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Better Builder Magazine, Issue 01 / Spring 2012

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 01 / Spring 2012

  1. 1. BETTER BuilderMAGAZINE the builder’s source ISSUE 01 | SPRING 2012 WWW.BETTER BUILDER.CA HORSESHOE RIDGE HOMES BUILDING LEADERSHIP IN THE BARRIEAREA HORSESHOE RIDGE HOMES BUILDING LEADERSHIP IN THE BARRIEAREA Better Building Through Integrated Design The End of ecoEnergy Cross Border Challenge Goes West Better Basements Best Wall Study Better Building Through Integrated Design The End of ecoEnergy Cross Border Challenge Goes West Better Basements Best Wall Study IN THIS ISSUEIN THIS ISSUE
  2. 2. Comfort and control. 71 Innovation Drive, Unit 8 & 9, Vaughan, Ontario L4H 0S3 Tel. 905.264.1414 Fax: 905.264.1147 Flowmax condensing wall hung water heaters with on-demand domestic water production represents the latest technological know-how in producing space heating and domestic water production. The efficient Energy Star approved compact design products allows for ease of installation for new construction and retrofit applications. The availability of three model capacities and burner modulation affords flexibility in design and the ability to meet varying requirements for domestic water.The Flowmax water heaters can be used with multiple hydronic heating systems incorporating radiators, fan coils or in-floor heating while maintaining high efficiency levels and control. The products are manufactured with a corrosion resistant stainless steel heat exchanger for long life. The units also have a built in expansion tank, circulating pump and a flat plate heat exchanger.These Energy Star approved products offer a 10 year warranty on the main heat exchanger and 5 years on parts. The direct venting for these units can be installed with 2” or 3” PVC ULC S636 pipe and fittings with a maximum length up to 100 ft. These units have been certified by Intertek. Tankless condensing combination water heaters from Flowmax
  3. 3. WWW.BETTER BUILDER.CA | ISSUE 01 | SPRING 2012 ISSUE 01 | SPRING 2012 BETTER BuilderMAGAZINE the builder’s source PUBLISHER BETTER BUILDER MAGAZINE 12 ROWLEY AVENUE TORONTO, ON M4P 2S8 416-481-4218 - FAX 416-481-4695 INFO@CLEARSPHERE.CA BETTER BUILDER MAGAZINE IS A SPONSOR OF PUBLISHING EDITOR JOHN B. GODDEN INFO@CLEARSPHERE.CA ASSOCIATE EDITOR WENDY SHAMI To advertise, contribute a story, or join our distribution list, please contact FEATURE WRITER TRACY HANES COPY EDITOR WENDY SHAMI CREATIVE ANNA-MARIE MCDONALD LITTLE GREEN BAG CREATIVE SERVICES PHOTOGRAPHY BIGMAN LABORATORIES CONTRIBUTING AUTHORS LOU BADA, GREG LABBE, TRACY HANES, LARRY OTTEN, RICK ROOS, GILLIAN LIND, MICHAEL LIO, DOUG TARRY, DEREK SATNIK, JOHN GODDEN PUBLICATION NUMBER 42408014 Copyright by Better Builder Magazine. Contents may not be reprinted or reproduced without written permission obtained at The opinions expressed herein are exclusively those of the authors and assumed to be original work. Better Builder Magazine can not be held liable for any damage as a result of publishing such works. UNDELIVERABLE MAIL BETTER BUILDER MAGAZINE 12 ROWLEY AVENUE TORONTO, ON M4P 2S8 BETTER BUILDER MAGAZINE IS PUBLISHED FOUR TIMES A YEAR BY COVER STORY 15 Horseshoe Ridge Homes takes LEEDing Role in Barrie Area BY TRACY HANES FEATURES 2 LEADERSHIP — Evolution Rather Than Revolution - Editor’s Note BY JOHN GODDEN 03 LEEP/TAP and the Road to Package J BY LOU BADA 04 Enbridge Program Encourages Better Building Through Integrated Design BY TRACY HANES 06 A Brief History of EcoEnergy BY GREG LABBE 08 The Journey Down FairHaven Lane BY LARRY OTTEN 10 Cross Border Challenge Goes West BY JOHN GODDEN 12 The Best-Wall Study BY RICK ROOS 20 “Low Cost, Low Energy House” by Canadian Architecture Firm Wins New Orleans Passive House Competition BY GILLIAN LIND 22 Leaders in Green Home Building Honoured at ENERQUALITY 2011 Awards of Excellence BY BETTER BUILDER 24 SB12’s Policy Playmates BY DEREK SATNIK 26 A Low-cost Solution to Make Homes More Airtight BY TRACY HANES 29 High Performance Basements BY MICHAEL LIO 32 A More Forgiving Basement Wall BY DOUG TARRY
  4. 4. 2 EDITOR’S NOTE LEADERSHIP — Evolution Rather Than Revolution I think all would agree that the last special issue of Sustainable Builder Magazine; “The “Sustainability of Empire” under Leonard Hart’s creative direction was of extreme quality. I would like to congratulate him on this. Currently, Leonard has hung up his hat as “Publishing Editor “ and is taking a break from the magazine and pursuing other interests - he will be sorely missed. Guilio Marinescu has decided to pursue his own brand with another magazine. I wish them success in their new endeavors. With this changing of the guard, a new magazine is born; Better Builder Magazine. The task of maintaining the high quality of content falls on my lap and as always I welcome help from all who would like to contribute. There have been changes in the magazine; there have also been a few more changes in recent years that I would like to take the time to acknowledge. As of January 2012, a new "performance based" building code has arrived in Ontario. Six years has passed since the birth and subsequent success of the ENERGY STAR for New Homes program. The first Rodeo LEED Platinum home is four years old and thirty-three more have been rated and occupied. On a sad note a dear friend and colleague Bruce Gough, passed away last summer followed by the untimely death of Steven Depuis. These two men will always be remembered as trusted and knowledgeable leaders helping the Ontario building industry change for the” better”. This landmark issue’s cover story features Horseshoeridge Homes. The builder is constructing sustainable homes around a ski resort that represent the next stage of resource efficient home building. Additionally, we feature the usual suspects. Lou Bada’s column addresses the divergence between the new building code and government programs. Michael Lio talks about the importance of better basements from a building science perspective. Doug Tarry starts a “practical” four part series on insulating and moisture management in basements. Changes in the building code prompted Rick Roos to share his research on the best wall study. Providing valuable information to builders about how to choose wall construction. Last but not least, Greg Labbe comments on the end of Eco-energy grants from the government and the opportunities that exist in the marketplace as a result. Real change comes from education and awareness. Because of the current events in financial markets we know that unfettered capitalism does not work. Like wise, government programs only last as long as the funding does. Social enterprise is the spirit of getting businesses together to change things for the “better”. The philosophy behind Better Builder is to use advertising that supports the content of telling the story of “better” building. The 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. This, I believe embodies the idea of the “’green economy”. We invite you, to join with us at Better Builder in our pursuit of environmental integrity and sustainability. I am reminded of a Dr. Seuss movie that I saw with my children called The Lorax. The movie chronicles the plight of the environment and ends with a strong message from the Lorax. “UNLESS someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not. “ JOHN GODDEN
  5. 5. 3ISSUE 01 | SPRING 2012 BUILDER NEWS So, some may wonder how do decisions get made in the “real world” of the Homebuilding business? Of course, most would think that it’s simple; cost versus benefit. Then the salient point here becomes how does a large production low-rise homebuilder, confronted with the new requirements of SB-12 in the Ontario Building Code come up with the more costly Compliance Package J? Is there some benefit from a building science perspective in the end product? Actually, possibly the opposite. Is there a compelling value proposition for our customer? Not really. Permit me to digress for a moment. I participated in CanmetEnergy’s Local Energy Efficiency Partnership (LEEP) and Technology Adoption Pilot (TAP) for new homes. In short, it was a worthwhile process. Builders in a leadership role scrutinized and assessed current and emergent building processes and technologies. They chose a few and built a “discovery home” that targeted the next level of energy efficiency (in my case an EnerGuide 83, HERS 44). We participated for a variety of reasons; gained considerable knowledge, wanted to demonstrate some leader- ship in the field and were successful in achieving our goals. So given the knowledge we gained and willingness to be ahead of the curve, how do we come up with something different (e.g. not using insulated sheathing to reach R-24) than what we used in our successful “Discovery Home” and some of our Energy Star projects? The answer: over-regulation. In a production builder’s decision making process we need to consider projects that are going to be built to Ontario Building Code standards, and/or Energy Star Ontario Common Specification, and/or will eventually be built to the next version 2012 Energy Star Specifications, and/or whatever the current planning climate of the day dictates in any given municipality. What regulators fail to understand is that new home projects, house designs, sales, marketing and documentation for building permit applications do not appear overnight. This disparate regulatory process forced us to choose a “base” set of specifications (assumptions) that are the most flexible and can be easily built upon. Our business has a lot of “moving parts” and we need to get through an increasingly complex process dealing with many Ministries and departments from all four levels of government. From approvals and design to sales and delivery of a community of new homes, we have a regulatory process that is constantly moving beneath our feet. The reality is that far too many agencies have jurisdiction over us and they often are tripping over each other to regulate us. Over- regulation does not lead to innovation and leadership, it forces you down the path of least resistance. Not exactly what was envisioned by the LEEP/TAP initiative, possibly the opposite. LOU BADA IS THE CONSTRUCTION & CONTRACTS MANAGER FOR