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Better Builder Magazine, Issue 38 / Summer 2021

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42408014 ISSUE 38 | SUMMER 2021
INSIDE
Low Carbon Or No Carbon?
The Best IAQ Checklist
Indoor Air Quali...

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209 Citation Dr. Unit 3 & 4
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BETTERBUILDER.CA | ISSUE 38 | SUMMER 2021
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FEATURE STORY
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Why Merely Survive When You Can Thrive?
How a struggling D...

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Better Builder Magazine, Issue 38 / Summer 2021

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Better Builder Magazine brings together premium product manufactures and leading builders to create better differentiated homes and buildings that use less energy, save water and reduce our impact on the environment. The magazine is published four times a year.

Better Builder Magazine brings together premium product manufactures and leading builders to create better differentiated homes and buildings that use less energy, save water and reduce our impact on the environment. The magazine is published four times a year.

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Better Builder Magazine, Issue 38 / Summer 2021

  1. 1. PUBLICATION NUMBER 42408014 ISSUE 38 | SUMMER 2021 INSIDE Low Carbon Or No Carbon? The Best IAQ Checklist Indoor Air Quality Evolving Within A Dinosaur Industry Embodied Carbon Challenge WINNERS OF THE CROSS BORDER CHALLENGE SimplytheBest
  2. 2. 209 Citation Dr. Unit 3 & 4 Concord, ON L4K 2Y8 905-669-7373 · glowbrand.ca Models C95 & C140 Condensing Combination Boiler Glow Brand C95 and C140 instantaneous combination ASME boilers for heating and on-demand hot water supply. The ultra-efficient compact design combination boiler has an AFUE rating of 95%. These units are fully modulating at 10 to 1 and 2 inch PVC venting up to 100 feet. Canadian Made
  3. 3. BETTERBUILDER.CA | ISSUE 38 | SUMMER 2021 18 1 FEATURE STORY 18 Why Merely Survive When You Can Thrive? How a struggling Denver builder transformed itself to an award-winning leader in its niche. by Rob Blackstien 14 ISSUE 38 | SUMMER 2021 Cover and individual awards photographed by Mike Day, theartofweddings.com. Images internally supplied unless otherwise credited. 33 34 PUBLISHER’S NOTE 2 Low Carbon or No Carbon? by John Godden THE BADA TEST 3 The Best IAQ Checklist by Lou Bada INDUSTRY EXPERT 5 The Heightened Interest in Indoor Air Quality by Gord Cooke INDUSTRY NEWS 8 Scripting Our Own Path by Marc Huminilowycz BUILDER NEWS 11 Cleary Homes – Just Better by Alex Newman BUILDER NEWS 14 Going Vogue by Alex Newman BUILDER NEWS 16 Rosehaven Homes by Rob Blackstien INDUSTRY NEWS 22 Embodied Carbon Challenge by Paul De Berardis INNOVATION NEWS 27 Campanale Homes by Marc Huminilowycz BUILDER NEWS 30 Empire Communities BUILDER NEWS 32 2021 Cross Border Builder Challenge Winners and a Tribute to Vince Naccarato FROM THE GROUND UP 34 Evolving Within a Dinosaur Industry by Doug Tarry
  4. 4. BETTERBUILDER.CA | ISSUE 38 | SUMMER 2021 Low Carbon or No Carbon? 2 PUBLISHER Better Builder Magazine 63 Blair Street Toronto ON M4B 3N5 416-481-4218 | fax 416-481-4695 sales@betterbuilder.ca Better Builder Magazine is a sponsor of PUBLISHING EDITOR John B. Godden MANAGING EDITORS Crystal Clement Wendy Shami editorial@betterbuilder.ca To advertise, contribute a story, or join our distribution list, please contact editorial@betterbuilder.ca FEATURE WRITERS Rob Blackstien, Alex Newman PROOFREADING Carmen Siu CREATIVE Wallflower Design www.wallflowerdesign.com This magazine brings together premium product manufacturers and leading builders to create better, differentiated homes and buildings that use less energy, save water and reduce our impact on the environment. PUBLICATION NUMBER 42408014 Copyright by Better Builder Magazine. Contents may not be reprinted or reproduced without written permission. The opinions expressed herein are exclusively those of the authors and assumed to be original work. Better Builder Magazine cannot be held liable for any damage as a result of publishing such works. TRADEMARK DISCLAIMER All company and/or product names may be trade names, trademarks and/or registered trademarks of the respective owners with which they are associated. UNDELIVERABLE MAIL Better Builder Magazine 63 Blair Street Toronto ON M4B 3N5 Better Builder Magazine is published four times a year. “W ords matter. Especially ones with four letters.” — Bob Saget Like the word “love,” “zero” can mean different things to different people. The word “zero,” as we know it, first emerged in India a long time ago. Its original meaning is a placeholder or concept that marks nothingness. “Net zero” is an accounting term meaning neither a surplus nor a deficit when things are added together. “Net zero energy” connotes a balance of onsite energy produced against energy consumed, usually by a building. However, “net zero emissions” is an entirely different story, as we must consider not only operational energy but embodied energy as well. Words are very important when we are describing our goals for carbon reduction. Goals are important, but they are usually referred to as absolutes. Someone wisely said, in contradiction to themselves, “there are no absolutes in the universe.” It’s easy to get lost in semantics, but it’s also important to be pragmatic. As Paul DeBerardis points out, the embodied carbon discussion needs to be addressed when we are talking about net zero energy houses (page 22). Ideally, homes should not create more carbon debt (emissions) than they offset. I would prefer we drop the “zero” rhetoric and set our goals as low-energy and low–carbon-embodied houses – “low-carb houses” for short. Many builders are doing just that. They’re reducing energy use with the smart use of natural gas and employing more insulated wood fibre sheathing on thinner concrete foundations, thus reducing embodied carbon and not covering roofs with solar panels. This year’s RESNET/CRESNET Cross Border Builder Challenge reminds us that international co-operation is key for any success. The challenge is a friendly annual competition between American and Canadian home builders to determine just how energy efficient builders can build. The rule is simple: the lowest Home Energy Rating System (HERS)/Energy Rating Index (ERI) score wins. Royalpark Homes (page 8) and Thrive Home Builders (page 18) were the big winners of the President’s Award on either side of the border. All the winning Canadian builders are graduates of Enbridge’s Savings by Design (SBD) program. This year’s winners also surpassed the HERS 46 score recommended for Ontario under ASHRAE 90.2, Energy-efficient Design of Low-rise Residential Buildings. Well done! Meanwhile, Gord Cooke discusses the heightened interest in indoor air quality (IAQ) (page 5), and Lou Bada describes the best IAQ checklist, for builders, for breathing easy (page 3). Lastly, Doug Tarry acknowledges the great advancements we’ve made in the home building industry and the old habits we are having trouble breaking (page 34). His description of home building as a “dinosaur industry” is very apropos, as the large reptiles we see in museums are now extinct. Measuring serious reductions in CO2 emissions from home building must also dig up discussions about how we construct our homes, the materials we use and how we describe them. “Zero” means nothing. “Low” means something. When it comes to carbon, whether it’s embodied or operational, we must go as low as we can so that we don’t end up like the dinos. BB publisher’snote / JOHN GODDEN
  5. 5. BETTERBUILDER.CA | ISSUE 38 | SUMMER 2021 (which is highly debatable), there are a few tools that may be helpful: a good builder checklist for IAQ and an IAQ score. Our friend (and publisher) John Godden and his team have proposed this checklist (above), and I added the following explanations: Setting aside the very important issue that so many are under-housed for the moment, what makes a good home? It’s a loaded question. It depends who you ask. Essentially, what constitutes a good home is much of what we discuss in this magazine. It’s not a matter of enormous debate within the builder and construction community. I would venture to guess that builders and the wider construction industry are the major­ ity of our readership. If you read this magazine, we’re likely already preaching to the choir. What I am hoping for is that the buyers of new homes begin to see (and breathe) differently, but hope is not a strategy. Indoor air quality (IAQ) should be a familiar term to everyone in our business (remember “build it tight and ventilate it right”?). Good ventilation is important to occupant health and safety and an important element of IAQ. The importance of IAQ has become abundantly clear over the last year or so. It would be great if IAQ became part of the home buyer’s vernacular. Insofar as home builders can influence home buyers’ decisions 1. Getting the flow rate verified by a third party is easy these days if builders use HRVs/ERVs that have auto-balanc­ ing features. OBC 9.32 requires flow determination, and many installations have not been balanced properly. If this is true, then occupants may not be getting the required amount of fresh air outlined in the OBC (15 cfm) per person. 2. Hi-static bathroom fans verified at OBC capacities for spot ventilation could be used. Exhaust fan vent terminations are a major source of air leakage during a fan depressurization test, as roof vent terminations are not properly sealed. If proper sealing is undertaken, low static fans cannot provide enough pressure to open the rooftop damper and displace humid air from bathrooms. 3. A MERV 13 air filtered for COVID-19 is a smart, low-cost addition, especially since construction heat requires a MERV 12 filtration during construction. COVID-19 droplets are >5 microns and can be filtered with MERV 13 one-inch furnace filters. The challenge is that home owners forget to replace filters on a regular basis, which leads to service calls. 4. Best air filtration could be sold as an upgraded bypass HEPA filter system on your furnace. This bypass system does not impede air flow in the duct work and has pre-filters so that the HEPA filter has a three- to five-year lifespan and picks up very small particles (down to 0.3 microns). This is 10 times better than MERV 13 and can almost catch the 3 thebadatest / LOU BADA The Best IAQ Checklist for Breathing Easy BETTERBUILDER.CA | ISSUE 38 | SUMMER 2021 “All I need is the air that I breathe…” —The Hollies (1974) I ’m sure it’s been a difficult and tumultuous year for everyone, and I pray that we are as well as can be expected. I hope that some permanent improvements in the post- SARS-CoV-2 pandemic era are seen in our relationship with our environment and with each other. A reminder of the fragility and tenuousness of our health – coupled with a strong dose of fear and the realization that we are a worldwide community – may spur a re-examination of our goals and values. Although the pandemic was – and is – a terrible tragedy, it would only be made worse if we didn’t learn anything from it. We’ve seen that airborne transmission of a virus can be deadly. It has been clear that the chronically under-housed and poorly housed populations have borne the brunt of the pandemic. GOOD BUILDER CHECKLIST FOR IAQ 1. FLOW RATE ON PRINCIPAL EXHAUST (HEAT RECOVERY VENTILATOR [HRV]/ENERGY RECOVERY VENTILATOR [ERV]) VERIFIED BY THIRD PARTY 2. HI-STATIC BATHROOM FANS VERIFIED AT ONTARIO BUILD­ ING CODE (OBC) CAPACITIES FOR SPOT VENTILATION 3. MERV 13 AIR FILTRATION FOR COVID-19 4. BEST AIR FILTRATION: BYPASS HEPA FILTER ON FURNACE 5. ERV REDUCES NEED FOR HUMIDIFIER FOR WHOLE- HOUSE VENTILATION 6. PRE-OCCUPANCY FLUSH (48 HOURS BEFORE OCCUPANCY)
