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Better Builder Magazine, Issue 10 / Summer 2014

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 10 / Summer 2014

  1. 1. 1 BETTER BuilderMAGAZINE the builder’s source ISSUE 10 | SUMMER 2014 WWW.BETTERBUILDER.CA The Municipal Issue Sharing the Vision of a Sustainable Future Priority Green Clarington Doing the Right Thing The Value of Engagement Code Co-operation Spray Foam and Thermal Barriers What Homebuyers Want Publicationnumber42408014 IN THIS ISSUE
  2. 2. 2 ISSUE 10 | SUMMER 2014 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 Airmax ad with Prioritizing AMT 12430 AD FPG 09_HR.pdf 1 2013-04-18 8:46 AM
  3. 3. FEATURE STORY 16 PRIORITY GREEN Clarington BY TRACY HANES, AMY BURKE AND AARON KOTHIRINGER INSIDE THIS ISSUE 02 Publisher’s Note: Shared Vision BY JOHN GODDEN 03 The Bada Test: The (Tricky) Business of Doing the Right Thing BY LOU BADA 04 Straight From the Hart: The Value of Local Engagement BY LENARD HART 06 Industry Expert: Code Co-operation BY GORD COOKE 08 Industry News: Working with Municipalities BY MICHAEL LIO 10 Builder News: Green Country BY ALEX NEWMAN 13 Industry News: Building a More Weather-Resilient Home BY MICHAEL LIO 24 Builder News: Local Improvement Charge: Using Home Equity BY ALEX NEWMAN 27 From the Ground Up: Air Sealing and Protecting Foam Plastics BY DOUG TARRY 31 Builder News: What Homebuyers Want? BY TRACY PATTERSON Cover: BETTER BuilderMAGAZINE the builder’s source 1 22 ISSUE 10 | SUMMER 2014 WWW.BETTERBUILDER.CA | ISSUE 10 | SUMMER 2014 3 5 13 IMAGE:WWW.SHUTTERSTOCK.COM
  4. 4. 2 WWW.BETTERBUILDER.CA | ISSUE 10 | SUMMER 2014 Publisher Better Builder Magazine 12 Rowley Avenue Toronto, ON M4P 2S8 416-481-4218 fax 416-481-4695 Better Builder Magazine is a sponsor of Publishing editor John B. Godden managing editor Wendy Shami To advertise, contribute a story, or join our distribution list, please contact Feature Writers Tracy Hanes, Alex Newman ProoFreading Janet Dimond creative Robert Robotham Graphics This magazine brings together premium product manufacturers and leading builders to create better, differentiated homes and buildings that use less energy, save water and reduce our impact on the environment. Publication number 42408014 Copyright by Better Builder Magazine. Contents may not be reprinted or reproduced without written permission. The opinions expressed herein are exclusively those of the authors and assumed to be original work. Better Builder Magazine cannot be held liable for any damage as a result of publishing such works. trademark disclaimer All company and/or product names may be trade names, trademarks and/or registered trademarks of the respective owners with which they are associated. undeliverable mail Better Builder Magazine 12 Rowley Avenue, Toronto, ON M4P 2S8. Better Builder Magazine is published four times a year. B uilders and developers seeking subdi- vision approval and building permits from a municipality are met with one of three scenarios. The builder’s brand (energy performance features included in a home) along with the municipality’s requirements will determine which scenario unfolds. In scenario one, the builder’s brand meets or exceeds the current Ontario Building Code (OBC) energy performance requirements out- lined in Supplemental Bulletin 12 (SB-12). To review, SB-12 contains 13 recipes (packages) for a builder to choose from and use so the house will achieve an EnerGuide rating of 80. Prescription Package J is the most common way of meeting this requirement. In scenario two, the builder is building to current OBC SB-12, but the municipal planners ask for mandatory labelling such as LEED or EN- ERGY STAR. Many builders agree to this without fully understanding the implications of the pass or fail nature of these programs, and the added costs of higher performance. A story comes to mind I heard through the grapevine. Amidst a prolonged approval pro- cess, a builder became very frustrated (that’s putting it mildly) because of a lack of com- munication between the planning and building departments of a municipality. After going between the two many times and still not get- ting an answer that made sense, he went to the municipal offices. The two departments sending the mixed messages were across the hall from each other. After opening both office doors, he stood in the middle of the hallway and pleaded at the top of his lungs, “This thing isn’t gonna move forward until you two *******s agree on what you want me to do!” This story demonstrates the spirit of co- operation necessary to meet all needs of the stakeholders involved in the building and de- velopment process. Let’s call that spirit shared vision, our third scenario. This is a collabora- tive effort on the part of the major stakehold- ers including builders, planners, building offi- cials and