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 .
the builder’s source
ISSUE 03 | FALL 2012
IN THIS ISSUE
• IDP in RENOVATIONS
• Multi-unit RETROFITS
• Whole House RATINGS
• Municipal Approvals - Labels VS Lists
• How To Choose an HRV
• George Brown and the Argile Project
Building Luxury Design and
Performance in Kleinburg
71 Innovation Drive, Unit 8 & 9, Vaughan, Ontario L4H 0S3 Tel. 905.264.1414 Fax: 905.264.1147 ﬂowmaxtechnologies.com
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
14 Rosehaven Goes HERS “The Platinum Collection”
Luxury, Design & Performance in Kleinburg
BY TRACY HANES
02 Publisher's Note -The New Three Rs: Renovations,
Retrofits and Rating Systems
BY JOHN GODDEN
03 The New Three Ls: Lists, Labels and Leadership
BY BRYAN TUCKEY
04 Choosing the Right HRV / ERV
BY GORD COOKE
06 Performance versus Prescription for Airtightness:
The Proof is in the Pudding
BY LOU BADA
07 Airtightness Without the Mess: A Site Perspective
BY JOHN BELL
08 Green Rater: The New Kid on the Block
BY TYLER HERMANSON
10 Whole House Energy Ratings
BY JOHN GODDEN
12 Energy Rating Before: The Importance of
Benchmarking Envelopes and Mechanical Systems
BY GRAHAM FISHER
18 IDP in Renovation: A New Approach
BY ALEX NEWMAN
20 Restoring a Low-Rise Multi-Unit Residential
BY MARK SALERNO AND GRAHAM FISHER
23 Home Energy Ratings Come to Canada!
BY ALLISON A. BAILES III
24 The New Building Code: Challenges for R2000
BY TRACY HANES
25 The Argile Project: George Brown Covers
BY CHRIS TIMISK
BY BARB RUDBERG
29 LEED Silver House
BY ALEX NEWMAN
30 The Plane View: What’s Driving Your Personal
BY WENDY SHAMI
33 A Better Basement with Underslab Insulation
BY DOUG TARRY
35 The Scotia Bank
BY CRAIG BACKMAN
the builder’s source
NICK SANCI AND MARCO GUGLIETTI
OF ROSEHAVEN ON THE COVER
ISSUE 03 | FALL 2012
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The New Three Rs:
RENOVATIONS, RETROFITS AND RATING SYSTEMS
Existing buildings are responsible for over forty percent of the
world’s primary energy consumption. Past issues of Better Builder
have focused on new construction. It’s time to include existing
buildings, and thus the emergence of the New 3 Rs. Renovations,
Retrofits and last but not least Ratings. Ratings allow us to classify
according to grade or rank. Benchmarking is essential for allowing us
to decide which are the best ways to move forward to save energy
and reduce CO2.
In partnership with Scotia Bank, the Sustainable Housing Foundation
has developed the Ecoliving Energy Calculator: it allows homeowners
to quickly rate potential savings for their homes. Electricity and plug
loads are becoming the largest household expense and component
load. Rating systems for new and existing homes can start
measuring total house energy loads in order to create awareness
and change in consumer behavior.
Almost all energy and green labels are supported by and include
energy rating at their core. The rating criteria or list of important
features or best practices is the backbone of any label. Bryan Tuckey
addresses the new 3 Ls; Lists, Labels, and Leadership as they pertain
to the industry’s need to satisfy municipal requirements.
Our feature this month, Rosehaven Homes is an example of a
builder that is using the HERS rating system to reflect the value of
design and performance of their homes.
The word renovate means to make new. Employing the Integrated
Design Process, Sandra Baldwin renovates an old home and the
result is a remodel that rates better than a brand new one.
When it comes to retrofitting an existing build, Gord Cooke high-
lights the key factors in choosing an effective ventilation system.
Gord’s article is the first of a two-part series. Graham Fisher and
Mark Salerno report on a charette that explored “Restoring a Low
Rise Multi Unit Residential Building.”
The Plane View comments on how our
biology impacts our purchasing decisions
through our personal rating systems.
In closing, I’d like to thank all of you
who are supporting Better Builder. I
would also like to invite you to contribute
your ideas and articles to editorial@bet-
terbuilder.ca. Working together, Better
Builder is building capacity and gaining
momentum as the builder’s source.
ISSUE 03 | FALL 2012
The New Three Ls:
LEADERSHIP, LABELS AND LISTS
This edition is all about the 3 Rs – Renovations, Retrofits and Ratings. I want to offer some insight into three different
letters that are also becoming synonymous with sustainability and green building: the 3 Ls – lists, labels and leadership.
At BILD, we are committed to promoting sustainable development and
green building (new and renovation) because the Greater GTA is the place
where we live, work and play—and it’s our home too.
Our Association is also committed to housing affordability and choice,
objectives that can impact what approach one takes to build and develop
in a sustainable way. Our green policy has always been to leave those
decisions up to the individual builder, developer and professional renovator.
In the voluntary versus mandatory debate, we will side with voluntary
because our members should be free to choose from among the various
programs and labels available based on their business assessment
relative to their buyers’ preferences and market feasibility.
Recognizing that the Ontario Building Code is King, as we say here
at BILD, we have created a forum at the Association for members to
discuss programs, products and the latest innovations that are reaching
beyond what the provincial standard sets out. Our Green Leadership
Committee has more than 20 members representing builders, developers,
renovators, as well as associate and supplier members.
With a mandate to promote and share information about green innovation, the Committee has taken on the task of
creating a list of best practices used by the industry right now—what works and what doesn’t—in key sustainability
areas such as energy use, water, wastewater, hydro, sewage, recyclable material and more.
It’s a big compilation, but the members around the
table in this Committee are our experts and they
are implementing these sustainability features in
homes across the GTA every day. Once the list
of sustainable strategies used by our members
is complete, it will be a helpful tool in explaining
what works and what doesn’t to our municipal
and regional partners in the community building
With a list of sustainable strategies, our members
can then decide if they want to align themselves
with a green label, marketing the value proposition
to the homeowner.
BRYAN TUCKEY IS PRESIDENT AND CEO OF THE BUILDING INDUSTRY AND LAND
DEVELOPMENT ASSOCIATION (BILD) AND CAN BE FOUND ON TWITTER (TWITTER.
COM/BILDGTA), FACEBOOK (FACEBOOK.COM/BILDGTA), YOUTUBE (YOUTUBE.
COM/BILDGTA) AND BILD’S OFFICIAL ONLINE BLOG (BILDBLOGS.CA).
MaRtinoHeating • air Conditioning • indoor air Quality • HVaC Design
Choosing the Right HRV / ERV
Ventilation is an important element for the prevention and resolution of indoor air quality problems in both new and existing
homes. All homes need the capacity for delivery of fresh air. We used to rely on operable windows for this capacity but since
1990 in Ontario, the building code has recognized that windows are unlikely to be opened often enough to ensure a reliable
supply of fresh air so they added the requirement for builders to provide a mechanical ventilation solution in all homes. While
there are simple options like continuously operating bath fans, more and more builders, HVAC contractors and even home-
owners, are recognizing that a more sustainable approach to providing the capacity for continuous ventilation is a packaged
heat or energy recovery ventilation device (HRV or ERV).
Of course the obvious question might be how does one choose a unit from the over 250 HRV and ERV
models currently listed on the Home Ventilating Institute product directory site (www.hvi.org). HVI is an
industry association that provides a listing of independent test results for a wide range of bath fans,
range hoods and other ventilation devices. So the first decision criteria is easy: look for an HVI labeled
product. It is in essence a code requirement that HRVs and ERVs be HVI labeled for all single family and
multi-family dwellings, including high-rise suites. The HVI listings show both the airflow and the energy
recovery performance of the devices and this provides a perfect clue for the first two of five important
selection criteria. The decision criteria are roughly in order of importance, that is, there is no sense choosing an ERV
technology first that doesn’t have the proper air flow capacity.
1. Choose a Unit with the Right Ventilation Capacity:
The Ontario Building Code describes two levels of ventilation:
• The Principal or Continuous Ventilation Capacity (PVC) – a rate that occupants are encouraged to achieve on a continuous
basis. It is based on the number of bedrooms in a home – 30 cubic feet per minute (CFM) or 15 liters per second (L/s) for the
first bedroom and 15 CFM (7.5 L/s) for each additional bedroom. So the minimum Principal Ventilation Capacity for a new or
existing home with 3 bedrooms would be 60 CFM (30 L/s).
