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Better Builder Magazine, Issue 07 / Fall 2013

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

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Better Builder Magazine, Issue 07 / Fall 2013

  1. 1. IN THIS ISSUE »» Garden Homes:Always Better Than Code »» Customer Perception of Insulation »» Insulation: How much is Enough? »» Savings and Benefits From Future Proofing an Existing Home »» Canada Net Zero Demonstration Project »» The Optimum Basement Wall BETTER BuilderMAGAZINE the builder’s source ISSUE 07 | FALL 2013 WWW.BETTERBUILDER.CA Insulation SystemsBalancing Efficiency with Cost
  2. 2. A b r e a t h o f f r e s h a i r . MAX SERVICE All mechanical and electrical components are accessible from the front of the unit. Heating coil and fan/motor slide out for easy service. One of the most extensive warranties in the business:1-year parts & labour,2-years on parts only,where applicable. MAX COMFORT With the increased efficiency of this optional Electronically Commuted Motor (ECM), homeowners will be free to cycle air continuously with a minimal increase in electricity cost. Continuous fan operation helps improve filtration,reduce temperature variations,and helps keep the air clear of dust and allergens – making your customers’ homes more comfortable. Mini Ducted Hi-Velocity Air Handling System Optional Prioritizing of Comfort Levels with Energy Savings MAX SPACE SAVER The MAXAIR fan coil is so compact that it fits anywhere:laundry room,attic,crawl space,you can even place it in a closet. It can be installed in new or existing homes. It takes less than 1/3 of the space of a conventional heating and air conditioning unit. MAX ENERGY SAVINGS Energy savings,temperature control and comfort levels are achieved in individual levels of the home by prioritizing the requirements.This is achieved by installing optional space thermostats. If any area calls for heating or cooling, the individual thermostat allows the space it serves to achieve optimum comfort and still maintain continuous air circulation throughout the home. This method of prioritizing is a great energy savings measure while offering an increased comfort level to the home owner. FLEXAIRTM DISTRIBUTION SYSTEM MAX FLEXIBILITY The supply outlets can be placed in the wall, ceiling or floor. Each unit has four choices of locations for the return air connections. The FLEXAIR™ insulated 2½" supply duct will fit in a standard 2"x 4" wall cavity. Can be mounted for vertical or horizontal airflow. Can be combined with humidifiers,high efficiency air cleaners or ERVs / HRVs. Snap-together branch duct and diffuser connections. MAX ELECTRICAL SAVINGS ECMs are ultra-high-efficient programmable brushless DC motors that are more efficient than the permanently split capacitor (PSC) motors used in most residential furnaces.This is especially true at lower speeds used for continuous circulation in many new homes. 1-800-453-6669 905-951-0022519-578-5560613-966-5643 416-213-1555 877-254-4729905-264-1414 For distribution of Air Max Technologies products call www.airmaxtechnologies.com209 Citation Drive, Units 5&6, Concord, ON L4K 2Y8, Canada
  3. 3. FEATURE STORY 16 Garden Homes: Always Better Than Code BY TRACY HANES INSIDE THIS ISSUE 02 Publisher's Note: Heat Flow BY JOHN GODDEN 03 Customer Perception of Insulation BY LOU BADA 04 Straight From the Hart: Direct-to-Builder Conservation Funding BY LEN HART 06 Insulation-How Much is Enough? BY GORD COOKE 10 Looking At Insulation Holistically BY THOM MILLS 13 My House Has Been Futureproofed! BY ALEX NEWMAN 22 Canada’s Largest Net Zero Low-Rise Residential Demonstration Project BY MICHAEL LIO 24 Site Specific: Gary Botelho BY ALEX NEWMAN 26 AMVIC: Insulation Solutions From The Foundation To The Eaves BY HOWARD COHEN 29 Effective Attic Vents BY BETTER BUILDER STAFF 30 The Optimum Basement Wall BY: DOUG TARRY BETTER BuilderMAGAZINE the builder’s source 1 16 ISSUE 07 | FALL 2013 WWW.BETTERBUILDER.CA | ISSUE 07 | FALL 2013 3 6 74 56 BLANTYRE AVE.56 BLANTYRE AVE. Future Proofing Upgrades: •Drain Water Heat Recovery 110 - 100 - 90 - 80 - 102 Pre Future Proofing P John Godden June 7th, 2013 Sustainable Housing Foundation 74•Drain Water Heat Recovery •ERV •Combination HTG System w/ECM •Instant Water Heater •15 SEER A/C •Programmable Thermostat •R50 Attic Insulation - 70 - 60 - 50 - 40 - 30 - 20 - 10 - 0 27% Improve 13
  4. 4. PUBLISHER BETTER BUILDER MAGAZINE 12 ROWLEY AVENUE TORONTO, ON M4P 2S8 416-481-4218 - FAX 416-481-4695 SALES@BETTERBUILDER.CA BETTER BUILDER MAGAZINE IS A SPONSOR OF PUBLISHING EDITOR JOHN B. GODDEN JOHNG@BETTERBUILDER.CA MANAGING EDITOR WENDY SHAMI EDITORIAL@BETTERBUILDER.CA To advertise, contribute a story, or join our distribution list, please contact FEATURE WRITER TRACY HANES CREATIVE ANNA-MARIE MCDONALD LITTLE GREEN BAG CREATIVE SERVICES THIS MAGAZINE BRINGS TOGETHER PREMIUM PRODUCT MANUFACTURERS AND LEADING BUILDERS TO CREATE BETTER, DIFFERENTIATED HOMES AND BUILDINGS THAT USE LESS ENERGY, SAVE WATER AND REDUCE OUR IMPACT ON THE ENVIRONMENT. PUBLICATION NUMBER 42408014 Copyright by Better Builder Magazine. Contents may not be reprinted or reproduced without written permission obtained at The opinions expressed herein are exclusively those of the authors and assumed to be original work. Better Builder Magazine can not be held liable for any damage as a result of publishing such works. UNDELIVERABLE MAIL BETTER BUILDER MAGAZINE 12 ROWLEY AVENUE TORONTO, ON M4P 2S8 BETTER BUILDER MAGAZINE IS PUBLISHED FOUR TIMES A YEAR BY 2 PUBLISHER’S NOTE Heat Flow Heat flow is defined by a simple equation: Q = A/R X ΔT. Think of A as the surface area of the building envelope that is made of attics, walls, windows and foundation walls. R is simply the amount of insulation we use to resist heat flow under a temperature difference (ΔT). On the surface, it seems like a simple relationship until we introduce more variables like the cost of energy and the cost effectiveness of insulation systems. Building scientists promote the application and understanding of natural processes and technology to encourage long-term approaches. Builders employ short-term decision making that depends on first costs and code minimums that may not be the most durable strategies over time. Anybody that owns their own business has an appreciation for the simple fact that the price of goods being sold must be greater than what it cost to produce them. We wonder, at which point do we stop spending money on insulation systems? How much insulation is enough? With cheap energy, how can we justify super insulating houses? With every new house in Ontario built to an Energuide 80, a high level of performance, how do we sell efficiency to homeowners? In this issue we have many good perspectives that shed light on these questions. Lou Bada explores the concept of the foam house. Welcome back to contributor Len Hart who outlines the incentives from electrical utilities that reward builders based on energy performance. Gord Cooke conducts a discussion of the concept of effective R-values soon to be recognized by the national building code. Alex Newman has future proofed her existing home and reports on the benefits and savings she is experiencing. Thom Mills of Green Home TV talks about all the various insulation systems he used to add onto and renovate his farmhouse. Michael Lio reports on a Net Zero demonstration project where Natural Resources Canada is engaging builders across the country to construct houses that use very little purchased energy. Doug Tarry shares his quest for the optimum basement wall and the current study he is undertaking. Inevitability the natural world shows us the balance required to create sustainable systems. Nothing seems to be wasted and each improvement is integrated. The things that don’t work don’t last. With finite natural resources and global warming, I think conservation is the key to a sustainable future. It’s about reducing and not consuming our resources. More insulation is better and understanding how it works is critical – so let’s get stuffed, and I’m not talking turkey. JOHN GODDEN