homebuyers. Ah, my dream come true – creating more sustainable homes through consensus. This effort allows all involved to better understand and direct the goals and intended development outcomes while allowing the builder flexibility and choice. My earliest involvement with shared vision was the Rodeo Fine Homes EcoLogic subdivi- sion in Newmarket. It was a very collaborative project that spanned almost five years. Rodeo Homes was offered incentives from the local municipality to build 60 per cent more effi- cient than code. In this issue, Len Hart’s article describes this process. The Sustainable Housing Foundation was asked by the Municipality of Clarington to facilitate an engagement of builders named PRIORITY GREEN. One key to the success of this engagement is a sustainable checklist that can be used to educate and upsell homebuyers on sustainable features while satisfying the municipal requirement of better than code. As Lou Bada points out in his piece, doing the right thing requires facilitation rather than regulation on the part of government. Our regular contributors Gord Cooke, Michael Lio, and Doug Tarry underscore the importance of working with building departments to foster innovation and change. In the new development landscape, differ- ent approaches need to be introduced – an approach where land use minimizes infra- structure costs, intensifies residential use while maximizing open and green space. Aaron Kothiringer investigates the fused grid approach. And lastly, Tracy Patterson reflects on the wisdom of the late and great Steve Jobs. “It isn’t the consumers’ job to know what they want.” True collaboration and vision help us sell ourselves on a better future. I’ve made my sales pitch on shared vision. Read on. I hope you’ll buy in. BB Shared Vision publisher’snote By J oh n G o dden 2 WWW.BETTERBUILDER.CA | ISSUE 10 | SUMMER 2014
  5. 5. 3WWW.BETTERBUILDER.CA | ISSUE 10 | SUMMER 2014 A t the risk of sounding overly mercenary and one dimen- sional I’m going to state the obvious – businesses exist for profit. It always surprises me when busi- nesspeople are asked why they do what they do. They tend to recite what seems like a corporate mission statement. “At ABC Corporation we strive to…customer focused…culti- vate exceptional product and peo- ple…corporate responsibility and en- vironmental stewardship…” All these great things are the mechanisms we use to make money, but aren’t usually viewed as an end in and of themselves. Nor are they necessarily mutually exclusive with profit. The ideal is to make them necessary to earn more profit. On the other hand, I always twinge when I hear government should be run like a business. Government should be certainly and unequivocally much more businesslike. However, I also believe many of the good works governments do at home and abroad would be difficult to justify in a corporate boardroom. At the intersec- tion of the public and private realms is where it gets interesting. Politicians speak about city building, but govern- ment does not build cities or com- munities, industry does – and only if it’s profitable. Individuals and society make these communities great. The economy underpins it all. Government is good at some things – and not so good at others. The often-cited new business para- digm of the triple bottom line (profit, people, planet) is interesting and challenging for the new home building industry. Though a more comprehen- sive way of looking at the outcomes of a venture, it has been criticized by both sides of the political spectrum. What is clear is that a market-based approach in a market economy is a requisite. Collaboration is better than class warfare. The difficulty for new homebuilders is the individual realiza- tion or monetization of some of the benefits accrued. If individual busi- nesses become insolvent in pursuit of the triple bottom line, then progress can’t be made. The best example of collaboration I’ve been involved in was my experi- ence in a new residential subdivision developed in Vaughan’s Block 39 in 2007/2008. It involved an integrated design process that yielded the first of all ENERGY STAR housing devel- opment of its kind in Ontario. All stakeholders were present, and with commonsense and goodwill made it happen where an otherwise less sustainable community would’ve been built. The quid pro quo for the devel- oper and homebuilder was an expe- dited process. The proverbial carrot was better than the stick. Currently, the voluntary has often become the mandatory. It is becoming more difficult, if not impossible, to make a compelling business case for doing the right thing. Creativity will have to replace bureaucracy if we wish to move forward. Governments must facilitate rather than regulate. We all live on the same planet and want the same things. It’s about time we started acting that way. BB Lou Bada is the construction & contracts manager for Starlane Homes. The (Tricky) Business of Doing the Right Thing thebadatest By L ou Ba da IMAGE:WWW.SHUTTERSTOCK.COM