• The Total Ventilation Capacity (TVC), Intermittent Rate or Minimum Ventilation Capacity – this is a higher rate designed to
handle unusual or intermittent occupant pollutant loads. It is usually based on a count of the total number of rooms in the
house – bedrooms, bathrooms, kitchen, living room, dining room etc. The master bedroom and an unfinished basement
are counted as two rooms each. The total number of rooms is multiplied by 10 CFM per room or 5 L/s to arrive at a total. A
typical 3 bedroom, 2 bathroom house with an unfinished basement might have a TVC of 120 – 150 CFM, depending
on the total number of rooms in the house.
Now you have a choice. You can size the HRV/ERV do be able to handle the TVC - total ventilation capacity of the house
or you can choose an HRV/ERV that has a capacity to meet just the PVC rate and use a selection of bath fans and a
range hood to make up the total ventilation requirement. Clearly this second choice would mean a smaller more cost
effective HRV or ERV and manufacturers are responding by making smaller equipment available. This strategy is a great
choice in an existing home that already has bathroom fans or in new homes where ducting the HRV to exhaust from the
upstairs bathrooms is difficult.
In any event when choosing an airflow capacity, be reminded that all fans and ventilators are rated at different static
pressures. The static pressure is a measure of the resistance presented by ductwork, fittings, grilles and terminations
an appliance can overcome. In the HRV/ERV world, a realistic installed static pressure is 0.3 to 0.4 inches of water
column (W.C.) or 75 to 100 Pascals (Pa). Choose an appliance that can move the required amount of air for your homes
at these static pressures or higher to be sure your clients get the airflow performance they need.
2. Choose the Energy Effectiveness of the HRV or ERV you Need or Desire.
Again the Ontario Building Code has specific requirements for minimum efficiencies of HRV/ERVs when they are being used.
First, at a minimum, all devices installed under the OBC must have a sensible recovery efficiency (SRE) of at least 55% when
ISSUE 03 | FALL 2012 5
tested at 60 CFM (30 L/s) and -25°C. This is a very specific test condition that can found
for any appropriate unit for Ontario on the HVI product directory list. Some units listed do
not meet this requirement, so it is important to verify this.
Second, the new energy efficiency requirements in the code
may require very specific minimum energy efficiency levels.
These requirements are always listed as the SRE at 0°C and
at 60 CFM (30 L/s). Typical requirements are a minimum
of 55%, 60%, 70% and 75%. Again, looking at the HVI
product listing is the best way to confirm the equipment
you are considering can meet your intended performance
One easy way to choose an efficient HRV / ERV is to look for
units that meet the new Tier II ENERGY STAR requirements
for HRV/ERVs. These new requirements came into effect
in June of 2012 and any labeled product will have SREs of at least 65% at O°C and 60%
at -25°C. Much like the ENERGY STAR Label for NEW Homes, HRV/ERVs bearing the
ENERGY STAR label represent an easy way to identify a “best in class” appliance.
The last three selection criteria are Recovery Core Technology, Appropriate Duct
Configurations and Control Strategies. These will be discussed next time.
GORD COOKE IS THE PRESIDENT OF BUILDING KNOWLEDGE CANADA
Vigör is worth a tweet or two.
Our lowest priced HRV/ERV
delivers powerful ventilation for
small spaces. It’s so easy to
install, you’ll wonder why you
ever chose anything else.
Now that’s winning.
to learn more.
VEN_Ad_MB_Jun2311.indd 1 11-06-24 9:29 A
maRtinoHeating • air conditioning • indoor air Quality • HVac design
Performance Versus Prescription
for Air Tightness
THE PROOF IS IN THE PUDDING
Recent changes in the Ontario Building Code in regard to Air Barrier details have forced the home building industry to
focus more attention to the execution of air barrier installation. Air barriers are not new to the code, but there was need
for greater attention to detail as a requisite for more airtight and energy efficient buildings. Along with air tightness, proper
and efficient ventilation are the yin and yan of good building practice and as such both are referenced in the code. HRVs
and principal fans are tested to ensure they do what they are supposed to do. It’s been an established practice in low
rise home building that testing systems and assemblies (air barriers included), and not necessarily every individual home,
provides an acceptable level of quality assurance and also simplifies and makes accessible the process of home building
throughout Ontario. Building inspections obviously play a critical role in this process.
With the help of our Energy Evaluator Clearsphere, and the common sense and clear-headedness of the Town of
Newmarket Building Department, we were able to demonstrate how modified assemblies could meet the intent of the
new Code through the blower door testing of our homes. This required greater attention to correct detail and process,
training of installers and finally measuring results. We also used the HERS (Home Energy Rating Scale) scale to highlight
what we could do outside of, and along with, the Energy Star label to reduce energy use. It required dispelling some
myths and some long held tendencies towards “more is better”. We were able to achieve the desired results by work-
ing smarter and harder only where it proved necessary, and skipping anything superfluous. Once we proved our assemblies
and demonstrated energy consumption reductions, everyone was comfortable to proceed on that basis.
The Ontario Building code is being held out to evolve towards a "performance based" code, to accommodate and
encourage quickly improving and using more sustainable materials, practices and technologies. The “what” the Code is
to become tells us nothing of the “how” this will come to be. Herein lays the dilemma. Given the litigious and consumer
focused atmosphere of our industry today how do we bring everyone to the table and address legitimate concerns? We
did it in Newmarket for air barriers with people of some goodwill and common sense, and we hope that this will become a
template for greater things to come.
LESS IS MORE- PROPER DETAILS AND COST SAVINGS.MORE IS NOT BETTER - TOO MUCH SEALANT.
LOU BADA IS THE CONSTRUCTION & CONTRACTS MANAGER FOR STARLANE HOMES
ISSUE 03 | FALL 2012 7ISSUE 03 | FALL 2012
Airtightness Without the Mess
A SITE PERSPECTIVE
I didn’t think it would be this easy, but working with good people, committed trades,
and a builder that takes pride in delivering a quality home, I should have known better.
Energy Star is not a first for Starlane, but for this group of staff at Kristall Peak it was
the first time building Energy Star homes. With that comes a list of requirements, dozens
of new things to consider, and often change is met with resistance. This can result in
poor execution, especially in the building business. The key for us was to provide an
overview of the changes that are required for Energy Star Homes. The most critical being
a required air tightness test, a result that has a pass and fail, and is something that has
little opportunity to be fixed, especially when drywall is complete and the exterior finish
is done. For the Kristall Peak Site in Newmarket, Starlane is required to meet 2.5 air
changes or lower and an NLR (Normalized Leakage Ratio) of .20 or lower. NLR is measured
air leakage relative to building surface area at 50 Pa of pressure differential.
The big leaks in new homes are the mechanical penetrations, exterior ducting, drop
ceilings in showers and bulkheads and mechanical trunk runs that have poor air vapour
barrier detailing. Exterior wall plugs, and attic hatches that are not properly sealed are
also problem areas. Cold storage doors and basement windows often get overlooked,
and can also be big leakage areas. When you add all of these up and other trouble
spots, this could exceed a 120 square inches of leakage which could mean a failed air
test. You can demonstrate this by opening a window 12”x10” and running a fan which
simulates the wind at a 40 mph. It’s now easy to see and feel how this leakage can
account for 15-20% of the homes energy costs.
We began an education process with Starlane right out of the gate, we gathered with the key subtrades that have an
effect on a homes air tightness (like mechanical and electrical contractors, framers and insulators). We also engaged
the local building inspector and asked for his input. We came up with a plan for all involved in this process, and high-
lighted proper procedure and then we turned them loose. Before drywall I did a visual inspection on every house, along
with the building inspector, which is required as part of the Ontario Building Code inspection process. The purpose of
this experiment was to improve air tightness and reduce costs through excessive use of acoustical sealant. HERS gives
credit for the quality of the insulation installed and rewards lower energy consumption based on its grading. Better installs
have higher effective R-values and the computer simulation yields a better rating.
Of the first 25 homes tested there was not a single issue with one of them. The process is down and it’s seamless. I show
up, prep the house, run the blower door test, and we have averaged 2.2 ACH @ 50. The best thing about this site for me is
the organization, the finishing super Doug Landon gets it! There are other requirements for Energy Star (like the HRV being
balanced and interlocked). He schedules me when the house in clean, empty and everything required is completed. Often
we are called to other sites when the houses are nowhere near ready, and sometimes it’s hard work to get them to pass.
The other rewarding thing about working with Starlane is they care. Both site supers John Franco and Doug are always
asking, “how did we do?” I often respond and smile, “do you really have to ask?” But what I really appreciate is their
At the end of the day, the real winner is the homeowner. They are buying an Energy Star Home that is supposed to be air
tight and energy efficient, and that’s exactly what they are getting.