STARLANE HOMES. The Cross Border Builders Challenge HERS * Benchmarked to OBC 09 Builder: Starlane Homes Estimated Annual Energy Usage Natural Gas: Electricity: Average Monthly Bill: Name: Location: Rating Company: Rater: Rating Date: Rosemount Markham ON Clearsphere Matt Duffy June 2011 3,127 cu.m 14,074 kWh $ 259.32 SavingS* 37% 44 TAP Discovery Home TECHNOLOGY TAP (TECHNOLOGY ADOPTION PILOT) Empowering ‘next generation’ energy-s aving technologies Breaking Ground on Discovery Homes This summer and fall, an exceptional group of Ontario builders have been breaking ground on the construction of 40 ‘Discovery Homes’ that will introduce innovative, energy e cient technologies into new homes, as part of EnerQuality’s Technology Adoption Pilot (TAP). Builders worked together to review and choose the technologies that would work best in their particular region. The London, BILD-GTA, Sudbury, Hamilton-Halton and Niagara Home Builders’ Associations have supported the process and recognize that TAP ‘Dis covery Homes ’ will ultimately make it easier for builders to introduce energy-e cient technologies into the production of new homes. TAP builders will build at least one ‘Discovery Home’ and work with a consultant to document the lessons learned in their case study. EnerQuality Corporation facilitated the TAP initiative with support and funding provided by Natural Resources Canada’s CanmetENERGY, the Ontario Power Authority, Enbridge and Union Gas. DISCOVERY HOME Rosemount 133 3,175 sq. ft. Combination Heating and Domestic Hot Water Mechanical System. High Efficiency Energy Recovery Ventilator with ECM motor. Starlane Homes Corporation 8600 Dufferin Street Vaughan, Ontario L4K 5P5 LEEP/TAP and the Road to Package J LOU BADA John Bell
  6. 6. 4 BUILDER NEWS Enbridge Program Encourages Better Building Through Integrated Design As one of the first Energy Star builders in Ontario, the Mason Homes team is very familiar with how to construct an energy efficient home. The builder has also gone beyond Energy Star to create its own Green for Life brand, encompassing aspects such as water conservation, indoor air quality, resource management and effective land use planning . Even so, Sean Mason, vice president of sales and marketing for Mason Homes, says a new townhouse site in Barrie presents the company with some ‘green’ dilemmas. The company also had concerns about trying to build to the new, more stringent Energy Star guidelines (25 per cent above the current Energy Star standards). Thanks to a new Enbridge Gas program that targets Ontario residential home builders that are leaders in energy efficiency, Mason Homes will get expert feedback on how to address those challenges as one of 21 builders pre-selected to participate in the program, says Enbridge marketing program manager Mary Harinck. “We are using an integrated design process and looking at the house as a system,” explains Harinck. “This hasn’t been widely done among residential builders, it’s been primarily done in the commercial field.” Mason has already participated in a half-day internal session to identify the problems it sees. Next, comes a full day, charette-style session for each builder, where representatives from various factions of the industry (eg. HVAC, insulation, windows) and a modeler will help the builders come up with an integrated home design and provide information about technologies they might consider, such as solar panels or geothermal. Enbridge is facilitator and sponsor for the sessions. “We’ve already gone quite energy efficient with our homes,” says Mason. “However, sitting down with people with more extensive knowledge in those areas is always a smart thing to do. At heart, we’re builders and developers and we know a little bit about a lot of things, but we will be sitting down with experts who have deep knowledge.” One of the issues Mason is facing is how to deal with small sites: how to right-size heating plants and where to install gas meters and vent HRVs in townhouses and stacked townhouses, where many of the walls are shared. “Now Enbridge is at the table with us and we can work this out together,” says Mason. “The goal will be to design a house that will be 25 per cent more efficient than Ontario Building Code 2012,” says Harinck. “We want to show builders that doing this doesn’t have to be expensive. We will have a modeler there who will establish OBC 2012 as a baseline, then we’ll be demonstrating to the builder what can be done to improve on that.” The 25 per cent energy savings can be achieved through gas, electricity or a combination of both. The program is label TRACY HANES
  7. 7. 5ISSUE 01 | SPRING 2012 BUILDER NEWS neutral, so builders are free to use Energy Star, GreenHouse or LEED or their own brand, says Harinck. Builders in the program will have to make a three-year commitment to build at least one home to the improved standard (eg. such as a Discovery House) and if they continue to build to that benchmark, Enbridge will pay them $2,000 for each home. Mason will be building all 155 townhouses at its Barrie site to the standard. Sean Mason says the development is perfect for it, as he’s noted the younger, first-time buyers it will be geared to are keenly interested in all things such as yoga, organic foods, etc. and enjoy the health and comfort benefits such a home offers, as well as the utility bill savings. The Enbridge program has helped to convince the builder to strive for the next level of Energy Star, says Mason. “We’ve also thought about solar panels and there will be some experts (at the charette) that we can consult with about that.” “It helps builders realize the potential for what they can do and I’m really excited about this,” says Harinck. Reliable, customized, maRtinoHeating • air conditioning • indoor air Quality • HVac design 1-800-465-5700 ™
  8. 8. 6 BUILDER NEWS A Brief History of EcoEnergyEnerGuide for Houses had its roots pre-Kyoto protocol but started in 1998 after the Federal Liberal government dragged its feet in its pledge to reduce CO2 emissions under the Kyoto Protocol. That year they rolled out EnerGuide for Houses as a pilot program in Ontario and by the fall every province was up and running. In the early years there were no incentives to make upgrading their homes more appealing to homeowners. The clientele of the day were largely motivated by either environmental concerns or the desire to save money and improve comfort. Initially the service was largely provided by NGOs who received two payments for each audit: one from the client and a subsidy from the feds. The software used at the time was called ”HOT2000 Express”, or simply “HOT2XP”. In 2003 the Federal Liberals introduced homeowner retrofit incentives into the equation based on the energy performance of the house before and after upgrades. Many thought this system was too unpredictable because you never knew exactly how much incentive you were going to get back. Add to that the frequent software version changes which caused point scores to shift and frustration was felt. For the client a few points meant the loss of a significant portion of incentive money, for the auditor and their Service Organization (SO) it meant a lot of wasted time explaining point disparities. The reasoning for using this point system had a lot of merit; it meant people who completed deep retrofits that provided larger energy savings - like insulating walls - got higher points and therefore more money. The old scheme rewarded comprehensive, thorough upgrades based on performance. In 2006 the newly elected Federal Conservatives wasted no time cancelling the EnerGuide for Houses program giving participants and SOs less than a day to wrap the program up. Over the summer the public reaction to the canceled incentive program was too hot to handle and by the following spring they had rebranded and launched the “ecoEnergy for Houses” program. It ran on an upgraded software platform called HOT2000 and doled out prescriptive incentives of fixed amounts for completed measures. The new incentive system eliminated discrepancies in scores, but its binary nature had downsides too. Under this flat rate system, every retrofit got the same rebate regardless of the overall efficiency of the house. The other big change was the elimination of the subsidy to the SO which meant the homeowner paid more for the service. By this time, many provinces had introduced their own parallel incentive programs matching Federal government incentives. The whole country was starting to see lots of work being done on homes. Sadly many referred to ecoEnergy as the “Furnace change-out” program, which came about as a result of the new prescriptive structure of the incentives making it attractive and reliable program for heating contractors to promote sales to customers. The self-sustaining program was doing what it was supposed to do; give people scientific, unbiased third-party advice on what the best upgrades were for their homes. The taxes generated through sales and services from these upgrades surely helped feed the economy and keep the trades working. In 2009 the province of Ontario started matching the federal incentive. In early 2010, the feds canceled the program only to revive it in the federal budget leading up to last year’s election as a promise to Jack Layton’s NDPs. Again, by the summer of 2011, the Conservatives announced that the program was ending VETERAN ENERGY MODELER SHERVIN AKHAVI OF BLUEGREEN CONSULTING GROUP AIR TIGHTNESS TESTING A NEW HOUSE. GREG LABBE
