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.
IN THIS ISSUE
• Mike Martino Looks AT 40 Years of
• Upcoming OBC Changes
• Mechanicals for High Performance
• Savings By Design: Zancor Homes
• DWHR in SB-12
• Ani Gets the Green!
ISSUE 06 | SUMMER 2013
the builder’s source
The Mechanical Issue
The Importance of Understanding HVAC Systems
A b r e a t h o f f r e s h a i r .
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17 Mike Martino Looks at 40 Years of Energy Efficiency in Canada
BY TRACY HANES
INSIDE THIS ISSUE
02 The Importance of Understanding HVAC
BY JOHN GODDEN
03 The New 2012 O.B.C.: What’s In and What’s Out
BY DOUG TARRY
05 Zancor Moves Forward With Savings By Design
BY ALEX NEWMAN
06 High Performance HVAC for HP Homes
BY GORD COOKE
08 High-Velocity Heating Systems: Friend or Foe
BY LOU BADA
10 Scoring Points With HVAC Systems in LEED Residential Projects
BY JOHN GODDEN
12 Clearsphere Congratulates Josef Hanik
BY BETTER BUILDER STAFF
15 RHVCA—Good Design, Good Installation and Good Equipment
BY ALEX NEWMAN
21 Composting Toilets on the Course
BY AL SEYMOUR
22 The Benefits of High Performance
BY: MICHAEL LIO
24 SB-12 Recognizes Drain Water Heat Recovery
BY: TRACY HANES
27 Ani Bogovic Gets the Green!
BY ALEX NEWMAN
30 The Importance of Vent Terminations For Bathroom Fans
BY JORDAN LANE
32 The New 2012 O.B.C.: Energy and Water Efficiency
BY: DOUG TARRY
the builder’s source
ISSUE 06 | SUMMER 2013
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The Importance of
Over 25 years ago I built my first R2000 home. The experience brought my attention
to the disconnect between mechanical design and an energy efficient homes actual
Fast forward 20 or so years and another disconnect has come to my attention.
Over the course of five years of testing and certifying LEED homes and rating
EnergyStar homes it’s clear to me that mechanical system design, installation and
performance, is the weakest link in the chain of current residential construction.
One of the most important systems in a home gets the least budget and attention.
Most would be shocked to learn that a heating system, including ductwork, gas
piping and venting accounts for less than 2 % of the cost of building a production
home. A heating plant is as vital to a house as an engine is to a car and thus it
deserves more attention.
I must point out however, that merit programs like LEED for Homes, do encourage
good design and installation for performance and control of ventilation systems.
Distribution of heating through hydronic and forced air systems are balanced and
receive points for delivery and reducing losses. Combustion systems that don’t
have wasteful continuous pilots also score points. EnergyStar’s minimum
requirement of electronic ignition of direct vent fireplaces also directs the builder’s
attention to the operation and efficiency of heating appliances.
In this issue of Better Builder; Mike Martino, a familiar face in the HVAC industry,
looks at 40 years of energy efficiency in Canada. On a related topic, Gord Cooke
talks about the importance of design day as opposed to seasonal loads for sizing
heating equipment. Domenic Di Battista, the executive director of the Residential
Heating Ventilation Contractors Association, underscores the importance of heating
designers working with architects and energy raters to align submissions for SB-12
prescriptions for permits.
The breaking news from the Ministry of Housing is the recognition of drain water
heat recovery as a trade-off for insulation and mechanicals. Michael Lio gives us
an important perspective in trading off mechanicals against insulation in a building
envelope. Last, but not least, Doug Tarry reviews the upcoming code changes with
his article, What’s In and What’s Out.
Frequently, I use the car analogy when describing
the performance of a home or it’s miles per gallon.
The mechanical systems of a home are truly what lie
under the hood. Any improvements moving forward
into our collective building futures will result from
integrating space and hot water heating, and using
renewable energy sources to power our homes. The
next issue of Better Builder will be devoted to the
many different types and ways we can insulate new
and existing homes.
As always, I thank you for joining us at Better Builder in
our pursuit of environmental integrity and sustainability. JOHN GODDEN
There were thousands of changes in the new 2012 OBC, but it
is not as complicated as it sounds. The vast majority of these
changes were editorial in nature. During the technical review
process, we reviewed many proposed technical changes.
Ultimately, there were several hundred technical changes
made to the OBC. From our review of these changes, so
far there does not seem to be anything that is going to
fundamentally change how we build our homes in the
2012 OBC. Here’s a brief overview of what you need to know.
On November 2, 2012, the 2012 Building Code was filed
as O.Reg.332/12. The new OBC comes into effect starting
, 2014. This timeline is to allow for the industry
to prepare for the new code. The Ontario Home Builders’
Association (OHBA) is working with the Ministry and the
Ontario Building Officials Association (OBOA) to ensure our
members have the training they will need to be ready for the
So what are some of the key changes coming in the 2012
OBC? Here are a few of them:
• BCIN Qualified Persons (primarily designers and
building officials) will be required to re-qualify on new
code items within 18 months of notification by the director
of the Building Branch of the Ministry of Municipal Affairs
and Housing. This is good news. As a BCIN qualified
designer, I am relieved that I do not have to re-qualify
on the entire new Code. This is something that OHBA
advocated strongly for.
• One smoke alarm will be required per bedroom plus
one per floor. These must be hard wired and have an
alternate power source that can power the smoke alarm
for 7 days, followed by 4 minutes of alarm.
• There will be a requirement for integrated sprinkler and
fire alarm systems in multi-unit residential buildings.
• Changes to the sentence (220.127.116.11.) describing
‘Guards Designed Not to Facilitate Climbing’ shall be
designed so that no member, attachment or opening
located between 140 mm and 900 mm above the floor
or walking surface protected by the guard will facilitate
• Removal of window screens as an acceptable fall
protection device as they are not deemed adequate as
a mechanism to prevent falling of vulnerable occupants,
especially children. Window guards or controlled sashes
would still be required under the Code.
• Concrete walls will now be permitted to be poured up to
3 m (9’-10”) of maximum height (Table 18.104.22.168.A). This
change in height is an increase from 2.5 m (8’-2”).
• Roof sheathing with supports greater than 406 mm will
require edge fasteners at every 150 mm 22.214.171.124. (5).
• There is a change to the spacing of structural framing.
Spacing of Structural Framing
2006 Building Code 2012 Building Code
300 mm 305 mm
400 mm 406 mm
There are some changes that improve the energy performance
of new homes. Starting in 2014 programmable thermostats
will be required along with fully sealed ducting on the supply
side of the HVAC system. There are also water conservation
measures being implemented, including toilet flow will
reduce down from 6 litres per flush to 4.8L/flush or 3L/6L
for dual flush. In addition, shower-heads will reduce from
9.5 L/minute to 7.6L/minute.
On-site sewage treatment adopts the new CAN-BNQ 3680-
600 national standard for wastewater residential treatment
technologies and establishes standards for dispersal beds.
This is an area that the government will continue to look at
improving as a measure of protecting groundwater.
The New 2012 O.B.C.:
WHAT’S IN AND WHAT’S OUT
ISSUE 06 | SUMMER 2013
Starting on January 1, 2015 all furnaces shall be equipped
with DC (ECM) motors. This is something that OHBA
advocated for as it will help to improve the comfort of the
home-owner by ensuring that air can be circulated on a
continuous basis which should help reduce differences in
temperature within the home. I hope to follow up on this
issue with a full article in the near future.
In addition, natural gas (or propane) ready kitchens and
laundry rooms will be permitted as an alternative to electrical.
And in January of 2017, the Part 9 Energy Benchmark goes
up by 15% from the January 1st
, 2012 SB12 levels and the
Part 3 Large Buildings goes up by 13% from the current
WHAT’S OUT: Final Site Grading and
10-Minute Response Time
One thing that people often don’t realize when they hear about
a new building code coming into effect is the tremendous
amount of work that goes into reviewing potential changes
and deciding what should or should not be in the new Code.
The Ministry has a very challenging job of balancing occupant
health and safety, energy and water conservation, along
with the need to protect consumer affordability. Often
times the most interesting discussions take place about
items or issues that end up not being included in the next
version of the building code. So I thought I’d share with
you a couple of items that were not included in the 2012
OBC to provide some perspective on the work that is
undertaken. Here are some examples.