JOHN BELL IS THE VP OF BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT AT GREYTER SYSTEMS INC.
You may have heard the terms “Provider” and “Green Rater” in relation to the LEED Canada for Homes program – but what
do they do and how do they support sustainable building in Alberta?
In short, Providers are the organizations that administer the LEED Canada for Homes program locally, completing the final
project review and ensuring all required submissions are made to the Canada Green Building Council.
Green Raters are the technical side of the inspection verification team. They report to the Provider, helping the project
team throughout the project and completing the on-site inspection work.
This system provides a triple check system of verification for LEED homes. The Green Rater checks the builder and
trades; the Provider checks the Green Rater’s work and the CaGBC checks all projects submitted by the Provider.
The system encompasses various business models for the relationship between Provider and Green Rater. Some Providers
like me are also qualified as a Green Rater. I have other in-house Green Raters and am also looking at contractor Green
Raters. Other Providers have no in-house Green Raters and use contractors for all inspections.
The role of a Green Rater isn’t always clear for builders and those new to the program. A Green Rater is part consultant,
part inspector and part file manager. We act as a key point between the building project team and the CaGBC and
Providers who certify the home.
A GREEN RATER:
A good Green Rater will not act as the "Green Police" on a LEED
Canada for Homes job site but as an educator and resource for project
teams to use as they move through construction and certification.
Current Green Raters come from a variety of backgrounds but they will
THE NEW KID ON THE LEED BLOCK
• Helps projects navigate the LEED process and requirements, offering
clarification and additional information (for example, offering advice
on proper features for good Radon sealing when protecting
foundations from sub-soil gasses)
• Completes visual inspections and reviews support documentation
to ensure all credits are verified (for example, completing required
inspections for insulation during construction and final inspections
• Collects documentation and accountability forms from the project
team, often the builder or architect, and compiles them into a
package for submission (for example, project teams have several
required accountability forms and signatures in all LEED projects, and
some credits require additional signoff),
• Signs off on the LEED project as compliant with the standard before
quality assurance and auditing by the Provider and CaGBC (for example,
Green Raters must approve a project as compliant and meeting the
certification levels before a project is submitted for certification).
Why LEED is
When public money has been
used for important civic
projects it becomes even
more important for there to
be clear accountability in a
project. When it comes to
prices and contracts public
projects can become heavily
scrutinized, but what about
the sustainability targets?
have experience in residential construction and high-performance, sustainable building practices. Some are technologists
or engineers, often with a background in EnerGuide or R2000 construction.
Often Green Raters have additional credentials as Certified Energy Advisors with EnerGuide, ventilation training
through HRAI and additional building science or building investigation training. They have valuable experience with
LEED and energy-efficient building techniques and they can be of considerable help to project teams working toward
TYLER HERMANSON, LEED AP+H, LEED FACULTY TYLER RUNS 4 ELEMENTS, A LEED PROVIDER AND DESIGN FIRM BASED IN CALGARY. TYLER HAS BEEN ACTIVE IN THE LEED CANADA FOR
HOMES PROGRAM SINCE ITS PILOT PHASE; HE AND HIS TEAM ARE CURRENTLY INVOLVED IN 32 LEED PROJECTS, OVER 249 HOMES ACROSS ALBERTA.
ALBERTA CHAPTER – CAGBC’S JULY 2012 PERSPECTIVES, OR JUST ALBERTA CHAPTER - CAGBC
ISSUE 03 | FALL 2012
REGISTRATION FEES ON ALL PROGRAMS ARE SUBJECT TO CHANGE.
Whole House Energy Ratings
Electricity, plug loads, and domestic hot water are becoming the largest household expense in a new home. Current
EnerGuide software uses electric consumption defaults that render every house the same. Domestic hot water loads are
defaulted in the same manner. HOT2000 really only measures space heating consumption and defaulted baseloads. It
compares this defaulted annual consumption to a reference house, not the actual modeled house, to achieve an energy
rating. Therefore, when townhouses are compared to this reference house, they achieve a higher rating because they
have a lower consumption. In this case less exposed walls and less windows yield an ERS 82. Conversely, when a large
house with many windows and a walkout basement is compared to the reference house with full grade height and thirteen
percent windows (ERS 80) they achieve a poor rating, sometimes as low as ERS 77.
This is an issue for code compliance using EnergyStar , or if the municipality is asking for better than building code.
For larger homes, HERS references the house itself and measures the improvement against that benchmark. It includes
baseloads for electrical usage and domestic hot
water which are specific to that house. Electrical
usage is based on conditioned floor areas and
hot water is determined by a bedroom count.
This better reflects the occupant count. HERS
also allows one to model credits that come from
using renewables like solar and drain water heat
recovery to lower energy consumption. If a higher
SEER air conditioner is chosen the home rating
reflects this. Already on three sub divisions, we
have used HERS to upsell twenty- five percent
of homeowners on insulation and mechanical
HERS considers primary energy ie: the source of
the energy, and converts it into costs. Energuide
uses energy factors. This creates distortions in
ratings. Heat pumps operate at a factor of four
times but they use a primary energy source which
can cost ten times as much as the alternative.
A picture is worth ten thousand words ( see
diagram: central electric power generation). In
the case of Ontario fifty percent of our electricity
is produced by nuclear energy. Up to sixty percent
of the energy is lost in generation, another fifteen
percent is lost in transmission and the result is
only twenty five percent ends up at your door.
Electricity is a form of energy, not a source of
energy. It has to be made from other sources
like nuclear and coal. Because of this the cost
of electricity has doubled at peak demand. It
is forecast to rise a minimum of eight percent
a year in the next five years. Conservation of
electricity is the key. HERS allows us to educate
homebuyers on the benefits of better lighting,
appliances and higher efficiency DC motors in
furnaces and HRVs.
11ISSUE 03 | FALL 2012
Rosehaven used the HERS index because it is a better way to communicate whole house energy consumption in larger
homes. HERS gives them credit for using an integrated mechanical system with drain water heat recovery and higher
SEER air conditioners. As electricity prices escalate, Rosehaven homeowners have been given choices to future proof
their homes using HERS.
for compact installations.
JOHN GODDEN IS THE PRESIDENT OF CLEARSPHERE AND PUBLISHING EDITOR OF BETTER BUILDER MAGAZINE.
A lovely two story detached house in a lovely neighborhood
of Toronto, the Moores’ house has been extensively
renovated. One striking change is that the upper level
ceiling has been eliminated, exposing the (now painted)
ceiling joists, rafters, and underside of the plank roof
sheathing. What had been a conventional attic is now
included in the conditioned part of the house. When an
addition at the front of the house was added, several
inches of rigid foam insulation was installed on the exterior
side of the roof sheathing. Despite the exterior insulation,
there are signs that the cooler surface of the ceiling in the
winter months is allowing condensation to form.
Adding to the trouble, the house is situated in an area
with a high water table. Moisture through the slab, the
brick foundation, and the two crawlspaces connecting to
the basement will contribute to elevated levels of humidity.
Modest exhaust fans throughout the house are likely ill-
equipped to manage the moisture challenges of this location.
To some extent they may even be adding to the problem by
drawing some replacement air from the moist ground.
The HVAC equipment at the Moores’ house is an induced
draft (80 AFUE) furnace, a conventional naturally aspirated
water heater, and a 10 SEER central air conditioner.
Measured duct leakage is about 50% of total air flow at
the furnace, with significant variation between registers.
Not surprisingly, temperatures in the house are reported as
being quite uneven during the heating season. (Ref Pic #2
Graham measuring airflow)
Several steps would help the Moore residence become a
healthier, more comfortable, and more efficient place to
1. Improve air circulation throughout the building for
heating, cooling, ventilation, humidification, and air
filtration by using an air handler with an ECM motor.
2. Manage the excess moisture through the use of an
HRV tied to the existing duct work.
3. Connect a condensing dual purpose water heater to
the air handler for both space heating and domestic
Energy Rating Before:
THE IMPORTANCE OF BENCHMARKING ENVELOPES AND MECHANICAL SYSTEMS
13ISSUE 03 | FALL 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
• 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 firstname.lastname@example.org or 416-415-5000 x4356.
4. Install a Power-Pipe drain water heat recovery system to further boost the efficiency of the hot water system.
5. Install a 14.5 SEER or higher central air conditioner
These steps would improve the HERS rating of the house from 137 to 94, reduce energy consumption by about 25%,
save close to $680 per year on energy costs, and help ensure the durability and livability of a charming house.
To complete the analysis after one year, we’ll revisit the Moores’ house with actual fuel bills to determine the effectiveness
of the retrofits.