  5. 5. BUILDER NEWS 3 Customer Perception of Insulation Home builders have many masters, I’ve often touched on a primary one, the regulatory challenges of our business. However, there is no greater master in a free market economy than the customer. We talk ad nauseam about issues such as the cost verses the benefit (sustainability/carbon footprint) of one particular practice or technology or another. As home builders we must not neglect our customers perceptions. If we do, we do so at our financial peril. We simply wouldn’t exist as a homebuilder if not enough customers wanted to buy our product. On the subject of perception, I am reminded of the resistance and concerns our customers have had on what most building scientists would call a no-brainer: Extruded Polystyrene (XPS) Insulation as exterior sheathing. Most in the industry know and agree on the benefits of insulated sheathing. These benefits include; providing a thermal break, acting as a continuous insulation, and the ability to provide an outboard air-barrier to name but a few. The problem begins because our customers, for the most part, don’t know or care to know about the product. The fact remains that XPS sheathing is more brittle and prone to damage and is perceived to be flimsy, not as structurally robust (in fact you cannot build a tall wall without the benefit of a structural sheathing--OSB or plywood for now). On subdivisions where we’ve used XPS sheathing, Monday mornings in our office were always an onslaught of customer calls, emails complete with photo attachments. Complaints about “holes in their walls” that were seen on the weekend drive to the site to see their new home under construction. Our assurances that they would be repaired at a later date and not by that same evening were met with skepticism. In one instance we were selling a larger upscale EnergyStar home that a purchaser refused to buy unless we used a different Builder Option Package that employed OSB or plywood because the purchaser felt XPS sheathing was an inferior product and so we did. The purchaser also agreed to pay more for the home as a result (and may still be paying). These adverse events played some part in our choosing Compliance Package J for our SB-12 requirements. Building new homes en mass is in some respects like politics—the art of the possible. We could attempt again (and have) to train our numerous and nomadic trades-people to be more careful in XPS installation with varying degrees of success. Then, simultaneously undertake a consumer education project on the value of XPS (thereby doing the manufacturers of the product a great big favor) and watch customer’s eyes glaze over, or choose Package J and never get a call on XPS holes in walls Monday mornings again. You know what I chose. I believe astute manufacturers will respond with a more robust structural insulated sheathing that will have suitable racking strength to build tall walls, appropriate R-values, that is cost effective and deal with customer perceptions. As their customer that’s what I need, because I believe I know what my customers want. ISSUE 07 | FALL 2013 LOU BADA LOU BADA IS THE CONSTRUCTION & CONTRACTS MANAGER FOR STARLANE HOMES
  6. 6. 4 THE OPA’S RESIDENTIAL NEW CONSTRUCTION PROGRAM INCENTS BUILDERS, NOT HOMEBUYERS While there are still some challenges to the Residential New Construction Program, the OPA got it right when they decided to focus on providing funding directly to the builder to improve energy conservation in new home construction. It makes sense, since a program that pays an average of $400 per house is not much of a rebate relative to a $500,000 purchase by a home buyer (0.08%), whereas adding $400 per home to a builder’s margin is more significant, especially in a high volume production environment. The program designers were betting that builders will pay more attention than homebuyers would and, therefore, the program would have more up take. For some time now, it seems to me that builders have been much more focused on energy savings than their home buying customers. Whether it’s due to voluntary labels such as ENERGY STAR, or because of the requirements that municipalities have made, or just part of the quality improvements that each builder undertakes, conservation is now very much lead by builders. The OPA’s Residential New Construction program provides rebates to builders who upgrade their standard offering to include electrical energy savings. In its early days this program was bogged down in paperwork and process problems, but it has been redesigned and is much more functional now. And, while there were only 27 homes in the program last year (the first year it was really offered), this year there should be closer to 2000. The program runs until the end of 2014, and the OPA is currently looking to design new programs for 2015, so some uptake in this program would cer- tainly help those of us making the argument that direct-to-builder funding is the best way forward. BUILDER NEWSBUILDER NEWS LEN HAR T Straight from the Hart DIRECT-TO-BUILDER CONSERVATION FUNDING
  7. 7. 5 The province-wide program is delivered by each electric utility in their individual service area. The program essentially offers three application routes: Prescriptive, Performance, and Custom. Prescriptive rebates include the following: The performance path pays for EnerGuide ratings: 83 and 84 rating get $500 rebate and 85 and above gets $1000. GreenSaver, along with Building Knowledge, has been lobbying to recognize ENERGY STAR (next gen) as proof of EGH 83, so no other rating proof is needed. The custom measures are more complicated, but offer more flexibility. The program, much like ENERGY STAR, requires pre-enrollment, but otherwise it’s quite straightforward. At least one local electricity distributor is also supporting builder promotional efforts to drive home sales, Veridian Connections Inc. will fund on a 50/50 basis, cooperative advertising to promote participating builders in its service area. The program is relatively untested in the marketplace, so some tweaks and interpretations still need to be made for it to work efficiently; however, since the application process is two-staged (pre and post) a good strategy for most builders would be to apply now for everything they might possibly be eligible for in the preliminary application, and then work with your local electric utility to see what you can get a rebate for. This keeps the door open. The program can also be combined with other funding like Savings By Design and Optimum Homes run by the gas utilities. Builders who are looking to build to the new ENERGY STAR specifications should be enrolled in this program. Several utilities in high growth areas have contracted with 3rd party groups, including GreenSaver, to support application development with builders, for more information email or call 416-203-3106 x306. ISSUE 07 | FALL 2013 BUILDER NEWS LENARD HART IS THE BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT DIRECTOR AT GREENSAVER A NOT-FOR-PROFIT ENVIRONMENTAL ORGANIZATION FOCUSED ON RESIDENTIAL ENERGY EFFICIENCY AND CONSERVATION PROGRAMS. HE WAS ONE OF THE DEVELOPERS OF THE ENERGY STAR FOR NEW HOMES PROGRAM IN ONTARIO AND THE FORMER PUBLISHING EDITOR OF SUSTAINABLE BUILDER MAGAZINE. ELIGIBLE PRESCRIPTIVE MEASURES: All-off switch - master switch that controls multiple electrical sockets in multiple locations in the home (hard wired) $50.00 High efficiency furnace with a fully variable speed electronically commutated motor (ECM). The furnace must be listed on the ECM Eligibility List which will be made available to Participants by the OPA $50.00 ENERGY STAR qualified central air conditioner (CAC) that has at least a 15 Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio and 12.5 Energy Efficiency Ratio. The unit must meet the minimum requirements set out in the Eligible A/C and A/C Coil List, which will be made available to Participants by the OPA. $30.00 Lighting Control Products – hard wired indoor and outdoor timers and motion sensors, dimmer switches. $3.00 per product ENERGY STAR qualified niche lighting that falls into one of the below three categories: ENERGY STAR qualified recessed lighting – must have GU24 replacement ENERGY STAR qualified under the counter lighting ENERGY STAR qualified LED lighting $15.00 per product ENERGY STAR qualified indoor light fixtures (Hard Wired) • 1 or 2 sockets • 3 or more sockets $3.00 $10.00