An area that is being clarified is that the new OBC removes the
requirement for final site grading as a condition of occupancy
permit issuance. This is an important change for builders
as it is pretty much impossible to complete final grading in
The new OBC does not make reference to the National Fire
Protection Association Standard 1710 (limiting distance),
related to calculation of fire department response times (the
10 minute emergency response time issue). This item has
been included into the National Building Code, is very costly
and problematic to implement and is currently being
reviewed at the National Level. OHBA aggressively advocated
for affordability on these issues and we were successful for
keeping this out of the OBC. I give full credit to then Minister
Wynne for not harmonizing with the national code. So why
was the 10 minute emergency response time such an issue?
Firstly, it means that if the response by the fire service is
greater than 10 minutes you have to double the limiting
distance between the homes. So instead of 4 ft side yards,
you would need to have 8 foot side yards. Depending on the
cost per foot of lots, this could add thousands of dollars in
added costs to the home. For instance, if your community
was $4,000 per foot, your lot cost would have increased by
$32,000 to build the same house.
The other critical concern we had with this issue was the
lack of clarity on how the time was to be measured and on
the actual need for the change. Here are some concerns
we raised with the Ministry. Do we have to build to
two different standards on the same street if one side is 9
minutes 48 seconds and the other side is 10 minutes four
seconds? Do the people estimating the time test the run at
full speed with sirens on? What if it is a volunteer fire
service? What if it’s at rush hour, or there is a train in the
way? These questions and others raised concerns by not
just our members, but a variety of other stakeholders as
well, so our industry and our consumers should be pleased
that the Ministry made the right decision on this issue.
Another item that was not harmonized with the National
Building Code is the need for soffit protection for fire
protection requirements. In addition Solar Ready was
not included in the code as the national guidelines were
under review at the time the code was being finalized.
Also, accessibility is not being addressed at this time for
Part 9 buildings. However, accessibility requirements are
being reviewed at this time.
All in all I think the Minister and the staff at the Ministry of
Municipal Affairs and Housing did a commendable job of
developing the 2012 OBC. Of course we won’t fully know
until we take out permits and start building to the new
code. If your local is interested in a presentation on the
new OBC or other code changes please contact Kathryn
Segal at the OHBA office by phone at (416) 443-1545
(800-387-0109) ext. 223 for more information.
DOUG TARRY JR., IS THE DIRECTOR OF MARKETING AT DOUG TARRY HOMES IN
ST. THOMAS, ONTARIO.
5ISSUE 06 | SUMMER 2013
In an effort to push the green envelope,
Enbridge has developed an incentive
program for builders to ramp up their
energy efficiency by 25% over and above
the 2012 building code. In exchange,
builders can scoop up $2000 per house,
a cool $100,000 when constructing the
maximum allowable of 50 homes.
Enbridge, with design collaboration from
Sustainable Buildings Canada, wants to
give this money away. To help builders reach
that 25% greater energy efficiency they’ve
developed an integrated design process that
brings together the homebuilder, a design
team, and energy evaluators. The aim of
this design charette is to find the right mix
of technology and design for each specific
building site long before the shovels begin.
“We’re trying to get builders and developers
at a pre-design phase to look at the potential
for energy savings in each and every house,”
says Shannon Bertuzzi, Enbridge’s manager
of market development.
Using an integrated design process and
energy modeling, the aptly named Savings
by Design program looks at helping builders
incorporate energy efficiency right into the
design stage of their housing projects.
Modeling specific homes that a developer
would build helps show how the rating
system works to estimate their energy
savings, Bertuzzi explains. “We look at the
house as a whole system, so that it’s not
just about putting in a 96% energy efficient
furnace and calling it a day. We look at
how to insulate to increase R-value up to
R-50, recycling water, and heat recovery
systems. Everything is building on their
current construction practices and giving
them suggestions on how to improve.”
While the program seeks to improve
energy efficiency by 25% inside each
home, Bertuzzi says the aim is also to look
at ways to create an overall low impact
development and a more sustainable
“If a builder is interested in solar or district
energy or interested in understanding
storm water management better, we can
bring in experts who can educate them on
those,” Bertuzzi says. “Without pushing
any particular product, those experts are
working to increase awareness of things
like leading-edge storm water management
techniques, reduced water use, waste reduc-
tion and the use of materials that are non-
toxic and sustainably sourced.”
That’s making conservation authorities
happy. Michael Walters, general manager
of watershed management for the Lake
Simcoe Region Conservation Authority,
said the program “goes beyond reducing
energy use and identifies solutions, making
it easier to support water conservation
and water management.”
Since its inception in January 2012, the
program has had good response from
builders. Last year, 15 builders asked to
participate in the design charette, and this
year there have been 18 interested builders.
A prerequisite for inclusion in the program,
and hence to receive the incentive, is that a
builder must have constructed 50 homes in
the previous year.
Among last year’s participants was Zancor
Homes which received the full $100,000
incentive package, Enbridge’s first one, for
50 of the homes in their King Ridge project
in King City.
Zancor was already building at a high
level of energy efficiency, says Joe Guido,
the company’s general manager. “We
were already hitting those targets on
most models, both at King City and in
Brooklyn, performing at the next level of
Energy Star. We’ve been doing blower
door tests for some time, and have hired
designers to help up reach Energy Star on
the home package, but we didn’t realize
just how well the homes were performing
until going through the savings by design
program.”Guido admits building this
way costs more, but it was something
the company had decided internally
to commit to. “Taking pride in building
well has many benefits,” he says. “You get
cleaner air, a more comfortable environment,
smaller carbon footprint, cost savings,
moisture control that limits potential for
mold and other problems. That’s really
important, especially with young families
and the rise of allergies and asthma.”
Although Guido says that some of the
technology is so new and complex that
homebuyers don’t yet “get” it, but he has
noticed that many are making the effort to
become educated. “Purchasers understand
energy efficient appliances. They’re starting
to pick up a little on heat recovery
ventilators. And they want to learn
about the more sophisticated systems.
Since the buyers are eager to learn, we
should be teaching them.”
And so, when buyers come through a
Zancor sales office they get the tour,
and the talk about energy features: top
of the line HVAC systems including a
98% efficient Lennox furnace; heat
recovery ventilators; R-50 ceiling and
wall insulation; Tyvek wrap which is not
only a vapour barrier but a high grade
seal for the house; drain water recovery
systems where possible; high efficiency
hot water tank of either a condensing or
By the end of their tour, buyers are well
informed about the major benefits of energy
efficiency: cost savings on gas and
electricity, and a more comfortable, better
ventilated home. “But the bottom line still is
they want a nice place in a nice community
to raise their families,” Guido says.
Zancor Moves Forward With
Savings By Design
ALEX NEWMAN IS A WRITER, EDITOR AND RESEARCHER AT WWW.INTEGRITYCOMMUNICATIONS.CA
Load calculations and equipment sizing are always done for the design
day in a particular geographical area. However, through most of the
summer or winter in any city, outside conditions are far less extreme
than the design day and thus the need for heating or cooling is just a
small part of the installed equipment capacity. Managing these part
loads is trickier in high performance buildings than traditional homes.
It is so encouraging to see an ever increasing number of builders taking a proactive approach to continual improvement
in home performance. During my 30 years in and around the industry I have been pleased to witness an evolution: from
simply reacting or worse, resisting change to better building techniques, materials and building codes, to now builders
across North America driving change and innovation. This, of course, is entirely appropriate if you consider the question:
what is changing quicker, building codes or the expectations of homeowners? In my opinion, it could be some time before
code cycle changes that occur only every 3-5 years catch up with the ever increasing demands homeowners have for
fresh new designs and better amenities, without compromising safety, health, comfort or even affordability. This puts a
burden on builders of high performance homes to anticipate and deal with unintended consequences of very energy efficient
A prime example is how to deal with windows. In speaking with architects of high performance buildings, it seems clear
they won’t be significantly reducing glazing areas in homes any time soon. After all, homeowners spend more and more
time indoors and yet want to be connected to the outdoors, so large glass areas have to be dealt with. Moreover, in
the Canadian cold climate, south, east and west facing glass can provide a significant amount of “free” heat during the
winter. Passive solar gain is very desirable to offset heating needs in high performance homes but managing the loads
requires careful consideration of shading strategies, window glazing options and HVAC technologies that can respond to
these varying loads. Builders of energy efficient homes are already experiencing winter overheating issues. The intermittent
nature of solar gain versus radiant and conductive losses of windows can be dealt with partially by high performance,
triple glazed windows with optimized spectrally selective low emissivity coatings. Manually or mechanically operated
solar blinds may also be an option for some committed homeowners. We all anticipate window technology to some day
have the ability to self adjust or control heat gain automatically.