In our next issue we’ll be talking about the post retrofit energy consumption of Tracy Hanes house.
GRAHAM FISHER RESIDENTIAL ENERGY CONSULTANT
Luxury, Design & Performance
in KleinburgBY TRACY HANES
GOES HERS“The Platinum Collection”
GOES HERS“The Platinum Collection”
ISSUE 03 | FALL 2012
ROSEHAVEN HOMES WILL COMBINE LUXURY, DESIGN
AND PERFORMANCE WITH A NEW ENCLAVE SITE ON THE
NORTHWEST CORNER OF HIGHWAY 27 AND NASHVILLE RD.
IN HISTORIC KLEINBURG.
The 44 homes in Kleinburg Heritage Estates will have a starting price in excess of $1 million and mark the launch
of the Rosehaven Platinum Collection, a new luxury brand for the company.
Rosehaven wanted to differentiate itself not only through upscale finishes and features and exceptional architecture
inspired by the heritage buildings of the village, but through the houses’ performance systems as well.
But the builder faced a dilemma: with the 2012 Ontario Building Code now equivalent to Energy Star Version 5
(EnerGuide 80), building to that label would no longer give Rosehaven a market edge or reflect the level of sophistication
of the Platinum Collection.
Rosehaven looked at constructing its Kleinberg houses to Energy Star Version 6 (EnerGuide 83) as a way to differentiate
itself from its competition, but found some major stumbling blocks: achieving the new version would represent a huge
jump and would be exorbitant in cost.
“Now Energy Star is the minimum Code requirement, but we are trying to go the next level,” says Rosehaven contracts
manager Nick Sanci. “The new version of Energy Star is unachievable. To get just one EnerGuide point would have cost
Rosehaven plans to build large luxury homes in its Kleinburg project and the EnerGuide rating system uses a 2,000 square-
foot-home as a benchmark, which is not realistic when the Rosehaven houses are considerably larger. The homes will be on
60 and 70-foot lots, with 2,900 to 4,800 square feet plus partially finished basements, which increases the living area of the
homes by an additional 600 to 700 square feet.
So the builder has decided to deviate from Energy Star and adopt HERS (Home Energy Rating System) for the site. With
HERS, Rosehaven can brand the houses using a rating system other than EnerGuide/Energy Star, meet the building code,
satisfy municipal requirements and have flexibility.
A home rated on the HERS Index is given a score based upon its energy performance as determined by a certified energy
rater. Developed by RESNET (Residential Energy Services Network) in the U.S. and endorsed by its Canadian counterpart,
CRESNET, the HERS rating for a typically built new house is 100 and zero for a Net Zero home (one that produces as much
energy as it uses). A house that scores 50 on the HERS scale is 50 per cent more energy efficient than a typically built new
home. The lower the score, the more energy efficient the home.
Energy Star Version 5 homes (or those built to the 2012
Ontario Building Code) would score 62 on the HERS
scale; the Rosehaven Kleinburg homes are aiming for a
HERS score of 47, making them considerably more
efficient even than homes built under the new Code.
At its Kleinburg site, Rosehaven will be introducing an
integrated mechanical system that uses a FlowMax dual-
purpose condensing hot water heater with an Air Max Air
Handler that is 95 per cent-plus efficient, equipped with
an ECM motor and a high efficiency HRV.
The Kleinburg homes will have two zoned systems:
one for the basement and first floor and another for the
second floor. The zoned systems will ensure consistent
comfort throughout all areas of the homes.
“With rising electricity costs, the integrated system out-
performs heat pumps and operates at less than half the
energy cost, even with multiples zones,” says Sanci. “The system delivers comfort and increased performance that exceeds
Energy Star requirements.”
Homeowners will enjoy a monthly cost savings of $98.46 on
their heating bills and 16 per cent on air conditioning costs
due to a unit which will have an ECM motor and a SEER
rating of 15, which is above Energy Star. Another bonus they
will enjoy is the limitless hot water supplied by the Flowmax
The EnerGuide rating system would not give Rosehaven
credit for the integrated mechanical system and the builder
wants to move ahead with the new techology that will out-
perform Energy Star 6 in terms of energy savings. EnerGuide
also offers no credit for gas savings for the drain water heat
recovery systems Rosehaven will use in the homes.
HERS also factors in air conditioning units with higher SEER
ratings and credits energy efficient appliances, which Energy
Star does not.
“In 2012, we want to be the first home builder in Canada
to rate a whole subdivision by HERS,” adds Sanci. “With
our Kleinburg site, we will be the first builder using the
integrated mechanical system. We could do Energy Star
Version 6, but at a cost which does not justify the return. It
DESIGNS MEET AND EXCEED THE VAUGHAN HERITAGE COMMITTEE GUIDELINES
AIRMAX/ FLOWMAX INTEGRATED MECHANICAL SYSTEM
ISSUE 03 | FALL 2012
would be way more expensive and the performance is not close to
what we’re doing.”
Rosehaven has been voluntarily rating houses for seven years.
Riverstone was the first EnerGuide rated subdivision in Canada
“No one forced us to, and we were able to offer Energy Star in
municipalities where it was required, like in Ancaster, Oakville,
Thorold, Nobleton and Bradford. ” says Sanci. “We have built 372
Energy Star houses to date, have 329 EnerGuide rated homes and
we are committed to building 1,456 Energy Star rated homes.
“But moving forward on big houses with the new technology, we
have to rethink how we are branding our houses. Energy Star
no longer reflects the value we are giving homeowners on larger
houses we are currently building in our Platinum Collection.”
Another issue is that municipal subdivision agreements are outdated
and don’t reflect the changes sweeping the industry. Some
specifically mandate Energy Star (meaning Version 5) which became
the building code standard in Ontario at the beginning 2012.
“They (municipalities) have to stop using prescriptive wording and
saying it has to be specifically Energy Star,” says Sanci. “There has
to be more performance-based language and we want municipalities to endorse the fact that we want to build a better
performing home. It will give us the freedom to use the rating system we want.”
Rosehaven plans to meet with City officials and partner up with them to to discuss the changes to the Code and Energy
STAR, and inform them and educate them about the HERS program so they can update the wording of their subdivision
“Some municipalities need help with the wording when they are rewriting subdivision approvals. The wording may be
more general, but in the end it works for everybody because it preserves choice,” says Sanci. “They will be endorsing
better performing houses above Code and it allows builders to choose the rating system they want to choose.”
Rosehaven will also be educating the potential home buyers that
come into its sales centre and décor office about how the homes’
features will provide enhanced comfort and save them money.
“We are providing them with a really good package that’s great for
the environment and for their pocketbooks,” says Joe Laronga,
architectural and engineering manager for Rosehaven. “In the past,
people thought green features cost too much money, but we are
giving a huge amount as standard.”
As well as being one of the first HERS rated subdivisions in Canada,
Kleinburg Heritage Estates will also be the first project to come
under Vaughan heritage committee guidelines. The home designs
which include Victorian, Georgian, Period Revival and Second
Empire had to be approved by the committee to ensure they were
achieving the authencity of architecture in the historic village.
TRACY HANES IS A FREELANCE FEATURE WRITER FOR THE LARGEST DAILY NEWSPAPER IN
CANADA AND SEVERAL MAGAZINES. WWW.TRACYHANES.CA
KLEINBURG SITE; LAY OF THE LAND, MANY WALK OUT BASEMENTS MAKE HERS
THE PREFERRED RATING SYSTEM.
HOMEBUYERS MEET THEIR HEART’S DESIRES THROUGH CUSTOM KITCHEN DESIGN
IDP in Renovation:
A NEW APPROACH
Contractor Sandra Baldwin didn’t start out this renovation
project thinking it would be an integrated design process (IDP).
It evolved that way, because it made the most sense.
Her clients, a newly married couple living in Leaside, first
approached her because of her specialization in second story
additions, and her familiarity with sustainability and energy
efficiency. The woman, a chemical engineer, also had a good
grasp of sustainable building practices. Even so, IDP was a
relatively new concept for both her, and Baldwin.
Why it works – not just on this particular project but on any
project – is because everyone involved, from trades and
designer, to contractor and client, works as a team.
Communication, therefore, is key – it ensures the team sees the
whole house as a system, understands the project’s scope, and
is equipped to tackle problems before they happen.
Or as Baldwin puts it, kind of like the right hand knowing what
the left is doing. When everyone involved knows what’s
going on, she explains, that impacts the way the project is done,
which ultimately benefits the overall structure of the home.
This process also permitted significant innovations. Baldwin,
for example, changed her mind on the heating system,
switching from low to high velocity, when an IDP consultant
suggested substituting regular joists with open web joists.