  8. 8. BUILDER NEWS 6 I have one of those old pocket calendars; the notebook type from 1939 that my aunt kept for some reason all these years. It was sponsored by a company called The Pneumatic Insulating Co. and their tag line was “Fleece Line Your Home”. They show a schematic of a truck blowing insulation into an attic. They also have a picture of two houses side by side, one with snow on the roof, the other without. The four promotional pages of the otherwise blank pocket notebook advocate 4” of Rockwool insulation for a “properly insulated house” and to “avoid burning wood to melt the snow on the roof”. We can chuckle now at the idea of R12 being the proper amount of insulation in an attic. But what is the right amount, how much is too much. How much is cost effective now, and in the future? After all, the homes we build today are supposed to last anywhere from 100 to 300 years. We don’t want our descendants to chuckle at us a short 75 years from now for putting just R20 in walls and R50 in ceilings. There are at least three reasons to recalibrate your thinking as you choose how much insulation and the total insulation strategy to implement. First, I was educated by a progressive builder out west as to the new metrics of insulation. When I saw their 2”x 8” wall full of spray foam insulation and an additional 2” of rigid exterior insulation, I commented that it sounded like an expensive wall. They were quick to point out that it was a cheap wall when you consider the extra insulation was far less expensive than the installation of solar panels needed to generate the equivalent energy otherwise lost through an R20 wall. In fact, I did a HOT 2000 analysis on the difference that wall upgrade would make on a 2300 sq.ft., two storey home in Edmonton. Indeed the wall upgrade would save the equivalent of the output from approximately 5.5 kW of solar panels. At an installation cost of even $4,000 per kW, a pretty optimistic cost in Canada at the moment, readers should ask themselves if they could build that 2x8 wall, plus 2” continuous external insulation for less than an incremental cost of $22,000. Thus the new metric should not be fiberglass versus mineral wool versus high- density or low- density foam, but rather insulation versus solar panels. That is, of course, if you are headed towards net-zero homes. In the short term, a similar calculation that is just as lucrative is to compare extra insulation costs to the net cost of reduced mechanical equipment and the lower energy bills that finance the increased mortgage payments at today’s low interest rates. Do the math; if it was truly about the money, the investment value of insulation and the cost to get to net-zero, we would have increased insulation levels significantly years ago. Of course, we have learned a lot in 75 years and our understanding of conductive heat flow through walls, ceilings and floors – all opaque assemblies – has lead to recognition of the total “effective” resistance to heat flow or effective R-value. Codes, standards and energy efficiency programs are quickly moving away from prescribing simply nominal insulation values and towards recognition of the total conductive heat flow both through insulation and framing elements. The simple chart below is an example of the types of calculations detailed in the Natural Resources Canada “Tables for Calculating Effective Thermal Resistance of Opaque Assemblies” now referenced in the ENERGY STAR for New Homes 2012 program and likely to be referenced by at least the National Building Code. The calculations are done using the Isothermal Planes (Series-Parallel) method as described in 2009 ASHRAE Handbook—Fundamentals. Note that using this method, a 2x4 wall with R14 cavity insulation and 1” of extruded foam sheathing has a slightly higher R-value than a 2x6 wall with a nominal insulation value of R20. Note also that an advanced framed wall with 2” XPS sheathing and R24 cavity insulation shows a 75% improvement in resistance to heat flow over the 2x6, R20 nominal insulation wall. This new emphasis on total effective resistance is the second reason to recalibrate our thinking about appropriate insulation levels and strategies. Readers can immediately imagine two likely outcomes; a renewed interest in advanced framing and a clear emphasis on continuous, external insulation. Both of these initiatives require process changes beyond the simple, historical approach of stuffing Insulation – Recalibrating How Much is Enough? GORD COOKE
  9. 9. more and better insulation into cavities. These changes require consideration of at least cladding and window attachment, structural integrity, wall dimensions and resulting possible house design changes and even water management detailing. Despite the complexity of including insulated sheathing or implementing advanced framing, the relative value of continuous insulation and the cost savings of fewer wood members will be difficult to ignore as the thermal performance of buildings is advanced. The final point for discussion in this article highlights a need to rethink insulation strategies specifically as a result of the increased insulation levels now demanded by code and expected by homeowners. Insulation reduces or restricts the flow of heat through building elements, such as walls or attics. It also simultaneously lowers the surface temperature of elements within assemblies and reduces the drying potential of the assembly. Therefore the more insulation there is in a wall or attic, the greater chance there is for condensation within the cavity. There is less opportunity for drying of the assembly if liquid water is introduced. In all but the lower mainland of Vancouver, the math would show that with just R20 insulation in a 2x6 wall, the surface temperature of the interior face of exterior OSB or plywood sheathing is low enough, for a significant portion of the winter, in any wall in Canada to result in condensation if any warm, moist air is allowed into the cavity. As a result when choosing insulation strategies, the decision matrix must include the attachment and structural issues noted above but also include consideration of at least two Both of these initiatives require process changes beyond the simple, historical approach of stuffing more and better insulation into cavities. 7 BUILDER NEWS ISSUE 07 | FALL 2013 Clears the room faster than Charlie Sheen. 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. Perfection. Cubed. Visit to learn more. VEN_Ad_MB_Jun2311.indd 1 11-06-24 9:29 A THERMO GRAPHIC PICTURE OF HOUSE WITHOUT INSULATED SHEATHING – LOWER EFFECTIVE R-VALUE
  10. 10. ATTENTION: HOME BUILDERS Introducing a revolutionary new product that eliminates dirty, dusty floor vents during home construction. Forever. Our product is made from recycled materials. Made in Canada. by preventing dust, dirt, and garbage from entering the duct -work. on to detail = enhanced customer satisfaction. design. NEW PRODUCT 905.532.0722 BUILDER NEWS opportunities. First, continuous, insulated sheathing warms up the “first condensing surface”, the interior face of the exterior sheathing, to reduce condensation potential. Second, choosing insulation products that reduce air infiltration, such as spray in place foam or continuous exterior foam sheathing is also very valuable. Air tightness and water management improvements should always accompany any increases in insulation levels. As codes and energy programs advance insulation levels, recalibrate your thinking as to both the relative value of that insulation with respect to other alternatives and select strategies that simultaneously improve insulation effectiveness, durability and cost effectiveness. GORD COOKE IS THE PRESIDENT OF BUILDING KNOWLEDGE CANADA Best HRV for compact installations.
  11. 11. 9ISSUE 07 | FALL 2013 BUILDER NEWS Our fans won’t leave you steamed. Say goodbye to steamy, wet bathrooms with the new WhisperSense™ ventilation fan from Panasonic® . Featuring dual-sensor technology, the fan reacts to both motion and humidity, automatically turning on when someone enters the room or if excess moisture is detected. Removing excessive moisture helps reduce mold and mildew, resulting in a cleaner, drier bathroom. WhisperSense surpasses ENERGY STAR® standards for efficiency by as much as 264%* and complies with ASHRAE 62.2 and LEED green building standards. WhisperSense from Panasonic—the sensible approach to high-performance ventilation. To learn more about Panasonic ventilation fans visit, email or call 1-800-669-5165 *Comparison with ENERGY STAR requirement of minimum efficacy level of 1.4 CFM per watt for 10-80 CFM fans and 2.8 CFM per watt for 90-130 CFM fans.