  9. 9. McLellan Group created an outstanding website for Clearsphere.Their innovative P3 videos really made a difference." “ – John Godden, CEO, Clearsphere The Sustainable Housing Foundation now has a highly professional image thanks to McLellan Group.They created our Brand, our Visual Identity and our Sales and Marketing Strategy." " – John Bell, HtO Water Technologies SHF Board Member & President, PRINT BRANDING VIDEO WEBSITES STRATEGY INTEGRATING IS WHAT WE DO.... 7ISSUE 01 | SPRING 2012 “as planned” this past March. The province of Ontario has not committed to further funding and with the release of the Drummond Report, homeowners are unlikely to see further provincial incentives as the program ends. The industry that surrounded the programs was taking root and the capacity built, namely in the form of the energy advisors. These gainfully employed, newly trained and skilled people will have to find other career paths as both the private and non-profit sectors suffered with the yo-yo like indecision of the federal government. No way to run a business. Energy retrofit programs like these were good for the awareness they brought to conservation opportunities and the spin off benefits to the economy through retrofits and keeping people employed. Conservation is about greater social good; from energy security to reducing our environmental impact on the planet. Alas the ecoENERGY incentive program will not be resurrected for some time and now the homeowners with existing houses will have to dig out of their pockets to find energy advice and savings as delivered by the private sector likely using the same software platforms developed by the Feds, unless other rating programs like the US styled HERs scale can be successfully launched in this era of austerity. Newly constructed homes will have to rely on the private sector to drive performance tested homes given that builders in Ontario still can get away with prescriptive built homes. Meanwhile the Ontario Liberals inevitably have to raise electricity prices to pay down the debt and replace a crumbling infrastructure it could be argued that keeping conservation programs going would be worthwhile and cost effective for both the electricity rate and tax payer. Can the private sector deliver on efficiency without the support of either the province or the feds; time will tell. GREG LABBE IS A VETERAN ENERGY RATER AND A PRINCIPAL AT BLUEGREEN GROUP. BUILDER NEWS
  10. 10. 8 BUILDER NEWS The Journey Down FairHaven Lane A few years ago I asked myself “What will the houses we build look like in 20 years?”. Truthfully our houses had not changed much in the last 15 years. I felt we were well above what a minimum code house was. A busy economy had us scrambling to meet closing dates and it was all I could do to look far enough forward to ensure that jobs and projects were in place to start when the builds under construction were completed. As a small builder I am not deep in staff so I wear many hats. We deliver product in a way that is very inclusive of purchasers. My goal is to build houses that compliment and benefit their lifestyle needs. This is my greatest sense of reward with what I do . I often wonder how many people are as blessed to enjoy their job as much as I do ? In spite of all the challenges and pressures of trying to balance family, life and work. Our current project is The Towns at Orchard Park. This is a 39 townhouse condo development in Goderich and is in part a result of these dynamics. Goderich is a small town one hour west of where I live in Stratford. It’s a unique opportunity in a community that only issues 8 - 10 houses permits per year. My target market is the 55 plus age group. With the disadvantage of coming into an area as an unknown builder I felt it was important to offer product in a way that tangibly defines and measures good building practice. Enter CLEARSPHERE. I know the value, quality, attention to detail of our homes and how GOOD they are compared to existing housing stock. Any one can say they are good but everyone has a different way they measure “good”. I felt it important to have a third party define and measure the standard and performance of “good”. I like the simplicity of the HERS scale CLEARSPHERE provides. It compares our houses to the existing housing stock, building code houses and even new homes built in the USA with their cross boarder challenge. We had permits in late 2011 but I decided to build to the new 2012 code requirements for a couple reasons. I wanted every unit in our development constructed to the same standards and felt there were advantages in keeping ahead of the new code changes. I discovered it is much easier to follow than lead. I spent a lot of time and energy educating trades and suppliers to source different products and change some construction practices and methods. With Clearsphere’s guidance and insight into building science, we addressed our wall assemblies and decided to offer as standards, items such as (2 stage furnace, 14 SEER ultra quite AC and Energy Recovery Ventilators (ERV) and Panasonic bathroom fans). These items are usually offered as upgrades. Add a two hour fire separation and high sound rating of 66 made possible by Roxul insulation. These units truly stand out in the market because they surpass building code. They are well appointed layouts with a high quality of finish and they will have low utility bills. As interesting result of a desire to offer our customers better, high quality homes is how much my personal motivation, enjoyment and pride in the job I do has increased. I believe that as our purchasers move into these units the new seasons of their lives will be greatly enhanced by this development. The Towns at Orchard Park are located on a private road we named Fairhaven Lane In Greek, Fairhaven comes from a word meaning good harbour. Goderich is located on the beautiful shores of Lake Huron and is a port for all sizes of boats and ships, making the name an obvious choice. Fairhaven also means virtuous and valuable in appearance and use. My journey down Fairhaven Lane, with a goal to deliver high quality, energy efficient homes, has me wondering. As builders is it possible to bring change to the standards we build to? Don't we as builders have a great responsibility to be leaders in delivering this change? LARRY OTTEN LARRY OTTEN FROM LARRY OTTEN CONTRACTING WITH TRUDY PULS FROM ROXUL INC.
  11. 11. 11ISSUE 01 | SUMMER 2012 Providing effective ventilation solutions for today’s high performance housing. Do you really want to install the same old fans in your next project? You can differentiate yourself as a sustainable builder by choosing Energy Star qualified Panasonic WhisperGreen™ ventilation fans. WhisperGreen™ fans are designed to provide both continuous whole house and spot ventilation for improved indoor air quality. The automatic variable speed control allows the fan to run continuously at a pre-set lower level for whole house ventilation. Turning on the switch or activating the motion sensor elevates the fan to a maximum level of operation for effective spot ventilation. Quiet, powerful and energy efficient, Panasonic ventilation fans are also Energy Star, LEED, and ASHRAE 62.2 compliant making them a wise choice in sustainable building. To learn more about Panasonic WhisperGreen™ ventilation fans email, visit or call 1-800-669-5165.
  12. 12. 10 BUILDER NEWS Cross Border Challenge Goes West Steve Baden’s connection to the R-2000 Program was an Alaskan low-energy home program in the mid 80’s. Almost singlehandedly from that point Steve has built up Residential Energy Services Network (RESNET); an organization that is responsible for labeling one million American Energy Star homes on the HERS Scale. This year marks the fifth anniversary of the founding of the Canadian Residential Energy Services (CRESNET) and it’s international partnership with RESNET. This same period represents rapid change in residential homebuilding in Ontario. In 2006 the Ontario Building Code (OBC) referenced energy performance as an Energuide 80 for each new home in 2012. A relatively small group of builders began experimenting and marketing Energy Star over that same period. These early adopters were ready for recent code changes but the majority of builders (85-90%) were not, and thus challenged to change quickly. Lately, most of the work in my consulting business has been securing building permits for current Energy Star builders. Even with these builders, there has been much chaos and confusion obtaining building permits. Each local building department has their own interpretation of SB-12 and it is complicated to say the least. The majority of builders don’t understand Energy Star and the building code and have defaulted to Package J which is considered the “best deal”. Recent offerings for high efficiency furnaces and heat recovery ventilators mean it is cheaper to use mechanicals to meet performance in the code. Unfortunately, the momentum for Energy Star has been lost and early adopters have lost their investment in the brand. We all agree that building better envelopes is the way to go. For example, using insulated sheathing improves the envelope. The tragedy is most of the leading Energy Star builders are walking away from that option for economic survival. The code as it is, has boiled things down to the lowest common denominator; Package J. This minimum standard approach does not foster any leadership or innovation. Energy Star and R-2000 are threshold labels. When legislation forces builders to change radically the industry witnesses the resulting chaos. The real success of R-2000 was the element of challenging builders to do their best voluntarily. Computer software set a target and any recipe could be used between envelope, mechanicals and air tightness to reach this target. The failure of the program was having a mandatory level of air tightness (1.5 ACH), which was not attainable by most builders. Energy Star dropped this requirement to 2.5 ACH and added a prescriptive marketing label. Each builder had a choice as to how to offer Energy Star performance. It was successful because it allowed builders to choose. Both thresholds, Energy Star and R-2000, have now become obsolete. The unintended outcome is that the industry associates Energy Star as only meeting the code minimum. R-2000 has moved to such a high level of performance (Energuide 86) that very few houses will be built to this standard. A long time R-2000 builder stated to me he was unwilling to spend $25000.00 more to save $25.00 on his gas bill. It’s easy to look back and see the wrong turns policy makers have made on the road to energy efficiency. One approach for successfully moving forward is examining how change takes place in nature and human systems. Webster defines evolution as a process of continuous change from lower, simpler, or worse case to a higher, more complex or better state. Conversely, revolution is a process in which change happens abruptly and brings about chaos and damage. When legislation forces builders to change radically, the industry witnesses the ensuing chaos. Before the 2012 code only 10% of builders evolved. Builders using Energy Star in the greater Toronto area, East Guillbury, Richmond Hill, Markham and Vaughan were forced to evolve by planning departments requiring something better than code to get sub-division agreements. If current code is Energy Star how will builders achieve this? How do builders evolve to the next level? Energy Star version 6 is not ready yet. The government has not met it’s own deadlines for implementation (10 months late). JOHN GODDEN CHRIS WILLIAMS OF AVALON MASTER BUILDERS SHOWS OFF "DISCOVERY 5"
