The goal of the R-2000 program is to increase energy efficiency in new homes and to encourage the construction of environmentally friendly and energy-efficient houses. R-2000 homes are built in Canada. R-2000 building technology has earned a worldwide reputation for comfort, quality, energy efficiency, and environmental responsibility. The program includes four major components: (1) continuous up-grades of energy-efficient standards for new houses; (2) comprehensive training and education courses for home builders; (3) testing and certification of new houses; and (4) various promotional activities. R-2000 standards are based upon an energy consumption target and a series of structural changes for proper ventilation, air tightness, insulation, material selection, and water use. An R-2000 home can use as little as half the energy for heat, electricity, and hot water compared to other houses. Many of the building materials and products used in R-2000 homes have a smaller environmental impact and produce healthier homes. For example, R-2000 homes are designed to provide fresh filtered air in every room. Each home is given an R-2000 logo to indicate the home is designed, built, tested and certified to meet specific standards. The logo facilitates discussion about R-2000 homes. There are many incentives to build an R-2000 home. For instance, they deliver up-front value of energy efficiency, quality, and comfort. They save money on heating bills, provide clean air to breathe, and contribute to a high level of comfort. Some of the more common features include, advanced energy efficient heating and cooling systems (i.e. heat pumps, integrated gas heating systems, solar heating, etc.), energy efficient windows and doors, tighter exterior wall and roof construction to reduce air leaks and drafts, and water conserving fixtures. The difference between the cost of a conventional home and a R-2000 home is between two and six percent more, however, the lower operating costs for an R-2000 home quickly return the initial extra investment.
Since the program began in 1982, more than 8,000 R-2000 houses have been built and certified. Consequently, manufactures have developed many unique building products, such as heat recovery ventilators (now a $50 million a year business), high performance windows, and integrated mechanical heating and cooling systems. In addition, water is conserved by 35% with low flow showerheads and toilets. The use of water-based paints and finishes means less toxic waste and reduces the amount of solvents and chemicals in the home's indoor air. R-2000 standards result in a draft free home with a uniform temperature throughout the house. The technology used to create R-2000 homes lead to a measurable reduction in energy usage. Insulation, windows, and energy efficient appliances lead to 50% savings on the energy bill. Because R-2000 homes are heavily insulated and virtually airtight, the insulation acts as a sound barrier to reduce outside noises. R-2000 homes have a 30% - 40% less heating fuel consumption relative to most conventional homes. The water conserving fixtures, building products with recycled content, and low toxicity finishes all contribute to decrease the impact on the environment.