These would accommodate the smaller ductwork of the high
velocity system within the wall cavity, in turn eliminating the
need for unsightly bulkheads in the open concept main floor.
Since this system also had insulated ducts – unlike regular
sheet metal ducts – there would be less heat loss. A direct
current (DC) motor meant about 80% less electricity consumption,
and it generates continuous air circulation so interior air quality
Had the framer, heating and air installer, and designer not
been in close communication, those changes wouldn’t
have happened. And with the help of an IDP consultant,
Baldwin was able to show the customer the benefits of
specific systems, and how they could improve overall energy
efficiency. “Nobody thinks the client is interested,” Baldwin
says, “but whenever we do broach this subject, we have
great results. Clients are very open to the IDP approach, and to
expanding their product and materials package/collection.”
HIGH VELOCITY DUCTWORK IN OPEN WEB JOISTS VIRTUALLY ELIMINATES BULKHEADS"
19ISSUE 03 | FALL 2012
The integrated design process helped in other ways, too,
Baldwin says. For example, the client envisioned large sky-
lights, but thanks to the input of others, it was decided to
diminish the skylight size, still getting fantastic light but also
achieving better efficiency. “It’s a science to figure out the right
balance between plenty of light and greater energy efficiency,”
It was also decided to incorporate a drainwater heat recovery
system that uses the warm waste water from sinks and
showers, to help preheat water entering the hot water tank,
thereby reducing energy consumption.
The best part of the integrated design process, Baldwin says,
is that the client is involved in every decision, from how to
increase basement insulation, to using Henry Blueskin air and
vapour barrier to improve window and door seals openings,
and what to recycle. Existing solid wood doors, brass hard-
ware and stained glass windows were kept -- as much for character as for green reasons.
IDP above all creates effective “reachable” goals. The HERS index was used to objectively measure reduced loads and
What began with an energy audit has ended with a post renovation audit. Last year’s energy “report card” revealed that
the 80-year-old house had approximately nine air changes per hour – meaning it was pretty leaky. Now, a year later,
Baldwin reports that the “fantastic living space with its new second story and reconfigured main floor, has just 3.78 air
changes an hour. (A new home is about 3.6 air changes per hour.) It’s a performance report that has a renovated existing
home performing better than a new build. I am ecstatic to deliver that for the clients, but also really proud of my team of
trades for doing it.”
Restoring a Low-Rise Multi-Unit
It was mid-June 2012, when a stalwart group of housing technology experts descended upon George Brown College’s
Casa Loma Campus to participate in a design workshop intended to propose a series of retrofit measures to improve the
energy efficiency and comfort within a Post-WWII, Low-Rise, Multi-Unit Residential Building in South Etobicoke, Ontario.
The event had come together quite hurriedly as only a few weeks
earlier the owners of the building, Neil Spiegel and Evan Johnsen
of Compass Property Group Inc. , had approached John Godden
of Clearsphere regarding their desire to bring this recently acquired
34-unit solid masonry building up to modern green standards.
John then approached Enbridge Gas Distribution, Canada Mortgage
and Housing Corporation (CMHC), the Sustainable Housing
Foundation and George Brown College to consider how they might
all come together to respond to this request.
It soon became clear that through collaboration many aims could be
met. Certainly, Compass could receive some useful and timely guid-
ance to help them move the project along. Especially considering that
they were already well along in their efforts to restore the poorly
maintained project to building code standards through funding
under CMHC’s former Residential Rehabilitation Assistance
Beyond that though, everyone agreed that insights gained through
this project could easily be replicated in many similar buildings
across Canada resulting in significant reductions in energy use and greenhouse gas production. Enbridge also saw a
huge opportunity to use this workshop as a pilot initiative to inform a new conservation program which could deliver
rebates for measures leading to natural gas consumption savings in this particular building type. George Brown College
was especially interested in the initiative as it related to their ARGILE Project which was focusing on testing over-clad
solutions for double brick buildings. Finally CMHC, as did all parties, understood the social benefit to the many low to
moderate income households living in this very common building type found across Canada. With all these aspirations in
hand, we set about to pull together an event.
The workshop included a who’s who of technical experts
across a broad range of common building elements. From
building envelope and fenestration, to heating, cooling and
mechanical ventilation, to grey water recycling systems.
An initial building audit informed a heat load analysis which
provided the basis for the discussions at the workshop. We
learned that Natural Gas Consumption could be reduced by
30% right from the start by simply replacing the existing
naturally aspirating, non-condensing gas fired boiler and
gas-fired DHW tanks with a single high efficiency, direct vent,
condensing boiler along with an indirect DHW storage tank.
The sealed combustion supply of the proposed boiler would
also address the issue of air leakage as the current B-vent
could be sealed. Further tightening of the envelope could
MARK SALERNO & GRAHAM FISHER
OWNER NEIL SPIEGEL
JOHN GODDEN & MARK SALERNO
be achieved by a range of air leakage control
efforts including the removal of several large
passive exhaust ports in the common hallways
and smaller ones in each bathroom. Arguably,
these vents had often been under negative
pressure and served only to draw stale air back
inside the building as the boiler drew combustion
air supply from the occupied space.
The provision of effective ventilation was the
next big challenge. Presently, ventilation relied
upon operable windows in the living spaces
and passive exhaust vents in the bathrooms
leading to vertical stacks “intended” to expel
stale air at the roof. The group considered the
option of central versus decentralized ventilation
systems with the biggest consideration being
the cost and practicality of installing ductwork
within the largely occupied dwelling units. In
the end, the least invasive approach to install
was a balanced supply and exhaust system
consisting of Panasonic Multi-Staged DC Exhaust fans in each bathroom and Trickle fresh air Vents located at the exterior
walls in the living rooms. This had the benefit of largely eliminating the need for new duct work though it did not allow for
the provision of heat recovery – we agreed though that retrofits are by nature about making educated compromises.
A further set of measures included an over-clad system to be placed over
the entire exterior wall surface and window replacement. In the end, these
proved to be quite costly while delivering only marginal improvements
in energy savings. Natural gas savings only increased by 12.4% (from
52.4% to 64.8%) while costing an additional $170,000 (from $52,000 to
$219,300). Further, a financial analysis revealed that it would likely be
difficult to secure lender financing where the envelope measures were
included as the cost of servicing the debt relative to the marginal
operating cost savings would mean that the Debt Coverage Ratio would
be too low. Here again we had interesting debate as the developer
reasoned that it would still make business sense to re-clad the front
facade so as to improve curb appeal, more readily attract tenants and
ultimately reduce losses by minimizing vacancies.
In the end, we did meet our intended goal to assist Compass Property
Group Inc. in their decision process. Likewise, Enbridge Gas Distribution
did draw inspiration from the event in their efforts to create a rebate
program for this very building type – stay tuned, as a program may likely
be launched sometime in 2013. Finally, we also managed to bring much
needed industry attention to this very common building type – one which until now has had little effort brought to bear on
addressing its need for renewal and improved energy efficiency.
A detailed workshop report can be found on the Sustainable Housing
Foundation website at: http://www.sustainablehousingfoundation.com.
BY MARK SALERNO, CMHC & SHF BOARD MEMBER & GRAHAM FISHER, CLEARSHPERE
ISSUE 03 | FALL 2012
OWNER EVAN JOHNSEN AND MANUFACTURES
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Home Energy Ratings Come to
Have you heard about this new thing called a HERS rating? If
this is your first exposure to it, keep yours eyes open because
you’ll most likely be seeing a lot more of it. Among its other
attributes, a HERS (Home Energy Rating System) rating is
now one way that home builders can demonstrate compliance
with the energy code for homes built in Ontario.
Basically, a HERS rating incorporates all the energy features
of a home into a software analysis of a home’s energy
areas, orientation, insulation levels, window specifications,
infiltration rate, mechanical system efficiencies, and more.
The outputs include estimated annual energy costs, heating
and cooling design loads, energy consumption for heating, cooling, water heating, lights, and appliances, and a number
called the HERS Index.
The HERS Index is a single number that tells you how energy efficient a particular home is compared to a Reference
Home. The Reference Home is built to a set of specifications that essentially meet the requirements of the 2006
International Energy Conservation Code. Like golf, the lower the number the better. An Index of 100 means that a home
just meets the Reference Home energy efficiency level. For each point below 100, the home is 1% more energy efficient
than the Reference Home. The scale was developed in the US but is now being used in Canada as well, with the software
being adapted to Canadian codes and building practices.