In the meantime, there are some off the shelf HVAC technologies that can be very helpful. It starts with the recognition
of the limitations of the current HVAC sizing methodologies. Load calculations and equipment sizing are always done
for the design day in a particular geographical area. However, through most of the summer or winter in any city, outside
conditions are far less extreme than the design day and thus the need for heating or cooling is just a small part of the
installed equipment capacity. Managing these part loads is trickier in high performance buildings than traditional homes.
For example: imagine two rooms in a very energy efficient home, one room facing east, one facing west, each with large
windows. The heating system for this house would be designed for the coldest night of the winter, but on a bright, sunny
yet cold morning the room on the east side will overheat, whereas the room on the west side continues to need heat. By
afternoon the situation is reversed and it takes a more sophisticated heating system to respond to these smaller but highly
variable loads. In older homes with less insulation in walls and ceilings, the intermittent solar gains through windows made
up a much smaller portion of the energy balance of individual rooms.
High Performance HVAC for HP
In my opinion, meeting
both the technical
objectives of high
and the comfort
expectations of the
people who buy them,
requires zoning of
heating and cooling
systems. There are
at least three basic
strategies that can be
One of the fastest
growing options in
the HVAC industry
is forced air zoning
systems, dampers in
traditional but slightly
systems. This means
builders can be assured that there is ample design assistance, reliable equipment
choices and industry support. Ask your HVAC contractor to make their duct designs
zone ready. Duct systems that have main plenum distribution ducts targeting
natural zones such as by floor or south side / north side orientations. With this done,
simple two and three zone systems would manage the comfort expectations for a cozy
room over the garage or a comfortable night’s sleep in the master bedroom on a hot,
hazy night. All of this for less than the cost of the air conditioning systems that we
have all become accustomed to in our generation.
A second, perhaps more advanced conversation would be employing the new variable
refrigerant air source heat pumps that boast incredible efficiencies, even in very cold
weather and have the ability to run multiple heads; ductless mini-splits and air handlers
off of one outside condenser. This could eliminate the need for traditional duct work
Finally, using a hot water based heating system allows for creative zoning options
such as small air handlers for different areas of a home, in-floor heat in basement
slabs, radiant heating panels in hard to heat places like rooms over garages, or even
towel warmers to heat small bathrooms.
I am confident that these three strategies or a combination of them, will become as
common as HRVs in the next few years. The good news is the heating and cooling
systems in high performance homes will become smaller and more manageable overall.
The resulting savings will need to be re-invested into zoning or distributing the loads
in a more creative way to meet those rising expectations of your valued customers.
ISSUE 06 | SUMMER 2013
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GORD COOKE IS THE PRESIDENT OF BUILDING KNOWLEDGE CANADA
In the not too distant past there was a lot of attention being
paid to the increasingly popular technology of High Velocity
(Hydronic) Heating Systems. This technology was reported
on in the popular media, at TARION and discussed around
builder’s board room tables
The discussion of technological change in the residential
sector is more complex than one might think. My intention
is to bring a volume builder’s perspective to the table, and
I don’t hold myself out to speak on behalf of our industry
(because I don’t), nor am I an expert on building science
or a mechanical engineer. I’ll leave those jobs to the many
that are better suited than I. However, I do feel confident to
comment on the many challenges and obstacles I see to the
wide spread adoption of newer technologies and practices in
our industry as well as the necessary evolution of our product.
There are many experts and pundits of varying stripes
extolling the benefits and opportunities of any given
technology, product or methodology. There are builders
and contractors that build fewer numbers of homes,
working hands on with motivated customers, that try
interesting and innovative products. It is making the
jump into the mainstream that can be more challenging
and, quite honestly, impactful.
Trade suppliers often bring their new products to large
builders. We used to rely on their expertise to assess
their viability, sometimes at our peril. The heating/
cooling/ventilation components of our homes have, in a
relatively short period, come a long way from the time we
used to install essentially a gas barbeque in the basement
attached to a fan and some leaky ductwork. The difficulty
in the jump from old technologies, that were tried and
proven in the more rarefied environment by a small hands-
on group, to larger scale production, is that the technology
doesn’t always have the support required. In the case of
High Velocity Heating Systems there needs to be trained
and experienced designers, installers and manufacturers
of the product. A very good product without the requisite
infrastructure can make for a bad outcome. Needless to say
if the product is sub-par another discussion would arise.
If the system is not a packaged system, where two different
manufacturers make the air handler and the tank-less water
heater for instance, further complications can arise. A
packaged system is often the way to go with designers and
contractors well versed in the installation and commissioning
of the system. Builders also need to buy into the process
to identify both the appropriate use and also co-ordinate
additional trades, plumbers for instance, and deal with any
unforeseen circumstances. Pilot projects are useful. We
identified that due to the use of pressurized and sealed
ducts, any inadvertent puncture in the system would be
greatly detrimental. As a result we perform a duct blaster
test to ensure there no leaks before closing the walls up.
For a large volume builder a small problem becomes very
large problem when replicated hundreds of times.
In summary, reticence by volume builders to adopt
newer technologies like High Velocity Heating Systems
is understandable but not insurmountable with the right
team available and in place. The benefits need to out-weigh
the costs and the inertia of the status quo. High Velocity
Heating Systems are another useful tool in a builder’s tool-
box. In the right hands and circumstances they represent a
positive technological advancement in our industry.
High-Velocity Heating Systems:
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LOU BADA IS THE CONSTRUCTION & CONTRACTS MANAGER FOR STARLANE HOMES
The heating/cooling/ventilation components of our
homes have, in a relatively short period, come a long
way from the time we used to install essentially a gas
barbeque in the basement attached to a fan and some
Balancing Performance and Affordability
Choose a combination of WhisperGreenTM
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for a complete ventilation solution.
Designed to provide both continuous and intermittent ventilation, the WhisperGreenTM
ideally suited as the principal exhaust. Complete the ventilation equation by using WhisperValueTM
ventilation fans through-out the rest of the home.
provide the perfect balance.
To learn more about Panasonic ventilation fans visit www.panasonic.ca,
email VentiltionFans@ca.panasonic.com or call 1-800-669-5165
North Star Homes is near completion on a 78 unit mid-rise
townhouse project in Markham. As a result of a Markham
town council decision, North Star agreed to build and certify
these homes to a LEED Silver certification.
“We have built many Energy Star homes in other municipalities.
Building LEED stacked townhomes required more attention to
detail and coordination with the sub-trades but we got through
the process. Many municipalities are asking for better than
code performance on homes for subdivision approval. It’s
smart for builders to figure out strategies so that Energy Star
and LEED are not the only cards to play.” Tony Priori, Project
Manager at North Star explained.
“Modeling and performance testing each unit helped us
to validate that our product was better than code when
inspectors challenged our building specifications. Working
with LEED, North Star has maintained our high standards
and delivered quality to our customers” Tony added.
One of the most important components of LEED is the
integrated design process (IDP). This process assures that
plans and designs are executed and that systems perform as
intended. More than four years ago, North Star’s Cottonlane
project in Markham was on the drawing board. Since then,
there have been two code changes and the Canadian version
of LEED for homes came into play, circa 2009. Due to proactive
planning, the mechanical designs did not have to change.
More importantly, the integrated design process; working with
the architect, mechanical design, builder and HVAC contractor
has allowed the homeowner to get a system that is both
efficient and works. Proper sizing of equipment, duct-work,
and envelope optimization means that the system delivers
when it is commissioned. Most residential systems are not
balanced properly and leak air. Therefore, not surprisingly,
these systems are not operating as designed. Measurement
is the key to the design process as a feedback mechanism.
A third party checking things via air balancing equipment
usually reveals deficiencies that can be used to improve
future designs and installations by subtrades.
Most current building code inspections are visual checks on
plans and do not reveal the true performance of these systems.
In past articles, attention has been drawn to this issue regarding
air barrier detailing and blower door tests. How airtight is a
house? Why not simply measure it, rather than have endless
debates about details and building science. Debates and
discussions don’t lead to concrete outcomes. The same is
true about HVAC systems. Let’s look under the hood and see
what the engine is really doing.
Unfortunately, the industry’s perception is that all this is too
time consuming and expensive. How can it pay for itself
when margins are so small for HVAC contractors?
LEED encourages integration by offering project merit
points to the builder for the certification of the home. In
the Cottonlane project in Markham, a total of 15 LEED
points were secured towards their LEED-Silver target, based
on integrating and measuring mechanical systems. Some of
these features, or components, are used by other green rating
systems like, Project FutureProof, BuiltGreen and Greenhouse.
