Blue Built Homes – frequently asked questions

General Frequently Asked Questions

What makes a builder and home eligible to participate in the Blue Built Home Program?

A Blue Built Home must be constructed by a Tarion-registered home builder, constructed in the City of Guelph and serviced via the municipal water and wastewater supply. This certification can be applied to single, semi-detached and/or townhouse dwelling units.

Are all the Blue Built Home water efficient fixtures and appliances required in a home for it to qualify for a rebate?

In order to qualify for Blue Built Home certification and a rebate, the new home must include at minimum, all the appliances and fixtures outlined in the Blue Built Home Bronze standard. This includes an ENERGY STAR® qualified washing machine, WaterSense® toilet with an effective flush volume of 4.0 litres or less, and waterless floor drain trap if the laundry facilities are located on any floor other than the basement.

How is a Blue Built Home certified?

A Blue Built Home is certified during the home’s final plumbing inspection by the City of Guelph Building Services Division. As part of this inspection, the plumber employed by the home builder must be present and must provide the product specification sheets for all fixtures, appliances, or systems required for the Water Efficiency Standard (Bronze, Silver, Gold) being pursued. The inspector will confirm whether the required water efficient appliances, fixtures and eligible systems (hot water delivery, greywater and/or rainwater) are present. Upon successful inspection, a Blue Built Home inspection sticker will be applied to the home’s utility box to indicate the level of water efficiency standard achieved.

How and when does a home buyer get their Blue Built Home rebate?

Once you have taken possession of your new Blue Built Home, you will receive a Blue Built Home information package including Rebate Claim Form. To receive your rebate, complete the form, attach proof of purchase of your qualified washing machine and submit these items to the City of Guelph within six months of the final plumbing inspection date (as indicated in the information package).

Once your completed Rebate Claim package is received, the Blue Built Home administration team will process your claim and send your rebate cheque and a personalized Blue Built Home Certificate through the mail within four to six weeks.

How is the Blue Built Home program affiliated with WaterSense® and ENERGY STAR®?

Blue Built Homes are backed by internationally-recognized environmental specifications—WaterSense® and ENERGY STAR®. By adopting products that meet these specifications, Blue Built Homes provide performance and accountability. As further assurance, inside every Blue Built Home is the quality and comfort you expect from your Tarion-registered home builder.

The WaterSense® program provides rigorous third-party testing to ensure water-efficient products perform to a defined standard of quality to learn more visit

ENERGY STAR® offers consumers water and energy efficient solutions to save energy, water, money and help protect the environment. The ENERGY STAR® name and symbol are administered and promoted in Canada by Natural Resources Canada. For more information on ENERGY STAR®, visit the website of the Office of Energy Efficiency (OEE), Natural Resources Canada.

What is the City’s involvement in the Blue Built Home program?

The City of Guelph is responsible for the administration of the program, including conducting the final plumbing inspection and issuing certification and rebates for each Blue Built Home.

Which home builders in Guelph currently offer Blue Built Homes?

The Blue Built Home Program is open to all Guelph-based Tarion-registered home builders. Ask your homebuilder today about the Blue Built Home Program to get specific prices and information.

Buyer Frequently Asked Questions

How does the hot water recirculation system work in my bathroom?

Cold and hot water lines run from the water tank to the sink and shower. Unused hot water in the hot water pipe cycles back to the tank for reheating.

A hot water recirculation system is one of three hot water delivery systems eligible for installation in the Silver and Gold certified Blue Built Homes. This system creates a closed loop between the hot water lines and the water heater connected to your showers and bathroom sinks. With the push of a button, hot water is sent throughout the home within 15 to 30 seconds. Cold water in the hot water line is sent back to the water heater. This means you don’t need to run water and wait for the cold water to run through before the hot water arrives. As a result, you save water and energy in your home. Refer to the Terms and Conditions for specific details.

What is greywater and how can it be used in the home?