The HERS industry has slowly been growing in Canada since the late Bruce Gough first brought the idea back to Ontario
several years ago after he went to the annual HERS rater conference put on by the Residential Energy Services Network,
RESNET. There is now a Canadian RESNET, called CRESNET, which just this summer renewed its memorandum of
understanding with RESNET. Also new this summer is the first Canadian version of the computerized HERS rater test,
which all rater must pass as one criterion for certification.
John Godden of Clearsphere in Toronto has done hundreds of HERS ratings for numerous builders who have used this
tool to qualify their new homes along with the ENERGY STAR label. Godden, who is also the president of CRESNET,
recently organized a Dinner of Champions to recognize home
builders who have had their homes rated and especially
those who attained very low HERS Indexes.
That event was also the kick-off of the Cross-Border
Challenge, a friendly competition between Canadian and US
homebuilders. Over the next 15 months, participating
builders will track their HERS Indexes, and CRESNET will
present awards to those who achieve the highest percentages
of homes with Indexes below 50.
In the past year, about 40 EnerGuide energy raters and other
building professionals have participated in two separate
HERS rater training classes in Scarborough. With interest
growing in this certification, you’ll have more opportunities
to take a HERS rater class and get involved in this growing
ALLISON A. BAILES III
ISSUE 03 | FALL 2012
ALLISON BAILES III, PHD IS THE FOUNDER AND OWNER OF ENERGY VANGUARD
Long before energy efficiency was on the home buying
public’s radar, Gordon Tobey Developments in Brighton was
constructing homes to a best in class standard with superior
levels of insulation, better air sealing, energy efficient windows
and highly efficient mechanical systems.
The Brighton-based builder was the first in Canada to build
exclusively to the R-2000 standard and after 30 years, re-
mains one of the few R-2000 builders in Canada.
With the 2012 Ontario Building Code now equivalent to
Energy Star Version 5, the Energy Star and R2000 programs
are in for dramatic changes, creating dilemmas for builders
like Stephen Tobey, president of the award-winning company
started by his father, Gordon.
Energy Star Version 6 will jump to an EnerGuide 83
requirement, while R-2000 will be updated with a minimum
energy efficiency target of EG 86, or 50 per cent better than
EnerGuide 80, or the new Code.
With that target unrealistic for most builders to meet, Tobey
sees that his company’s days as an R-2000 builder are
The company can register homes under the former R2000
program until December 31, so it will be able to build out
the final 10 homes in its Mill Pond Woods site in Brighton
with the R-2000 label.
But with the launch of its next 200-home site in 2013,
Tobey says his company will have to explore other options.
“I’m not positive what we’re doing yet, but the direction
R-2000 is taking is a little unrealistic. It’s not a program
anymore, it’s an experiment,” Tobey says. The new program
advocates ground source pumps, which don’t make sense
in a subdivision served by natural gas, he points out. “Gas
is the way to go in Ontario. If you are pushing electricity,
you are pushing the wrong way.”
Tobey says, his home buyers spend on average just $800 a
year now on natural gas and $1,300 to $1,400 on electricity.
Another problem with the new R2000 program is it’s just
looking at one aspect of the house, heating and cooling,
not at things like electrical plug loads and lighting.
Tobey may consider Energy Star Version 6 labelling for the
next development “as we’ve building that house for 15
years” and the public recognizes the label.
He doesn’t foresee a pushback from customers if Tobey
Developments no longer labels as R-2000.
“We used to sell houses pushing energy efficiency and
that’s what our lead was in our advertising and all our
talk,” says Tobey. “But I had an epiphany and now we sell
beautiful, we sell granite, we sell hot tubs, and by the way,
you get an energy label too. We tried as hard as possible to
make house buying into an emotional experience.”
He says the energy efficiency isn’t a primary consideration
for buyers, but may influence a final decision.
“When people are trying to weight out where they want to
move, they may narrow it down to two, and then they realize
with our houses, ‘oh, it has an energy package.’ We’ve
never made that optional, it’s always included.
“The guys who are building Code-built
houses to EnerGuide 80 are still not
building as a good a house as we’re
building,” says Tobey. “We will always
build a better house than one across
the road. We are always going to have
an energy label, a better wall and better
The New Building Code:
CHALLENGES FOR R-2000 BUILDERS
TRACY HANES IS A FREELANCE FEATURE WRITER FOR THE LARGEST DAILY NEWSPAPER IN
CANADA AND SEVERAL MAGAZINES. WWW.TRACYHANES.CA
GORDON TOBEY DEVELOPMENTS LTD.
25ISSUE 03 | FALL 2012
The Argile Project:
GEORGE BROWN COVERS IMPORTANT RESEARCH
According to the International Energy Agency,
“Existing buildings are responsible for over 40%
of the world’s total primary energy consumption,
and account for 24% of world CO2 emissions.”
(IEA, 2008). Much of the housing stock of our
larger cities consists of old buildings, many of
which were built around 1900 and constitute our
least energy efficient buildings. They are either
totally uninsulated or poorly insulated, and very
air-leaky. Thus it quickly becomes apparent that
these buildings are in need of attention. However,
the retrofit of these vintage buildings is not
altogether straightforward if we wish to make
them energy efficient, comfortable and have
them last for another 100 years. In addition, if this
retrofit is done without following sound Building
Science principles, a multitude of problems can
be created, often impacting occupant health,
durability and the overall performance of the
building. The success of their retrofit depends on
an understanding of their structure, materials, the governing building science principles, and on having some patience.
PERFORMANCE OF OLD DOUBLE WYTHE
SOLID MASONRY HOUSES
Some of the air-leakage pathways in solid masonry walls which
can only be eliminated by re-cladding as opposed to interior
At George Brown College, we have embarked on a 5 year
research project under the name “Argile” (which is French for
clay from which bricks are made) with the focus of developing
a re-cladding system for vintage solid masonry buildings. The
project is funded by a MRI (Ministry of Economic Development
and Innovation) grant, matched by the college and industry
partners including the Evergreen Don Valley Brick Works, SMT
Research, the Kortright Centre for Conservation, Roxul, exp.
(formerly Trow Associates Inc.) and Clearsphere Consulting.
After we have investigated and determined which materials are
• A double wythe wall with plaster and lath has an RSI of about
• This is only 18 to 20% of the OBC minimum of RSI 4.75 (R-27)
to RSI 3.87 (R-22)
VINTAGE UN-INSULATED SOLID MASONRY BUILDINGS AT THE BRICK WORKS TORONTO
UN-INSULATED WALLS PRESENT PASSIVE HEAT LOSS PROBLEMS REVEALED IN
ISSUE 03 | FALL 2012
most promising for the system, a comparative matrix will be used to compare several different variants based on five
criteria, resulting in a final score for each:
The next step is to re-clad select building sections, instrument the systems for moisture content, relative humidity,
and temperature using remote data loggers, and to analyze the results ensuring that no detrimental conditions have
been created by re-cladding. The final step is then to re-clad whole buildings, again instrumenting and monitoring
their performance, conducting air tightness tests before and after (blower door tests), and monitoring energy consumption.
When all the objectives are reached, the system can be commercialized, and retrofitters can be trained on the best practice
Since these buildings are a vibrant part of our neighborhoods and tearing them down is not a popular (nor sustainable)
option, we must somehow drastically improving their energy efficiency, and we hope the outcomes of our research
provide a feasible, durable, energy efficient and cost effective option.
INTERCONNECTED PATHWAYS PRESENT AIR LEAKAGE HEAT LOSS AND MOISTURE TRANSPORT
PROBLEMS AND LITTLE RESISTANCE TO VAPOUR FLOW
CRITERION EXPLANATION POINTS
1. Thermal Efficiency Hand calculations and THERM Modeling to determine the r-value of each system, total
heat loss percentages, and thermal bridging locations.
2. Durability Hygrothermal analysis using WUFI software to asses heat and moisture dynamics.
Analysed the wall systems based on their ability to dry, mould growth potential, and
freeze thaw potential.
3. Feasibility A study focusing on the cost and potential value of each system. The total cost of the
system includes both material and installation costs.
4. Environmental Impact An assessment of the main products of the assemblies based on the environmental
aspects both in terms of the materials and components as well as during the
5. Aesthetics A review on the aesthetic appeal of each system and their susceptibility to aging,
discolouration, and cracking.