  6. 6. BETTERBUILDER.CA | ISSUE 38 | SUMMER 2021 4 COVID-19 virus (0.125 microns). Con: it must be sold as an upgrade, as the home buyer may not be living in the home but buying on spec. 5. ERVs for whole-house ventilation reduce the need for a humidifier. Best practice is to avoid a simplified installation and use a hybrid approach without an interlock with the furnace. ERVs hold on to 50% of moisture in winter to keep relative humidity (RH) higher in the colder months. Conversely, they reject 50% of the moisture in the summer, which lowers air-conditioning run time. Simplified ventilation installations require an interlock, which puts the furnace into high speed for ventilation distribution but depressurizes the basement, which could contribute to soil gas infiltration in radon areas. Hybrid ventilation installation provides exhaust ducting to the main floor bathroom and reduces the need for an exhaust fan at that location. 6. A pre-occupancy flush 48 hours before closing is a smart, no-cost service that a builder can offer. The whole-house ventilation (HRV/ERV) system and spot ventilation (bathroom exhaust fans) are checked by a third party. This ventilation system is run continuously with the furnace blower motor to off-gas the new home at least two days before occupancy. The previous checklist should be viewed as a tool and should be used as part of a strategy. It can be used to generate a score or a label. Granted, scores and labels have their own difficulties; however, they may also provide a vehicle for our customers to assess the important IAQ features in the construction of their new home. Of course, there are other extraneous elements to be considered for IAQ, but an awareness is a step towards everyone breathing a little better. BB Lou Bada is vice- president of low-rise construction at Starlane Home Corporation and on the board of directors for the Residential Construction Council of Ontario (RESCON).
  7. 7. BETTERBUILDER.CA | ISSUE 38 | SUMMER 2021 In fact, the high-performance new homes you are building offer many air quality advantages that should be of interest to your clients over the next several years as we recover both physically and emotionally from these most trying of times. In the short term, there is no doubt that physical distancing, isolation when you are sick or caring for someone who is sick, the wearing of masks and personal hygiene are still the most effective approaches in keeping safe from the COVID-19 virus. In the longer term, let’s expand the conversation to overall indoor environmental quality (IEQ) and consider the benefits high-performance homes can have on the overall health and wellness of home owners. There are four clear strategies for improving and controlling indoor air quality generally, and they are specifically effective when consider­ ing the impact of viruses. These steps should always be applied in this order: 1) Remove potential pollutant sources. In a new housing context, flashing of windows, application of water-resistant barriers and basement drainage layers to eliminate water leaks are all removal strategies. Even the selection of low volatile organic compound (VOC) finishes qualifies. 2) Isolate pollutants from susceptible occupants. Airtightness, specific­ ally between the house and an attached garage, is a good example. Go further by considering a “clean bedroom” in a home to provide respite for a family member with specific health concerns such as asthma or allergies (for example, a bedroom with a separate HEPA- filtered fresh air duct and kept under positive pressure). 3) Properly ventilate occupied spaces. 4) Provide appropriate filtration. With respect to those two mechan­ ical strategies, ventilation and filtra­ tion, the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) has stated HVAC systems can reduce the concentration of airborne contaminants, such as the COVID-19 virus droplets. Fortunately, the capacity for con­ tinuous mechanical ventilation has been a Building Code requirement in Canada since 1990. However, there is a great opportunity right now to fine-tune your ventilation offering to home owners. For example, switch to energy recovery ventilators (ERVs) to get better humidity control, and specify equipment that has both better fan speed range and filtration effectiveness. For example, I am very excited by the new Venmar/vänEE offering (referred to as VIRTUO technology). The intelligence built into the fan speed controls allows the unit, upon startup, to calculate, adjust and display the maximum balanced airflow rate that can be achieved within the installed duct work. It then allows the installer to select the low-speed range desired for the house. 35 years ago, we developed the flow measuring station that enabled HVAC contractors to measure and balance airflows in heating recovery ventilator (HRV) systems, and yet balancing and flow verification continued to be the most frequent deficiency in installations. 5 The Heightened Interest in Indoor Air Quality industryexpert / GORD COOKE W e were very pleased to have Dr. Jeffrey Siegel, from the University of Toronto, speak at our Building Knowledge Spring Training Camp for Advanced Building Science. Dr. Siegel has been doing great research on air quality control in buildings for many years, but interest in the topic has been heightened over the past year. For example, Dr. Siegel recently appeared in a CBC Marketplace episode discussing approaches home owners could take to minimize COVID-19 risks in their own homes. In that episode, and in the session he presented at Camp, his focus was on filtration effectiveness as one aspect of overall indoor air quality (IAQ) control. He was very clear, of course, that filtration is just one strategy for optimizing the quality of air in a home. VIRTUO technology allows for auto- balancing and features a flow display.
  8. 8. BETTERBUILDER.CA | ISSUE 38 | SUMMER 2021 6 Finally, there is a unit that truly balances itself and displays the results right on the control panel. Healthy indoor air is optimized with consistent mechanical ventilation, and this new line of HRV/ERVs by Venmar/vänEE facilitates better ventilation. With respect to filtration, you will find ASHRAE supports offering residential air handling system filters with an efficiency rating of at least MERV 13. (MERV is an abbreviation for minimum efficiency reporting value.) A MERV rating tells you, on a scale of 1 to 16, how effectively a filter traps the small particles – the higher a MERV rating, the higher the percentage of particles the filter traps. The new VIRTUO ventilators mentioned above can accept a MERV 13 filter. Knowledgeable readers will recognize that filters with higher MERV ratings typically have higher resistance to airflow; higher pressure drop, especially as they get dirtier. Your HVAC contractor can mitigate this concern by providing a filter slot capable of accepting a four- or five-inch thick filter that has lower initial resistance and can collect more particles without clogging up as quickly. Dr. Siegel noted in his presentation that continuous operation of furnace fans at low speed enhances filtration effectiveness, as does better gasketed filter cabinets to reduce air bypass of the filter. These three simple enhancements offer your home buyers much better filtration effectiveness. One final benefit of high-perform­ ance homes with respect to IEQ is the ability to properly manage the relative humidity (RH) of indoor spaces. We have long known that appropriate RH levels are an important element of healthy, comfortable environments – but in the context of viruses, appropriate RH levels can both strengthen the human body’s own defences and lower the viability of viruses such as influenza. Much of that knowledge can be visualized in the chart at left (referred to as the Sterling Chart), first published in 1985 but still referenced in ASHRAE handbooks today. This chart forms the basis for recommendations of proper humidity control. It may seem counterintuitive, but living organisms such as a virus or bacteria have higher mortality rates, and viruses lose much of their virulence at RH ranges of 40% to 60%. Here then is a good connection to the capabilities of high-performance homes and occupant health and comfort. In our cold Canadian climate, we have struggled to maintain an RH above 30% in houses in winter, and Optimum Zone Bacteria Viruses Fungi Mites Respiratory Infections Allergic Rhinitis & Asthma Chemical Interactions Ozone Production Percent Relative Humidity 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 Source: E.M. Sterling, A. Arundel, and T.D. Sterling, Criteria for Human Exposure to Humidity in Occupied Buildings (ASHRAE Transactions, 1985), Vol. 91, Part 1. VIRTUO AIR TECHNOLOGY WELL-THOUGHT DESIGN PROVEN CORE DURABILITY AND PERFORMANCE Up to 75% SRE SMALL BUT POWERFUL 160 CFM AUTO BALANCING With flow display SUPERIOR AIR FILTRATION Standard MERV8 / Optional MERV13 PREMIUM ECM MOTORS WITH BUILT-IN SMART TECHNOLOGY Up to 60% energy savings, ultra quiet
  9. 9. BETTERBUILDER.CA | ISSUE 38 | SUMMER 2021 we often see basements above 60% throughout the spring and summer. The key word is control. As much as we might like to suggest 40%+ all winter long, we know on very cold days that would create excessive window condensation or even moisture issues in attics and wall cavities. Thus, triple-glazed windows and tighter house construction support healthier humidity levels. For spring and sum­ mer, encourage your HVAC contractor to provide controls that adjust the dehumidification capacity of the air conditioner by increasing run times or lowering discharge temperatures, and you should be promoting whole-house dehumidification. Finally, you may well get questions about technologies that kill or deacti­ vate viruses, such as UV germicidal irradiation (UVGI) or bi-polar ioniza­ tion. ASHRAE publications make it very clear that both of these technologies require specialized application engin­ eering to be effective and safe and thus are most appropriate only in specific health care applications with very clear design, operational and maintenance directives to ensure occupant safety. In my opinion, home buyers will have a heightened awareness and interest in optimized indoor environmental quality for at least the next three to five years as they imagine working from home more. Consistent ventilation, enhanced filtration, airtightness, warmer windows, water- managed walls and basements, and year-round humidity control are all important aspects of that optimized environment. Thus, remind them that the high-performance homes you build are safer, healthier, more comfortable and more efficient. BB Gord Cooke is president of Building Knowledge Canada. 7 Meet the new AI Series! The most advanced Fresh Air System available. Your work just got a lot easier! Contact your Air Solutions Representative for more information: suppport@airsolutions.ca | 800.267.6830 We Know Air Inside Out. You won’t believe how easy the AI Series is to install. Quicker set-up – save up to 20 mins on installs Consistent results – auto-balancing and consistency in installs for optimal performance 20-40-60 Deluxe – wireless Wi-Fi enabled auxiliary control with automatic RH dectection Advanced Touchscreen – using Virtuo Air TechnologyMD Compact – smallest HRV and ERV units delivering the most CFM
