Are all energy efficient homes the same?

The difference between an EnerGuide Label and a CHBA Net Zero Home Label

Thinking about building a new home or renovating your existing one? Investing in energy efficiency for your home will pay off in lower energy bills and can even increase the value of your home. But not all energy efficient homes are the same. There are a few options that you and your builder/renovator can choose from if you want to verify the energy performance of your home. In this post, we break down the difference between an EnerGuide Rating from the Government of Canada and a Net Zero or Net Zero Ready label from the Canadian Home Builders’ Association (CHBA) in rating energy efficient homes.


Why do energy efficient homes have labels? 

Labels are administered by third parties (so, not the builder or renovator) and most require an inspection and energy auditIn short, labels provide homeowners and/or occupants with assurance that their home meets certain energy efficiency performance levels.  

What is an EnerGuide label? 

Administered by Natural Resources Canada (NRCan), aEnerGuide label is an official record of your home’s energy performance measured in gigajoules (GJ) – similar to the miles per gallon / kilometers per litre rating of a car. An EnerGuide label comes with a detailed report to help you better understand your home’s energy performance compared to a benchmark home. Zero gigajoules is the best performance a home can get! It also helps you understand your home’s energy sources (e.g. natural gas, electricity, etc.), the estimated greenhouse gas (GHGemissions, and what part of your home consumes the most energy. For your home to qualify for an EnerGuide label, your builder must be registered with NRCan – and the label must by processed by a licensed Service Organization. 

EnerGuide Label

What is a Net Zero / Net Zero Ready label? 

First, you might be wondering: “What exactly is a Net Zero / Net Zero Ready Home?” Good question. In short, a Net Zero Home is up to 80% more energy efficient than a conventional home and uses a renewable energy system, such as solar panels, to produce the remaining energy it consumes. Net Zero Ready Homes are built to the exact same efficiency performance as Net Zero Homes, but do not yet have the renewable energy system installed.  

A Net Zero / Net Zero Ready label uses the EnerGuide Rating to determine the energy performance of your home. Plus, it also includes other requirements such as improved airtightness, exceptional insulation, high performance windows, superior heating, cooling, and ventilation equipment, as well as energy efficient lighting and appliances. All these elements together not only improve your home’s energy performance, but they reduce your energy bills, improve comfort by delivering even temperatures throughout the home with no hot/cold spots or drafts, and provide better indoor air quality with a built-in filtered fresh air system to reduce allergens and asthma triggers, such as dust, pollen and outdoor air pollution. Net Zero homes are also quieter, reducing outside noise such as traffic, lawnmowers, and barking dogs. It all adds up to a better living experience. 

There are several other programs across Canada that use the EnerGuide label as a rating tool for home energy efficiency, including ENERGY STAR®, R-2000, and more. Over 1 million homes across Canada have an EnerGuide Rating! The graphic below outlines the estimated energy performance of each program compared to the National Building Code (NBC). 

Energy savings from Energy Star, R-2000, Net Zero Ready, and Net Zero

Net Zero and Net Zero Ready Homes are homes at the forefront of environmental sustainability. 

With a Net Zero / Net Zero Ready label, you can have confidence that your home has been built/renovated by a trained builder/renovator who has been qualified by the Canadian Home Builders’ Association. CHBA members are leaders in residential construction, and CHBA does research focused on advancing the voluntary adoption of affordable Net Zero / Ready Homes so that more Canadians can live in them.  

You can also sleep soundly knowing that your home was verified by a third-party Qualified Net Zero Energy Advisor and Qualified Net Zero Service Organization – professional experts in home energy savings. 

Finally, as a homeowner you may also want to know how you can reduce your home energy consumption. Unlike a home that only has an EnerGuide label, a home with a Net Zero / Net Zero Ready label requires that your home be equipped with an energy monitoring system, so you can see how much energy you are consuming compared to your home’s estimated energy consumption. This can help you learn when you are using a lot of energy, and also where your “phantom” energy usage is coming from, helping you identify where you can reduce your energy consumption. In summary, a Net Zero / Net Zero Ready Home allows you see how closely your family’s energy consumption compares to the benchmark model. 

Net Zero and Net Zero Ready Label

Investments you make in home energy efficiency are going to pay off. Not only will your utility costs fall to an all-time low, but you can enjoy a better living experience and feel good about doing your part to conserve the earth’s natural resources for future generations. 


To find a Qualified Net Zero Builder or Renovator in your area, or to learn more about Net Zero / Net Zero Ready Homes, go to 

To see if there are any rebate or incentive programs in your region, check out the NRCan Energy Efficiency for Homes Rebate and Incentive Directory.