They can be offered and packaged independently to support
the builder’s brand or the municipality’s own sustainability
Scoring Points with HVAC Systems
in LEED Residential Projects
LEED POINTS FOR HVAC
EQ MEASURE COMMENT POINTS
No carbon monoxide 2
3.0 MOISTURE LOAD
ERV's reduced air
HRV/ERV Balanced with
4.3 THIRD PARTY
Occupant control/sensor 1
5.3 THIRD PARTY
(IE. Exhaust fan)
6.2 RETURN AIR FLOW Verify flows 1
Verify delivery and reduce
leakage to 20%
7.0 AIR FILTERATION
#10 filter or better 1
Cover vents during
8.3 PRE OCCUPANCY
distribution for off gasing
EA MEASURE COMMENT POINTS
No HCFC 1
TOTAL POINTS 15
checklist. Let’s look at the points in the
Indoor Environmental Quality section of the
LEED for Homes rating system and review
their impacts. The chart, LEED POINTS
FOR HVAC on page 10 will help to clarify.
Just imagine a car dealer who delivered a
vehicle without a pre delivery inspection
(PDI). Their service department would have
to manage many unhappy customers. In
home building, we do PDI’s but we really
don’t check all the systems before we turn
the house over to the new home-owner.
By contrast, not only do our mechanical
systems checklists save energy and
enhance comfort for the home-owner;
they also reduce call-backs and complaints
to the builder.
The mechanicals at Cottonlane are
comprised of a combination heating system;
a rented condensing hot water tank and an
AirMax hi-velocity air distribution system.
A compact VänEE 60H exhaust duct ERV
provides whole house ventilation and spot
ventilation with controls in the bathroom.
Each of these components was verified for
delivery and performance. Before drywall,
a duct blaster test was used to identify and
remediate the air leakage in the ductwork
and supply branches.
Please refer to the chart on page 10 to
understand what the EQ points refer
to with each measurement or feature.
Hi-velocity systems operate at 10 times
the pressure (ESP 1.5) of normal delivery
systems. Any leaks result in compromised
performance. Initial testing of the project
revealed leakage of 10 to 15%. Working
with HVAC contractor Downsview, leakage
was reduced by half, thereby meeting the
LEED requirement of 4CFM per 100 sq. ft.
at 25 Pascals. This had a direct effect on
delivery (EQ 6.2, 6.3). The biggest win with
testing is the establishment of the protocol
in which ductwork is tested prior to dry
wall installation. In this case, using this
sequence allowed the performance to be
improved enough to attain the LEED-Silver
goal. North Star site personnel were made
aware of deficiencies before they were
covered up, and the Downsview installation
crew were held to higher standards. As
a result of pre-drywall inspections, only 4
ERV’s out of 78 were installed incorrectly,
and all could be balanced and meet
requirements for local exhausts (EQ 3.0,
ISSUE 06 | SUMMER 2013
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dusty ﬂoor vents during home
Our product is made from recycled
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by preventing dust, dirt, and garbage from
entering the duct -work.
on to detail
= enhanced customer satisfaction.
ANDRE', NORTHSTAR'S SITE SUPER OVERSEES DUCT BLASTING
HI-VELOCITY AIR DISTRIBUTION WITH A CONDENSING HOT
VERIFYING RANGE HOOD CAPACITY
4.2, 4.3, 5.2, 5.3). Commissioned ERV’s garner 6 LEED points
on an exhaust duct install.
From my experience, many local exhausts in bathrooms do
not result in adequate air displacement. EnergyStar rated fans
only consider their power consumption and do not guarantee
good airflow. Never the less, exhaust fans like the Panasonic
models that use DC fan technology, always live up to their
rating. Improperly sealed exhaust fan ductwork and roof vent
terminations often mean that many installations don’t provide
adequate flows, which ultimately will lead to homeowner
complaints. Let’s test the fans and see what’s happening and
make improvements necessary for performance.
With an increase in asthma and allergies, air filtration is an
important feature in any air distribution system. Filters with a
measured efficiency rated value (MERV) receive 1 point EQ 7.2.
Many builders are starting to understand the importance
of protecting the ductwork from contamination during
construction. Brookfield Homes is using ProTecVent on their
FutureProofed, LEED-Gold home in Niagara on the Lake. The
ProTecVent is installed on the subfloor during construction at
the pre-drywall stage to ensure that supply ductwork does
not get contaminated with debris. ProTecVent also ensures
proper fitting of floor boots to match floor finishes such as
ceramic and hardwood. Many builders do duct cleaning
before PDI and ProTecVent reduces the need to do this. The
filter portion of the product can be reused multiple times.
Everybody knows the new car smell, and some like it. Its
presence indicates volatile organic compounds (VOC’s) which
are unhealthy. The very same situation happens in new homes
where the materials and finishes emit VOC’s, off-gassing the
chemicals that are trapped inside. A pre-occupancy flush
earns points by running the air circulation and ventilation
system to air-out the house 48 hours before occupancy (EQ 8.3).
In the end, most argue that all this planning and testing is a
good thing; despite the time consuming learning curve and
the added costs of enrolling and certifying. The common
question is, who pays? We all know the answer, the home-
buyer does! The builder faces more up-front costs but
can use the mechanical system checklist to create a new
process. Rethink, retool and actually save money on
production costs while reducing customer complaints and
receiving subdivision approvals.
WILLIAM GREIG OF BROOKFIELD HOMES AND THE PROTECVENT
COMPACT INSTALLATION OF ER V
JOHN GODDEN IS THE PRESIDENT OF CLEARSPHERE AND PUBLISHING EDITOR OF BETTER
Once again the City of Waterloo played host to the 24th annual Ontario Technological Skills Competition, a qualifying
event for the Skills Canada National Competition. Over 1900 competitors competed in over 60 skilled trade contest areas,
all vying for a spot on the podium as well as a chance to represent the Province of Ontario at the national competition.
The annual event is the cornerstone of Skills Canada – Ontario, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to the promotion
of the skilled trades and technologies as viable first-choice career options to
Ontario youth. An estimated 30,000 spectators attended the competition held
at RIM Park and witnessed events ranging from aircraft maintenance all the way
through to plumbing and precision machining.
Clearsphere's own Josef Hanik competed at this year’s contest after having been
chosen to represent George Brown College in the Architectural Technology and
Design category. Competitors were assessed on their ability to utilize Computer
Aided Drafting (CAD) software in the preparation of a set of architectural commercial
working drawings. Marks were awarded for the contestant`s ability to incorporate
common architectural, engineering and construction themes including: envelope
design, space planning, code compliance, structural determination, mechanical
and electrical systems integration, maintainability, environmental sustainability and
accessibility. Through lots of hard work and preparation Josef was able to bring
home the silver medal after finishing second in the province.
About Josef Hanik: After graduating from high school in Barrie Ontario, Josef
moved to Kingston Ontario to attend St. Lawrence College where he studied
general carpentry. Josef then headed out east to the Annapolis Valley in Nova
Scotia where he worked as an apprentice carpenter on a wide variety of job sites
ranging from Canadian Military Bases to residential homes. Josef then returned
to Ontario where he honed his carpentry skills constructing timber frame homes
and cottages. After a few years of reading blueprints Josef found himself wanting
to be more involved with the design process which led him to the Architectural
Technology program at George Brown College. Josef`s studies at George Brown ultimately led him to Clearsphere where
he`s now employed as a Junior Technical Advisor.
Clearsphere Congratulates Josef Hanik
ISSUE 06 | SUMMER 2013
CLEARSPHERE'S OWN JOSEF HANIK
BETTER BUILDER STAFF
Steve Baden, President of RESNET,
congratulates Antony Zanini of
Clearsphere, the recipient of the
Bruce Gough Memorial Award at the
2013 RESNET Conference held in
STEVE BADEN, PRESIDENT OF RESNET AND ANTONY ZANINI OF CLEARSPHERE,
rhvca.com | email@example.com | 905-264-9967
Don’t leave the health of your home’s
most valuable asset to chance. Trust only
a RHVCA member to design, install and
service your heating, cooling and ventilation
system. Our members represent the
highest standards of training, certiﬁcation,
and expertise in the HVAC industry.