  13. 13. 11 BUILDER NEWS Energy Star version 6 represents a 25% increase in performance costing between 4 and 5 thousand dol- lars per home. Rodeo Fine Homes in Newmarket six years ago used the HERS Scale as the way to evolve forward. It provides a stable continuum to allow builders to show they are better than code. Without mindful evolution we are stuck with revolution as a means of change. On the drawing board ENERGY STAR “Version 6” (EnerGuide 83) is supposed to represent the next code change in 2017. Policy makers are declaring net zero homes by 2030. Recently Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation(CMHC ) has cut funding for the Equilibrium program which produced a dozen homes across Canada in the last five years. The Eco-Energy program has come to a halt and armies of “raters” or energy advisors are looking for “other work” and we are losing a valuable delivering system. In my mind, ENERGY STAR had its birth place in Barrie with Mason Homes. In 2005 the Building Canada Program successfully bought building consultants together with builders to benchmark houses and integrate building practice. Building Canada Teams matched these on-site experiments with specifications developed by Bruce Gough and EnerQuality to create a successful marketing program. Builders had the “packaging” to sell low energy housing. In Alberta, Jayman Master Builders bought Built Green from Colorado and merged it with the EnerGuide rating system to create a local homegrown flexible builder friendly program. Unfortunately market down turns severely damaged its implementation and government funding was at its core so in the end it was not sustainable. During this process one builder in Calgary came forth in a leadership position. Avalon Master Builders has been at the forefront of experimenting with equilibrium and net zero creating interest in “commercially” available “very low energy” housing. They have also worked with Mike Holmes to create branding around durability and quality in current offerings. Including features like long life roof shingles, blue wood and flash and batt insulation systems. In an absence of any market driven third party valida- tion systems like ENERGY STAR, EnerGuide and LEED for homes are being used. Consensus in the industry is an “ envelope first approach”. On this aspect, Avalon’s entry into the Cross Border Challenge is a winner. The project scores a HERS 35 using higher insulation values, high performance windows and air tight building design. These are matched with a Viessman Vitodens 100 condensing boiler and a high efficiency HRV (see Table 1 above). The addition of solar PV panels and evacuated solar tubes for domes- tic hot water heating, brings the HERS score down to a 15. A Zero represents a true Net Zero Home. The house also has a green roof with rain water harvesting. Congratulations go to Avalon Master Builder for achieving the second lowest HERS score in Canada on record next to the HERS 8 for “Minto Inspiration” house. JOHN GODDEN IS THE PRESIDENT OF CLEARSPHERE AND PUBLISHING EDITOR OF BETTER BUILDER MAGAZINE.                                                                                             Built by: Avalon Master Builder Conditioned floor area: 3056 sqf FEATURES •  Green roof with rain water harvesting •  Wall Tite-Eco 2lb foam & stone wool - R66 roof, R44 wall and R36 basement •  Triple Glazed Low E Argon windows • Veissman condensing boiler c/w radiant floors • PV Electric & passive solar chimneys This  home  meets  the              Green  is  50     Builders’     Challenge   Avalon Master Builder Discovery 5 Rated by: Clearsphere Consulting Rating Conducted: Jan. 23rd, 2012 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. 110 100 90 80 70 60 50 40 30 20 10 0 Your Home is IECC CBC 2009-83 Estar-64 Roxul 41 This house is rated using the Home Energy Rating System (HERS), property of RESNET of Oceanside, CA. The Green is 50 Builders’ Challenge is a Pilot Program sponsored by CRESNET and delivered by Clearsphere. * Cost of Natural Gas for Space and Hot Water 35 15 TABLE 1: AVALON MASTER BUILDER'S DISCOVERY 5 "BEST IN THE WEST" Versus CALGARY BUILDING CODE COMPONENT CBC 2009 ENERGY STAR ERS 80 AVALON DISCOVERY 5 Ceiling   Truss  R34   Truss  R40   11"  R66   Walls   2  x  6  R19  Ba9   2x6  R22    Total    R44  =    2  x  4      2lb    (R21)                                                       2  x  4  Roxul  (R14)  +  2"  EPS   Exposed  floor   R28  BATT   Blown  R31   Blown   FoundaKons   R12  BATT   R12  Blanket   6"  2lb  Foam  (R36)   Basement  slab   R0   R0   4"  Rigid  (R20)   Rim  joist   R12   R22   5  1.2"  2lb  Foam  (R33)   Door     STEEL   ESTAR   Fiberglass   Windows   U  =  0.6                                                  SHGC  =  0.65   U  =  0.31                                                        SHGC  =  0.39    U  =  0.22                                                              SHGC  =  0.39   HeaKng  plant   90%  AFUE   90  %  AFUE   95  %  AFUE   Heat  distribuKon   Forced  air   Forced  air   Radiant  through  out     DomesKc  Hot  Water   80  Gal  P.V   50  Gal  P.V   Indirect  Storage  Tank   Solar  P.V   N/A   EF=  0.67   TBD   VenKlaKon   Exhaust  only   N/A   HRV  @  74%   HERS  RaKng   81   60   35   ISSUE 01 | SPRING 2012
  14. 14. 12 BUILDER NEWS The Best-Wall Study The SB-12 supplement to the Ontario Building Code, effective January 1st, 2012, presents builders with new challenges in delivering cost-effective and high performance housing for the Ontario market. The Best-Wall study, conducted through Ryerson University and supported by Clearsphere, BP Canada and Roxul Inc., assessed 12 above-grade wall assemblies that are currently used by production builders to meet the compliance packages of SB-12. The wall assembly deemed to be the strongest overall performer achieved the highest number in a normalized scoring process, which considered performance in heat transfer, moisture safety, environmental impact and cost. The category weightings were determined through a survey of builders’ priorities. The 12 walls selected for analysis were divided into 8 case categories as shown in Table 1. Nominal R-Value Système Internationale (RSI) were compared to whole-wall thermal resistances, including the effects of thermal bridging. The bar colours in Figure 1, indicate the compliance package j RSI thresholds (green – RSI 3.87; purple – RSI 4.23; blue – RSI 4.75), whereas the heights of the bars indicate the nominal RSI values. Thermal bridging related reductions from the nominal RSI values are shown by reduced height of the adjacent red bars. Two-dimensional heat transfer modeling in THERM showed thermal resistance reductions ranging from 35% for Case 1aii (2x6 framing, RSI 3.87 batt insulation), to 9%, as for the Case 7 with insulated concrete form (ICF) construction. Advanced framing and higher RSI-value insulated sheathing played prominent roles in reducing thermal bridging losses. Moisture safety was determined through 3-year hygrothermal modeling in WUFI-Pro version 4.2 that considered the rates of vapour diffusion into the wall assemblies from both the interior and exterior, as well as each wall’s ability to allow drying to occur. For the purposes of clarity, Figure 2 shows four illustrative cases that display the range of relative humidity (RH) levels at the inboard surface of the sheathing as well as the durations over the critical 80% RH threshold. Case 5 experiences dangerously high RH levels for extended periods of time. The combined use of very low permeance materials the interior (polyethylene vapour retarder) and near the exterior of the wall assembly (foil faced insulation) effectively eliminates drying potential in both directions. Some important conclusions were drawn concerning the relationships between materials, permeabilities, RSI values, and the building code: • The Ontario Building Code explicitly forbids excessive condensation within wall cavities, but does not articulate the need to allow for sufficient drying potential (towards the interior as well as exterior) that would allow for safe relative humidity levels over extended periods. • Low permeance insulated sheathings applied in accordance to Table, 1995 NBC do, indeed, prevent condensation at the inboard surface, but do not guarantee sufficiently low relative humidity levels for safe and durable wall assemblies. • High permeance sheathings offer the best drying potential, but at the expense of reduced whole-wall heat transfer performance due to low RSI values. Life cycle assessment (LCA) of the greenhouse gas contributions of the various wall assemblies, as modeled in ATHENA RICK ROOS
  15. 15. ISSUE 01 | SPRING 2012 Three reasons why you should hire a Construction Science and Management Degree Co-op student. 1. Access to skilled employees, as co-op students are trained to: • Perform quantity takeoffs from working drawings and specifications; prepare material schedules and participate in the bidding process. • Monitor progress and compile time and cost field reports, track and update change order logs. • Assist in the implementation of quality control measures, material management, construction documentation control, project management/coordination duties. 2. Meet seasonal or project demands by adding a highly motivated co-op student to the team. 3. Reduce costs associated with: • Recruitment - our program was developed by and for the industry to provide candidates that are trained specifically for the construction industry. • Taxes - by hiring a co-op student you may qualify for an Ontario Tax Credit. Contact us to learn more. For more information please contact: The Industry Liaison Office and Krisztina Arany at or 416-415-5000 x4356. 13 LCA software, indicated very high levels of CO2 output for wall assemblies using brick, steel and concrete. Insulation materials had a lower impact than expected. As seen in Figure 3, Case 7 with ICF construction and Case 8 with steel framing with sprayed polyurethane insulation, produced markedly higher CO2 output over the other wall types. Exterior insulated finish system (EIFS) contributed the least global warming potential due to the absence of brick cladding. The RS-Means analysis, performed by David Twiddy from George Brown College, yielded a range of costs from $153.12/m2 to $343.22/ m2 for Case 3 (EIFS) and Case 8 (steel framing with sprayed polyurethane) respectively, as seen in Figure 4. Other higher cost wall designs include Case 7 (ICF) and Case 4c (wood framed