  10. 10. BETTERBUILDER.CA | ISSUE 38 | SUMMER 2021 8 industrynews / MARC HUMINILOW YCZ “Our company’s vision is to always incorporate environmental features in our projects,” says Royalpark president Marco De Simone. “When you’re pioneering, as we are, you need to be sure about your decisions. Sometimes, we’ve needed to hold ourselves back and not include too many green features in our homes. The trick is being careful, not reckless, and always staying focused on the vision of your program.” Royalpark was an early adopter of ENERGY STAR for New Homes but, over time, found the program to be “too bureaucratic,” says De Simone. “We decided that the best road to achieving energy and cost efficiency was to script our own path.” Royalpark decided to participate in Savings by Design workshops and program implementation strategies, which helped the company create energy-efficient homes. “Our team worked with leading individuals in construction and manufacturing, who educated us and motivated us to go down that road,” De Simone explains. In addition, the company adopted the Better Than Code energy-efficient home design and building platform. Thanks in large part to the adoption of these programs, Royalpark won the CRESNET President’s Award in this year’s Cross Border Builder Challenge for building over 120 homes with a lowest average HERS score of 42, well below the threshold for net zero-ready homes in climate zone 6 (see chart on page 31). Among its innovative green achievements over the years, Royalpark built eight homes in a small Ontario community that utilizes a Panasonic solar energy storage system to supply shared power when utility prices are at peak – a first in Canada. The company’s 8 Haus condominium – billed as “brighter, better, smarter” – is the first condo project in Toronto to utilize a “geo- exchange” or “geothermal” system that uses the consistent temperature below the ground to provide energy saving, consistent heating and cooling, and better air quality to every suite, with the added benefit of no power blackouts. Beyond its mission to build better homes, Royalpark is also committed Scripting Our Own Path Progressive Builder Wins Cross Border Builder Challenge Award F or over 30 years, Ontario builder Royalpark Homes has earned a reputation for high quality, innovative ideas, community partnership and green building practices. This year, the company won the Cross Border Builder Challenge for its Pineview Greens single-family home subdivision in Barrie, Ont. 42 2012SB-12REFERENCEHERS60 Royalpark Homes — Winner, President’s Award
  11. 11. BETTERBUILDER.CA | ISSUE 38 | SUMMER 2021 to helping create more sustainable communities through greener infrastructures. Five years ago, the company proposed, sponsored and spearheaded Green Earth Village, a project in partnership with the Ontario municipality of East Gwillimbury, which aims to “reinvent living” by creating a self-sustainable community envisioned as a model for developments of the future, today. Current and future sustainable and energy-reducing technologies are showcased in Green Earth Village, such as community energy production, water reduction and reuse, food production and greener water/wastewater systems. “We’re thrilled to be actively involved in this groundbreaking project,” says De Simone. “The land is being worked on now, and we hope to be selling homes here in another five years.” Asked if his company’s adoption of Savings by Design, Better Than Code and inspired green building innovations have had a positive impact on marketing its homes, De Simone replies, “Sometimes you need to make a blind investment in a better way of doing things. I believe that today, all the leaders in our industry are moving in this direction. The fruits are ripening. Programs like these promote creativity versus conformity.” According to De Simone, the pursuit of excellence is a never-ending process. “Although we know that we’re doing a fantastic job, we’re never satisfied, and we’re never complacent,” he says. BB Marc Huminilowycz is a senior writer. He lives and works in a low-energy home built in 2000. As such, he brings first-hand experience to his writing on technology and residential housing and has published numerous articles on the subject. 9 Don’t just breathe, BREATHE BETTER. As the industry leader in Indoor Air Quality systems, Lifebreath offers effective, energy efficient and Ontario Building Code compliant solutions for residential and commercial applications. To learn more about our lineup of products contact us today. lifebreath.com Visit Lifebreath.com tolearnmore! orcallusat 1-855-247-4200
  12. 12. BETTERBUILDER.CA | ISSUE 38 | SUMMER 2021 As respected home builders in the Peterborough area for the past 60 years, Cleary Homes is proud of the reputation they’ve developed as builders of quality. All three Clearys – Monique, her husband, Pat, and his father, Leo (who started the company) – have been active in the Peterborough & the Kawarthas Home Builders Association since they started in this business. But when they decided to expand into Durham Region – after the right piece of land became available in Bowmanville – they decided to up their game in energy efficiency. After attending a Savings by Design workshop in February 2019, they made an immediate decision to go for 20% better than Code at the site, now called Orchard East. That was the beginning of them creating a marketing platform using 20% better than Code. The Ontario Building Code (OBC) is already one of the most stringent in North America, so why go to the extra trouble and expense to be even more energy efficient? Monique said it just made sense. She had several reasons, and in the end it worked out the same or better in terms of effort and cost. “To be honest,” she says, “when we started looking at the different energy-saving features, we did look at costs. We didn’t want to price ourselves out of the market, because ultimately the buyer will absorb this. But once we started looking into it, it really wasn’t that much more and, in some cases, it was cheaper.” Take Excel insulation board, for example. Standard exterior sheathing is about $55 to $60 a panel, she says, and Excel is $30. “We checked it out very carefully to make sure we were using the best quality. And it was, so the savings we made on replacing our regular sheathing with Excel, we put into other features that could deliver high efficiency.” One feature is the two-stage furnace with a DC motor, “which costs a little more. But it was important to us, and it offers a huge energy saving in the end. The hot water tank, too, saves money.” The company also thinks of resale for their buyers. When Cleary became aware of the legislation discussion requiring an energy rating system for all new and resale homes, they decided to incorporate this from the outset by conducting a blower door test and providing an energy rating with every Cleary home. “It shows how efficient the home is, and since the rating stays with the house, it’s a nice feature for our buyers to know they already have 11 Cleary Homes – Just Better buildernews / ALEX NEWMAN C leary Homes builds a home that’s “just better.” They back that statement up with better walls, better windows, better basements and better HVAC systems. The result of this approach was garnering the Cross Border Builder Challenge Custom Builder Award. 39 2012SB-12REFERENCEHERS60 THIS HOME IS 24% BETTER THAN CODE Cleary Homes — Winner, Lowest HERS Score Award for Low Volume Builder
  13. 13. BETTERBUILDER.CA | ISSUE 38 | SUMMER 2021 12 one built-in selling feature for later.” The Savings by Design program, which fostered a strong marketing approach, gave Cleary Homes the confidence to enter into the Cross Border Builder Challenge. The Orchard East subdivision won their category of lowest custom production with a score of 39. Cleary says she wasn’t aware of the challenge until meeting John Godden at a conference, where the Clearys approached him about assisting their efforts to come up with a better green design for their homes. “We needed to stay on a competitive edge,” she recalls. “Durham Region and Peterborough markets are so different, and we needed something that would put us above all the other builders.” She remembers Godden being very excited about their Bowmanville project because there was no other Savings by Design–oriented development in the area. “He helped us introduce the energy-saving features that we could offer and put us above what other builders offered.” With today’s buyers increasingly aware of energy, the company wanted to get out in front. “It boils down to price, and staying competitive,” Cleary says. “If you can do that, and show the bonus features and benefit of buying a Cleary home, then you’ve given buyers what they’re looking for.” The company’s website effectively communicates the energy efficiency of their homes by listing exactly what buyers get as standard features. These are described down to their technical details. They also educate the sales team to communicate verbally to buyers who come into the model home. “Before opening,” Cleary says, “John came and did a workshop so the sales team would be up to speed with everything on offer. It was a little overwhelming at first because it’s such a steep learning curve, but once they understood, they’ve done a terrific job at promoting.” The proof is in the pudding, she adds. “When people walk in, they’re amazed at the quality we’re offering. One thing the sales team relays to us is that people are impressed with the attention to detail, from the type of moldings we use, to the quality of cabinets, to the energy savings.” Advertising on social media has been effective as well. “The younger generation is on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, and those things lead them to our website.” Although Orchard East is the first project using Savings by Design for Cleary Homes, Cleary says it won’t be the last. “We’ll definitely use it going forward. We’ve found it to be a great benefit all around. I’m really proud to be able to offer this to our buyers. Because we like to build better.” BB Alex Newman is a writer, editor and researcher at alexnewmanwriter.com. Contact your Air Solutions Representative for more information: suppport@airsolutions.ca | 800.267.6830 Tankless just got even better. Dual venturi - provides a higher turn down ratio up to 15:1 Easy to use Set-up Wizard 2” PVC up to 75 ft. Optional NaviCirc™ - easy to install with no recirc return loop needed Better never looked so good. High efficiency up to 0.96 UEF Built in Hot Button™ on-demand system Meet the all NEW NPE-2!