  6. 6. WWW.BETTERBUILDER.CA | ISSUE 10 | SUMMER 20144 W hen thinking about the significant role munici- palities play in growth and development, we must acknowledge the growing role local engagement is playing in the process. Local govern- ment is where much of the regulatory hurdles builder/developers must face to gain approvals for new develop- ment, and when they have to win over a community to sup- port their project, this often means overcoming any not-in-my-backyard (NIMBY) opposition. Change is never easy, and some people are opposed to it in all its forms, but the vast majority see the need for growth and change, including new building developments. Public perception and support can vary depending on how the issue is framed and how the process of engagement is viewed. Interestingly, while it’s no longer a number one issue for deci- sion making, climate change and the environment are core components to most issues and still hugely influential in decision and opinion making (often manifesting as health, community or pollution concerns). All developments involve change and change meets with resistance. In many cases this resistance is simply ignored and goes away, but as new green field space runs out, more development projects will be in built- up areas and face serious opposition from neighbours, whether in the public and social media, or through regulators and local governments. Not only is the prospect of public scrutiny increasing, but opposition is becom- ing easier to do and do well with Twitter, Facebook and the like. Simply building to LEED or ENERGY STAR standards is no longer enough to sati- ate the concerns of local opponents. Engaging and addressing local resis- tance is key to managing opposition and functioning with local govern- ments. Let’s examine a few examples. Minto faced the challenge of develop- ing a plot of land on the shores of Lake Sim- coe, an environmen- tally stressed lake that receives far too much phosphate runoff. One of the many design standards set was that develop- ment should improve the water quality of the lake, with less phosphate runoff postdevelopment than prior. While the proposal was radically green and could not easily be discounted, the project did not get the necessary support needed, in part because the engagement was not up to the challenge. Windmill Developments in Victo- ria had an advanced LEED Platinum project of its own on-site sewage treatment systems, but still received pushback from local aboriginal groups who had unresolved land claim issues in the area. Windmill ad- dressed these concerns and eventually invited band elders to be part of the project, along with training and hiring local aboriginal youth as construction workers. Windmill’s engagement of lo- cal opposition was exemplary in that it addressed the issue and came up with real solutions. It was this engage- ment, not the green project, that won over local opposition. The Rodeo Fine Homes project in Newmarket ended up with some 34 LEED Platinum-rated homes in a 200- plus subdivision of ENERGY STAR- rated homes, yet at one point it was scheduled to have none of that, just code built homes throughout. It was the local support of a green building project that was the only thing that changed the plan. The difference was a strong pro-green lobby by local citi- zens, including a Grade 9 student for the local Catholic school who got a lot of media coverage. In an extraordinary council meeting, many speakers got up to petition the council to change their minds about allocating the 34 homes to Rodeo, and this in turn got the large code builder to upgrade to ENERGY STAR. The code builder tried to quietly duck under the radar and get the additional 34 homes for themselves, but the viral nature of lo- cal engagement and the local support turned the project around. I recently saw a presentation from pollster Greg Lyle, who clarified the role of local engagement in the devel- opment process. He noted that more than any other issue, a sense of fair- ness correlates strongly with whether or not a project is supported or not supported by the public. Addition- ally, younger cohorts are less likely to defer to authority than older ones, so they are more likely to challenge local government or committee rulings. Ad- ditionally, Lyle noted that universally regulators and governments are not seen as competent, trustworthy, or to have the public’s interests at heart. This is a crucial point for builder/ developers, because simply following The Value of Local Engagement straightfromthehart By L e n a rd Ha rt Climate change and the environment are core components to most issues and still hugely influential in decision and opinion making.