  16. 16. BUILDER NEWS construction with sprayed polyurethane insulation). The major- ity of the wood framed wall designs incurred similar costs, with decreases associated with the use of less expensive cladding options than brick. Lower costs can be seen in Cases 1b and 4b that use less expensive wood and vinyl sidings. Although Case 4b had relatively low costs, it can be seen however, that Case 3 (EIFS) was the most cost effective wall assembly. As shown in Figure 5, each coloured bar indicates the analysis category and the overall valuation is shown in black. As each analysis category component is seen to be a negative attribute (eg. large number of dollars per square meter is deemed to be sub-optimal), the overall score line is shown as an inverse value, so as to display better overall performance as a higher score. Case 3 (EIFS) was determined to be the best overall performer due to having the lowest costs, lowest global warming potential, minor thermal bridging related RSI reductions, and short periods of excessive relative humidity. The Best-Wall study considered heat transfer, environmental impact, moisture safety and cost in assessing twelve wall as- semblies. Many wall assemblies fared well in individual catego- ries, but due to the weighting scheme determined by builders, did not score highest overall. Case 3 (EIFS) was determined to be the best overall performing wall due to attributes of least cost, lowest environmental impact, effective control of thermal bridging and safe moisture management capabilities. RICK ROOS IS AN INSTRUCTOR AT GEORGE BROWN COLLEGE.
  18. 18. FEATURE STORY The folks at Horseshoe Ridge Homes didn’t have to build their houses in ski country to LEED’s (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) high standards for energy efficiency and resource conservation. There is little new home building in the area, thus little competition, so they didn’t feel compelled to do it to gain market share. But the members of the Horseshoe team share a passion and committed belief to sustainable living and felt it was important to potential buyers as well. In addition to saving homeowners substantially on utility bills, with the water-conserving features they decided to include, the homes will also put less stress on existing sewage facilities and future infrastructure. Horseshoe Ridge Homes, launched in January 2011, includes owners John Boville (former owner of the next door Horseshoe Valley Ski Resort) and his wife Julie, project manager Kevin Dymond and interior designer Christy Bremer. Dymond, who had previously built Insulated Concrete Form (ICF) homes in the area and introduced the Bovilles to the concept of eco homes – an idea they enthusiastically embraced. Bremer put the Bovilles in touch with John Godden of Clearsphere, who helped the Horseshoe team devise a process to get to their goals and supplied the science they’d need to do so. The model home that recently opened on the site just north of Barrie, adjacent to Horseshoe Valley Ski Resort and its four-season amenities, and overlooking a golf course, is a G50 (Green is 50 home, which uses 50 per cent less energy than a Code-built home) and is registered as a LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) candidate, as will all homes in the development. “I’m surprised how many people are well versed and appreciative of the features we used,” said Julie Boville. “They are familiar with things like ICFs and greywater recycling.” Dymond found that many people want ICF foundations and don’t want conventional building techniques. Bremer speculated that Horseshoe Ridge’s location, surrounded by nature, may attract people more in touch with the environment which may be one reason their potential buyers are so well educated about sustainable features. 16
  19. 19. ISSUE 01 | SPRING 2012 FEATURE STORY Eventually, Horseshoe Ridge will include 530 homes, including singles and townhouses. Three homes are in various stages of completion and currently on offer are 16 detached homes on golf course lots one third acre in size. The model home is built on a Nudura ICF foundation with R24 insulation value; walls are insulated with Roxul R22 batts and BP "R4" insulated sheathing. Due to the superior insula- tion and air tightness of the house, the mechanical system could be downsized (from a typically built home of that size) to handle the reduced load. A Lifebreath Clean Air Furnace (CAF) combination with condensing gas-fired hot water heater was installed. A Power Pipe drainwater heat recovery unit further reduces the cost of heating water by up to 40 per cent by drawing heat from hot water going down the drain and doubles hot water tank capacity. With Net Zero homes coming in the not-too-distant future, solar will be an important solution to get people off conventional energy sources and the hydronic fan coil can be adapted to take advantage of energy collected from the sun. “It represents the next evolution of where we need to go and there’s no magic required,” said Dymond. The Bovilles, Dymond and Bremer felt it was important to incorporate water-conserving features into the house, even though it was not mandated by the municipality. A Brac greywater system recycles and filters shower and bath water which is used to flush the toilets. “Sewage is an issue here (in Oro Medonte) and water is important to the municipality,” Dymond said. “These houses will use 40 per cent less water which is a huge savings. The builder pays for this (the greywater recycling unit), the home owner gets it. It’s an incredible win-win situation. And there’s less cost to the municipality to maintain infrastructure.” Horseshoe Ridge is served by a private sewage treatment facility which only has capacity for 100 additional homes, said Andria Leigh, development director for the municipality of Oro-Mendonte. “There will have to be additional capacity for more development to proceed,” she pointed out. “The private operator is looking at expanding that facility, but there is a benefit to the municipality in that there is less waste water that doesn’t have to be deal with.” The Horseshoe Ridge team and their specialists met with municipal staff and politicians to explain what it was they are striving to do and the features they were incorporating. “The builder did a lot of research in terms of what was marketable and what was unique to the municipality,” said Leigh. “LEED was not being constructed here. There is a niche in Oro-Medonte that wasn’t being addressed and there is a segment in the market that wants energy efficiency.” Leigh said the meetings were educational for staff and council and will be useful in setting guidelines for future residential development in the township. 17
  20. 20. 18 FEATURE STORY “As the homes get occupied and residents move in and see the success of the LEED features, we’ll be interested in their comments,” said Leigh. “This was the first development of this type and council is still trying to understand the benefits to the municipality as a whole. When we see the benefits for residents and see how it works, this will be beneficial on a go-forward basis. We haven’t seen many of these proposals, being a rural municipality, but it’s the direction all municipalities are starting to go.” Although the Horseshoe Ridge houses cost about $20,000 more than other new homes in the area (yet still much less than resale homes of comparable sizes), buyers seem to recognize the value in the sustainable features and that the houses include more expensive products and finishes, said Julie Boville. Prices range from $365,900 for 1,300 square feet to $485,900 for 2,340 square feet – a bargain compared to new home prices in most of the GTA. “We are looking to build about 20 homes a year,” said Boville. “The first house is the model and we intend to build every house like this.” As interior designer, Bremer looked at the exterior components and interior finishes and investigated where they were coming from, using local sources as much as possible. She also selected low VOC finishes and products that offer durability. “Kevin and I talked about energy efficiency and durability,” she said, while Dymond added that the shell of the house being energy efficient helps to maintain the systems inside the house and has created an environment that is cleaner and more regulated. Because a lot of wood is used in the homes, it’s important to make sure it stays properly hydrated to last. “Our whole philosophy is that it’s not just how it looks, but the quality and the durability,” he said. TRACY HANES IS A FREELANCE FEATURE WRITER FOR THE LARGEST DAILY NEWSPAPER IN CANADA AND SEVERAL MAGAZINES. WWW.TRACYHANES.CA “Our whole philosophy is that it’s not just how it looks, but the quality and the durability”
  21. 21. PAGE TITLE 19ISSUE 01 | SPRING 2012