P. CHRISTOPHER TIMUSK, PHD , PROFESSOR AND ARGILE PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR, SCHOOL OF CONSTRUCTION MANAGEMENT AND TRADES, SCHOOL OF ARCHITECTURAL STUDIES, GEORGE
BROWN COLLEGE HTTP://WWW.GEORGEBROWN.CA
The Argile research team consists of:
Christopher Timusk, Ph.D. - Principal Investigator
Steffanie Adams, M.Arch. - Co-Investigator
Andrew Fraser, Ph.D. - Co-Investigator
Leo Salemi - Co-Investigator
Tulsi Regmi, Ph.D. - Co-Investigator
Elina Ralston-Cortez - Project Manager
Katie Rasmussen - Assistant Project Manager
Alejandra Nieto - Research Student
Daniel Marchetti - Research Student
Christephanie Uy - Research Student
Yuriy Buryachenko - Research Student
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Project by Build Urban
Where have you been?: I have worked in New
Home Construction for 20 years. Assisting builders
with Model Homes, Sales Centres, creating Decor
Centres and Colour Selection programs.
My dream was to eventually build my own home which
occured in 1995. This experience gave me a whole
different perspective on my profession. I realized there
were elements beyond the finishes and fixtures that
played a much larger role in homebuilding and peoples
lifestyles. For many years I simply judged a home by
its appearance and use of space. In 2009- 2011 I took
several courses offered by BILD. These included Part
Nine Ontario Building Code, Energy Star for Builders
and Introduction to LEED. These programs gave me more
knowledge and opened my eyes to the world of sustainability.
I have always been aware of the effects of my carbon
footprint. Besides driving a hybrid car, I now live in a
LEED silver home that I built in 2011. This experience
proved to be very exciting and I loved learning about
HVAC, plumbing and framing solutions that are used in
building sustainable homes. This process provided the
opportunity for me to learn project managing.
What are you doing now?: I am currently working
on several projects for various builders doing model
homes and colour selections. I have now lived in my
home for a year and am able to share my knowledge of
sustainable features that make a huge difference in the air
quality and energy consumption. This information has
become key especially with the 2012 Building Code changes.
I like to implement as many sustainable upgrades in the
homes I design. I have a checklist of items I recommend
purchasers and builders consider when building their
personal and or model homes.
Where are you going?: I will continue to work in new
home construction. I would love to spread the word
to our community about the possibilities of building
sustainably and the great benefits that it has to offer.
I have several projects on the go at the moment directly
involving sustainable building and I will be sure to provide
more information in good time.
LEED Silver House
Interior designer Barb Rudberg has built a house or two in
her time. But she was never completely satisfied with the
results until recently.
Her last house looked wonderful, she recalls, until she and
her husband moved in. “The air quality was poor, there were
excessive temperature differences – ten degrees hotter
upstairs than the basement – and basically the house sucked
energy,” she says.
So they decided to build another, one that was energy
friendly enough to significantly lower their carbon footprint.
First, though, she got busy researching, taking a Part 9
building code course to learn more about house building, as
well as an Energy Star course with John Godden (http://
BARB RUDBERG INTERIOR DESIGN CONSULTANT NEW HOME CONSTRUCTION,
PRINCIPAL OF MODEL INTERIORS BY BARBARA RUDBERG.
Joining BILD in 1997 and becoming a part of this amazing network has influenced me. Sharing of information with other
like-minded members has allowed me to develop professionally. This network has created professional opportunities while
providing a place for me to make a contribution.
29ISSUE 03 | FALL 2012
At the workshop, Rudberg told Godden about building again, only this time very green, Godden encouraged her to target
LEED. “The integrated design approach that LEED uses helps owner-builders understand all their choices with respect to
the house,” Godden explains. “LEED comprises five categories, and when you explain that fully, builders are better able
to understand the application of products and materials.”
Others laughed – particularly her general contractor who said she
was getting “scammed” by the green thing. And when she sought
Godden’s help in designing the new home’s unique integrated HVAC
system, the contractor got downright furious. “He felt the only way
to build was the way he wanted,” Rudberg says.
Godden is accustomed to such resistance for some of his methods,
and eventually smoothed things over. He sees himself as a coach,
which isn’t about who is right, but about how a structure can be built
better and to be more energy efficient.
Often his methods are low-tech, off-the-shelf solutions, not
always mainstream and sometimes downright outside the norm.
Unfortunately, he says, these innovative methods can get “killed”
before they are tried out because inspectors or trades people don’t want to consider material they’re not familiar with, he
says. One of his ongoing goals is to find products like the Airmax system, become more informed, and then educate
others by explaining in the simplest terms how good they are. (for more info see www.clearsphere.ca)
Rudberg, however, was a believer, thankful for Godden’s help in
navigating the project toward LEED, even to the point of physically
helping with installing the Roxul insulation. That process falls under
the integrated design process (IDP) that Godden feels is the best
way to undertake construction: “It just works really well having
someone understand all the different components in order to
explain it to the people who will be using them.”
That explaining goes for the city’s building inspectors, too -- some
of the materials and systems were so new that Rudberg was asked
for full documentation so the city’s engineers could check it out.
Several items were out of the ordinary for building a new house: a
dual purpose hot water heater which also provides space heating
and hot water for the house (an integrated mechanical system);
Roxul insulation; insulated sheathing (essentially a layer of foam
insulation on the
outside of the
of plywood); a deck constructed from FSC wood; kitchen cabinets
comprised of IKEA boxes (which have the lowest off-gassing of any
cabinetry) and higher-end doors manufactured locally; no VOC paints.
The end result is a house that is so energy efficient that Rudberg has
been able to target LEED silver. The best part is her energy bills – they’re
fully 35% less than before. “We anticipated a ten year payback time,”
she says, “but the way it’s going, we’ll end up recouping in about three.”
THE RUDBERG FAMILY LIVING ROOM
THE RUDBERG FAMILY KITCHEN
THE RUDBERG FAMILY OUTDOOR PATIO
ALEX NEWMAN IS A WRITER, EDITOR AND RESEARCHER AT WWW.INTEGRITYCOMMUNICATIONS.CA
Have you ever wondered why you were purchasing
something that you didn’t really need?
I was pondering a similar question on the last trip I made
to Canadian Tire with my boyfriend. Let’s get this straight:
I was lured there on the pretense that we were replacing
the mop head. Next thing I knew, my boyfriend was in the
power tool aisle looking longingly at the merchandise. I
could tell that he was zeroing in on the cordless drills.
“Cordless drills. You gotta be kidding!” My interior critic
was screaming. “Wasn’t it just this morning that I put
toast in the toaster oven and patiently awaited the perfectly
browned twelve-grain bread?” It didn’t toast, and it
didn’t take me too long to figure out why. There was a
power pack plugged into the toaster oven’s socket, and
sitting there on the kitchen counter charging was a cordless
drill. One of many, I may add, that I have noticed in odd
places around the house and shed.
It seems that my boyfriend is not alone; ninety-five percent
of our purchase decisions are made deep below the level
of waking consciousness. In fact, a multitude of different
and oftentimes conflicting emotions are triggered within
us when contemplating a purchase.
Research data gathered from the relatively new field of
Neoroeconomics provides information that helps us to
better understand the biological basis for human behavior,
including purchasing behavior. When you are engaging
in a pleasurable activity, for my boyfriend buying a cordless
drill, dopamine is released in the brain.
Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that fuels desire and
pleasure. It is the reason my boyfriend looks so happy
after he buys another drill he doesn’t need. In the
moments after a purchase, dopamine is fired up and any
inklings of anxiety or guilt are squelched.
Paul Zak, the Director of the Center for Neuroeconomic
Studies at Claremont University has studied stock traders on
Wall Street in an attempt to determine if there are genetic
variants that make a trader successful. Dopamine plays
an important role as it modulates both reward seeking
and risk taking behaviors.
The study analyzed saliva samples and other information
from professional stock traders and then compared those
to Claremont MBA students who were not trading stocks
professionally. Zak found that there are indeed genetic
differences in these two groups and that there are particular
genetic variants that make a trader successful on Wall
Street. The most successful traders have genes that
give them moderate levels of dopamine. With moderate
levels, these traders can take a risk when they predict a
good payoff and avoid a risk when it seems likely to blow
up in their face.
I’m guessing that my boyfriend doesn’t have the genes
that give him moderate levels of dopamine given his
inability to avoid the risk of me blowing up over the cordless
But I didn’t blow up, not outwardly anyway. Why? I suspect
my brain was under the effect of oxytocin. Oxytocin was
once believed to be released in humans only during sex
and childbirth. Rodents, on the other hand, have oxytocin
on hand (or paw) and it allows them to tolerate their burrow
Zak has dubbed oxytocin “the moral molecule” and
states that we have a biology for reciprocation. I feel it’s
my duty to inform you that when you trust someone, his
or her brain releases oxytocin. When you give a hug to
someone, his or her brain releases oxytocin. We are that
powerful. The reciprocal effect of oxytocin motivates us
to care about and engage with others. Lucky for my
The Plane View
WHAT’S DRIVING YOUR PERSONAL RATING SYSTEM?