Greywater is wastewater generated from dish washing, hand washing, laundry, bathing and showering. According to the Ontario Building Code, treated greywater can be used for toilet and urinal flushing, as well as priming floor drains within a home.

What is a greywater reuse system?

In this diagram, shower water is drains to a storage tank. Stored water is then used to flush toilets.A greywater reuse system reclaims and purifies water collected from the home’s showers and baths and uses it to flush toilets. The collection and reuse of greywater is one way to use substantially less fresh, potable water for toilet flushing, and to save money on your water bill. For more information visit

Water treated through a residential greywater reuse system does not meet the provincial drinking water quality standards and should not be consumed under any circumstance.

What is rainwater harvesting?

Downspouts carry rainwater to an underground cistern. Pipes run from the cistern to the toilet, clothes washer and outdoor irrigation system. Rainwater harvesting is the collection and storage of rainwater for use in activities that require water but not drinking-quality water.
Many people collect rainwater in rain barrels and use it outdoors to water a garden. Residential rainwater harvesting uses a similar but more complex system to collect significant quantities of rain and melted snow from the roof and eaves troughs, and stores it in a large cistern. The cistern can be stored underground or in the home’s basement or insulated garage. The collected water is filtered, purified and then used in toilet flushing, outdoor landscaping and gardening. This reduces the amount of fresh, potable water being used in the home, and saves you money on your water bills. For more information visit

What is a waterless floor drain trap?

Diagrams of sewer gases being blocked by a closed floor drain trap, and an open trap allowing water to flow down.A waterless floor drain trap is a device that fits into the floor drain in your laundry room and acts as a barrier to prevent sewer gases from entering the home without the use of a water priming device.

Most standard homes have water priming devices. These devices use water to form a seal that prevents sewer gases from coming into your home. Some drain traps use potable drinking water to form a seal; others use condensate from your furnace to perform this function. Water-primed floor drains can leak, wasting up to 53 litres of water per day.

If I currently have a Blue Built Home Bronze, can I upgrade it to Silver or Gold status at a later time?

It’s more economical to have a hot water delivery system, and greywater reuse system or rainwater harvesting system installed at the time of new home construction. However, the City of Guelph does offer equivalent rebates to residents who install a greywater reuse system or rainwater harvesting system in an existing home.

While these retrofits would significantly reduce the amount of water a home uses, even to the levels of a Silver or Gold, a home will not be recertified to a higher Blue Built Home level. The Blue Built Home certification is currently reserved for homes at the time of construction.

I already have a washing machine. Do I have to purchase a new one?

In order for a home to be Blue Built Home certified and eligible for a rebate, a new home must include a high-efficiency ENERGY STAR® washing machine. If you bring a qualified washing machine with you to your new home, and can show proof of purchase within the last two years, you will receive Blue Built Home certification and are still eligible for a Blue Built Home rebate, minus the amount for the washing machine.

If you cannot show proof of purchase, or do not have a washing machine that qualifies, your home will not qualify for Blue Built Home certification or rebate.

How can I tell which ENERGY STAR® washing machines are the most water efficient?

To evaluate the water efficiency of a washing machine it is important to note its water factor. The Water Factor (WF) is a water performance metric that allows the comparison of clothes washer water consumption independent of clothes washer capacity. More specifically, the WF is the number of litres of water per cycle that the washing machine uses per litre of tub capacity. The lower the value, the more water efficient the washer.

Qualifying ENERGY STAR® washing machines must have a Water Factor of ≤ 0.8 L/cycle per litre (6.0 gal/cycle per cubic foot). However, the City of Guelph encourages home owners to purchase an ENERGY STAR® washing machine with a lower water factor value to maximize water savings.

If my older home has been retrofitted with water efficient fixtures, appliances and/or efficiency systems, am I eligible for Blue Built Home certification and a rebate?

Only new homes constructed in Guelph qualify for the Blue Built Home program at this time.