  7. 7. 5WWW.BETTERBUILDER.CA | ISSUE 10 | SUMMER 2014 the zoning rules, or getting approval from a committee of adjustment, is not going to sway people to your side. Ontarians are a skeptical lot, and less likely to trust regulators more than the Canadian average – 61% show a mild to strong distrust of regula- tors, 64% feel regulators make deci- sions not based on the best evidence, and 73% feel regulators’ decision- making processes are not transparent. All this is about 12 to 20% higher than the Canadian average. The resulting challenge that builder/developers face when working with local governments and local communities is that people do not trust the regulatory process will be in their or the environment’s best interest. Winning over public opinion is complicated. Being legal might not be enough, and building green might not be enough, but engaging people in a fair and open way just might mean the difference in swaying public sup- port for your project. The last quote goes to Greg Lyle. “Process is king. The way you run your project is just as important as what you are building.” BB Lenard Hart is the vice-president of sales and marketing at Summerhill Group. Strong local support resulted in the construction of the 34 sustainable homes. energy rating training & educating sustainability consulting
  8. 8. 6 WWW.BETTERBUILDER.CA | ISSUE 10 | SUMMER 2014 U sually I am challenging high performance builders to look ahead up the path of continu- ous improvement, but a quick look back can also be helpful. It helps ensure that the foundation for future change is solid. Think back about two and a half years ago to the simulta- neous introduction of Part 12 of the Ontario Building Code (OBC) and the accompanying Supplementary Stan- dard SB-12, as well as the first look at Version 12 of the ENERGY STAR for New Homes program. Progressive builders and their energy evalua- tors had anticipated the changes and sorted out which of the four possible compliance paths was most cost ef- fective for them. Those who chose the prescriptive path evaluated the 30- plus alternate building packages from the six prescriptive tables, and found the one that best suited their process- es, housing type and trade base. Let’s recognize that municipal building departments across the province were also looking at the exponential rise in energy compliance options that would be coming across their counters and in the hands of field inspectors, and wondering how it would affect their processes and challenge their technical capabilities. Indeed, it was relatively simple for individual builders to choose a com- pliance path compared to the task for building departments to understand and sort through all the options those individual builders might present, in- cluding the technical requirements of SB-12, the EnerGuide for New Houses administrative and technical proce- dures, the ENERGY STAR for New Homes technical specification, or the four alternative software programs accredited by the Residential Energy Services Network (RESNET) for the Home Energy Rating System (HERS). Of course, it got even more complex with the recognition that energy efficiency compliance required cross-referencing inputs from architec- tural, HVAC, plumbing, energy evaluators and even electrical permit documents. In addition, some municipalities have superimposed ad- ditional environmental or energy requirements into planning objectives and subdivision agree- ments. Fortunately, and it really shouldn’t have been a surprise, we, as an energy evaluator company, have experi- enced a broad base of co-operation and support from building officials throughout the province. It started very early on when we were asked to facilitate an ad hoc committee with building officials, energy evalu- ators, and builders that ultimately culminated in the Energy Efficiency Design Summary form (EEDS) and process. One of the participants was Tim Benedict, manager of building, building division, City of Kitchener. As we interact with and serve on a daily basis the same builder clientele, we have worked very closely with his department and found them to be an excellent example of how the efforts of three groups – builders, building officials and energy evaluators – are made more productive through co- operation. As Tim said, “This is just as new to us as to anyone else, and Code Co-operation navigate energy performance in the 2012 OBC. industryexpert By G ord Cooke