CREDIT: JENNIFER BERMAN
I think it’s time to apologize in print to my boyfriend for
picking on him and his affinity for power tools. Dopamine
does not discriminate between the sexes. I admit, I too
am subject to the feel good effects of dopamine. Just
follow me into IKEA and watch the process. Our kitchen
is full of gadgets and dishtowels in lovely prints. With
all the stuff around it’s no wonder it took me awhile to
notice the cordless drill on the kitchen counter.
There is a difference between men and women. Oh. . .
excuse me, I know there are many differences between
men and women, but there is one that is relevant to this
article: testosterone. Women do have a bit of it but men
have a lot of it. The release of oxytocin is inhibited by
higher levels of testosterone. Zak’s study found that men
that were given testosterone in experiments become more
selfish. Additionally, these same men were more likely
to punish someone who was selfish towards them. Now
there’s a case of the pot calling the kettle black.
Neuroeconomics is providing data that allows one to
question the stereotypical view that economists hold of
the world. This view describes humans as operating from
a place of self-interest and as highly rational. It appears,
testosterone aside: that we are in fact wired for cooperation
and trust. Think about it. We get on airplanes with pilots
whom we have never met and trust we will end up at our
destination and not in a Lost episode. We trust strangers
in restaurants not to poison us. And, my boyfriend and I
trust that we will continue to love and respect each other
even when annoyed by power tools and kitchen towels.
What does all this this mean? It gives us a lens to help
better understand our world and how we organize that
world. Paul Zak says that Neuroeconomics lets him
“embrace words like morality or love or compassion in
a non-squishy way. It says, these are real things, this is
really part of our human nature and we should embrace
“Neuroeconomics let me embrace words like morality or love or
compassion in a non-squishy way. It says, these are real things, this
is really part of our human nature and we should embrace that.”
- Paul Zak, Director of the Center for Neuroeconomic Studies at Claremont University
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ISSUE 03 | FALL 2012ISSUE 03 | FALL 2012 33
A Better Basement with Underslab
Insulation Anyone who’s spent any length of time with me will know just
how much I love my Tim Horton’s coffee. But what do you do
with all those empty cups once the coffee’s all gone. In my
case I have found a use for one particular cup as part of my
demonstration on the benefits of sub slab insulation.
I conduct a meeting with each client prior to submitting
for permit application. During this meeting we discuss the
flow of their home, any remaining changes that need to
be addressed, heat loss and heat gain, passive solar design
and a number of different high performance options. When I
review their insulation options, I always have my empty Tim
Horton’s cup and an empty thermos sitting on the table this
way you don’t have to worry about spilling the coffee during
the demo. This is to give the customer a very easy visual
reference for our discussion on the physics of heat transfer.
If you pick up a thermos filled with hot coffee, you don’t burn your hand. However, if you pick up a hot coffee in a paper
cup you feel like your hand is burning. This is the physics of heat transfer. Hot air rises, but heat transfer goes from hot
to cold. The reason your hand feels like its burning is the heat from the hot coffee is transferring to your hand which is
cooler than the coffee. Think of your home as a thermos, it is well insulated throughout. However, if you think of your
basement floor, it’s somewhat like that coffee in the paper cup. You lose heat through your feet into the cold floor, causing
you to feel cold, as there is little insulation under the slab.
Insulation requirements of basement walls have changed in recent years, going from R12 down 2 ft. below grade to nearly
full height or full height insulation. The effect of this is that you are losing far less heat out of your basement wall into the
surrounding soil. This is a good thing in the sense that you are not using your home’s heat to warm the surrounding soil.
However, it also means that cold migrates underneath your basement floor causing it to be cooler than in homes with
greater heat loss through the wall.
At Doug Tarry Homes we are strong believers in the benefit of sub-slab insulation. This is not required by the O.B.C.,
unless you are heating below your basement floor or have a basement floor at grade (such as a walkout). However, if
you think about it, this is the only place in your home that does not have insulation. By installing R5 rigid foam insulation
underneath the basement slab, we are able to improve your basement floor temperature by about 20 degrees F. This
makes the concrete part of the thermal mass of the home and helps to keep you warmer. It does have a long term payback
on your home heating bill, but is really about your home comfort.
It is also of interest that women typically will feel the cold in a basement more than men,
because they have a smaller body mass. This is a generalization, but hey, they don’t call it the
man cave for nothing. The coffee cup demonstration that I have described above has enabled
us to explain this option to hundreds of clients over the years and we typically sell this option
to between 60 and 70 percent of our clients each year. By this simple step of adding sub-slab
insulation below the basement floor slab prior to pouring the slab, we significantly improve the
comfort level of the basement living space.
Sorry fellas, you may have to share the man cave.
DOUG TARRY JR., IS THE DIRECTOR OF MARKETING AT DOUG TARRY HOMES IN ST. THOMAS , ONTARIO.
*Contact us for details.
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ISSUE 03 | FALL 2012 35
The Scotia Bank Energy Calculator
When I was asked to write an article for Better Builder Magazine regarding the new EcoLiving Home Energy Savings
Calculator (HESC) from
Scotiabank, I jumped at the
opportunity. Having had a
hand in building this free
online energy and water
savings tool, I knew that
the finished product could
quickly become a celebrated
resource for renovators.
When a home is being
renovated, it’s a perfect
time to suggest energy
saving projects. They will
pay back the homeowner
if done during an existing
• Installing higher efficiency
heating and cooling
• Upgrading insulation
• Installing a drain water
heat recovery unit
• Adding new high efficiency
appliances and lighting
SHOW THEM THE MONEY
Using the HESC you can show clients how doing an energy retrofit can save them a lot of money while also helping to
conserve energy and water. While the projects may cost more money up front, they can pay back the entire renovation
cost over time. Why not let the savings in energy and water pay for the new granite counter tops, the upgraded
bathroom and the new great room? This may be the best way for you to
up-sell your clients to a smarter renovation and a happier result.
Designed for existing homes, the EcoLiving HESC shows users in less than 10 minutes a customized energy and water
savings plan. The HESC considers where the home is located, the type and age of home and many other factors such as
the type and age of heating and cooling systems, and the type of appliances and lighting. The user is provided with an
immediate and customized estimate of energy and water upgrades for their home.
The HESC not only recommends a list of home energy saving projects, but also shares an estimate of the installation cost
and the breakeven point in months. The breakeven is the point is where savings fully offset costs. The recommendations
are prioritized based on the breakeven point, making it easy for a homeowner to select the changes that will save the
most money now and in the future. When a homeowner has completed a calculation using the HESC, a printed report of
the recommendations helps them plan their future renovations and upgrades.
SEAL THE DEAL WITH A HOME ENERGY AUDIT
As a follow-up to using the EcoLiving HESC,
we recommend homeowners have a home
energy assessment completed by a certified
Home Energy Auditor. A detailed audit of
their home will improve the accuracy of the
estimates and help a homeowner refine their
energy retrofit plans. A local Home Energy
Auditor can also provide important insights
on local contractors and service providers. A
link on the EcoLiving HESC leads to the SHF
website where we offer guidance on how to
find a Home Energy Auditor. If a homeowner
needs help with financing their investment,
Scotiabank offers a number of excellent
solutions that are available through links from
BUILDING A SUSTAINABLE
Scotiabank EcoLiving partnered with
Sustainable Housing Foundation (SHF), a
non-profit Canadian organization, in October
2011, becoming one of the Foundation’s key sponsors. The Scotiabank EcoLiving mandate is to help Canadians
save energy and money by making green choices at home. This mandate dovetails seamlessly with the Sustainable
Housing Foundation mission: to work with new home builders, renovators, academia, government and directly with
homeowners to continuously increase the number of sustainable homes in Canada.
CRAIG BACKMAN IS THE CHAIRMAN OF THE BOARD OF THE SUSTAINABLE HOUSING FOUNDATION
The EcoLiving HESC is already in use by homeowners participating in Enbridge’s “Know Your Energy
Score” Community Energy Retrofit program being piloted in Markham, Ontario (www.markham.knowy-
ourenergyscore.ca/index.html). It will also be a cornerstone of the Sustainable Housing Foundation’s
future community energy retrofit programs (stay tuned for details).
You can learn more about the SHF by visiting our website at www.sustainablehousingfoundation.com.
You can learn more about EcoLiving and use the calculator at www.ecoliving.scotiabank.com.
ISSUE 03 | FALL 2012
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Install a Drain Water Heat Recovery system
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