Homeowners who have installed water efficient fixtures, appliances and systems may qualify for a rebate with one of the City’s water efficiency programs. For more information visit

I have a question about a fixture in my Blue Built Home. Who should I contact?

Your Tarion-registered home builder is your first point of contact when you need to address any mechanical, plumbing or technical questions associated with your fixtures, appliances and systems in your new home.

What other measures can I take to increase the water efficiency of my Blue Built Home?

In the kitchen

  • Keep a pitcher of cold water in your fridge as an alternative to running the tap until cold.
  • Fill the dishwaser completely before running.
  • If washing dishes in the kitchen sink, fill the sink only half full and be sure to plug the drain.

In the bathroom

  • Turn off the tap when brushing teeth or shaving – this can save up to 16 litres of water each time you do this.
  • Reduce the time you spend in the shower from seven to five minutes – this can save more than 15 litres per shower or over 4,100 litres per year.

In the yard

  • Consider drought tolerant, non-invasive plants, shrubs and trees for your property. Contact the City of Guelph Healthy Landscapes team for a free landscape assessment.
  • Raise the height of your lawnmower blade to 7.5 cm (3 inches); grass can tolerate drought better at this height and it will reduce the number of times you need to mow.
  • Washing your car at a carwash is recommended; car wash facilities recycle water and save on excess use!
  • If you have a pool, use a pool cover to lessen surface evaporation during the summer.

For more conservation tips, visit

Builder Frequently Asked Questions

Are home builders rather than home owners eligible to receive the Blue Built Home rebates directly?

In order for the City of Guelph to meet the provisions of the Ontario Municipal Act, the Blue Built Home rebates must be provided directly to home owners.

How do I advise the City of Guelph that I intend to construct a Blue Built Home?

The City of Guelph Building Application for new home construction includes a section for the Blue Built Home program. When completing a building permit application, it is required that you indicate that you are building a Blue Built Home and the certification level for the Blue Built Home being constructed—Bronze, Silver, or Gold.

At this time, home builders will also be required to complete a Blue Built Home Application Form, indicating the number of toilets and water efficient systems to be installed in the home. If a greywater or rainwater harvesting system will be installed in the home, project schematics must be provided at this time.

Are specification sheets or detailed drawings required as part of my Blue Built Home application?

Specification sheets and/or detailed drawings are required for homes that will include either a greywater reuse or rainwater harvesting system at the time of Blue Built Home Application Form submission. All specification sheets for all other approved water efficient fixtures and appliances to be installed in the Blue Built Home are not required as part of the application form but must be provided at the time of the final plumbing inspection.

Where do I find construction specifications for Blue Built Home Water Efficiency Standards?

Blue Built Home Bronze, Silver and Gold specifications are outlined in the Terms and Conditions available on the Blue Built Home website in the Resources section.

If a Blue Built Home is constructed in 2013 but not inspected until 2014, which rebate and certification standard would apply to the home given changes to the standard?

A home built in 2013 and inspected in 2014 will receive certification and rebates according to the 2013 technical standards. The revised Blue Built Home standards are effective January 1, 2014 and are applicable to all homes starting construction in 2014.

Where do I find WaterSense® toilets that have a flush volume of less than or equal to 4.0 litres? Are these toilets reliable?

Approved toilets include, but are not limited to, MaP Premium toilets. All MaP™ Premium labeled toilets have a flush volume of 4.0 litres or less and are WaterSense®–certified. All WaterSense®–certified and MaP™ Premium toilets are third party tested to ensure quality performance. For more information refer to and the High Efficiency and High Performance Toilets fact sheet.

Additionally, the WaterSense® certification program provides rigorous third-party testing to ensure water-efficient products perform to a defined standard of quality.

How can I access Blue Built Home promotional material, logo use and program details?

The Blue Built Home logo is available for use through written permission from the City of Guelph. Only Tarion-registered homebuilders in Guelph can apply to use the logo. For more information, or to request Blue Built Home information and promotional material, contact Blue Built Home staff at or 519-822-1260 extension 2116.