  9. 9. 7WWW.BETTERBUILDER.CA | ISSUE 10 | SUMMER 2014 the more resources we have available to us, the better for everyone.” The first example of this co- operative effort is when Eastforest Homes organized an on-site air barrier forum very early in 2012. Tim sent the majority of his building department’s inspectors and plan examiners, while Eastforest had site supervisors and key trades attend. We essentially took each line item of section 9.25.3 Air Barrier Systems of the OBC, compared them to the requirements of the ENERGY STAR for New Homes program, and demon- strated how each Eastforest trade and site was dealing or planning to deal with the requirements. In the ensuing months, we found that a builder who was already excelling at air tightness met- rics got even better, and building officials became even more helpful in helping Eastforest achieve their goal as the first builder in Ontario to fully adopt Version 12 of the ENERGY STAR program. We have had similar great re- sponse from other building depart- ments, many of them providing op- portunities for training. For example, the City of London and the City of Cambridge both invited the DuPont Tyvek specialists to review appropri- ate field verification of exterior air barrier materials and strategies. Tim Benedict reiterates that “comprehen- sive and repeated training is crucial in ensuring proper application of new code requirements in a timely and cost-effective way.” One thing that has come up fre- quently are last-minute changes to heating systems, water heating or even window specifications. Some of these are driven by cost or un- avoidable process changes, or even consumer option choices. While last-minute changes have always been an issue, there are more consider- ations now with the energy efficiency requirements. Take for example a change from a traditional furnace to combo heating to accommodate combustion venting difficulties. Here was another example of the City of Kitchener providing a builder with the flexibility to provide a traditional power-vented water heater as the heat source for very small, ef- ficient lower-level units of a stacked townhouse complex originally permit- ted with gas furnaces and separate water heaters. HOT 2000 energy mod- elling showed that slightly upgrading the energy factor of the water to a still com- monly available rental model, along with envelope upgrades the builder was al- ready doing, compen- sated for the energy penalty resulting from the lower efficiency of the water heater in space heat mode compared to a standard high efficiency furnace. It resulted in a win-win solution for a builder to meet the expecta- tions of the energy code, and for the homeowners in terms of better use of space in a small dwelling, fewer enclo- sure penetrations, and overall lower operating costs because of optimized monthly rental fees. The process and solution were a great example of the building depart- ment working within the energy evalu- ation process to find the most cost- effective solution for the builders and community members they serve. BB Gord Cooke is the president of Building Knowledge Canada. We have experienced a broad base of co-operation and support from building officials throughout the province.
  10. 10. 8 WWW.BETTERBUILDER.CA | ISSUE 10 | SUMMER 2014 industrynews By Mi c h a e l L i o O ver the years, we have worked with hundreds of build- ers and developers to re- solve building code issues as they work with their building officials. While much of the code is clearly black and white, there are many, many grey areas open to interpretation and subject to dispute. Build- ers can also find them- selves in situations where innovative designs need additional documentation to allow acceptance by municipalities. In every situation the key is to have an open dialogue with the municipality and rely on evidence. The evidence must demon- strate performance through calcula- tion, testing, and/or in the field. The first step is to prepare for a discussion with the municipality by learning about the issue at hand. Work to fully understand possible interpre- tations, opinions and code intent. This can often include researching past precedents and acceptance in other municipalities or other codes. It also includes a search for past Building Code Commission (BCC) rulings, min- ister’s interpretations, and Canadian Construction Materials Centre (CCMC) evaluations. It is important that the understanding of the issues is rooted in the requirements of the Ontario Building Code (OBC), and in how the function of the proposed building relates to the black letter of the code. The Ontario Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing’s (MMAH) Code and Construction Guide for Housing (CCGH) can provide guidance on the intentions of the code. An introductory conversation with the municipality to discuss the prob- lem is needed. The goal of the call is to understand the basis for their point of view. This includes a discussion on the perceived risk of code and prod- uct deficiencies, and the challenges related to expected performance. It is then a matter of negotiation with the municipality on how the building is intended to function, and what the code intends. Negotiations should be evidenced based and objec- tive. The conversation with the mu- nicipality should be tailored to each situation and to the capabilities of the municipality. It is always important to preserve good relations and be re- spectful. Both the builder and munici- pality have the health and safety of the homeowners in mind. The goal is to find a com- mon solution that works and where everyone believes the code objec- tives are being met. The municipality will some- times ask for corroborat- ing evidence including a letter from an expert or professional