Good design, good installation, good equipment has always
been the unofficial motto of the Residential Heating Ventilation
Contractors Association (RHVCA), says CEO Domenic Di
Battista. Instituted in 1968 as the Toronto Residential Air
Handling Group, the recently renamed RHVCA functions
in many ways for the trades it represents: education for its
unionized members; input into training and certification; and
lobbying for bylaw changes.
Although the Ontario building code sets a standard province-
wide, Battista says there are numerous bylaw inconsistencies
between municipalities. This isn’t only confusing, it also adds to
contractors’ workload when they have to go fishing around
for different materials, Di Battista says. “One municipality
might request a certain heating rod that’s not used in another
jurisdiction. There’s no conformity to the standards, and
contractors have to adapt to each municipality.” The as-
sociation has been lobbying to change this.
Another initiative of the RHVCA is getting down in writing their
mandate of good design, good equipment, good installation
practices. The brochure, currently being drafted, should
be ready by the end of this summer, Di Battista says. “It
outlines the green leadership practices that we support. I
think it’s fair to say that everyone in our industry is working
towards a green environment, at the same time aiming to
install systems that are a better product, and save consumers
money in the long run.”
The three principles work together – design, equipment and
installation – to create heating, cooling and ventilation systems
that are appropriate to a building, because of properly sized
equipment and skilled installation.
Oversized equipment – a furnace too big for a house – is a
common occurrence, Di Battista says. Why these monstrous
furnaces were installed in the first place was to compensate
for the cycling on and off – the house cools down, so the
furnace comes on and heats the space quickly, and then
shuts off just as fast. The constant cycling on and off does
not provide a comfortable interior environment – too uneven
in its output -- plus it costs a lot more, Di Battista explains.
In larger homes, the solution isn’t a larger furnace, but a
zone system – two separate furnaces to handle for the main
and second floors. When equipment is the right size, there’s
greater energy efficiency. Coupled with improved insulation
and tightness, the building can realize all these benefits.
The last piece of the equation is proper installation. Most
furnaces and ductwork have gaps, where air escapes so
that the last run of the ductwork gets nothing. Proper instal-
lation would include sealing joints with compound, so that
the furnace can deliver the air everywhere without leakage.
Likewise, the ductwork should be smaller to correspond
with the smaller HVAC system. The new air distribution
ventilation systems , with efficiency motors to reduce hydro
consumption, should also be designed for a specific house.
RHVCA is currently developing a new water-based system
that heats by passing water through coils. It can be zoned
to service main and second floors, and is so sophisticated
that there is only one degree difference between floors.
When equipment has been properly designed, sized and in-
stalled, Battista says it ensures the interior of a house stays
comfortable, is free of odours, and uses less energy, which
translates into lower bills.
In the 25 years that Di Battista has been a contractor – and the
last five that he’s been fulltime CEO of RHVCA – he has seen a
lot of changes to regulations, most of them for the better.
The Ontario building code, too, is constantly pushing
energy efficiency expectations up. Heating systems today
RHVCA—Good Design, Good
Installation and Good Equipment
15ISSUE 06 | SUMMER 2013
are expected to be 95% efficient -- years ago, a high efficiency furnace was considered about 60%. The equipment as
well has become much more sophisticated – in the “old days” you installed a furnace with ducts. Today, there are several
pieces that work together to create an airtight home, and then heat, cool and ventilate it.
But complex equipment requires skilled installers; contractors must now be certified in order to install heating and cooling
systems, drawings won’t be accepted at City Hall without it.
The process of certification to receive a certificate of qualification (CofQ) involves a five year apprenticeship program.
Administered by the Ministry of Colleges and Universities, the program has two components: practical with on-site work,
followed by three phases of schooling (beginning, intermediate and advanced), following by an apprenticeship and culminating
in a written exam taken at the ministry’s office.
A passing mark is 70%, up from the former 60% requirement, which allow graduates to receive their papers as sheet
metal journeyman. Di Battista says joining a union isn’t necessary to work after graduation but he says every journeyman
ALEX NEWMAN IS A WRITER, EDITOR AND RESEARCHER AT WWW.INTEGRITYCOMMUNICATIONS.CA
It’s been 40 years since North Americans
experienced the effects of the oil crisis and
started thinking more seriously about energy
In 1973, Arab oil producers decided to boycott
the west to punish the United States for sup-
porting Israel in the Yom Kippur war against
Egypt, causing the price of oil to quadruple
and gas prices to skyrocket in North America.
By early 1974, the U.S. started rationing gas and many sta-
tions ran out. The crisis was a wake-up call to the downside
of oil dependence, sustainability and the ‘green’ movement
gained new traction.
Compact cars became a hot commodity, and car pools and
mass transit became more attractive transportation options.
Mike Martino recalls that time: “I was in college and there
were long line-ups at the pumps and people were crossing
the border to get gas.”
At the time, furnaces used in homes were only about 55 per
cent efficient. In the 1970s, in light of the oil crisis, HVAC
equipment started to become more efficient, improving to
about 75 per cent efficiency.
“As we got into 80s, equipment started to go up to 90 per
cent efficient,” says Martino, an HVAC specialist and owner
of Martino Contractors Inc. “This was all because of what
happened during the oil crisis.”
Martino notes that a lot of today’s ‘new’ technology isn’t
new at all: “Believe it or not, in the ‘80s, there were so-
lar panels for domestic hot water heating, air-to-air heat
pumps and furnaces with ECM motors.”
U.S. President Jimmy Carter had 32 solar panels installed
17ISSUE 06 | SUMMER 2013
FEATURE STORYFEATURE STORY
By Tracy Hanes
Mike Martino Looks at
40 Years of Energy
Efficiency in Canada
MIKE MARTINO (FRONT & CENTER) AND HIS AWARD WINNING TEAM
on the White House in 1979 to set an example to the
American people to conserve energy. President Ronald
Reagan had them removed when he took office in 1981.
In Canada, the government introduced the Canadian Off-Oil
Substitution Program (COSP) in the early ‘80s which gave
homeowners $800 to convert their oil furnaces to natural
gas or electricity.
“We had to do heat losses of houses to determine the
proper size of furnace that was to go into that house,” says
But public interest in conserving energy waxed and
waned during the 1990s and early 2000s, as energy costs
dropped, then started to gain momentum again.
“For the last five to seven years, we have been taking
energy conservation very seriously and it’s now here to
stay. What has changed with the green movement is that
children have bought it into it over last decade like no other
generation,” says Martino. “And it’s not only the cost of
energy going up, but the availability of it.
“Before, you could jump in (to conservation) with one foot
and jump out, and had no one looking over your shoulder
saying ‘Dad, you’re leaving the lights on’ or ‘Dad, separate
Technologies such as solar panels and furnaces with ECM
motors started gaining popularity again.
Natural Resources Canada’s EcoEnergy program that ran
from April 2007 to March 2012 spurred renewed interest in
energy efficiency by rewarding homeowners who carried
out energy-saving retrofits. Many of them tore out furnaces
to have them replaced by new, but not necessarily much
“What’s interesting was that back then (in the ‘80s) when
you converted a house from an oil to gas furnace, you had
to take a permit out,” notes Martino. “Now there are no
With EcoEnergy, homeowners also carried out air sealing,
replaced leaky windows and improved the insulation in their
houses, which meant they wouldn’t require a furnace of the
same size they were removing.
What typically happened, says Martino, is that while the
new furnace may have had a higher efficiency rating, it
tended to be the same size as the old one and wasn’t
‘right sized,’ taking into consideration the tighter building
envelope and other improvements that reduce heating
This is still happening in many new home builds and in
retrofits of older homes.
Many contractors still use a rule-of-thumb load calcula-
tion based on square footage, using out-dated information
and performance specs, rather than taking the time to do
a proper heat loss calculation using a spread sheet and
determining how much heat is escaping through walls, win-
dows and roof. It’s also quicker and easier just to replace
an old furnace with one the same size than installing a
With building envelopes getting tighter, a whole building
approach is required, looking at the house as a system and
considering how one system affects the other, says Martino.
Improperly sized furnaces cycle on and off, waste energy
and do not create proper heat distribution for comfort, and
their motors and heat exchangers get stressed. As a result,
they don’t deliver the anticipated energy savings, he notes.
Martino says there are a couple of issues that need ad-
dressing in the building, renovation and HVAC industries:
for one, no one is checking to see if the heating systems
are being properly engineered, and there’s also the cost
factor: smaller, energy efficient modulating gas furnaces
with ECM motors are more expensive, even though they’ll
save homeowners more in the long run, and often people
don’t want to put out the extra money.