  12. 12. BUILDER NEWS 10 BUILDER NEWS Insulating a home is not often a one size fits all proposition. In most cases one solution is typically better than another considering all the factors involved. In the Green Home TV Home Addition Project, we’ve had to take many factors into account as we’ve addressed both renovation and new build aspects of the project. The project effectively started as a new build added on to a century-plus farmhouse. We went through a process of evaluating a number of different building shell / wall systems. These included standard studs and insulation options including batt, spray foam, as well as Structural Insulated Panel Systems (SIPS), and we even considered straw bale (on a farm- based property, we could potentially grow our own insulation!), plus a few other options. In the end, we chose to use Insulated Concrete Forms (ICF) complemented by spray foam and ridged foam. For us the choice of ICF really came down to a few factors: • shell framed and insulated in one step • floor sub structure connected directly into the system • continuous insulated system with the effectiveness of an R30 wall from foundation to roof • zero air penetration in insulation system • structural integrity and thermal mass nature of concrete • one crew build from footings to roof • zero organic materials to eventually rot of become bug infested ICF, as a product category, had its beginnings in the late ’60s and early ’70s, by European engineers who were looking to create a building product that would combine simplicity, strength, and energy efficiency. The forms are made of expanded polystyrene (EPS) foam slabs held together by plastic webs that act as concrete-forming tools in the building process and remain after as insulation. ICF has more commonly been used below grade, but its use for the whole envelope allows for a single contractor to provide the entire solution, eliminating connection points in the transition from below to above grade. The build process was fairly simple. Footings were poured, with special care taken to ensure they are level. The ICF “bricks” are laid out in much the same way you may start building a house with LEGO, using corner and straight pieces, as necessary, to match the building plans. Wooden “bucks” are constructed to frame doors and windows. With steel rebar installed in the bricks vertically and horizontally, the assembly is ready for concrete. An ICF-specific ready-mix concrete is pumped into the forms, and a vibrator is used to remove air pockets that may have formed during the pour. Beyond those reasons, we wanted to ensure that what were about to build had the potential to last as long as the current structure. Built by distant relatives in the 1840s of a 2’ field stone foundation wall with a shell of 3 course brick, with a bit of maintenance it should last another 170 or so years. I’m hoping that insulating work we did now will still be serving children and grand children well in to the future. ICF is great for the exterior walls but no good for roofs; that’s were we turned to spray foam. Icynene spray foam allowed us to create an R50 vaulted ceiling free of drafts THOM MILLS Looking at Insulation Holistically
  13. 13. 11 BUILDER NEWS in a space that is typically hard to insulate well with batt insulation. lcynene also sealed up other hard to insulate locations including those above and below bay windows and low ceiling under porch bathrooms. All of these insulated areas become pieces of the complete building envelope. With ICF in the walls, Spray foam in the roof, two inches of ridged foam under the basement slab and radiant floors completing the insulation wrap. Of course we pay attention to the detail of insulation systems and then go ahead and cut holes in it all over the place. Necessary holes admittedly. Holes for doors, windows, exhaust fans, HRVs and more. Triple Low E2 windows from Inline Fiberglass and insulated fiberglass doors from MDL Doors manage and optimize these openings allowing for access, natural ventilation and heat control / gain appropriate. So has there been a place for batt insulation in the project? Roxul’s Safe and Sound mineral wool insulation provided an integral part of the home’s internal sound control strategy. Combined with Green Glue, double layer drywall, channel strapping and the radiant floor topping, Roxul serves to create a quiet home giving privacy to all while also letting everyone enjoy their own spaces. The fact is, this addition we’ve built wasn’t the first to be added to the original 1840 structure. A small wing was built in the early ‘70s of 2 x 4 walls (real 2 x 4s sourced from the property) insulated with fiberglass batts behind aluminum siding. Our new addition was finished with StoneRox lightweight veneer stone and it’s now time to give the old addition the same treatment; this is our Summer StoneRox Project. As part of this project we’ll be using 2 ½” ridged foam between the current walls and the stone to double the R value while drastically improving the air infiltration. You can follow this part of the project at www.greenhometv. org/summerstoneroxproject.html as we take it on in family DIY style. Follow the GreenHomeTV Home Addition Project plus coverage of other green building projects at For links to specific people, companies and other references made in this article, please go to betterbuilder. (Visit for videos that complement this article) THOM MILLS IS THE HOST, CREATIVE DIRECTOR AND PRODUCER OF GREEN HOME TV
  14. 14. 1.866.566.5656 INLINE FIBERGLASS LTD.can help your clients meet their energy and thermal performance targets in most cases without the use of special designs or expensive glass options. Call us to discuss your next project and find out why our windows are chosen often for LEED designs, Passive Homes, Healthy Homes, Health Centers, Hospitals, Schools, Fire Stations, Hydro Offices, Retirement Homes, Nursing Homes . . . MEMBER/MEMBRE Unison Community Health Centre / Architect: Hilditch Architect / Constructor: Buttcon Limited INLINE FIBERGLASS LTD. Covering all your angles, SB10, SB12, Energy Star, NFRC, High Performance Window Products
  15. 15. 13 I’ve never been particularly susceptible to sales pitches, but when John Godden suggested I consider a new HVAC system for my 80-year-old (Toronto) Beaches home, I must admit my curiosity was piqued. My colleague, writer Tracy Hanes, had done something similar to her home, and my furnace, at 18 years old, was living on borrowed time. The air conditioning, a newer addition, had been installed one particularly hellish summer, with temperatures making it hard to work, sleep, and even move around. Although my furnace was high quality high efficiency in its day (1995), I figured we might not have much time left together. In fact, last winter I called my original installer to check the furnace over and see how much life was left. His answer was cryptic and vague: could be six months, could be six years. Godden walked me through what he thought would make sense for my 1450 sq ft home. First up was the old “high efficiency” furnace that went through rapid, noisy cycles of blasting on and shutting down resulting in uneven interior temperatures. The ac unit was the traditional big fat unit placed among the bushes in most people’s home – mine jutted out into the pretty path I’d made in the side yard of flagstone and cedar mulch. It was almost impossible to walk around. Since I’m a visual learner and not very technologically inclined, Godden drew on a piece of paper what my current system did (and more importantly did not do) and what a new one could do especially in energy efficiency terms. As he explained, the existing furnace was much too big for the house, which accounted for the non-stop on-off cycles. I’ve always been competitive with myself, and the challenge of reducing my own carbon footprint was too hard to resist. The project felt a little like a contest and the prize was lower consumption, lower bills and therefore more money in my wallet. Another bonus was a nice $1500-plus rebate offered by Enbridge if I could lower the energy consumption by 25%. To create a benchmark, Godden ordered an audit with blower door test that would determine where the house leaked air, and energy. Conducted by Anthony Zanini (from, the audit revealed my house had a HERs (home energy rating system) rating of 102. Reducing that rating (through reducing consumption) by more than 25% would require improvement to both the mechanical systems and the building envelope. During a recent renovation, I’d installed new windows with low-E argon and double glazing. Several walls were knocked out which gave better circulation, and the last bits of knob and tube were removed (most had been pulled in 1995 when I bought the house). But there was still more to fix the envelope, such as patch a large crack in the upstairs bathroom wall which was leaking air into the attic – a new I-beam on the back end of the main floor leveled everything but caused cracking on the upstairs walls which had settled over the years. I had to beef up the attic insulation – the blown in stuff had drifted and there were bare patches in places. Godden suggested Roxul batting be laid down in. And a hole in the attic -- created by a previous renovator who’d done a poor job installing the bathroom exhaust fan – had to be filled. With the building envelope improved, there was less demand on either heating or cooling, allowing me to make appropriate choices in new equipment. The improvements to the mechanical/electrical systems included: 1.  A new water heater: I’d purchased/leased a hot water heater just two years before from a Reli- ance door to door salesperson I didn’t resist and regret to this day, since I signed on to a seven year contract. There were five more years on the contract – it took $900 to get me out of it. (Upside was I gave the other water heater to a friend on a strict budget, who needed to buy some time before ISSUE 07 | FALL 2013 ALEX NEWMAN INDUSTRY NEWS My House Has Been Future Proofed!
  16. 16. INDUSTRY NEWS 1414 changing his whole system.) What I got instead was a 98.4% efficient FlowMax instantaneous condensing hot water unit that provides both domestic water and space heating. Heat generated by this is then distributed through the house by an AirMax air handler rather than a conventional furnace, although the existing ductwork was good to go, saving me money on expensive alterations like that. 2.  Air max air handler: I could have installed a new special duct system that moves air around for maximum comfort, but didn’t have the budget to alter the existing ductwork which had been installed only 18 years before when we bought the house. The Airmax is much quieter than a traditional furnace and the DC motor allows air to circulate continually even when the heating or cooling are off. This motor saves 80% of the electricity of a conventional motor. 3.  ERV: the energy recovery ventilator draws fresh air in from outside through the chimney, circulates it through the house, and then vents out stale air via the basement. Both fresh and stale air stream through the ERV, and even recovers some of the heat that would otherwise have been vented out, but it happens without mixing the stale and fresh air. It also transfers some of the moisture from humid air into the dryer air stream – so in winter, the internal atmosphere is more humid than it could be and in summer it’s less humid, eliminating the need for either humidifier or dehumidifier. When there’s too much humidity in the interior air, it gets exhausted outside; if the air is too dry, the ERV system will retain some humidity. 4.  Drain heat recovery: a copper power pipe was installed into the stack at the basement level. A piece cut out of the stack was replaced with the copper pipe which extracts heat from waste water – shower, dishwasher, sinks – that can preheat water entering the hot water tank cutting down on the energy required to give us hot water. 5.  The air conditioner: was replaced by a 14.5 SEER (CompactAir by Manuflow) and is slim, hugging the exterior wall of the house so it’s easy to pass by on my pretty side path. My new HERS rating is 74 – a reduction of 28%, and the first electric bill proves it in dollars and cents. My consumption for June and July was about 1104 kwh, compared to 1845 kwh (2012) and 1719 kwh (2011) – that’s about a 35% reduction in consumption. I’m also enjoying a number of other unforeseen benefits, especially the clean, sweet smell. This has been a major difference. When you have pets – I have a dog and two cats – you can clean obsessively clean and still not get rid of that musty “close” smell. Not anymore. Since having the new system, I can walk in the house and breathe in without holding my nose. That’s thanks to the ERV which continually circulates fresh air. The system is also so quiet that I have to make an effort to listen whether it’s running or not, and both heat and AC are evenly distributed over all three floors – no more freezing in the basement and sweltering on the second floor. For more information visit: AIRMAX AIR HANDLER REPLACES FURNACE ERV REMOVES PET ODORS AND FLOMAX PROVIDES SPACE AND HOT WATER HEATING ALEX NEWMAN IS A WRITER, EDITOR AND RESEARCHER AT WWW.INTEGRITYCOMMUNICATIONS.CA
  17. 17. rHVCA ResidentialHeatingVentilation ContractorsAssociation | | 905-264-9967 heart The of your home 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.
