demand. “We’ve seen studies that show energy efficiency is in the top five of homebuyers’ requests,” says Rinomato. “I believe it’s going to be a much larger priority in the coming years, and then it will become the norm. Buyer adoption is going to happen naturally. This is where the world is heading.”

Wiser Energy

In order to reduce their energy consumption homeowners need to be informed of how much energy they’re consuming, and the Wiser Energy Smart Home Monitor – Schneider Electric’s home energy monitoring system – is the perfect tool for the job.

I instantly fell in love with the Wiser Energy Smart Home Monitor. I’ve installed it in my own home,” says Rinomato. “It gives you so much information at your fingertips.

With that information, it’s easy to make little modifications, such as turning off lights, unplugging items that don’t need to be plugged in, and setting up zoned heating and cooling, that can have a big impact.

It’s all about getting people to be a little more conscious. Imagine if we all just turned the temperature down one degree, the massive impact that would have. And it’s so easy to do,” says McBurney.

That’s the beautiful thing about the Wiser Energy Smart Home Monitor system is that it allows for consumer awareness. That’s really the first step of behavioural changes,” says Rinomato.

Beyond user awareness, the Wiser Energy Smart Home Monitor gives Country Homes’ clients – the homeowners – 24-hour a day monitoring of household appliances, their HVAC system, and any other electronic devices connected to their electrical panel, giving them real-time energy consumption data and security alerts. In short, peace of mind that they’re doing their part while protecting their biggest asset.

Additionally, the Wiser Approved Installer Program was created specifically for electricians to help them learn more about the Wiser Energy Smart Home Monitor and how to install and use the system. It includes training, discounts, and promotions.

For Country Homes, innovation and forward-thinking are key. “We’re trying to future-proof our homes. It’s a lot easier for us to do it now than for a homeowner to do it later,” Rinomato. That’s why electric vehicle rough-ins have been standard in all Country Homes since 2018. “Solar energy, battery storage, EV chargers, those are all elements of our community design plans going forward,” says Rinomato.

Sustainable Communities

Beyond just sustainable houses, Country Homes is trying to build whole communities that are sustainable. The company’s first Energy Star subdivision, the Sterling development in Georgetown, Ont. consists of 38 townhomes in seven blocks.

Each features efficient heating and cooling systems, enhanced levels of insulation, Energy Star-rated windows, and more that helped earn the project the 2016 Halton Hills Green Development Leadership Award of Excellence.

They also participate in carbon-offsetting programs, planting five trees for every home sold through Tree Canada.

Recognizing a growing demand for smart home technology and energy efficiency in housing, Country Homes is on a quest to continually improve its building practices and to introduce innovative new technology, partnered with Schneider Electric on the journey.

Sustainability Today, For Tomorrow

Builders like Country Homes are using smart home technology such as Schneider Electric’s Wiser Energy Smart Home Monitor energy monitors to help track their energy consumption and cut back where they can. These easy-to-install and use tools will help make homes as sustainable as possible now and in the future.

If you want to learn more about Wiser Energy Smart Home Monitor, please click here.

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