“There’s a lack of proper training in the industry and there are
shortcuts as far as costs go,” says Martino. “To properly start
up a furnace and to check it out can take up to an hour and
that’s $100. You want to make sure you are getting the right
temperature, the right air flow and you want to do a safety
check too to ensure there are no gas leaks. But why do it
when you can get away with not doing it?” (Martino insists
MIKE MARTINO WINS BILDS CONTRACTOR OF THE YEAR 2011
For the past 25 years we, at Martino Contractors,
have built a coveted reputation performing
energy efﬁcient and customized installations in
the heating and air conditioning market.
So why should you as a home builder depend on
It’s because of our reliable, consistent approach
to doing business, our customized designs and
quality installations, and twenty-ﬁve years of
dependable and fast service. We are committed
to providing home comfort solutions that exceed
our customer’s expectations through professional
design, installation, service and the use of
environmentally friendly energy efﬁcient products.
Call us today and you will find out why our
customers are committed to us and why Martino
Contractors has won BILD Trade Contractor of
the Year in 2010 and 2011 and selected as a
finalist in 2012.
Let the professionalism and service we provide go
to work for you!
Martino Contractors Ltd.
firstname.lastname@example.org • www.martinohvac.com • 1-800-465-5700
WE ARE MAKING A DIFFERENCE.
Bringing a World of HVAC Products to You.
on doing the proper start-up procedure with his clients).
He thinks a process should be in place to ensure that
systems are being properly matched to homes and HVAC
systems should be checked to see if they are engineered
and installed properly.
“There are requirements in place through the Ontario Building
Code, but a lot of it has to be reinforced,” Martino says.
“Each city has its own heating departments. It has to go
back to the municipality. The government wants energy
conservation done properly. And what about all the energy
auditors out there (many who came on stream when the
EcoEnergy program was launched)? How many of them
verified that the furnaces installed were right sized? It’s a
shame that all that money was spent and then furnaces
‘Right sizing’ HVAC equipment is crucial in creating energy
efficient homes and Martino notes that higher energy
costs are here to stay, and with the growing awareness
of sustainability generated by the younger generation,
consumers are taking a closer look at how their houses
are being built and how they are performing.
“Thanks to the Internet, people are so much more educated
and they also do their research,” says Martino. “It’s amazing
what we hear back from salespeople. A lot of our customers
already know about ECM motors and know what SEER
Martino Contractors has been in business for 26 years and
specializes in new construction installations, service and
mechanical system design. Martino Contractors was the
2011 and 2010 BILD (Building Industry and Land Development
Association) Trade Contractor of the Year.
While new construction remains the company's main focus,
it has expanded its design and retail departments and has
qualified designers who complete each HVAC design
in-house to meet building code standards.
TRACY HANES IS A FREELANCE FEATURE WRITER FOR THE LARGEST DAILY NEWSPAPER IN
CANADA AND SEVERAL MAGAZINES. WWW.TRACYHANES.CA
If you can find a green solution that actually saves money,
then the investment is a multiple win situation. Bill Gates
says the next big thing will be toilet technology. Some of
that future change is here today. Reducing or eliminating
water consumption in design of new facilities or retrofitting
of existing is an emerging change of practice.
For golf courses, recent player demographics have changed
the demands for course owners. There are more seniors and
women playing. Getting down to basic body functions – as
we age we will have to use the “facilities” more often. The old
standard of go “hide behind the tree” or see “Johnny- on-the-
spot” doesn’t cut it any longer. A memorable golf experience
includes clean, well built on-course restroom facilities. The
traditional on-course options have been the low-end port-
a-potty, the full-service half way house and the mid-range
building on a pump out tank.
The key is water savings. If a course has an average of 150
golfers per day with 200 golf days in a season, and half the
players use the on-course facility, 90,000 liters of water is
needed for a 6 liter toilet facility. For an old 3.5 gallon guzzler,
that would be 210,000 L. With a 1 pint flush toilet, water
usage is reduced by 80,000 L and 200,000 L respectively. With
a no water composting system, the water savings are 100%.
The other savings is capital costs. By disconnecting the
infrastructure, the costs of running long distance buried
electrical cable, water lines and sewer connection / septic
bed construction are eliminated. An off-grid facility is created
by combining composting toilet technology, solar power and
evaporation bed. The “disconnect” allows the building to be
much more site flexible. The infrastructure savings potential
can be in the order of $30,000 plus, per building.
Composting toilets use bacteria to break down solids. The
liquid keeps the compost moist and combined with air flow,
allows for happy aerobic bacteria to do their thing. Any
excess liquid can go into an overflow drain which enters a
mini evaporator bed.
The evaporation bed with shallow root perennial plants is
designed to encourage liquid to be drawn up from the shallow
bed. Ultra low water flush toilets or a non water system mean
very little liquid into the ground. The small excavation area is
less destructive to tree roots and local ecosystems.
The solutions are by no means cookie cutter. There are
specific course requirements, location considerations,
design details, building logistics and possible septic and
building permits. My experience with permits for composting
systems is that each municipality makes its own call, with
the responses being from “no permit required”, to “permit
required, how can we help”, to well, some challenges. The ac-
ceptance is definitely growing.
Examples of successful installations are Credit Valley Golf and
Country Club, Muskoka Highlands GC and Parry Sound GC,
Silver Creek GC (Garden River FN) in Ontario.
Other applications are cottages, remote homes, parks and
out buildings, recreation facilities and for environmentally
progressive home owners.
Going green with a washroom facility does take a little
maintenance care to keep the bio system happy. The
payoff is the budget, the golfers and the environment.
The triple bottom line.
Composting Toilets on the Course
AL SEYMOUR IS THE PRESIDENT OF MUSKOKA IN THE CITY INC.
21ISSUE 06 | SUMMER 2013
“Comfort has become a major requirement of our houses
in modern Western societies. So much so that we are
prepared to overheat them with the heavy consumption of
fuels in the winter, and to refrigerate them with air condi-
tioning in the summer.” – P. Oliver1
The Ontario Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing’s
energy efficiency requirements contained in SB-12 include
various alternatives that allow the insulation levels of the
envelope to be lowered provided higher efficiency mechanical
systems are used to compensate for the increased energy
consumption. From an energy consumption perspective
the scheme is useful in ensuring houses achieve more or
less the same level of energy efficiency. Unfortunately,
trading off envelope insulation including high performance
windows for mechanical systems runs counter to how
buildings have evolved over time – an evolution that has
been driven by our thermal comfort needs.
Clothing was the natural barrier to the cold. Early tapestries
were placed on walls enhancing comfort by reducing radiative
heat losses from the body to the poorly insulated walls. At
night the canopy bed further separated our warm bodies from
the poorly performing envelope. Early Canadian houses
with wood frame walls filled with stone or wattle and daub
provided little relief from the Canadian winter.
In our earliest buildings, the central hearth (sometimes
just a fire pit) was used to enhance thermal comfort. The
central hearth compensated for the poorly insulated, often
drafty envelope. English manor houses of the 14th century
often had only one fireplace on the ground floor. As means
improved and our standards for comfort rose, individual
rooms became fitted with fireplaces. The multiplication of
chimneys in 15th century manor houses marked the advent
of distributed heating. The chimney became a symbol of the
means of the manor lord. Fake chimney stacks were some-
times used to give the illusion that there were many rooms
The 18th century brought the notion of comfort even to
furniture as padding (horse hair for men and down for women)
replaced uncomfortable benches. Mass production and
industrialization democratized comfort, making it a mass
commodity. Physical comfort was no longer a privilege of
the wealthy but a common expectation, accessible to all.
Where the poorly insulated envelope was not able to provide
the thermal comfort we desired, new mass produced heating
systems made of pipes and radiators that distributed the
heat from a central boiler dramatically improved indoor living
The recent advent of high performance envelopes has
redefined our traditional approach to building design and
The Benefits of High Performance
ENHANCING THERMAL COMFORT AND THREE BARRIERS TO THE COLD: CLOTHING, THE
CANOPY BED, AND THE BUILDING2
THIS CLUSTERING OF CHIMNEYSTACKS BECAME A SYMBOL OF WEALTH AND THE
PRIVILEGE OF COMFORT 3
FIGURE 4: RADIATOR CENTRAL HEATING SYSTEMS DATING BACK TO THE EARLY 1900S 4
ISSUE 06 | SUMMER 2013
quest for comfort. Discomfort from radiative
heat loss from our bodies to cold envelope
surfaces is very significantly reduced in houses
built with high performance walls and windows.