  18. 18. 16 Garden HomesALWAYS BETTER THAN CODE BY TRACY HANES Inazio Giardina is a builder who takes pride in being an innovator in the industry. Giardina’s company Garden Homes has been well ahead of the energy efficiency curve when it comes to whatever project it is building, whether it’s custom houses, subdivision homes or commercial buildings.
  19. 19. Garden Homes was at the forefront of Energy Star home building in Newmarket and in 2009, was the first builder in Ontario to meet the Green Builder Challenge issued by the Sustainable Housing Foundation by constructing a house that exceeded the energy savings goal in the province’s Building Code of the time by 50 per cent. Giardina recognized that a team effort was needed to achieve that goal and all of his staff and trades participated in training sessions that explored the most cost-effective ways to build healthy, energy efficient homes. When that 2,695-square-foot home on Bob Scott Court in Newmarket was launched, incorporating features such as in-floor basement heating, Roxul insulation, a drainwater heat recovery Power Pipe, and an integrated HVAC system with solar hot water preheat that supplied domestic hot water and space heating, Giardina noted: “I think we are now one of the most advanced green builders in Ontario.” What Giardina realized then, and continues to believe in, is the merit of future proofing and building homes that will provide owners with savings not only in the present but will yield even greater savings in the future as energy prices increase. 17ISSUE 07 | FALL 2013 FEATURE STORY R30 EXTERIOR WALLS BP EXCEL SHEATHING USED WITH 2X8 WALL STUDS. 2 LAYERS OF ROXUL R14 IN CAVITY
  20. 20. 18 Garden Homes continues to be on the leading edge. Giardina's own recently completed luxury storey-and-a-half home in Richmond Hill makes him one of the first builders in that municipality to adopt a better than Code (EnerGuide 80) approach since the new building code was introduced in 2012. His own 3,100-square-foot LEED Silver home has incorporated several leading edge technologies that will serve as a real-world experiment to see which ones will offer the best value and yield the most energy efficiency for the homes he will build for his customers. “This isn’t the first house to exceed the Code since the 2012 Code was introduced that we’ve had, but it’s the most extreme example,” says Mike Janotta, manager of plans review and compliance for the Town of Richmond Hill. Builders in town are encouraged to build above Code and can choose whatever means they want to do that, but Giardina has taken it to a whole new level. “He invited us to come see his home and some of us from the town went to have a look at it,” says Janotta. “It’s extreme, extreme energy efficiency and I think his heating and cooling bills will be ridiculously low.” Janotta says the home’s complex heating and cooling system is likely not financially feasible for most subdivision builders to incorporate and might not be easy for the average homeowner to understand and operate at this point. Giardina is using the HERS scale to measure the home’s performance, which is a scale that can be easily understood by consumers. For the building envelope, Giardinia used BP High Performance Sheathing on the exterior of the house, manufactured by Building Products of Canada Corp. The high performance sheathing is a ½’’ thick, wax impregnated wood fiber panel, which forms an exterior air barrier system. Casa Bella Energy Star windows were used as well. The home is built with 2 by 8 wall studs and Roxul mineral wool insulation, made of a combination of stone and recycled slag. It was used to provide superior insulation value. The walls are R28 instead of the typical R22. Four-inch foam was sprayed in the home as well to provide excellent air sealing. The home uses a state-of the-art Viessmann gas-fired condensing boiler to supply space heating through the radiant in-floor system and domestic hot water. Heat is recovered by a vanEE exhaust ducted energy recovery ventilator (ERV) with ECM motor. The home also incorporates a Carrier Infinity furnace. The in-floor radiant system was used on the main floor and in the basement floors to provide comfort and warmth, as well as on outdoor porches to melt ice and snow. The boiler is integrated with a Viessman solar hot water collector and large steel storage tanks in Giardina’s basement store the solar pre-heated water until it’s needed. RADIANT HEATING FOR THE BASEMENT FLOOR INTEGRATED SPACE AND SOLAR HOT WATER HEATING SYSTEM BY VIESSMANN BASEMENT WALL DETAIL 2" OF ROXUL IS AND R14 BATTS
  21. 21. 19 We would like to take this opportunity to thank all of our hardworking trades who have all made their own unique contribution to our success. We couldn’t do it without you! Building Products of Canada City of Richmond Hill Clearsphere CMP Electric Copperhead Mechanical Custom Aluminum De Luca Plumbing Dero Building Designs Enbridge Greyter Systems Henry Home Lumber Kingswood Heating Landsview Landscaping Lomco Landscape Contractors Maxum Drywall Renewability Energy Roxul Canada Inc. vanEE / Air Solutions Veissmann Canada THANK-YOU!
  22. 22. FEATURE STORY 20 “It’s fantastic,” says Giardini of the Viessmann system. “I’ve barely used any gas this summer. My last bill was $50.” A heat pump, that also works as an air conditioning unit, keeps the home cool in summer. Another product helping to save energy in the home is the PowerPipe, a drainwater heat recovery device created by Kitchener’s RenewAbility Energy Inc., will capture the heat from discarded drainwater then recycle it to raise the temperature of incoming cold water. The PowerPipe, using multiple copper coils wrapped in parallel around a drainpipe to maximize heat transfer, reduces home energy consumption by 6 to 10 per cent. It’s zero-maintenance, cost-effective and simple to install. 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. The home also incorporates greywater recycling from Ontario company Greyter that filters waste water from showering, bathing and laundry and reuses the treated greywater to flush the home’s toilets. The system can save up to 40 per cent of the water used by the average family, thus reducing their water bills and conserving water, which will become increasingly important in the near future. The system is simple to operate, low maintenance and is cost effective and easy to install. Giardini also indulged in a Lutron LED programmable house lighting system that he acknowledges is a bit of a splurge. “It will have big hydro savings, but it’s hard to recover the payback on it,” he says. As a builder who has always strived to build better than Code, Giardini says it took nothing to make the leap from EnerGuide 80 to LEED Silver requirements. He’ll also be well ahead of the curve for the 2017 Building Code, which will require 15 per cent more energy savings than the current one. Some of the products Giardini used in his own house will be incorporated into the other homes he builds. Some, like the BP sheathing, may become standard features while others will be offered to home buyers as upgrades. TRACY HANES IS A FREELANCE FEATURE WRITER FOR THE LARGEST DAILY NEWSPAPER IN CANADA AND SEVERAL MAGAZINES. WWW.TRACYHANES.CA "Builders in town are encouraged to build above Code and can choose whatever means they want to do that, but Giardina has taken it to a whole new level."