  14. 14. BETTERBUILDER.CA | ISSUE 38 | SUMMER 2021 14 buildernews / ALEX NEWMAN That was partly because East Gwillimbury had stricter building guidelines because of the region’s issues with water allocation, says Josh Greenbaum, manager of construction and design. As a result, building there meant even higher water conservation measures. “We had to adapt our building program,” says Vogue Homes’s principal, Garry Greenbaum (Josh’s father). “We used certain toilets and humidifiers, changed copper pipes over to [cross-linked polyethylene] PEX/plastic, and installed power pipes for recirculating water. We changed exterior cladding from plywood to insulation board.” But partly it’s just the company’s nature to go one better than the competition. From the beginning, Garry says, “our focus wasn’t about building as many houses as possible, but about building the highest quality. We met with each purchaser to make sure the house was exactly to their needs.” In order to achieve better than Code, the two Greenbaums and construction head Mario Palmieri attended Savings by Design workshops held by Enbridge in conjunction with Clearsphere. Through the program, which was created to help builders achieve greater energy efficiency, Garry says they “learned which new materials to use to help us build this project to the municipality’s specs.” The project’s list of features is impressive: spray foam garage ceilings (they were previously using batts); Amvic’s SilveRboard as continuous insulation on the exteriors, which increases the R-value by 5 and allows for drying potential of the wall cavity to the outside because of its high vapour permeance; Blueskin to seal the doors, windows and patio doors; eco-performance faucets and toilets; all-LED lighting; and CFL bulbs when not using potlights. They ran conduits in walls from basement to roof to allow for wiring for solar roof panels, and there’s an energy recovery ventilator (ERV) with the HVAC system and a heat recovery ventilator (HRV) to transfer heat from stale exhaust air to fresh intake air. This balanced ventilation solution removes excess moisture odors and contaminants while conserving energy and enhancing comfort inside the home. Tankless hot water units give on-demand hot water. At the end, blower door tests were conducted by a third-party on all the Sharon Village homes. “All of this is better for the environment, and benefits everyone,” Garry says. It also contributed to Vogue Homes winning the Cross Border Builder Challenge Award for the subdivision. “The Cross Border Builder Challenge Award is particularly meaningful to Vogue as we strive to minimize our footprint on the environment. Building more efficient homes has been our focus as we continue to use more sustainable products and construction methods, allowing us to pass significant savings on to our home owners,” Josh says. “We feel empowered that we are able to make a difference in our community and help our customers continue to lessen their impact on the environment. [Savings by Design] has taught us new initiatives and materials to use during construction that allowed us to win this award. We were able to identify clear and cost-effective strategies for achieving various sustainability goals.” Going Vogue Thornhill-based Builder Achieves More with Savings by Design and Better Than Code V ogue Homes has always had a stellar reputation for building high-quality homes, and for the past 10 years, they’ve been a noted ENERGY STAR home builder. But when it came to building a new project, Sharon Village, in East Gwillimbury, the company upped its game to achieve better than Code.
  15. 15. BETTERBUILDER.CA | ISSUE 38 | SUMMER 2021 Higher upfront costs Palmieri figures the extras added more than $5,000 to each home, but “at the end of the day it saves money and buyers are happier. Buyers today are much more knowledgeable. They do their research and have come to expect energy-saving features in a house. Partly they want to save money, but they are also very conscientious about the environment.” The other advantage for a builder, Garry says, is that “you’re ahead of the game when new, tougher Building Code restrictions come into being. Already we’ve been told to prepare for this same scenario in the Brooklyn project we’ll be building.” “If you’d asked me 10 years ago about all these efficient features,” Garry says, “I’d have said it’s crazy. But I’m a convert, I’ve changed my mind and I find that these things matter.” While the company initially looked at increasing its energy efficiency because of the municipality’s require­ ments, Garry says they’re implement­ ing them in future projects – one in Whitby currently under construction, and another one in Queensville, East Gwillimbury, with 24 units. Better Than Code or ENERGY STAR? With the company labelled Better Than Code (using the HERS rating scale), choosing that standard or ENERGY STAR depends on the situation, Garry says. “Both are pretty exacting standards, but there’s some flexibility in the HERS rating that allows you to exchange things.” He also finds it depends a lot on demographics, and that expectations differ widely from area to area. Almost more important than the labels – Better Than Code or ENERGY STAR – is the company’s sterling reputation, says Josh. “If I had to pick the best features we offer,” he says, “it would be that we consistently use top-quality materials and we give unbeatable customer service. Each home owner is treated with respect and gets a level of customization and personal service no matter what the home’s price tag.” Being a medium-sized company has its advantages as well, Garry adds. “We’re out there on site and see the items installed. We know what a whole-home humidifier looks like. You miss that when you’re a big company.” It’s also a family owned and operated company, started by Garry’s father, Morris, in the 1970s after coming to Canada from Poland after World War II. “He started building a few homes in Etobicoke, then eventually bought up larger farm parcels,” Garry remembers. One of the first larger-scale projects was Thornhill Village Estates, in the Bathurst and Centre Street area. Morris’s sons, Lou and Garry, became principals – one in development and the other on the construction side. They continued buying up different parcels around the Greater Toronto Area with a focus on infill projects in Vaughan, Richmond Hill and North York. Today, the company has expanded into Whitby and Newmarket. Josh, Garry’s son, joined the company in 2018 on the construction side. Garry admits there have been more challenges than usual with COVID- 19. “We can’t have as many trades in a house as we used to, so things take longer. But our biggest challenge is getting materials. It’s become a major problem and getting worse by the day, due to shortages in lumber, electric wire, steel components. Prices on lumber have gone up 150% to 200%. We’re doing the best we can with what we have.” It’s created challenges to keep up with their commitment to build smarter and more efficient homes. But the Savings by Design program has helped. “We feel empowered being able to pass this on to home owners and have them save money on energy bills. We intend to focus on this more – not less – as we proceed and do new developments,” Josh says. Alex Newman is a writer, editor and researcher at alexnewmanwriter.com. 15 38 2012SB-12REFERENCEHERS60 THIS HOME IS 27% BETTER THAN CODE Vogue Development Group — Winner, Lowest HERS Score Award for Mid Production Builder
  16. 16. BETTERBUILDER.CA | ISSUE 38 | SUMMER 2021 16 buildernews / ROB BLACKSTIEN I t seems only fitting that the first ever Cross Border Challenge HERSH2O Award was presented by Greyter Systems, considering its technology has been at the centre of the water conservation movement. And it seems equally appropriate that the honour was bestowed upon Rosehaven Homes, who has proven itself a true leader in this area with its Total Water Solution and overall work, specifically within East Gwillimbury. (For readers new to the HERSH2O scale, please see BBM 33, page 28. And for more on Rosehaven’s fascin­ ating history in East Gwillimbury, see BBM 28, page 16.) Given that Rosehaven has always been an early adopter of energy effi­ ciency-related programs, it came as no surprise that it not only was one of the initial builders in the HERSH2O pilot, but it wound up using the program to label its entire Anchor Woods subdivision, achieving an index of 82 (i.e., 18 per cent higher water efficien­ - cy which translates into 54,086 litres of annual water savings per house). Rosehaven’s history of leading the way – and earning recognition for its efforts – is well-documented, but a quick recap includes: • 2005: Built the first Energuide community (Riverstone Golf Country Club Community in Brampton); • 2016: Took home the Cross Border Challenge President’s Award by having the lowest average HERS score (46); and • 2018: Won another Cross Border title (Innovation Award) for scoring a 41 HERS (26 per cent better than code) in its discovery home. “We all need to do our part to reduce our carbon footprint and respecting the environment is very important to Rosehaven,” says Joe Laronga, Architecture and Engineering Manager of the Oakville, Ontario-based builder. This is why the company uses the HERS label to build homes that exceed the Ontario Building Code energy efficiency requirements. And it’s the same reason why participating in the HERSH2O pilot was the “logical next step,” he says. After all, Laronga adds, “water conservation measures go hand in hand with energy conservation meas- ures and renewable energy measures.” Rosehaven Recognized for Water Conservation Innovative builder’s adoption of HERSH2O helps reduce water consumption Rosehaven Homes – Winner, HERSH2O Award for demonstrating water efficiency and greywater recycling with drain water heat recovery