  22. 22. 20 BUILDER NEWS “Low Cost, Low Energy House” by Canadian Architecture Firm Wins New Orleans Passive House Competition A passive house designed by Toronto firm Sustainable TO shot past the competition this spring as winner of the international New Orleans Passive House competition. Their vernacular “shotgun” style, elegantly simple design called “Low Cost, Low Energy House” was praised as “an incredibly thoughtful and viable response to the goals of this challenge” by competition partner, David Fano, CASE. The challenge spearheaded by Design By Many, prompted the international design community to design affordable, low-energy, single-family homes for communities in New Orleans that are still recovering from the devastation by Hurricane Katrina. The competition was in response to the Architecture 2030 report that notes the building sector consumes two-thirds (77%) of all electricity produced in the U.S., nearly half of the CO2 emissions in 2009 and the Obama Administration’s Better Building Initiative which states that “building energy efficiency is the most cost effective way to reduce our energy consumption and dependence upon fossil fuels.” The competition organizers selected the Passive House Standard as an overlay to meet the extremely low energy targets since the standard has shown measured reductions in space heating and cooling energy consumption up to 90% in Europe. The passive house standard combines an extremely airtight building shell of <0.6 ACH @ 50 pascals, an annual heating and cooling requirement of <15 kWh/m2/year, and primary energy requirement of <120 kWh/m2/yr. To achieve these requirements the building minimizes thermal-bridging, has a super-insulated building enclosure, and is designed to take advantage of passive internal and solar gains with balanced energy recovery ventilation. The climate zone cannot be ignored when designing a passive house and New Orleans offers a locale that is particularly suitable for the Passive Design Standard. Further competition requirements included, affordable to build and purchase, long-lasting, with minimal impact on the local environment, and affordable to heat and cool throughout the life of the building. Homes had to meet post-Katrina building codes, guidelines and best practices, designed in a shotgun typology and conducive to cohesive neighbourhoods, be +5’0 from grade and 1000 sq. ft. to 1250 sq. ft. depending on the number of bedrooms and baths. Prior to starting the design phase, the team at Sustainable TO, led by architect Paul Dowsett, researched the traditional GILLIAN LIND
  23. 23. ISSUE 01 | SPRING 2012 BUILDER NEWS southern United States residential style home called shotgun houses. Popular from the end of the American Civil War to the 1920’s, the shotgun house is typically a rectangular structure, usually no more than 12 feet (3.5 m) wide, with doors aligned at each end, consisting of three to five rooms in a row with no hallways. The term “shotgun house”, is said to come from the concept that if a shotgun was fired from the front door when open, the bullet would fly cleanly through the house and out the back door. It is not surprising that this style became popular with the heat in New Orleans as its compact footprint, high ceilings and lack of hallways allow for efficient cross ventilation and cooling in each room. Some variations include a wraparound porch called north shore shotgun style. All of these features lend themselves perfectly to a passive house design. Reinterpreting the shotgun style, Sustainable TO’s design mirrors two bedroom and bathroom units on either side of the main living space located in the center of the home. Oriented on the east/west axis, the spaces are organized linearly along the south face circulation corridor containing a series of sliding doors that open onto a covered side porch providing shaded outdoor living that wraps around the east, south and west elevations. The roof sloping up from the north side of the house and the south facade’s deep roof overhang over the side porch which provide passive solar protection for the building’s interior in the summer, while allowing passive solar heat gain in the winter. Along the railing of the side porch, large sliding wood slat panels are designed to offer flexibility and protection from the sun, rain and wind when required. Windows on the north façade provide abundant daylight and allow for cross ventilation and natural cooling while limiting solar heat gain thereby reducing air conditioner needs. Many of the same benefits can be achieved for a north/south long axis orientation by positioning the large sliding panels on the west façade. Materials and mechanical systems were selected to both compliment the design layout as well as incorporate other strategies to meet the passive standard. Increased insulation with R47 Roxul walls and triple glazed, thermally broken fiberglass wood clad Pazen-manufactuered windows complete the super-insulated building enclosure. Highly reflective, recyclable galvalume cladding was selected for the exterior since it is a ‘lifetime’ lasting material and its reflective qualities minimizes heat gain in the summer. Two Ultimate Air Recoup Aerator Energy Recovery Units were specified to supply fresh air for occupants and exchanging stale air. Every room contains a reversible ceiling fan which helps to draw the hot stale air up to the high part of the cathedral ceiling and out through operable vents. Split-zoned Misubishi Electric M-Series heating and cooling units above the bathrooms are both energy efficient and allow the occupant to operate each zone separately. Each bathroom contains its own ultra high efficient on-demand water heater to reduce primary energy needs. The floor has radiant heating in the concrete topping for low energy supplementary heating while also absorbing the heat from the sun’s rays in winter months and re-radiates it back into the space. In summer, the shaded concrete floors are naturally cool. The competition required that the building be constructed at least 5’0 from grade, a code requirement in New Orleans to minimize potential flooding damage. Sustainable TO decided to lift the main floor to 7’0 above grade, providing both extra security from flooding and an outdoor living space that has storage and shaded parking for vehicles beneath it. At the outset of the project, the team agreed that the winning entry was likely to be the most simple, and they were right. “We relied on using the design to first solve the problems, and the simplest technology we could find second,” said Paul. These days we often see a mixture of building styles from all over the world in our North American cities even though we live in a particular climate zone. Perhaps we need to get back to first principles by considering vernacular architecture and the features that our ancestors used in a particular climate. Like Sustainable TO, we may find some very simple strategies that can assist us in designing and building lower energy homes. GILLIAN LIND IS THE PRESIDENT OF THE SUSTAINABLE HOUSING FOUNDATION. 21
  24. 24. 22 PAGE TITLE Leaders in Green Home Building Honoured at ENERQUALITY 2011 Awards of Excellence The EnerQuality 2011 Awards of Excellence recognize leaders in construction who have demonstrated an exceptional commitment to building high-performance, energy-efficient, sustainable new housing. According to EnerQuality President Corey McBurney, "nominees and finalists are true leaders in sustainable building, which is important to today’s knowledgeable homebuyers. We congratulate the winners, in particular, for their outstanding contributions as industry role models.” EnerQuality’s Green Builder of the Year was awarded to Empire Communities. Saluting them for demonstrating innovation and excellence through labeling, marketing and sales, and for their work in raising consumer awareness. Empire Communities was also recognized as EnerQuality’s ENERGY STAR® for New Homes Builder of the Year. A strong commitment to environmentally friendly living is an integral part of Empire Communities. Executive Vice President Paul Golini Jr. believes that “the homebuyers of today want that to be a feature of their new home.” An ENERGY STAR participant builder since 2007, Empire raised the bar once again this past year with the launch of their ECO2 package in Brantford. EnerQuality’s Best Green Marketing Campaign and Building Innovations and Excellence Award (in the large volume builder category) were awarded to Eastforest Homes. “Marketing energy efficiency and green is a challenge for many builders. Eastforest has done a tremendous job,” said EnerQuality’s Director of Client Relations Michelle Cote. “The Eastforest Discovery Home is an excellent education tool. Visitors leave educated and inspired to buy an energy-efficient home.” EnerQuality’s ENERGY STAR® for New Homes Builder of the Year (small volume builder category) is Doug Tarry Homes who builds ENERGY STAR qualified homes as standard. Doug Tarry is committed to being an industry leader, "we're on a path of continuous improvement to Net Zero ready. At Doug Tarry Homes, we are committed to building affordable and custom built homes that perform above and beyond.” The awards for EnerQuality R-2000 Builder of the Year and Building Innovation and Excellence (in the small volume builder category) went to Marshall Homes. “All homebuyers want to save energy and make a reasonable return on investment with little or no effort,” says Craig Marshall, founder of Marshall Homes. “Energy modeling and pricing for the individual homebuyer assures them they will receive a positive return on their energy savings investment. This was key towards transforming our market.” Kitchener-Waterloo area builder Stonecroft Homes is the GreenHouse™ Certified Construction Builder of the Year in recognition of their commitment to building GreenHouse Certified Homes. GreenHouse Certified Homes are ENERGY STAR qualified and include stringent standards for water conservation, materials/resource management, and indoor air quality. EnerQuality’s EnerGuide Rating Service Builder of the Year Award was won by Haldiman and Norfolk Counties area builder Prominent Homes. Prominent Homes is also an ENERGY STAR participant builder. Commitment, leadership, advocacy, and innovation were all recognized in Awards categories. Industry Partner of the Year, which went to Reliance Home Comfort; two Leader of the Year Awards, won by Andy Goyda of Owens Corning and Sean Mason of Mason Homes Ltd; and Evaluator of the Year, presented to Building Knowledge Inc. The Hall of Fame Award honours David Horton, Executive Director of the Ontario Home Builders’ Association who recently celebrated 25 years with the organization. Added McBurney, “All winners represent Ontario’s best and brightest in sustainable building, and are making exciting things happen across the industry. We are privileged to work in an industry with so many true innovators and leaders guiding sustainable building now and for the future.”