  23. 23. ISSUE 07 | FALL 2013 Air.Vapour.Water. Ice Nothing gets past Henry. ® Air and Vapour Barrier Waterproofing Roofing Protecting properties – and reputations – for decades Henry’s Building Envelope Systems® provide industry-leading protection from uncontrolled air, vapour and moisture, from foundation to roof. Proven effective in the challenging winters of Canada, our air and vapour barriers, waterproofing and roofing products protect properties from the elements to save energy, prevent damage, extend building life, and create more comfortable and healthy indoor environments. BlueskinVP ® This fully adhered membrane functions not only as a water-resistant barrier and rain barrier, but stops uncontrolled air leakage. performance longevity Blueskin ® WB Seal out air and moisture, and seal in energy and comfort with this self- adhered window and door flashing. infiltration and water damage Blueskin ® WP200 The first choice in sheet applied waterproofing, this self-adhered waterproofing membrane is designed for prepared concrete or masonry substrates, providing a waterproofing barrier for below grade use. lateral water movement increased protection at overlaps www.henrycom Blueskin ® ROOF RF200/RF200LT A self-adhered ice and water barrier,speciallydesignedfor slopedroofsurfacestoprovidea secondaryseal under shingles or tiles. temperature underlayment polyethylene film fasteners Eaveguard Self-Adhered Shingle Underlayment helps prevent leaks from wind-driven rain and ice damming. asphalt and glass fiber mat slip-resistant working surface for ease of application
  24. 24. BUILDER NEWS 22 Five home builders across four provinces will build at least 25 Net Zero Energy (NZE) homes in the next three years as part of the federal government’s ecoENERGY Innovation Initiative (ecoEII) with Owens Corning Canada LP as the proponent and buildABILITY Corporation as the project manager. The project focuses on affordability and market acceptability of Net Zero Energy housing in a production housing context. To date in Canada there have been very few demonstrations of NZE housing on a community scale that are market-ready for production builder adoption. Improving energy efficiency in buildings continues to be the building industry’s approach to reduce carbon emissions. However, relying on energy efficiency alone will not address the increasing demand for energy in the future. The NZE Community will involve the adoption of new design strategies that blend advanced construction techniques, advanced mechanicals, and market-ready renewables at a house and community scale. The idea of a Net Zero Energy (NZE) home is that it employs enhanced energy efficiency design strategies to cost effectively reduce energy needs, while meeting those needs with renewable energy technologies, with the result that the building consumes equal to or less energy than it produces on an annual basis. This project is aligned with ecoEII’s goals of searching for long-term solutions to help eliminate air pollutants and greenhouse gas emissions from energy production. This project builds on the NRCan funded LEEP/TAP (Local Energy Efficiency Partnerships/ Technology Adoption Pilot) project to demonstrate the next housing platform in communities across the country. NZE homes continue to be stuck in a research and development phase and pilot demonstrations, with little focus on the unique challenges that the housing platform presents for the production builder. To achieve wide acceptance and industry adoption, a community-sized demonstration by production builders is critically important. This project is the largest NZE Community demonstration in Canada to date. Owens Corning Canada is working with Canada’s Largest Net Zero Low-Rise Residential Demonstration Project PRESENTATIONS: ALEX FERGUSON, CANMETENERGY NATURAL RESOURCES CANADA PRESENTING NET ZERO AFFORDABILITY RESEARCH MICHAEL LIO TRAINING: BUILDERS AND CONSULTANTS ATTENDED A 2014 R-2000 TECHNICAL TRAINING SESSION AT OWENS CORNING CANADA’S TORONTO PLANT
  25. 25. ISSUE 07 | FALL 2013 BUILDER NEWS 23 5 homebuilders across the country. The five builders are: Construction Voyer (Laval, Quebec); Mattamy Homes Limited (Calgary, Alberta); Minto Communities (Ottawa, Ontario); Provident Development Inc. (Halifax, Nova Scotia); and Reid’s Heritage Homes (Guelph, Ontario). Technical design, planning and training processes for the project are already in progress. A National Design Charrette was held in March 2013, which had Canada’s leading housing and net zero experts meeting for two days to discuss the path to net zero housing and net zero communities, and the barriers that exist. The charrette was focused on two strategies: conservation and advanced renewable technologies. The first and primary strategy focussed on energy conservation by maximizing the envelope and air tightness levels, and exploring complementary high performance mechanical systems. The second strategy focussed on exploring market-ready renewables technologies, including photovoltaic panels, solar thermal, ground source heat pumps, and air source heat pumps. The NZE homes to be built in the five communities will use the new EnerGuide Rating System for New Homes to measure energy use and in many cases the new R-2000 requirements as the jumping off point to achieve net zero. 2014 R-2000 builder training and CodeBord® Air Barrier System training was provided to all five builder alliances to prepare them for the design phase. An upcoming National Implementation Charrette in the Fall of 2013 will help prepare the builders for the construction phase. Construction of the homes is expected to be completed by 2016. Funding for the project is being provided by the federal government’s ecoENERGY Innovation Initiative (ecoEII) program, Owens Corning Canada, and in-kind contributions from the building industry. For more information on the project, please email Candice Luck, MICHAEL LIO IS PRESIDENT OF BUILDABILITY CORPORATION, MICHAEL@BUILDABILITY.CA
  26. 26. BUILDER NEWS 24 Site Specific As Renewability Energy’s senior technical advisor, Gary Botelho spends a lot of time attending design charrettes. His role there is to help educate builders and designers in the ways they can achieve energy credits on their designs. He’s also there to show them one low hanging fruit – drain water heat recovery (DWHR). This isn’t such a stretch from his education and earlier career in internet technology (IT), if you consider/where he helped senior management at Nortel understand the ever- changing technology they worked with. And considering that Botelho worked summers throughout high school and university alongside his father on the Empire Communities construction site, and learned the trades. So several years ago, after taking a severance package during one of Nortel’s downsizing moves, his father called asking if Botelho could fill in for a labourer had walked off the job. It was a fortuitous move that launched the next career phase for Botelho, because Empire was getting ready to transform all its low rise projects from Energuide to Energy Star. CEO Paul Golini Jr asked Botelho to prep homes for independent third party testing on the site. That’s also when Botelho met John Godden [] who asked him if he was interested in running the program for Empire. Botelho says the challenge lay in the disconnect between administration and construction site. “Many builders were making the commitment to Energy Star at the administrative level, but implementing it on site was a different matter. That’s why Empire created this energy specialist role for me.” He would review the company’s goals and expectations for achieving Energy Star, and then write procedures to ensure smooth implementation. “It was hard for trades to accept what we were asking for because for 35 years construction crews had been building the same way.” And initially, there was “push back. Energy Star wasn’t something most people understood. And because a sub- contractor is essentially self-employed, they feared that making such changes would eat up too much time, which would translate into losing money.” Botelho says that developing good relationships between builder and subcontractors ultimately made the difference: “We explained how these targets which were voluntary now would become code within a few years and that they would put themselves ahead of the curve if they learned them now. Essentially, it would help them stand out in the field.” So for the next six and a half years, Botelho walked every house that Empire Communities built an average of four to five times -- pre-envelope inspection and preliminary air testing all the way to construction. “Empire knew that inspecting on a continuous basis would catch any mistakes before they got really costly to fix.” It soon became clear to Empire that educating the trades was only half the equation – educating consumers was equally important. Homework sessions, led by Botelho, would take newly signed-up buyers through the process of how to operate the different energy efficient products being offered. And one of the products being used to achieve Energy Star rating credits was the drain water heat recovery system – a copper power pipe -- inserted into the stack – that withdraws heat from waste water out of showers and sinks, and pre-heats incoming water to the hot water tank. “Empire was one of the first builders to incorporate this in all their homes,” Botelho says. “It was one of those low hanging fruits, a win-win for achieving credits -- easy and inexpensive to install and so effortless in reducing energy consumption.” As Empire sought greater energy efficiency for its new homes – winning Enerquality champion award three years in a row -- Botelho was moved into a management role overseeing product quality. But he missed the field work, ALEX NEWMAN GARY BOTELHO - ESNH CHAMPION OF THE YEAR WITH SHANON BERTUZZI