  17. 17. BETTERBUILDER.CA | ISSUE 38 | SUMMER 2021 To that end, Rosehaven’s discovery home which included the Total Water Solution, was built specifically to demonstrate to East Gwillinbury that the town’s Sustainable Development Incentive Program (SDIP) was not the only way to proceed. The rationale here was that the same goals could be achieved – or exceeded – in a cheaper, more efficient manner. As a refresher, the SDIP was imple­ mented by East Gwillinbury in January 2015 with the goals of reducing water demands, outflow to sanitary sewers and waste production, while promo­ ting more energy efficient develop­ ments. Developers that participate are rewarded with a 28 per cent increase in lot allocation if they complete a list of specific requirements related to water conservation, energy conservation and renewable energy. Unfortunately, the SDIP was highly prescriptive, and thereby limited how builders could proceed. Laronga explains that the Total Water Solution was designed to provide options that would address some of the issues with the current SDIP checklist, including: • SDIP prescribes low flow 4 litres/ flush toilets, but Rosehaven maintains that if a greywater rough-in is installed, then the program should allow for 4.85 litres/flush toilets. • ERVs should be included as an SDIP option because they replace the need for humidifiers, which can be ineffective. • As part of its energy conservation measures, the SDIP should include structured plumbing or logic plumbing (as referenced in LEED) because this can save up to 3,500 litres of water annually. The Total Water Solution system combines a combination hybrid heating system with greywater recycling and drain water heat recovery. Laronga explains that it’s designed to minimize the use of natural gas. An air source heat pump air conditioner provides supplemental heat with electricity for space heating and reduces carbon emissions. Lastly, the water consumption and wastewater outflow to the town’s sanitation sewer is reduced by 20 to 25 per cent with grey water recycling. The discovery home that housed this system scored 26 per cent better than code, offering the homeowner approximately $510 in annual savings to their energy and water costs. “This is the next step in low energy, water use reduction and lowering the greenhouse footprint,” he says. To spur more of this type of innovation, Laronga believes municipalities should offer further incentives to builders that promote reductions in energy and water consumption, perhaps in the form of development charge credits and/or reduced municipal fees. BB Rob Blackstien is a Toronto-based freelance writer. Pen-Ultimate.ca 17 HERSH2O® Water Efficiency Rating Certificate Property Address: 7 Forest Edge Crescent City: Holland Landing, ON Builder: Rosehaven Rating Organization Company: Better Than Code Rater: John B Godden Rater ID: 0001 Rating Information HERSH2O Index: 69 Rating Date:01/03/2020 Rating Provider: Project FutureProof HERSH2O Index: 69 This home, compared to the reference home: 31 % more water efficient 25,154 gallons annual water savings 131 $ estimated annual water cost savings This rating is available for homes built by leading edge builders who have chosen to advance beyond current energy efficiency programs and have taken the next step on the path to full sustainability. BetterThanCode 45 LowCostCodeCompliancewith theBetterThanCodePlatform BetterThanCodeUsestheHERSIndex toMeasureEnergyEfficiency TheLowertheScoretheBetter MeasureableandMarketable OBC 2012 OBC 2017 NEAR ZERO 80 60 40 20 This Platform helps Builders with Municipal Approvals, Subdivision Agreements and Building Permits. Navigating the performance path can be complicated. A code change happened in 2017 which is causing some confusion. A new code will be coming in 2022. How will you comply with the new requirements? Let the BTC Platform – including the HERS Index – help you secure Municipal Subdivision Approvals and Building Permits and enhance your marketing by selling your homes’ energy efficiency. betterthancode.ca Email info@clearsphere.ca or call 416-481-7517
  18. 18. BETTERBUILDER.CA | ISSUE 38 | SUMMER 2021 18 J ust over a decade ago, a small Denver-area builder was in real trouble. Coming out of the recession, the company had bottomed out with just 13 employees and only 50 closings in 2010. To put it bluntly, New Town Builders was not exactly flying high in the Mile High City. Fast forward to the present day and this once beleaguered builder – now called Thrive Home Builders – has completely turned its fortunes around and become the only low- cost provider of zero energy-ready homes in its market. Thrive already knew it had found a niche that would lead to success – but if it needed any more vindication it was on the right path, it came in the form of the 2021 Cross Border Builder Challenge President’s Award, earned How a struggling Denver builder transformed itself to an award-winning leader in its niche That market is particularly challenging in Denver, says Thrive CEO Gene Myers, because the city’s goal is for net zero to be standard by 2024. Thrive is well positioned to meet those requirements, thanks in no small part to Myers’s long-time commitment to energy efficiency. “It’s all really borne of just trying to leave a legacy of great neighbourhoods and great homes behind us,” he explains. Why Merely Survive for having an average HERS score of 26 across its entire housing stock of approximately 160 homes. The story of how Thrive went from hard times to earning such prestige is a tale filled with valuable lessons and a real how-to guide for any builder seeking to transform itself into a successful player in the ever-evolving landscape of energy-consciousness that is today’s housing market. featurestory / ROB BLACKSTIEN
  19. 19. BETTERBUILDER.CA | ISSUE 38 | SUMMER 2021 19 When Greentree was in its infancy in the early ’90s, “‘growth’ was a bad word in Denver,” Myers explains. Many municipalities had even begun a moratorium on building permits. This presented an opportunity, he says. “I wanted my homes to be part of the solution, not part of the problem. To me, that meant that we had to build neighbourhoods that would stand the test of time.” 27 2012SB-12REFERENCEHERS60 Movement to Health Myers began in the industry in 1984, ultimately starting his own business in 1992 with Greentree Homes, a semi-custom home builder. In 2000, when the company had its first opportunity to tackle a master- planned community, it launched a new brand: New Town Builders. A few years later, the Thrive name was adopted “to really emphasize our movement to health,” he says. When You Can Thrive? This would be achieved not only through design, but also by improving the attributes of those homes. Myers latched on to a local environmental program called Build Green Colorado, remaining a member until it was overtaken by ENERGY STAR, and then staying loyal to that program until ultimately adopting the Department of Energy’s (DOE) Zero Energy Ready program. Today, this program – combined with EPA Indoor airPLUS and LEED – is the platform which Thrive follows to achieve such amazing results. It’s at the heart of the company’s strategy, which can be boiled down to “efficient, healthy and local.” Thrive strives to be the most energy-efficient builder while creating the healthiest homes, and then uses this advantage over its large competitors.
  20. 20. BETTERBUILDER.CA | ISSUE 38 | SUMMER 2021 20 Thrive’s strategy was inspired by a book by Jack Stack with Bo Burlingham: The Great Game of Business: The Only Sensible Way to Run a Company. The book suggests there are only two ways to be successful: (1) be the low-cost producer or (2) sell something no one else offers. Why Not Do Both? Myers took this to heart and wondered why Thrive can’t do both. The company decided to marry those two strategies and become the low- cost provider of DOE Zero Energy Ready, EPA Indoor airPLUS (which includes active radon mitigation) and LEED certified homes in the Denver area. “There is no other builder that does that in our market,” he says. Thrive brings that to all its homes, even its least expensive offerings. After all, Myers suggests, “who needs a low-energy build more than a low- income family in one of our affordable townhomes?” A home like that can offer savings of $1,000 to $2,000 per year in energy costs. “That’s real money to a low-income buyer,” he says. And what is Myers’s advice for builders looking to follow the Thrive model of transformation? He says buy-in must come from the top down – and then flow outside the company. “Start with your own people, promote what you’re trying to do with the brand internally, get people on board,” he advises. From there, you can move to your subs and suppliers, because you can’t build these homes without them. Finally, now that it’s firmly entrenched throughout your extended organization, you’re ready to talk to your customers about your value proposition. (For more advice from Thrive, see “Spring Training Camp Inspiration” from the summer 2019 issue, page 5.) A Sensible Program Following the DOE program made sense for Thrive on so many levels. Water conservation is a big issue in many parts of the U.S., including Colorado (see “Shades of Grey” in the spring 2020 issue, page 16), so employing the DOE program really helps as it incorporates indoor water conservation features from the EPA WaterSense program, Myers explains. As a result, all Thrive homes include those features, and the company continues to investigate further ways to conserve water. Myers says that the next big thing for the company is an examination of its embodied carbon footprint (for more about embodied carbon, see “No Country for Old Ways” in the winter 2020 issue, page 16). The company is currently billing its top-of-the-line offerings as “fossil fuel free,” Myers says. “We think it’s misleading to call them carbon neutral because they’re not, given that they haven’t really taken into account embodied carbon,” he adds. With this in mind, Thrive has a new project in Fort Collins, Colorado, that’s being designed by a company that uses building information modelling (BIM), a process that provides a very detailed look at every piece that goes into the house. “So if we know exactly what goes in, we then can tackle the next task, which is ‘what’s the embodied carbon of all the pieces and parts?’” Calculating Carbon Myers says Thrive hopes this project will provide the company with all the information it needs to calculate the carbon footprint. They already have a loose affiliation with Colorado State University, so he’s hopeful to find someone at the school to “vet our carbon calculations.” Gene Myers, CEO, Thrive Home Builders What is Myers’s advice for builders looking to follow the Thrive model of transformation? He says buy-in must come from the top down – and then flow outside the company.