  25. 25. ISSUE 01 | SUMMER 2012 23 PAGE TITLE Specializing in Integrated Mechanical Systems ALPHA Comfort Control is a full service, heating, air conditioning and refrigeration company offering sales, installation, maintenance and repair of residential and commercial equipment. ALPHA Comfort Control is dedicated to provide the highest quality services including the design and installation of new equipment and retrofits of existing systems. Go Green with Solar Commercial / Industrial Residential Complete environmental solutions for solar power weather heaters and geo thermal systems heating solutions. Install and Service, rooftop units, unit heaters, exhaust fans, make up air units, fan coils and boilers. Install and Service furnaces, air conditioners, fireplaces, humidifiers, duct work, tankless water heaters, and air cleaners.
  26. 26. 24 BUILDER NEWS SB12’s Policy Playmates “THERE IS NOTHING NEW UNDER THE SUN”, AND THE RULES OF HOMEBUILDING HAVE CHANGED, AGAIN. Many of us have been watching the building code for a long time, and the 2006 code gave us warning of changes that would take affect this year, so I suppose we should all have seen it coming. Somehow, SB-12 still seems like a moving target that has left the industry with more questions than answers. SB-12, the supplemental building standard that helps “simplify” compliance with the energy effi- ciency requirements now included in part 12 of the Ontario Building Code, was released last year and updated in Dec. to give builders a set of recipes, or prescriptive roadmaps, to comply with the new energy requirements of the code. All told, there are over 6200 different ways to comply now, from EnerGuide 80 to ENERGY STAR to a collection of tables that have many different pre-configured compliance packages: blessed by the Ministry of Housing and ready for use. It’s a mixed story really. The tables in SB-12 were developed by reputable consultants under se- vere time constraints, and although there is room to argue that the tables are not “simple”, and are perhaps not the best reflection of what the industry actually needs, they are at least helpful, and the Ministry deserves some commendation for producing them so quickly. Still, one wonders whether the end product might have been much better if the consulting work of creating these tables had been properly bid out to the consulting industry and developed with a more comprehensive stakeholdering process. Afterall, like the rest of us, they’ve known this was coming since 2006. For example, it’s noteworthy that the SB-12 tables are entirely silent on some technologies like drainwater heat recovery, which is used in nearly 20% of new homes in Ontario. One would think that the Ministry and the consultants they work with would have known that. And useful as the tables are, they’re so tightly defined that it will only be a matter of time until other product suppliers are hounding the government to revise the tables to include other options. Personally, I’d prefer to see SB-12 replaced with a shopping list more like what France has developed, where builders can read a list of different energy efficiency features like improved insulation, HRV’s, etc, that are each allocated a certain number of points which represent the impact they have on the home’s energy performance, and each home is required to add a certain number of features from the list that add up to a minimum performance. This would enable builders to make a list of their preferred options, and would give the government all the room it needs to re-assess the products on the list over time, to add or remove features and edit the points accorded to various items as the industry changes. In the mean time, there are tools like that at least help to make this process easier, and there are tons of consultants making money off of training. It will be interesting to look back a year from now and see what lessons we’ve learned. DEREK SATNIK IS THE PRESIDENT OF MINDSCAPES INNOVATIONS AND A LEED PROVIDER. DEREK SATNIK ["In the mean time, there are tools like that at least help to make this process easier" ]
  27. 27. ISSUE 01 | SPRING 2012 25 PAGE TITLE Features The Power-Pipe® uses outgoing warm drain water to pre-heat incoming cold freshwater in Residential, Commercial and Industrial, thereby reducing energy costs. TURN THAT WASTED ENERGY INTO $AVING$ WITH THE Saving Energy Intelligently E N E R G Y I N C . Developed and Manufactured by: LOWER ENERGY BILLS. GREAT RETURNS. Drain Water Heat RecoverySystems H O W I T W O R K S ® Commercial Applications Rec. facilities, restaurants, laundry, hospitals, prisons Many design & installation options Water heating can be one of the highest loads Save 30% to 60% in water heating costs Investment Returns of 20 to 100%/year Industrial Processes Many industrial processes dump warm effluent Maintenance-free and seamless integration Water heating is often the largest energy load Save 30% to 70% in water heating costs Investment Returns of 25 to 300%/year MANY PROVEN MARKETS Single-Homes Both new construction and retrofit 3 very simple installation options Water heating commonly accounts for 20% to 30% of total energy costs Save 20% to 35% in water heating costs Investment Returns of 10 to 50%/year Multi-Unit Residential Buildings Apartment buildings, condos, dorms, hotels Several different design options Water heating commonly accounts for 25% to 35% of total energy costs Save 25% to 40% in water heating costs Investment Returns of 15 to 50%/year ]
  28. 28. Proje 26 BUILDER NEWS A Low-cost Solution to Make Homes More Airtight The model home at Horseshoe Ridge near Barrie isn’t just beautiful to look at – it is a LEED Silver candidate that includes a host of sustainable features. Durability of the model home and the others to be built at the development was important to the builder (and a way to earn LEED points) and an innovative air barrier made by Henry, a Cana- dian company, helped accomplish that objective. The Blueskin® WB window and door flashing was used on the home. “Horseshoe Ridge Homes was focused on energy efficiency and durability and looking to differentiate itself,” said Martin Kuypers, Henry’s residential business development leader. “Blueskin can help with all that and the result is fewer callbacks. Anytime you can prevent water from damaging a building (or house), it improves its durability. Protecting a building from water makes it last longer.” Henry’s origins date back to the 1930s as a supplier of construction coatings and cements. It introduced air barriers more than three decades ago and has continued to develop a world-class line of building envelope systems and products. The Blueskin membrane has been in existence since the early 90’s and has been used extensively on condominium towers and on commercial and institutional buildings, such as the Iroquois Centre in Whitby and on the Canadian Museum of Human Rights in Winnipeg. Fifteen years ago, the company started to recognize a demand in the residential sector for better built homes and felt Blueskin would be an asset. Initially, it was used on roofs, then in basements and now the Blueskin line has expanded with specialty products for a broad variety of applications and structures. One of Henry’s exciting new products, Blueskin VP™, is a vapor permeable building “skin”, designed to replace traditional house wraps in residential applications. Like the name suggests, it’s blue in color. It is fully adhered to sheathing using a peel and stick system which requires no fasteners and has excellent adhesion. Because there are no staple holes or tears, it provides a continuous plane of air-tightness to block moisture and air movement. Traditional house wraps provide a rain barrier but are often not effective as air barriers unless extensive detailing, fastening, taping and sealing have been done. Consequently, they allow uncontrolled air movement, resulting in reduced thermal performance of the wall assembly, as well as the potential for moisture and mold problems. Large production builders throughout Ontario are now using Blueskin VP, as well as numerous custom builders and renovators. The benefits that Blueskin VP provides to homeowners include greater comfort due to elimination of drafts, improved insulation performance for lower energy costs, better air quality and a healthier indoor environment.“With homes getting more expensive to heat and cool, contractors are getting the fact that homeowners are interested in future-proofing for long-term savings,” said Dawn Nigro, president of Henry Company Canada, Inc. TRACY HANES ]["With homes getting more expensive to heat and cool, contractors are getting the fact that homeowners are interested in future-proofing for long-term savings"
  29. 29. Next generation technology for wood frame construction Drawing on decades of commercial air barrier experience, Henry Company has created Blueskin VP™ – a fully-adhered Building Envelope System® that functions not only as a water resistant barrier and rain barrier, but stops uncontrolled air leakage to improve building comfort, safety and energy efficiency. • Provides superior moisture and water protection • Eliminates drafts to improve comfort • Reduces energy costs • Improves insulation performance • Simple to install Fully adhered means: Air Tight Water Tight Weather Tight Picks up where traditional house wraps leave off! For more on how BlueskinVP™ contributes to an effective Building Envelope System® , visit us at Project by Build Urban ( 27ISSUE 01 | SPRING 2012 ]
  30. 30. REGISTER NOW for the premier green building and sustainability conference in Canada. Visit for information on 30+ accredited sessions, 50+ speakers, a two-day Expo, and great networking and social events. EARLY BIRD SAVINGS expire May 1, 2012. PRESENTING SPONSOR PRIME SPONSORWELCOME RECEPTION AND OPENING KEYNOTE SPONSOR GALA DINNER SPONSOR VIP RECEPTION SPONSOR June 11-13 | Toronto CaGBC National Conference & Expo 2012 28 BUILDER NEWS Kuypers said homeowners who initially spend more on energy efficient upgrades for their homes will recoup that in energy savings and in the resale value of their home if they sell in future. There is a myth that most people change homes in three to five years, but it’s actually eight to nine years, he said, thus they are there long enough to reap a return on their investment. “This is a low-cost solution to make homes more airtight,” said Nigro. “We’ve always had residential products, such as flashing and the waterproof membrane, but they were sold to the residential market through retailers. We weren’t dealing exclusively with builders per se.” Retailers such as Tim-Br Mart, The Home Depot Canada, Turkstra, Lowe’s and Home Hardware carry Henry products. But with the recent code changes and builders having to achieve greater energy efficiency with the homes they build, Henry Canada is increasingly working directly with builders to help them understand these changes and how to address them by choosing the right products. A recent example is an event held by the company to host a HERS (Home Energy Rating System) training session at its Scarborough offices. “When the building code changes, builders will have to look at how they put in air barriers,” said Kuypers. “Builders look at the quality, the ease of application and the price. That’s how they make their decisions. One of the things that drew me to Henry was that this company has very good to great products and years of standing behind them.”