  27. 27. ISSUE 07 | FALL 2013 25 The Power-Pipe® uses outgoing warm drain water to pre-heat incoming cold freshwater in Residential, Commercial and Industrial, thereby reducing energy costs. TURN THAT WASTED ENERGY INTO $AVING$ WITH THE Saving Energy Intelligently E N E R G Y I N C . Developed and Manufactured by: LOWER ENERGY BILLS. GREAT RETURNS. Drain Water Heat RecoverySystems H O W I T W O R K S ® GreenBuild 8x10 Pstr3_Print.pdf 5/7/12 10:34:54 PM visiting sites to improve the energy quality in each home. “I loved the building science part of it, and missed that,” he says. So when Renewability Inc, the manufacturer of the drain water heat recovery pipe, approached him about taking on the role of helping builders navigate the many changes in the landscape of construction across Canada, he knew it was a good fit for him. About the same time that the code was undergoing significant changes related to energy consumption, there were changes afoot in land use as well, especially throughout the GTA. The Green Belt had been legislated, eliminating huge tracts of land from the development pool. “The result was increasing competition for available land,” says Botelho. “That put municipalities in a position to demand additional things of developers. In an effort to compete, builders were having to go one better and promise Energy Star, which is 25% better than code.” Although Renewability realized the opportunities to market its drain water heat recovery pipe, the company went above and beyond what was required in sending Botelho out to educate builders about the whole scope of Energy Star. Now, after a few months with Renewability, Botelho is working on developing packages that builders can opt for as an alternative compliance to the supplementary standard SB-12, which changed the energy performance requirements for buildings of the 2006 Ontario Building Code. Botelho’s role has been to instruct builders in potential trade-offs within SB-12 that are allowed when they install DWHR, and to inform them of how DWHR can help them achieving the required EnerGuide rating. Builders can also choose an equivalent to the Energuide package through Enbridge’s savings by design program ( This advisory role has led Botelho to become part of various committees such as the Federal Energy Star committee for builders, the Energy Star Builder Option Package working group (Ontario), and EnerQuality/OHBA technical advisory committee. BUILDER NEWS ALEX NEWMAN IS A WRITER, EDITOR AND RESEARCHER AT WWW.INTEGRITYCOMMUNICATIONS.CA
  28. 28. BUILDER NEWS Amvic Building System: INSULATION SOULUTIONS FROM THE FOUNDATION TO THE EAVES Amvic Building System was started in 1998 by Victor Amend Ph.D. Building Science. Victor's goal was to design industry leading and innovative Expanded Polystyrene (EPS) insulation products for the building envelop. These products provide energy efficiency and comfort to the building and home owners and ease of installation and cost effective insulation solutions for the building contractors. The first product Victor designed was the Amvic Insulating Concrete Block or ICF, while not a new concept to the North American market; he did design a form that was stronger, with less construction waste and easier to install taking the ICF industry in a new direction. The company – headquartered in Toronto Canada has grown into an industry leader in this field with 5 plants in the US , several around the globe offering ICF block product nationally in both the US and Canada. Along with cutting edge ICF, now on the third generation design offering an R 30 Amvic Plus ICF block, the company evolved into producing a new innovative EPS insulation Board called SilveRboard, offering a cost effective energy efficient solution to the traditional home and building market. Victor's building science background has allowed him to design and produce industry leading EPS Insulation products which dovetails perfectly with rising energy costs, rising R value code requirements, and an overwhelming desire by the average homeowner to conserve energy while still being able to maintain a comfortable living environment. Insulation and its importance in Energy Conservation to the individual homeowner, has never been as important as it is today. In 2012 Building Codes across North America saw sweeping changes to many building insulation requirements. These include increases in wall, ceiling, on grade basement slab, (now a mandatory R10 insulation requirement), and recent code changes requiring full height basement wall insulation. Amvic, has continued to introduce energy efficient and innovative products to the North American market these products include SilveRboard® XS Exterior sheathing Insulation Board, Amdry® Insulated Wall and Floor panels and Amvic insulated radiant PEX panels. HOWARD COHEN 26
  29. 29. BUILDER NEWS 27ISSUE 07 | FALL 2013 SilveRboard® Rigid Foam Insulation is a high performance flat-sheet insulation material made from Expanded Polystyrene (EPS) which is laminated to a layer of metallized PP / reflective film on both faces. This highly effective combination of materials offers a higher R-value per inch compared to traditional flat-sheet EPS insulation (to compete directly with R5 per inch XPS foam boards), as well as provides built-in moisture and air barrier properties. SilveRboard® Rigid Foam Insulation (EPS) offers builders a higher performance product which also increases jobsite efficiency and reduces labor costs. Correctly installed SilveRboard® helps contribute to a full thermal building envelope (reducing heat loss from within the home in winter, and reducing Heat-Gain in summer), when building residential or small commercial buildings, SB35XS -R5 Wall Sheathing and SB35UC -R10 Under-Slab basement pad insulation boards are without equal: SILVERBOARD® XS –“ BREATHABLE” INSULATED EXTERIOR WALL – SHEATHING SilveRboard® XS Wall Sheathing has been specifically engineered for exterior wall insulation application on wood or steel frame construction. The reflective laminated surfaces of SilveRboard® XS are micro perforated in order that the SilveRboard® XS exterior wall sheathing insulation materials can “breath” allowing trapped moisture within the wall cavity to evaporate naturally. SBXS has a water vapor permeance rating of 3.48 perms or 217 ng/Pa.s.m2 and an air permeance (system leakage) of 0.0105 L/s.m2 at 75 Pa. SilveRboard® XS physical characteristics are within the nationally accepted Building Code guidelines for air and vapor permeance in exterior wall sheathing membranes, making it unnecessary for further application of a house wrap. SilveRboard® XS is a high performance (job site tough), high quality and economical insulation material for exterior wall sheathing installations. SILVERBOARD® SB35 – UC SilveRboard® SB35UC has been specifically designed for on or below grade ( under slab and Frost Wall) insulation applications, providing unparalleled Flexural Strength and job site toughness (84Psi ) and load Compression (35Psi). The reflective laminated surfaces film on both faces of the board provide a continual vapor barrier (4.27 perm ), while not only protecting the foam core from moisture, but also adding rigidity and surface damage protection while being walked on, or driven over, with work boots barrows . Since the NEW SB12 residential building code now mandates that all concrete slabs containing radiant heat piping must have a minimum of R10 insulation under the slab – Our SB35–UC not only meets code, but also provides, vapor, radiant and radon barriers all in one exceptional product. AMDRY® INSULATED PANELS (FLOOR & WALL ) Amdry Insulated Subfloor is a one-step insulated panel system with an integral moisture resistant protective surface film. It provides a healthy, comfortable, warm basement floor by significantly reducing slab surface moisture and temperature fluctuations that may lead to mold and mildew problems. Where should I use it ? • Workshops • Garage Floors • Exercise Rooms More Energy Efficient • The combination of Amvic’s High quality EPS foam insulation laminated to 19/32” OSB edge grooved surface board offers a truly superior insulated flooring surface. • Available in R7, R9 and R11; Amdry Insulated subfloor panels offer the most energy efficient subfloor panel on the market today to meet even the most demanding cold weather installations. 1 • Home Theaters • Play Rooms • Store and plant office retrofits
  30. 30. BUILDER NEWS 28 • Amdry provides a continual thermal break across the entire concrete pad surface Drier , More Energy Efficient Basement Environment • A combination of deep drainage and ventilation surface channels bonded to a moisture, mildew and mold resistant protective film layer allows Amdry® to provide continuous air flow over the existing concrete slab, promoting moisture evaporation, keeping your basement drier, limiting or eliminating the surface moisture on the slab which leads to mold and mildew in this type of floor assembly. Saves Time and Money • Amdry panels are installed quickly and easily. Proprietary connectors, larger panels and 50% less joints make it an installers dream. • 24" x 48" Amdry panels each provide a full 8 sq. ft. surface coverage, Amdry panels require 40% less installation time and labour than competitive products, while Amdry’s larger panel area also better accommodate irregularities and minor slopes often found on basement floors, reducing or eliminating the need for shims and/or spacers. • Amdry’s unique flexible connector system allows panels to effortlessly lock together, without the need for nails or glue, significantly speeding up the installations process. • The Amdry connectors are inserted into the edge grooves of each panel and use a flexible barb fastener to allow for easy insertion and yet provide unparalleled long term holding power. The system is engineered to provide a secure, tight connection for years to come. • These unique connectors eliminate all the issues commonly associated with wooden tongue-and- groove joints: squeaking floors, broken, damaged or chipped tongues and grooves, often damaged before, during or after installation. The hollow core of the connector allows for expansion of the entire floor assembly. This built-in compression joint virtually eliminates any chance of buckling or heaving of the floor surface due to humidity expansion. For more information, please visit 3 ALSOAVAILABLE INR9&R11 Introducing Amdry, the only insulated channels. C onnecter System 2 HOWARD COHEN, DIVERSIFIED INSULATION PRODUCTS MANAGER, AMVIC