  21. 21. BETTERBUILDER.CA | ISSUE 38 | SUMMER 2021 With that in hand, the company will then determine if it can buy a carbon offset and start building and marketing what Myers believes will be the first truly carbon-neutral production houses in the U.S. by 2022. Assuming Thrive can pull this off, it wouldn’t be a shock to see more hardware coming its way, but the President’s Award did come as a surprise to Myers. What astonished him the most wasn’t the fact the company won, but the margin of victory. He said there was another company very close to Thrive’s average HERS score of 26, but after that, there was a substantial drop-off to the 40s. The HERS index score is the easiest way to understand how these homes are better. LEED for Homes uses it as the core of its point system for different levels. “I had no idea there weren’t a lot more builders doing what we’re doing,” he says. Thrive has been building homes under the Zero Energy Ready program since 2013. Myers explains that the program requires builders to incorporate features that are extremely difficult to accomplish in a retrofit, including airtightness, a high- efficiency thermal envelope (including windows and doors) and advanced mechanical systems. It would not be difficult to add solar to such a home and achieve close to net zero energy, he says. Looking forward, Myers says that Thrive’s plan is to try to take the concepts of “electrification” (that is, fossil fuel free) and embodied carbon across all its homes over the next several years. Continuous Improvement As part of its mantra of continuous improvement, the company is always exploring better ways to build. It’s 21 currently investigating the possibility of panelization, even though Myers says it hasn’t been done very well in his market. Myers says Thrive isn’t interested in using modular, given the design constraints and, in some cases, the level of quality that leaves something wanting. What he thinks might make the difference is a more complete solution than merely a framing panel – one that would also include insulation, wiring and perhaps even windows and/or doors. “We don’t think the economics have worked for us yet on just a raw panel,” Myers says, adding that the idea of upsetting his entire supply chain based on minimal savings isn’t appealing. However, if there’s a solution that can replace more subs than just framing, it could be a major time saver by speeding things up and eliminating the downtime between trades. That would be a game changer since one of the longest durations of tasks on Thrive’s building schedule is when nothing is happening. But if Thrive can find a way to pull enough time and cost out of the way it builds homes, all bets will be off. “I would like to be able to build a high- performance home next door [to a Code builder’s house] and not have to charge any more than they do. That’s my holy grail,” Myers says. BB Rob Blackstien is a Toronto-based freelance writer. Pen-Ultimate.ca Thrive’s Design and Technology Studio
  22. 22. BETTERBUILDER.CA | ISSUE 38 | SUMMER 2021 22 industrynews / PAUL DE BERARDIS These are some of the questions that people at the Sustainable Housing Foundation (SHF), a Greater Toronto Area-based industry think-tank, have been discussing since the conversation of net zero first arose in Ontario. Among SHF members exploring alternatives is Christian Rinomato, environmental champion for Vaughan- based home builder Country Homes. Joining forces with John Godden, publisher of this magazine and prin­ cipal of ClearSphere energy advisors, Rinomato is determined to introduce new concepts to help Ontario builders hit the green performance expectations of discerning and environmentally conscious millennials like him (and me!). As these methods become more commonly adopted, costs could conceivably drop and Ontario (and the earth) will benefit. Rinomato and SHF recently explored the concept of “embodied carbon”: the carbon footprint of a material. It considers how many greenhouse gases (GHGs) are released from cradle to grave, including the extraction of materials from the ground, transport, refining, processing, assembly, in-use (of the product) and finally its end-of-life. Embodied carbon is gaining increasing attention from both industry and government as it is recognized that embodied carbon makes up approximately the same emissions as operational carbon from a home. This has led to questions such as: • How much carbon, start to finish, was produced to manufacture, transport and pour the concrete for a home’s foundation? • How much carbon did it cost the planet to insulate the walls and attic on a home? • How much carbon was generated to make and install the exterior brick cladding of a home? These pressing questions indicate to us that building codes around the world must start considering embodied carbon. Can Ontario be a leader on this issue? SHF decided to experiment by tracking a Country Homes pilot project underway in Milton. There is no better comparison than this: two halves of a “super-semi,” which will have the same outdoor exposure conditions. The two semi-detached homes will use different approaches that both intend to minimize environmental impacts on the planet. One half of the semi-detached home is being built according to the net zero standards endorsed by the Canadian Home Builders’ Association. According to chba.ca, this means a net zero home is “to be designed, modelled and constructed to produce as much energy (from on-site renewable energy sources) as it consumes on an annual basis.” The other half of the super-semi is focused on a holistic approach of creating a low-carbon home that also considers materials’ embodied carbon content to limit the home’s environmental impact. The performance of both homes will be measured and compared as families occupy each semi for one year, with statistics extrapolated and interpreted for long-term analysis. Plus, the two semis will be compared according to construction, cost, complexity and materials. Sure, a home can be operating at net zero energy – however, the impact of embodied carbon of the home’s material components isn’t being considered at all. This leads to the question: at what cost to the homebuyer and to the environment do we strive to achieve this principle of net zero energy? What is the carbon footprint of the materials and components that must go into creating a net zero home? Is there a more balanced approach to reducing GHG emissions from a new home other than reaching net zero energy, especially as we consider embodied carbon? The most carbon-intensive material used on new homes is typically found on the building envelope: brick. A carbon analysis of construction materials that are used on a home demonstrates that the brick cladding alone is responsible for roughly 12 tonnes of carbon, which equates to about five years of operational carbon generated on an Ontario Building Code-built home. “When we’re choosing this path of sustainability, it starts with aware­ ness,” Rinomato says. “Numbers don’t lie. By using alternatives, I’m a big believer that architects, energy advisors and Embodied Carbon Challenge Raises Questions for Future of Home Building W hen a net zero home begins to operate, how much carbon was required to build it before the lights (powered by solar panels) are first switched on? After all, with many of the components that go into building a new home being highly carbon intensive to produce, can new materials and building methods make a bigger environmental difference to the planet?
  23. 23. BETTERBUILDER.CA | ISSUE 38 | SUMMER 2021 manufacturers can see how their products are performing and what alternatives are out there.” For example, a brick house still boasts wide appeal among homebuyers. But environmentally conscious homebuyers might be interested to learn that other cladding materials emit less greenhouse gas in their production than brick. These alternatives include lookalikes such as exterior insulation and finish systems (EIFS), or other building cladding materials such as siding options (vinyl, wood or fiber cement) that offer lower levels of embodied carbon. Looking at other high-embodied carbon materials, a typical home’s concrete foundation walls lead to approximately eight tonnes of carbon, but alternatives with lower carbon footprints are available. Some options to consider include using less concrete (such as an eight-inch foundation wall versus ten-inch), reducing the amount of cement in concrete by utilizing supplementary cementing materials (SCMs) or employing certain types of eco-conscious insulated concrete forms. “We can have lower embodied carbon by using an eight-inch concrete foundation rather than a ten-inch foundation used in most net zero houses. This results in 20% less concrete, which is a high source of embodied carbon in a house. If this method is applied to a subdivision of 200 houses, you can imagine the impact it would have. It’s huge. I highly encourage builders to find alternative solutions.” Rinomato says. Regarding types of insulation, Rinomato says Country Homes is investigating the use of hemp insula­ tion in their future developments. “It can be cheaper or at par with fiberglass insulation. At the end of the day, we have to look at how to make it industry accepted. It’s one of the smaller, more doable options that can create a lot of positive change.” In addition to hemp insulation, there are also other embodied carbon-conscious insulation alternatives, including cellulose or mineral wool as opposed to fiberglass insulation. With the advancement of building codes and the many voluntary leader­ ship programs which exist in the marketplace, Rinomato says “we’ve all mastered operational carbon. It’s got a really good foundation. But we know we have to focus on embodied carbon. All of us who are fighting the good fight realize we don’t have a lot of time. It’s going to take a few years for the manufacturers, builders and government to get on board to create change. It shouldn’t be something that buyers are spending 30% to 40% more on.” “I think if COVID-19 taught us anything,” says Godden, the founder of SHF, “it’s that it’s important at this point in history to try to rethink things. That’s what the Sustainable Housing Foundation is all about, and what we had in mind when we founded this think-tank more than 15 years ago.” “We know that there are no panaceas for climate change and sustainability. We need to balance knowledge with experience, or even common sense. It’s important to make choices based on understanding how all the parts come together to form the whole and the impact of those choices over time,” Godden adds. At RESCON, we’re interested in what can be gleaned from the design, construction and monitoring of this super-semi pilot project. We want to see where the energy usage measure­ ment of the two homes is at after one year and what the embodied carbon calculation shows for each home. The concept of embodied carbon 23 GREENHOUSE GAS EMISSIONS FOR NEAR ZERO SUPER-SEMI 26 APRIL 2021 ANNUAL NATURAL GAS ANNUAL EMISSIONS ANNUAL REDUCTION IN CO2 HOUSE DESCRIPTION MCF HEAT DHW METRIC TON C02 SB-12 PKG A1 89.5 4.9 0 ZERO READY HERS 45 ZONE 6 64.7 3.5 1.4 ZERO READY WITH ASHP 55.78 3.1 0.4 *AIR SOURCE HEAT PUMP (ASHP) WITH A MINIMUM HSPF OF 9 RUNNING 35% OF HEATING SEASON “We’ve all mastered operational carbon. It’s got a really good foundation. But we know we have to focus on embodied carbon.”