  31. 31. ion ay nce ISSUE 01 | SPRING 2012 BUILDER NEWS 29 High Performance Basements Today’s homebuyers are more aware of how space is used in their homes and increasingly expect that their basements provide the same level of comfort, livability, and moisture control as above grade spaces. Homebuyers are not willing to accept the damp, cold, wet, moldy basements of the past. As one of the major sources of heat loss within a home, basements are now required to be insulated near full height. For builders, basements have traditionally been the source of frustration as they are often constructed with serious defects. Creating a healthy, comfortable living space in the basement is a challenge for them. Getting it right begins by understanding materials, components, and systems that are used in the basement and how they work together. It also means not missing the important air sealing details in the basement. A high performance basement protects the interior environment and maintains a high level of comfort for the occupant. High performance basements are not only healthier to live in, but are also well insulated and cost less to maintain. This means healthier interior environments, reduced energy consumption, and a more durable and effective product. For most builders, building a high performance basement means keeping it dry and free of moisture. Controlling moisture from getting into the basement from all its sources continues to be a big challenge. Air leakage and soil gas control have now been added to this list of concerns builders need to deal with. A crucial step to high performance is ensuring basement air barriers are continuous to minimize vapour movement from air leakage. Air infiltration is of extreme importance to a builder designing a high performance basement, as it is the cause of many problems. A high performance basement reduces the exfiltration and infiltration of air and other harmful gases from the surrounding soils. The 2012 Code requires the entire envelope air barrier be continuous from basement slab to top storey ceiling. Header areas are a very significant source of air Header wrap sealed to concrete wall Drainage layer sealed at top Dampproofing to grade Full height insulation Low vapour permeance membrane to grade Drainage layer Filter cloth Weeping tile Geo-textile protection Vapour barrier Positive initial grading to prevent ponding No gaps in insulation Clamped Sealed Sealed Dampproofed and keyed to footing Granular layer beneath slab Granular backfill min. 150 mm (5-7/8'') Detailed Section of a Typical Foundation Wall with Near Full Height Basement Insulation and Best Practice Techniques Full Height Blanket System mechanical fastener Termination bar fastened into the wall 2012 MICHAEL LIO
  32. 32. 30 Reliable, Consistent, MaRtinoHeating • air Conditioning • indoor air Quality • HVaC Design www.martinohvac.com1-800-465-5700 ™ leakage as the air barrier is often damaged during construction, or is not properly sealed. Header air barriers need to be continuous. This means that the header wrap will no longer be permitted to dangle without connecting to the foundation wall or to a sheet air barrier over the foundation wall. A leaky header allows warm moist air during hot summers to be pumped against the interior polyethylene, which is often cooled by an air conditioner, allowing excess water vapour to condense. Substantial volumes of moisture can condense on the poly in summer due to this mechanism. At the bottom of the wall, a simple seal along the junction of the slab and foundation wall will reduce soil gases from getting into the basement. Alternatively, sealing the interior poly air vapour barrier to the slab can also seal out the soil gases. The new Code also requires penetrations into the basement be sealed, for example with regards to drains and service, sump pit covers must be sealed. The tools and techniques builders need to achieve high performance basements are often simple and inexpensive, but require planning, know-how, and dedication to deliver a quality home. With the new provisions for housing and small buildings coming into effect, builders need to respond by exploring high performance systems to improve energy efficiency and occupant comfort, creating a more marketable product. For smart builders, the new Code requirements present an opportunity to perfect their craft and to deliver the high performance living space that their home buyers expect. MICHAEL LIO IS THE PRESIDENT OF LIO & ASSOCIATES, A REGULAR CONTRIBUTOR, THIS ARTICLE WAS SUBMITTED BY A COLLEAGUE JANELLE DAY.
  33. 33. 33ISSUE 01 | SPRING 2012 om ™ You can build on BP innovations Insulsheathing One big panel, two huge advantages: strength and insulation R-4 Insulsheathing’s two-layer construction delivers cost-effective energy efficiency plus a highly effective acoustics and weather barrier. > 4’x 9’x 1 1/8”composite board > Stronger structural strength – no bracing required > High insulation value with breathable construction > Excellent acoustic performance > Lightweight, quick and easy to install > Great value, low-cost > Meets standards and building code requirements. For more information, visit Keep the weather out and your costs down
  34. 34. 32 BUILDER NEWS A More Forgiving Basement Wall (PART 1) INWARD BOUND VAPOUR DIFFUSION A couple of years ago we were going into a site that had particularly moist soil conditions and were concerned that we could end up with problems of moisture in our basement walls. As builders we know that basements can be a major challenge. This is especially true today as our clients’ expectations have changed significantly. They expect basements to be as liveable as the rest of their home. And as builders we all dread that call from a client saying they have moisture in their basement. In discussing the idea with other builders, I have heard more than one say "Don't ever open up a basement wall. You know what you are going to find there." They mean mould of course. And I understand their point. We make homes much tighter than we used to, we insulate them more and we follow what the building code says and then.... it doesn't always work. So we knew there was a fairly good chance that we were going to have moisture problems and decided to try and design a more forgiving basement wall. We began to research the problem and talked to Gord Cooke, John Godden and pretty much anybody that would return an email. The more we researched the more we realized that the real potential problem would be inward bound vapour diffusion. (That’s when water is sucked up from the ground, through the footing and into the foundation wall then the sun hits the concrete and pushes the moisture into the home where the vapour condenses when it hit the cooler basement air). Try explaining that to a customer who thinks their foundation is leaking and you get the idea of why we wanted to avoid the issue. Once we understood the major challenge, we decided to redesign our basement wall detail. Affordability was a major consideration as our community has suffered a major loss of manufacturing jobs. We decided to redesign the foundation wall detail to isolate the foundation wall from the surrounding soil moisture. We were already using full height fibreglass insulation, a header wrap through the belt, tar on the foundation as our damp-proofing and ROXUL drain clad on the outside. We kept the tar damp-proofing, changed out the ROXUL for the Delta Membrane on the exterior then added the Cosella-Dorken Delta Footing Barrier and a cold joint caulking between the footing and the foundation wall. I then met with my building inspector Leon Bach and reviewed the new details. Leon was very helpful in reviewing the building science of the problem. This was critically important as there were others in the building industry and other inspectors that felt it was just latent moisture still coming out of the curing concrete. Leon understood my point that if this were the case, then every home with this situation should have the same challenge. He was in agreement with the concept and agreed to work with us to monitor the installation and performance of the wall. Once we understood the problem and had worked out our detail, we implemented the change for all homes under construction. And it has worked very well. By eliminating the ability of the foundation wall to wick moisture from the soil, we limited the amount of potential moisture that could be forced into the home. Since we changed this detail we have had only very minor instances of conden- sation on our basement poly during the warmer months. And it was a great first step to a more forgiving basement wall. DOUG TARRY JR., IS THE DIRECTOR OF MARKETING AT DOUG TARRY HOMES IN ST. THOMAS , ONTARIO. DOUG TARRY
  35. 35. ISSUE 01 | SPRING 2012 31 Why choice renovators stand behind Roxul Insulation. Better fit. Fewer call-backs. More satisfied customers. When your customers demand quality, start with the better quality insulation. Fire-resistant and water repellant, Roxul insulation is easy to work with, cuts with a serrated knife and fits snug without sagging. Choose Roxul ComfortBatt™ for thermal insulation of exterior walls and attics, and Roxul Safe‘n’Sound™ for soundproofing interior walls and ceilings to make your next renovation professional grade. ROXUL® INSULATION ROX-2355_0612
  36. 36. 36 PAGE TITLE Features A warm transition With a retail value of over $600, a Drain Water Heat Recovery unit is easy to install and helps homeowners reclaim water heat that is lost down the drain. Other benefits include: Maintenance free system Reduce water heating costs by up to 40% Reuse heat energy which is good for the environment Contact your Enbridge Channel Consultant for more information. Call: 1-877-736-1503 Email: By installing a Drain Water Heat Recovery system in your clients’ new homes, you are one step closer to meeting Ontario’s new building codes for 2012.