  31. 31. 29 BUILDER NEWS ISSUE 07 | FALL 2013 ALEX NEWMAN IS A WRITER, EDITOR AND RESEARCHER AT WWW.INTEGRITYCOMMUNICATIONS.CA The Importance of Attic Ventilation Ventilation is a requirement of the Canadian Building Code of Canada (section 9.19). Ventilation is also a criteria required by shingle manufactures in order to respect their warranty. The two fundamental benefits of an effective attic ventilation system are: a cooler attic in summer and a dryer attic in winter. Both of these benefits result in energy savings, greater homeowner comfort and higher integrity of the dwelling. There are two types of ventilation systems. The first is the passive ventilator. Passive ventilators are low profile vents like ridge vents, mushroom vents, or even a gooseneck ventilator for flat roofs. They do not allow for air exchange but merely let the air evaporate out. The alternative to the passive ventilator is the static ventilator. This ventilator is a turbine ventilator or a Maximum Ventilator. These both replace the attic air. They both function with the combination of wind and pressure differential, creating a chimney effect, replacing the attic air. With only a four-mi/hr wind, the Maximum Ventilator is replacing the attic air of an average size home of 1200 sq. ft, at a rate of 418 cfm., thus an average of every twenty minutes! (It would take two 14 inch or three 12 inch turbines to replace one model 301). For more information please see: BETTER BUILDER STAFF
  32. 32. BUILDER NEWS 30 The Optimum Basement Wall In previous articles I have discussed our journey towards a better performing, more forgiving basement wall. Over the past year we've made some significant adjustments to improve the overall performance and durability. I thought I would share some of the lessons learned over the last year. To recap, we have dealt with moisture wicking and with significant aspects of long term inward bound vapour diffusion (more on this later). We are using the Cosella Dorken Delta Footing Barrier for a capillary break between the footing and the foundation wall, a cold joint caulking for bulk water movement between the two, sprayed tar on the foundation wall below grade to prevent wicking from the soil to the wall and the Delta Membrane to keep bulk water away from the wall. On the inside we have used the ROXUL Comfortboard IS along with a stud wall with ROXUL R14 batt insulation to create a healthy, comfortable basement space that our customers have come to expect, along with using products that we know to be moisture and mould resistant. However, we have still had some lingering performance issues, particularly around potential smell issues if the insulation gets wet and the problem of inward bound vapour diffusion during the warmer months (vapour/ water on the poly) especially with foundation walls that have a significant amount of concrete above the soil. In the case of smell the culprit appears to be air flow between the home and moist insulation. Our new wall detail installed the ROXUL Comfortboard from the top of the footing to the underside of the floor joist. This is installed prior to the basement floor being poured. The ROXUL then acts as a drainage path for any condensing water vapour. The other significant change is that our header wrap now comes over top of the stud wall and connects to the poly vapour barrier to create a continuous air barrier. The theory being that no air movement means no smell. Having moved our standard wall detail to have the poly become part of the air barrier system seems to have eliminated this potential problem quite effectively. For the condensation on the poly, we have two potential moisture sources, remaining moisture in the concrete wall that is still drying and inward bound vapour diffusion on the above grade wall that is affected by humidity and direct sunlight. To solve this problem we are replacing the top 30" of 6 mil poly with a breathable membrane from Certainteed. The Smart Membrane will allow the vapour to pass from the insulated wall into the home, in turn allowing the basement insulated wall to dry. Dr. John Straub and Arron Grin from Building Science Corporation did some performance modeling on the wall that looks very promising. We completed this installation in the Discovery Home we are building in St. Thomas, as part of our commitment to Union Gas and the Optimum Home Program, which supports builders in their journey to build high performance homes that are 20% above current 2012 Ontario Building Code. We are also conducting a year long study on the dry-ability of this new wall system in conjunction with Building Knowledge, ROXUL and George Brown College. DOUG TARRY
  33. 33. BUILDER NEWS BP Excel breaks new ground in structural insulation thanks to a membrane that combines air barrier protec- tion, moisture-evacuating breathability, and strength like no other product. And it’s green — made from 98% recycled materials, free of VOCs and ozone-depleting CFCs or HCFCs, and glued together with wheat starch. For homebuilders looking for innovation and value on an exponential scale: Excel is innovative green design, exceptional thermal insulation and structural strength all in one breathable sheathing that delivers outstanding performance with unparalleled strength. WELCOME TO STRUCTURAL INSULATION REINVENTED FOR TODAY’S WORLD — AND A SUSTAINABLE TOMORROW. MADE HERE PREFERRED EVERYWHERE NEW!
  34. 34. BUILDER NEWS 32 Reliable, customized, maRtinoHeating • air conditioning • indoor air Quality • HVac design 1-800-465-5700 ™ The issue with using the smart poly is a code compliance one. The CCMC approval on the smart poly says that it has to be covered with drywall within 7 days to avoid breakdown from exposure to ultra violet light. In our case we want to use the product in unfinished basements where customers are actually seeing the vapour condensation and calling to complain about the problem. Interestingly enough, during the July heat wave, this home managed to get through without any significant vapour condensation, despite not having HVAC and going through drywall and painting. So preliminary results appear very favourable. It is our hope that this study will allow for a compliance option that builders can use to improve the performance of their basement walls. I would like to extend my thanks to our former Chief Building Official Leon Bach for permitting us to use this product in the Discovery Home, based on the limited amount of UV exposure in the basement and of the local Chief Building Officials who have been supportive of our experiments with this new wall system, specifically Leon Bach, Brad Smale and Daniel Dale. Their support has permitted me to go back and retrofit the detail into several existing homes where we were having condensation problems. I was amazed at how quickly the addition of the smart poly resolved the vapour condensation. My customers are happy and I feel good about giving them a better wall. DOUG TARRY JR., IS THE DIRECTOR OF MARKETING AT DOUG TARRY HOMES IN ST. THOMAS , ONTARIO.
  35. 35. ISSUE 07 | FALL 2013 BUILDER NEWS 33 ] Solar Ready 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- tions. 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 remember: • 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. Fire Resistant Water Repellent Sound Absorbent Saves Energy Made from Stone Recycled Content TM HIGH R ECYCLED CO N TENT *Contact us for details. HIGH R ECYCLED CO N TENT R E C Y C L A B L E* Achieving an R-20 Basement Wall “IS” Easy with Roxul ComfortBoard™ IS. ■ Prevent Thermal Bridging: Installing ComfortBoard™ IS against the foundation wall before you frame the studs provides for a continual layer of thermal protection. ■ Non Combustible: Provides for combined thermal and fire-resistant properties. ■ High Recycled Content: Made from natural stone and up to 93% recycled material. INTERIOR BASEMENT WALL APPLICATION BY ROXUL® ComfortBoard™ IS is a trademark of Roxul Inc. GREENGUARD® is a registered trademark of Greenguard Environmental Institute. ROX-2410_0712
  36. 36. BUILDER NEWS 34 PAGE TITLE Features To learn more, visit TM Helping builders design and build more energy efficient homes. New building codes require new approaches to housing design and energy performance. Enbridge’s Savings by Design program is here to help. The program offers free access to design and technical experts, as well as valuable incentives to help design and build more energy efficient homes. Using our unique and collaborative Integrated Design Process (IDP), we will work with you to identify optimal solutions for improving energy efficiency 25% beyond Ontario Building Code 2012.