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​​It's official – home renovation season is in full swing. Whether you're tackling a weekend refresh or a complete home overhaul, it's the perfect time to start building a greener home for you and your family. Here are three energy efficient building materials that can help you reduce your energy usage and shrink your carbon footprint.

ENERGY STAR certified windows

Replacing your windows? ENERGY STAR certified models are up to 40% more efficient than standard windows and can save you an average of 8% per year on your energy bills. Adding them to your home may also make you eligible for Alberta energy rebates.

These models are labelled for Zones 1 to 3, indicating which of Canada's three climates zones they're best suited for – Zone 1 being the warmest and Zone 3 the coldest. Alberta is classified under both Zone 2 and 3, so be sure to keep that in mind when choosing your windows.

Find ENERGY STAR certified products available in Canada and follow ENERGY STAR Canada on Facebook for more ways to boost your home's energy efficiency.

Stone wool insulation

If your renovation has you opening up walls, now's the time to fill poorly or un-insulated spaces to make your home more energy efficient.

While fiberglass insulation is a popular choice among homeowners, it doesn't stack up against more energy efficient and eco-friendly options. To go green and help reduce your monthly heating costs, consider stone wool insulation. Like fiberglass, stone wool is easy to handle and install, but when it comes to keeping your home comfortable, stone wool offers greater insulation value.

Insulation manufacturers use R-value to represent how well materials resist heat flow. The higher the R-value, the better the material will keep your home warm in the winter and cool in the summer. Stone wool insulation comes in R-15 to R-23, while fiberglass only comes in R-11 to R-21. Stone wool is also denser than fiberglass so it even improves fire resistance and sound insulation.

Metal roofing

Your roof has one of the largest impacts on your home's internal temperature. If you're thinking about replacing it, installing a metal roof can help save you up to 40% on your monthly energy bills.

While more costly than traditional shingles, metal roofing can be installed over your existing roof and reflects solar energy in the summer while absorbing it in the winter. Metal roofing is also fire-resistant and incredibly durable, lasting up to 50 years with little maintenance.

Sources: Canada Green Building Council, Insulation Institute, Natural Resources Canada, Green Building Advisor

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