  24. 24. BETTERBUILDER.CA | ISSUE 38 | SUMMER 2021 24 is truly fascinating. We believe that government regulators and Code development bodies should not have such a narrow focus on operational carbon and the notion of achieving net zero energy. After all, many of the components that go into achieving net zero energy homes are consumables, which will likely be replaced many times over throughout the useful service life of a home. In contrast, embodied carbon emissions are locked in place as soon as a home is built and there is no chance for improvement like many operational carbon considerations. One often-overlooked component of a net zero energy home is what is required to enable a home to generate as much energy as it consumes: solar panels. It is easy to assume that solar panels generate renewable energy and must therefore be environmentally friendly, right? In reality, life cycle assessments of solar panel systems greatly vary and are based on specific parameters for factors such as useful service life, array size and generation potential, but using average values shows that a solar array for a typical home can possess nearly 20 tonnes of embodied carbon. Let that number sink in for a minute: I would have never guessed a solar panel array could be responsible for the same amount of embodied carbon as the combined total of the top two emitters in a typical home (concrete and brick). Maybe pursuing net zero energy homes is not the only path forward for addressing climate change. Perhaps a better understanding of embodied carbon can lead to more people helping the environment quicker rather than aiming for solutions that are more complex and costly to the homebuying masses. Will the super-semi experiment be worth it in the end? Will it save the claimed amount of energy that it was supposed to according to its modelling and analysis? Keep reading this magazine – there will be an awful lot to discuss in the next year. BB Paul De Berardis is the director of building science and innovation for the Residential Construction Council of Ontario (RESCON). Email him at deberardis@rescon.com. 1 CRAFT is dedicated to creating uncommonly beautiful wood floors that are as kind to the planet as they are luxurious. craftfloor.com SHOP AND SAMPLE NOW: IT’S OUR NATURE
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  26. 26. Check out our website at www.gsw-wh.com
  27. 27. BETTERBUILDER.CA | ISSUE 38 | SUMMER 2021 This consideration was important for Ottawa builder Campanale Homes when they designed their new web­ site, which earned the company the 2021 Enbridge Innovation Award in the annual RESNET Cross Border Builder Challenge (an annual Canada/US event). An early adopter of the Home Energy Rating System (HERS), Cam­ panale Homes has a 40-year history of setting the bar high in residential building, bringing together a shared family vision of award-winning craftsmanship, exceptional quality, energy efficiency and affordability to the Ottawa region. “Because we’re a family-owned company, we understand what our buyers are looking for, then build those dreams using the most modern energy-saving products and building methods available,” says Tim Campanale, contracts manager for Campanale Homes. The company’s award for its website illustrates an approach to explaining energy-saving features that is unique in the residential building industry. By viewing short, illustrated “explainer” videos for several key energy-efficient features (all standard offerings in every Campanale home), the website user quickly learns the “how” and the “why” of each feature, in an entertaining way. This is the third Cross Border Builder Challenge award for the builder. Previously, Campanale Homes won the Net Zero Award in 2019. It also won the Lowest HERS Score for mid-production builder in 2020 with a HERS score of 38, which is equivalent to 40% better performance than the Ontario Building Code (OBC). The Campanale Homes standard features covered in the videos include: efficient heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) system; energy recovery ventilation (ERV); energy-efficient windows; solar panel rough-in; foundation wall improvement; Enercare Smarter Home system; and oriented strand board (OSB) Comfort Exterior. “It took us six months to make the website videos,” says Campanale. “Our goal was a user-centred focus, and a ‘see what we’re doing for you’ approach to creating something our clients can understand.” In the process, videos were fine-tuned and tested around 27 Leading Canadian HERS Builder Wins Award for Innovative Website innovationnews / MARC HUMINILOW YCZ I t’s one thing to tell clients about all the wonderful energy-saving features you build into your homes. It’s quite another to make sure they understand why those features are included, how they work, and what benefits they offer. Campanale Homes – Winner, Enbridge Innovation Award for website content offerings
  28. 28. BETTERBUILDER.CA | ISSUE 38 | SUMMER 2021 28 the office to ensure that viewers received everything they are looking for. Beyond the videos, the Campanale Homes site supervisors also guide homeowners through how everything works, he adds. Before adopting HERS, Campanale Homes began their quest for sustain­ ability with ENERGY STAR for New Homes, but they found the program too restrictive and complicated. “We were always trying to do things better, combatting greenhouse gas concerns in our own way by fixing what we did, and building the way we wanted to,” Campanale explains. “With valuable advice from En­ bridge Gas’ Savings by Design workshops and energy consulting by Clearsphere, we found the right formula to analyze our situation and make houses better, more sustainable and more cost-effective,” says Campanale. One example is the selection of building products that are healthy for the environment, such as BPR5 recycled fibreboard sheathing for structural and insulation purposes – a low-carbon product that is also low in fluorocarbons. Campanale gives other examples of the company doing things sustainably, their own way. For example, they use cellulose insulation in their attics, which is more effective than the alternative and is made from recycled wood fibre, which is a carbon sink. To further address embodied carbon (greenhouse gas emissions associated with materials and construction), the company sources lumber – even hardwood – locally whenever possible. “Most people don’t know that Canadian timber is sent to China for lumber manufacturing,” he notes. “Sustainability has always been important to us. Our goal is to build homes that make people happy – now and for generations to come,” says Campanale. Now also offering air-source heat pumps as standard equipment, the company’s goal is to help customers see their homes as a “living thing.” “Granite countertops are nice, but comfort is everything. With their homes so airtight, we want to make sure that our customers keep their ERVs on.” Campanale says that the commit­ ment to building low-carbon homes should go far beyond a builder’s offices and construction sites. As a member of the Greater Ottawa Home Builders’ Association, Campanale Homes continually strives to encourage other builders and municipalities to go Better Than Code (a program initiated by long-time energy consultant John Godden). “In order to combat high carbon use, we need to see the big picture versus the small picture,” Campanale says. “That’s why we call on other high-performance builders to make sure they’re doing things in the best way to ensure the lowest carbon. Instead of building for today, we need to build for tomorrow.” BB Marc Huminilowycz is a senior writer. He lives and works in a low-energy home built in 2000. As such, he brings first-hand experience to his writing on technology and residential housing and has published numerous articles on the subject. 519-489-2541 airsealingpros.ca As energy continues to become a bigger concern, North American building codes and energy programs are moving towards giving credit for and/or requiring Airtightness testing. AeroBarrier, a new and innovative envelope sealing technology, is transforming the way residential, multifamily, and commercial buildings seal the building envelope. AeroBarrier can help builders meet any level of airtightness required, in a more consistent and cost-effective way. Take the guesswork out of sealing the envelope with AeroBarrier’s proprietary technology.
  29. 29. BETTERBUILDER.CA | ISSUE 38 | SUMMER 2021 30 buildernews / BETTER BUILDER STAFF “Homebuilding technologies and standards are constantly changing and improving, and we want to ensure we stay ahead of the trends to offer our homebuyers features and innovations that will bring positive impact to their daily living,” says Eric Reisman, vice-president of low-rise operations at Empire Communities. A review of the homebuilder’s accolades is in order. In 2021, after building and labelling 918 Better Than Code houses in 2020 using HERS, Empire continued to produce the lowest HERS score for a production builder at 38. Having won multiple Cross Border Builder Challenge awards, Empire is clearly a believer in the initiative. “Sustainable construction and energy efficiency have long been part of our building culture,” says Reisman. “We are always looking to lead sustain­ able building practices in our industry, and competitions like the Cross Border Builder Challenge allow us to work with other forward-thinkers and challenge ourselves with each home we build to reduce our carbon footprint.” At the 2018 Cross Border Builder Challenge awards, Empire was recognized as the winner of the Enbridge Innovation Award and the Net Zero Award with a HERS score of 19 for their hybrid house at the Empire Riverland community in Breslau, Ontario. The hybrid home was constructed with the latest sustainability innovations, newest insulation materials and experiments in energy efficiency, including solar PV with battery storage. This home produces two metric tonnes less CO2 than its Code counterpart. The experience and learnings Empire’s team took from the construction and testing of the home were paramount in their future success as an industry leader in homebuilding innovation and energy-efficient practices. Empire Communities A History of Continuous Improvement W ith five Cross Border Builder Challenge awards to their name in the last three years, Empire Communities is truly manifesting their goal of continuous research and development to push boundaries and build better homes for the next generation. 38 2012SB-12REFERENCEHERS60 THIS HOME IS 24% BETTER THAN CODE Empire Communities — Winner, Lowest HERS Score Award for Production Builder
  30. 30. BETTERBUILDER.CA | ISSUE 38 | SUMMER 2021 The 2019 Cross Border Builder Challenge awards saw Empire recognized with the President’s Award for having the lowest average HERS score (44) across 284 homes. It also received an award for the lowest HERS score for a Canadian production builder with a score of 38. With homebuilding traditionally lagging behind other industries when it comes to advancement of innovation and research, Empire proudly embraces new learnings and has devoted a portion of its resources to develop new skills, test new products and techniques, and learn for the future. Having turned 28 this year and after years of slowly growing their footprint, the homebuilder now proudly operates in two countries and six regions with 90 communities and more than 28,000 homes to their name. As a family-owned and operated company, they are currently building high-rise and single-family homes in Toronto, Ontario; Houston, Austin and San Antonio, Texas; Atlanta, Georgia; and Charlotte, North Carolina. BB 31 90.2 COMPLIANCE ERI SCORES BY CLIMATE ZONE CLIMATE ERI SCORE ZONE 1 43 ZONE 2 45 ZONE 3 47 ZONE 4 47 ZONE 5 47 ZONE 6 46 ZONE 7 46 ZONE 8 45 IN ONTARIO, LOW CARBON HOMES ARE ERI/HERS 46
  31. 31. BETTERBUILDER.CA | ISSUE 38 | SUMMER 2021 32 buildernews The 2021 Cross Border Builder Challenge Canadian Builders Up for the Challenge Once again, Canadian builders represented the nation brilliantly at this year’s 8th Annual RESNET/CRESNET Cross Border Builder Challenge, a competition celebrating excellence in energy-efficient home building while promoting the Home Energy Rating System (HERS) Index. MANY THANKS TO THE SPONSORS OF THIS YEAR’S CHALLENGE Mario Palmieri, Construction Head (left), and Garry Greenbaum, Principal, Vogue Homes — Lowest HERS Score, Mid Production Builder Tim Campanale, Contracts and Estimating, Campanale Homes — Enbridge Innovation Award Monique Cleary, Construction Manager, Cleary Homes — Lowest HERS Score, Low Volume Builder Doug Skeffington, Director of Land Development (left), and Marco De Simone, President, Royalpark Homes — President’s Award Joe Laronga, Architecture and Engineering Manager (left), and Nick Sanci, Contracts Manager, Rosehaven Homes — HERSH2O Award Stephen Doty, Manager, Quality Assurance, Empire Communities — Lowest HERS Score, Production Builder