Old rules that forced designers to place heaters
under cold windows to improve comfort are no
longer relevant in an age of high performance
envelopes. The need for mechanical systems
to compensate for poorly insulated, drafty
envelopes has virtually vanished. The new
approaches to construction have reduced the
need for supplemental heat dramatically.
It’s not clear to me why in the age of high
performance envelopes we would want to
trade them off in favour of larger (albeit efficient)
mechanicals. It’s not clear to me why anyone
would choose to erode the performance of
the envelope that costs so much to upgrade
and that can last as long as the building in
favour of a mechanical system that only lasts
15 or 20 years. Reducing the insulation of the
envelope in many regards is a step back in time.
“We must rediscover for ourselves the
mystery of comfort, for without it, our
dwellings will indeed be machines instead
– W. Rybczynksi, Home: A Short History of an
1. Housing: Symbol, Structure, Site, 1982
2. Heating, Cooling, Lighting: Sustain-
able Design Methods for Architects, by
Norbert Lechner, 2009
3. English Manor Houses, by Nicholas
4. Architectural Hygiene or Sanitary Sci-
ence as Applied to Buildings, by Sir
Banister Fletcher, 1933
5. Home: A Short History of an Idea, by
Witold Rybczynski, 1986
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GreenBuild 8x10 Pstr3_Print.pdf 5/7/12 10:34:54 PM
An amendment to the 2012 Ontario Building Code has
provided a major boost for a Kitchener company and has
made it easy for builders to meet Code standards.
In March, Ontario officially became the first jurisdiction in
North America to provide direct energy credits for Drain Water
Heat Recovery (DWHR) technology within the OBC, following
France, the United Kingdom and the Netherlands.
That was welcome news for RenewABILITY Energy Inc. of
Kitchener, maker of the PowerPipe. While drain water heat
recovery units have existed for decades, RenewAbility
Energy Inc. created a revolutionary design with the
PowerPipe, using multiple copper coils wrapped in
parallel around a drainpipe to maximize heat transfer.
The technology, developed by RenewABILITY CEO and
founder Gerald Van Decker, who holds a Master’s Degree
in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Waterloo,
significantly reduces energy use and water heating costs
in everything from residential homes to industrial buildings, at
affordable cost. Other benefits are that the PowerPipe is self-
cleaning and maintenance-free, making it simple for home-
While leading Ontario ‘green’ builders have used the Power-
Pipe for several years, and Enbridge and Union Gas provided
it to builders through their energy conservation programs, the
OBC inclusion marks a “major milestone,” said Van Decker,
who held an event at RenewABILITY in April to celebrate.
Van Decker said the device reduces energy consumption by
6 to 10 per cent and saves two-thirds of the energy a solar
heating system would, at one tenth of the cost.
In the past nine years, the PowerPipe has created 146,000
gigajoules in savings. That means, said Van Decker, that the
25,000 installed units have saved energy equivalent to what
1,800 Net Zero homes would conserve.
Van Decker explains that while the PowerPipe has gained
recognition in Ontario, thanks to the Enbridge and Union Gas
programs and builders adopting it, it’s still virtually unknown
in other parts of Canada and the United States. Part of that
is due to the Pipe’s low profile – it doesn’t stand out on a
home like solar panels do and it’s quiet and passive.
But Van Decker is confident that with its inclusion in the OBC
credits, it will see further adoption across North America. It
is also suited to retrofits of older homes and is sold online by
Sears and Home Depot.
Van Decker thanked the Ontario government for blazing
a trail by becoming the first in North America to provide
credits for drain water heat recovery.
“Our manufacturing sector has taken quite a hit and what’s
interesting about this product is that it’s not only green
manufacturing, but it’s manufactured in the downtown,”
said Kitchener Mayor Carl Zehr. “With the changes made
to the Ontario Building Code – and it’s a welcome change –
this adds another green aspect to building and I’m pleased
it’s come about.”
“This is a new technology that has an exciting future, not
only in the province, but across Canada and internationally,”
said John Millroy, MPP for Kitchener Centre. He said by
2017, new homes will be required to be 50 per cent more
energy efficient than they were in 2003.
Shannon Bertuzzi of Enbridge said when she first saw the
PowerPipe in 2008, her impression was “this is a great
product. It is simple, easy to understand and replacing
something that is sitting there doing nothing.” Bertuzzi
says the PowerPipe is now used in more than 5,000
homes in the Enbridge franchise area and 150 builders
have adopted it. Homeowners also love it, she added.
Empire Communities started building Energy Star homes
six years ago and was the first builder in Ontario to make
the label standard on its homes. Empire executive vice
president Paul Golini Jr. said when his company learned
about the power pipe, they quickly realized the benefits and
have incorporated it into their building program since.
“I think this is an amazing success story about how industry
is collaborating with government to do right with the
environment,” says John Godden, CEO & Founder of
Clearsphere and president of CRESNET (Canadian
Residential Energy Network). Godden says with the OBC
demanding higher standards in terms of performance, it’s
important to have such partnerships to empower the building
industry to do what it needs to, to deliver energy conservation.
He predicts the PowerPipe will play an even greater role in
Ontario construction going forward, as the next OBC will
raise the bar for energy efficiency higher and put a greater
emphasis on renewable energy and water conservation.
“This technology can be coupled beautifully with grey water
recycling. It’s a big up-and-coming technology,” said Godden.
SB-12 Recognizes Drain Water
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27ISSUE 06 | SUMMER 2013
Ani Bogovic Gets the Green!
With plank hardwood floors, 12-foot ceilings, a flood of natural light, and high end finishes, this Dekla custom built house
proves that green can, and should, be beautiful.
The builder behind the Dekla name, Ani Bogovic, is a committed green
advocate who had a 25-year career with other builders before stepping
out on her own in 2009. Each house she has since built is a testament
to the possibilities of energy efficient good looks and with her latest
venture, a home that buyers are willing to pay more for.
After severing a large lot in south Etobicoke, Bogovic divided it into
two 25x128 ft lots. She then built two custom homes, one for her
sister and one she would eventually sell. Both houses were 2100 sq.
ft. (including the above-grade basement it’s 2800 sq ft). Both boasted
five bathrooms, three full and two powder rooms; four bedrooms and a
20x40 foot kitchen-family room combo.
Bogovic then filled the homes with top of the line finishes and features:
Caesarstone counters, marble backsplash, HansGrohe faucets, custom
kitchen and bathroom cabinetry, wide plank hardwood floors and a
But it was the home’s green features: HRV, Polaris dual purpose water
heating system with a Power- Pipe drain water heat recovery system, Roxul insulation in walls and ceiling that boosted
the home’s R values, BP Excel structural insulated sheathing, and Blueskin house wrap and window sheathing that helped
the home sell for more than what comparable homes in the area go for.
Bogovic is still a little surprised about that, because she like everyone else has always believed that home buyers aren’t pre-
pared to pay for green.
Enter Sabrina Scapicchio and Sean
Griffith, two thirty-something high
school teachers looking to move
from their Fort-York-area condo into
a house. But not just any house,
they wanted a green built home.
With Griffith working in Ajax and
Scapicchio in Brampton, the couple
wanted to stay east of Browns Line.
They seriously considered one
subdivision offering geothermal as
an upgrade, but as soon as they
saw Bogovic’s house, they put in an
It was the marriage of beauty and
function that sold them. “What’s
not to love about the house,”
Scapicchio says. “It’s gorgeous and
“I’m keen on the energy reduction but
Sean is way ahead of me on that,”
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ISSUE 06 | SUMMER 2013
It was the marriage of beauty and function that sold them. “What’s not to love about the house,” Scapicchio says. “It’s
gorgeous and energy efficient.”
“I’m keen on the energy reduction but Sean is way ahead of me on that,” Scapicchio admits. “His school [Durham’s
Dennis O’Connor] is very environmentally oriented. We were prepared to pay a little more for a house that’s this green,
because we plan to stay here a long time, and that it will save us money over the years. And Sean really hopes that
we’re helping to push the trend to green housing, “you know more people like us buying houses like this.”
While the desire for green was there, Scapicchio says it wasn’t until Clearsphere’s John Godden met them at the house and explained
everything so that they comprehended the extent of the system’s efficiency, and knew they had made the right decision to buy.
When they came to the heat recovery system, Scapicchio recognized the three lights on the box. “It was the same as my first
house in Brampton a couple of years ago. But I never used it because I had no idea what it was.”
