BuiltGreen Canada recently released its annual Program Guide for New Construction, and outlined for the first time is a set of minimums and best practises for a BuiltGreen Homeowner's Manual. Here is a quick summary:
Minimally, the Homeowner's Manual should contain:
- A list of all the products installed in the home, complete with warranties, operating instructions, data sheets, installer contact names of all installed equipment, appliances, fixtures, and landscaping that you have installed
- A statement from the builder about the benefit of living in a BuiltGreen Home;
- A copy of the completed BuiltGreen checklists;
- A "Starter Kit" of brochures and fact sheets that relate to operating & maintaining an environmentally friendly home;
- Underground maintenance information
This "best practise" new home manual is similar to the LEED for Homes defined manual, which essentially requires manufacturer documents such as operating manuals, maintenance instructions and extended warranty information. Over time, wasted energy and reduced efficiency due to improper operation and maintenance will diminish the positive environmental benefits of a home. A "green home" only remains green if its components are operated & maintained at optimal levels.
Although BuiltGreen and LEED certified new homes are built with a higher degree of sustainability, it stands to reason all new homes should come with this level of product documents, as they all have similar products & components that require proper operation & maintenance.