  32. 32. BETTERBUILDER.CA | ISSUE 38 | SUMMER 2021 O ntario’s building industry lost one of its shining stars last April with the passing of Vince Naccarato of Rodeo Fine Homes, a company which he established with his brother-in-law, Frank Mauro, in 1987. Specializing in luxury custom homes, and always striving to “build in better ways,” Vince Naccarato guided his company through an opportunity to build its best in 2007, with an exciting 34-home residential project in the town of Newmarket called Eco-Logic – Canada’s first LEED Platinum subdivision. True to LEED standards, each home needed to achieve stringent water use, waste reduction and energy-saving goals. “Despite new green building practices and challenges that we needed to become comfortable with, the project was something we’re immensely proud of – thanks to Vince’s leadership and the expertise of John Godden, a member of the national technical committee that developed the LEED Canada for Homes program,” says Mauro. According to Domenic Conforti, Rodeo’s engineer and a close friend of Vince’s, the company received many calls from other builders during and after the project, asking what they could do to green their homes. “Since building our LEED community, we continue to construct all of our homes according to Better Than Code energy-efficient home design and building,” he says. “We really miss Vince in the office. It’s a difficult void to fill,” laments Mauro. “He was hard-working; a special guy who never, ever got upset. Vince used to ask the question, ‘Would I do that to a house if it was my own home?’ He always strived to do the best he could, building a product that was the highest quality, environmentally sound and responsible – homes that both he and his clients would be proud of. All of us at Rodeo are committed to carrying on his vision.” BB The CRESNET Cross Border Builder Challenge will honour Vince’s memory each year with an Innovation Award given to both Canadian and American builders. 33 Vince Naccarato Tribute LEED Legacy: A Tribute to Visionary Builder Vince Naccarato Frank Mauro (left) and Vince Naccarato, Rodeo Fine Homes
  33. 33. BETTERBUILDER.CA | ISSUE 38 | SUMMER 2021 34 fromthegroundup / DOUG TARRY Evolving Within a Dinosaur Industry Frankly, in many ways, we are a dinosaur industry. No, I don’t mean certain Neanderthal behaviour on some job sites (more on that a bit later). I am referring to our lack of adapta­ tion during an era of unprecedented technical advancement throughout society overall. Our industry lags far behind. We still generally build houses out of sticks and pins right in the mud, the rain and the snow, while we tend to complain about death by a thousand papercuts as change is being forced upon us. If we’re paying attention beyond the next home on the schedule, there is a lot we need to be preparing for. I thought it would be worthwhile to take a look at what some advanced builders are think­ ing about in order to prepare for the coming tidal wave of change. Net zero housing Within less than a decade, this will be the dominant housing form in new home construction, from singles and semis to towns, multi-unit residential buildings (MURBS) and even mid-rise construction. More and more builders are talking about their first builds, and many are now moving to net zero as either an option or as their standard specification. It’s not easy and it will take time to get all builders and their trades to create the capacity to build to this level, but industry leaders are showing the way. The carbon question Leading-edge builders are now beginning to wrestle with this issue, which is far more complex than building to net zero. In reality, if we are not careful with our product and material selections, and if we don’t take into account the embodied carbon of the materials we choose for our specifications, it’s very possible to construct a net zero home that has a greater long-term carbon footprint than a Code-built home. That’s a key reason why it is important to work with local governments concerned with climate action to urge caution on forcing our industry to work beyond our capacity. Otherwise, we could inadvertently S imply the best! That’s the theme of this edition of Better Builder Magazine. While there are many things that we rightfully deserve to be proud of, our industry has a long way to go at a time when our world is rapidly changing around us. It’s very possible to construct a net zero home that has a greater long-term carbon footprint than a Code-built home. Women In Construction: Volunteering in Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria
  34. 34. BETTERBUILDER.CA | ISSUE 38 | SUMMER 2021 make things worse. Combinations of wood-frame construction, solar generation, geothermal climate control and limited battery storage will help larger occupant-massed buildings contribute to a nature- positive economy. This concept is rapidly advancing. Indoor air quality (IAQ) Given the unprecedented changes caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the market is now being flooded with a large number of IAQ control devices designed with varying degrees of performance at actually improving indoor air quality. It is easy to get confused and, quite frankly, discouraged. With people now spending more time than ever in their homes, this is not an issue that is going away any time soon. Properly controlled ventilation, dealing with soil gas and limiting the potential for water ingression into the walls (where it will cause mould) are all great strategies to ensure our customers have the best possible IAQ. Now, we will need to turn our attention to what’s on our walls, floors and ceilings and how our choices are affecting our customers. The great news here is the recent announcement from the Energy and Environmental Building Alliance (EEBA) about their partnership with Allergy Standards Limited and Construction Instruction to launch a new training program called “Healthier Homes Awareness for Building Professionals.” This program is designed to bridge “the gaps in medical and building science knowledge around the growing issue of health in the home. The course will help direct practitioners to the issue of poor indoor air quality and deliver practical solutions to improve the lives of people impacted by asthma, allergies, and COVID-19.” Climate-resilient construction While the obvious decisions – like not building on a flood plain and avoiding building in areas prone to wildfires – are easy, the reality is a bit more challenging. We need to use less water and less energy, and we need to consider what happens when – not if – the grid fails. Can our customers survive in a home under such conditions for a week? Will the home still run? Planning for more frequent and much more severe weather events needs to be considered for all housing types. Is the roof designed and constructed to stay on if the dwelling is hit with an EF2 tornado? It’s no longer about holding the roof up, but can we hold it down? What about more frequent rain events? It’s not just the water coming down that we need to get away from the home. We now have to consider water that comes in sideways and, even more challenging, upwards that can get into our roof venting, causing unplanned-for damage. Yet there are builders who are working on these very details, and some great work is being done by Western University with the Institute for Catastrophic Loss Reduction (ICLR) and the pilot project my team is involved with. Occupant comfort And let’s not forget that we have actual people living in our buildings. I am a big fan of Robert Bean and his theory that if we design for the occupant to be 35 The market is being flooded with a large number of IAQ control devices designed with varying degrees of performance… It is easy to get confused and, frankly, discouraged. It concerns me that government programs are still slow to recognize simple changes, such as requiring the use of low solar heat gain glazing in our windows at a time when we are trying to reduce peak loads on our electricity grid and reduce our overall carbon footprint.
  35. 35. BETTERBUILDER.CA | ISSUE 38 | SUMMER 2021 36 comfortable, we will have resolved a lot of other performance and energy- related matters with our homes and units. There is even a standard for defining occupant comfort called ASHRAE 55, and there are easy-to- use industry calculators that help to assess if the home you’ve designed will be comfortable. Given the unprecedented cost for housing today, this is something that our consumers expect. Yet it concerns me that government programs are still slow to recognize simple changes, such as requiring the use of low solar heat gain glazing in our windows at a time when we are trying to reduce peak loads on our electricity grid and reduce our overall carbon footprint. That is only one example of the changes that are coming as we continue to advance the best homes possible as an industry. Rejecting boys’ club thinking in a shrinking labour market Earlier this year, there was an incident where some tradespeople invited a young female stripper to a large builder’s job site that garnered widespread media attention. As accurately stated, this incident was offensive to so many on a number of levels, not the least of which to all the hard-working, dedicated women and men who work on our job sites every day, trying to elevate the professionalism of our noble industry, stay COVID-safe and be respectful of the fact that we continue to have jobs at all. It is regrettable that the poor decision of these few tradespeople has led to many people’s lives being damaged and our industry again being pushed a step back in the mind of the public at the very time when we need to be greatly increasing our outreach to all people, especially women, to join our wonderful industry. While I am sure there were a number of firings, that perhaps doesn’t address the issue in a manner that is overly beneficial. People lost their jobs and women were left feeling degraded, but did we get any better? Perhaps an alternate outcome could have included (1) sensitivity training and an extended probation for those involved, with job site mentoring provided to them, and (2) mandatory participation in a 360-degree peer review by all, including male and female apprentices with whom they may interact, followed up with an evaluation of the results and support where needed. That is the world we need to create, and we will be better for it. However, I fear we are becoming polarized in our views and it is becoming “either you’re with me or you’re my enemy and to hell with you if you don’t agree with me.” I fear that our unwillingness to accept other people’s views and consider differences of opinion takes away from our greater need to work together to create a better and more just society overall. We need to take the time to lift up our heads and look around. I guess what I’m asking is: can’t we please find a little balance, maybe let go of some of the small things that bother us, work together to get after the larger inequities, and focus on solving the tidal wave of disruptive change facing our industry? One of those changes is the labour shortage we are now facing as older tradespeople retire. We need to look at providing opportunity for a wider- ranging workforce – from targeted immigration policy and retraining as second careers, to women and men being encouraged at the high school level to enter the trades. We need to get after these opportunities like our livelihoods depend on it, and that means we have to get past Neanderthal thinking and embrace a more inclusive job site. In my mind, that truly would make our industry, and society, simply the best. BB Doug Tarry Jr is director of marketing at Doug Tarry Homes in St. Thomas, Ontario. I fear that our unwillingness to accept other people’s views and consider differences of opinion takes away from our greater need to work together to create a better and more just society overall.
  36. 36. BETTERBUILDER.CA | ISSUE 38 | SUMMER 2021 Trailblazer Matt Risinger Builder and building science expert COMFORTBOARD™ has received ICC-ES validated product acceptance as continuous insulation for multiple applications. For more information visit rockwool.com/comfortboard Continuous stone wool insulation that improves thermal performance Trailblazing requires confidence, expertise and a desire to do things right. Matt Risinger uses non-combustible, vapor-permeable and water-repellent COMFORTBOARD™ to help wall assemblies dry to the outside, keeping clients comfortable inside. It cuts down on heat loss and improves energy efficiency so that what you build today positively impacts your business tomorrow. 3773

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