“John described the HRV as the lungs of the house,” she says. “Because energy efficient homes are so airtight, you don’t
get enough air circulation. This would give us fresh air that has been filtered and purified of any pollutants, and even on
heavy smog days, the interior atmosphere is consistently fresh.”
Godden also showed them how the Polaris dual purpose water heating system works, with heat being extracted from waste
shower and sink water by a copper coil pipe, thereby reducing the energy required to heat up the water needed to heat and
cool the house. Panasonic fans with Smart Flow DC technology ensure spot ventilation in bathrooms.
Scapicchio and Griffith are thrilled that their new home also has an efficient building envelope to complement the mechanical
systems. Roxul insulation in the walls and roof/attic has given their new home higher fire resistance and sound control. Blue-
skin wrap between the exterior cladding tightly seals the house and is an extremely effective moisture barrier, thus eliminat-
ing the potential for mould and increasing durability.
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The Importance of Vent
Terminations for Bathroom
The expression like a round peg in a square hole connotes a basic problem in
matching things that don’t fit together. When it comes to air moisture leakage in
houses, the shapes of pipes and penetrations need to match, be a good fit and
be sealed tightly. This is especially true of exhaust vent terminations in the roofs
LET’S LOOK AT THE INS AND OUTS OF
Air Leakage IN: The vent termination is designed to close when negative pressure is acting on it, therefore closing it until
pressurization is established again. The flapper closure makes the holes surrounding the connection to the attic the path
of least resistance for air and allows air to leak into the attic. This phenomenon is measured during a blower door test and
results in a poor energy rating for the house.
Air Leakage OUT: Improperly sealed roof vents leak air to the outside resulting in
wasted energy. Leakage also causes issues for durability. As warm and moist ex-
haust air being exfiltrated from the bathroom or kitchen is redirected back through the
roof penetration and deposited within the attic condensation can form; causing water
condensation, mould and ultimately rot. The number one culprit for this scenario is a
poorly installed bathroom fan.
Intentional building envelope penetrations, whether in ceilings where exhaust fans
are installed or in the roof deck openings that house the vent terminations, have the
potential to undo any effort to build airtight homes. Maximum Ventilation’s CT-4 Vent
Termination is built to seal and exhaust air where it is supposed to go, outside, not
back into your attic.
GLEN’S CASE STUDY,
Glen Hill lives in a 30 year old home in Pickering
and asked us to inspect his house to determine
options for potential energy savings. After
investigating the building envelope, we discovered leakages around bathroom
exhaust vents caused by faulty roof vent terminations. Initial balometer readings
revealed air leakage through exhaust fans of 82 CFM while running the blower door
at -50 Pa. Our roofers properly sealed the ceiling exhaust fans from the attic and
replaced the roof vent terminations with a Maximum Ventilation CT-4 unit. Leakage
tests conducted on the same exhaust fans after the new roof vent terminations were
installed gave us measurements of 8 CFM. The Maximum roof vent allowed a
decrease in leaks. Final blower door test results were 3.68 ACH, comparable to a
newly built home. Now Glen can feel confident that his home is more energy efficient
and that there is no chance of condensation damage from leaky exhaust fans.
Blower door results are higher because during depressurization tests of the house,
air is sucked through the holes and leakage areas in the unsealed venting system.
MAXIMUM VENTILATION’S MODEL CT-4 VENT
TERMINATION BEING PROPERLY INSTALLED
EXHAUST FANS DRIVE PRESSURIZED AIR INTO THE ATTIC
CAUSING MOISTURE DAMAGE BECAUSE THE VENT
TERMINATION AND PIPING IS NOT SEALED.
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Over the past few years I have had the pleasure of visiting and presenting to many
of Ontario’s local Home Builder Associations, municipal building officials and to
associations in other provinces. Recently I’ve started doing a presentation on the
new 2012 Ontario Building Code (OBC). Yes we have a new Code, but there is no
need to panic. Here are the changes with respect to energy and water.
There are some changes that improve the energy performance of new homes.
Starting in 2014 programmable thermostats will be required along with fully sealed
ducting on the supply side of the HVAC system. Starting on January 1, 2015 all
furnaces shall be equipped with DC (ECM) motors. This is something that OHBA advocated for as it will help to
improve the comfort of the home owner by ensuring that air can be circulated on a continuous basis which should help
reduce differences in temperature within the home. (I hope to follow up on this issue with a full article in the near future).
In addition Natural Gas (or propane) ready kitchens and laundry rooms will be permitted as an alternative to electrical. And
in January of 2017, the Part 9 Energy Benchmark goes up by 15% from the January 1st, 2012 SB12 levels and the Part 3
Large Buildings goes up by 13% from the current SB10 levels.
There are also water conservation measures being implemented, including toilet flow
which will reduce from 6 liters per flush to 4.8L/flush or 3L/6L for dual flush. In addition,
shower heads will reduce from 9.5 L/minute to 7.6L/minute.
On-site sewage treatment adopts the new CAN-BNQ 3680-600 national standard for
wastewater residential treatment technologies and establishes standards for dispersal
beds. This is an area that the government will continue to look at improving as a
measure of protecting groundwater.
DOUG TARRY JR., IS THE DIRECTOR OF MARKETING AT DOUG TARRY HOMES IN ST. THOMAS , ONTARIO.
The New 2012 O.B.C.:
ENERGY AND WATER EFFICIENCY
ISSUE 06 | SUMMER 2013
It’s fitting that this edition is dedicated to future proofing. This is a concept that
I have been discussing and designing into my homes for many years. Why? Be-
cause I believe that rising energy costs over the next generation will continue
to make energy efficiency a greater priority for our consumers. As an industry,
we continue to build ever more energy efficient homes. However, there is one
major challenge that we face: our customers!
Don’t get me wrong, I am grateful for all of my customers and I hope to build
for many more. It’s just that today’s consumer is much more demanding than
even a few years ago. They want longer showers with multiple showerheads
just like they see on the TV shows; they want their home to be uniformly cool
all summer, even with that big bank of windows facing the sun. The expecta-
tion of performance is that their utility bill will go down, or at least not change,
even though they continue to use their personal car wash (that’s what I call the
full body wash shower) and run that AC right through the day.
At some point in our customers’ future their thoughts will change from conserva-
tion to generation. That’s where future proofing comes in. So I thought I’d share
my insights on Solar Ready, the ultimate future proofing for the homes we build.
In 2007, Doug Tarry Homes was contracted by Natural Resources Canada to conduct the Solar Ready pilot project.
This included writing the first Solar Ready technical specifications. Since 2007, we have
continued to build all of our homes with Solar Ready design as a standard feature. In that time we have also installed
several solar thermal water heating systems. In October 2012, NRCan published the revised Solar Ready Specifica-
So here’s the good news. Solar Ready is fairly easy and inexpensive to include in a home provided you put some
thought into it during the design process. OK, so two storey homes can be a bit harder because of the popularity of
open concept main floors even on two storey homes. It has been our experience that it costs an additional $350-$450
per home for the Solar Ready rough in.
SO WHAT IS A SOLAR READY HOME?
There are two key components. First, space on the roof at a viable solar angle, and second, a conduit from mechanical
room to accessible attic space. Roof orientation for solar installations is considered viable from Southeast around to
West for solar thermal systems. South is most efficient for Photo Voltaic systems. Here are some important points to
• The solar conduit needs to run from the mechanical room to the attic. I prefer to install two – 2” conduits, rather than one
4”. If you ever have to bend the conduit slightly, there is no give in the 4”. Also the 4” requires a 2x6 wall which may not
be otherwise necessary for the home.
• It is important to avoid plumbing or mechanical runs in the dedicated location of the conduit, or it may be almost
impossible to find later on. Whatever conduit type you choose, it is important that they be capped at both the top and
bottom, otherwise you can have a condensation loop into your attic as well as a fire chase. I don’t trust tape as the
glue will diminish over time.
• Location of the future solar hot water tank should be shown on the basement plan so that the appropriate amount of
space is available. It is also good practice to show the roof elevation that the panels are intended to be installed on, so
• It is not a requirement, but it is a
recommended best practice that the
trusses intended to carry the solar
panels be designed and built with an
additional 5 lb. dead load to account
for the additional weight.
• Installation of panels should not be
directly into the top chord of the truss.
Rather it is better practice to attach
scab lumber to the side of the top
chord and attach into the scab.
• The existing Domestic Hot Water
Heater needs to have plumbing valves
and “T”s installed and an electrical
outlet needs to be located beside the
unit. This is to permit quick connection
at the time of installation.
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