engineer. Builders should be aware of their legal recourse should an agreement not be reached. Those denied permits or served with orders can appeal to the BCC. Over the years we have been asked to help bridge many code disputes. We make a point of understanding the intent of the code and building creative, enduring solutions. Working with municipalities is about connect- ing the dots between what’s proposed and the code’s objectives, functional statements and specific requirements. Working with municipalities is about informing yourself of the issues, un- derstanding your legal recourse and negotiating in good faith to resolve the situation. BB Michael Lio is a member of the National Build- ing Code of Canada’s standing committee on housing and small buildings. Since 1986 he has been a member of the Ontario Building Code technical advisory committee. From 1995 to 2001 he was a member of the Ontario Building Code Commission serving as its vice- chair for four years. Mr. Lio is intimately aware of the code development process, its structure and syntax. Through his consulting practice, he is actively engaged with builders and designers in the residential building industry. Working with Municipalities
  11. 11. 9WWW.BETTERBUILDER.CA | ISSUE 10 | SUMMER 2014 Balancing Performance and Affordability Choose a combination of WhisperGreenTM and WhisperValueTM ventilation fans from Panasonic® for a complete ventilation solution. Designed to provide both continuous and intermittent ventilation, the WhisperGreenTM fan is ideally suited as the principal exhaust. Complete the ventilation equation by using WhisperValueTM ventilation fans through-out the rest of the home. Together, WhisperGreenTM and WhisperValueTM provide the perfect balance. To learn more about Panasonic ventilation fans visit, email or call 1-800-669-5165 As an Energy Star® Partner, Panasonic has determined that this product meets the Energy Star® Guidelines for energy efficiency.
  12. 12. 10 WWW.BETTERBUILDER.CA | ISSUE 10 | SUMMER 2014 buildernews By Al e x Ne w m a n W hen the Town of Clarington went looking for builders to participate in its PRIOR- ITY GREEN Clarington program, they wanted those with green track re- cords. They didn’t have to look far. Halminen Homes, Brookfield Homes and Jeffery Homes were cho- sen to upgrade two homes apiece to PRIORITY GREEN Clarington levels on energy efficiency and water reduc- tion. The homes were then sold – with the energy upgrades free – to homeowners willing to have the Town monitor water and energy use over a four-month period. All three builders were eager for the chance to expand their sustain- ability knowledge and practice, and experiment with future proofing homes against increased energy and water costs. It was also a good way of educating their staff, from trades all the way to sales and marketing, says Bob Stewart of Brookfield Homes. “It’s a good way to stay ahead of the curve since the building code is always be- ing upgraded.” However, PRIORITY GREEN Clar- ington exceeds both current code and the upcoming 2017 code. When municipal staff from Clarington, Dur- ham regional staff and reps from the Sustainable Housing Foundation met to discuss ways to increase energy ef- ficiency and reduce water consump- tion, they came up with six categories to improve building practices: high performance envelope, high perfor- mance HVAC, energy-efficient light- ing and appliances, indoor air quality, reduced water usage and runoffs, and efficient material management. The three builders, along with Clearsphere consultant John Godden, devised a list that would be energy ef- ficient, but also cost effective to make it more attractive to builders who are just starting into sustainable construc- tion. That list included exterior air bar- riers, two-stage furnaces, web-based thermostats, drainwater heat recovery units, energy recovery ventilators (ERV), front-loading washing machines, and natural gas ranges and dryers. Furnace right-sizing and two-stage furnaces are critical components to energy efficiency. Both Jeffery Homes and Halminen Homes have been in- stalling two-stage furnaces as standard in recent projects. They work with an idle option so the furnace isn’t con- stantly turning on and off. When you don’t need heat or cooling, the air still circulates and stays steady, making for a much more comfortable home, es- pecially important these days with the rise in asthma, Stewart points out. “It also reduces energy use, which really affects the bottom line.” Greywater recycling is a newer idea. In PRIORITY GREEN Clarington Discovery homes (the name given to the two homes at each site) plumbing rough-ins will allow this to be added later, if buyers want. Brookfield has been working with consultant John Bell on a new greywater recovery sys- tem that promises fewer maintenance headaches. “With the old greywater recovery systems,” says Stewart, “you had to constantly clean out the filters and put in chlorine pucks to sterilize the water. The new system is much easier and should cost only about $600 to rough in.” Because Jeffery Homes had already begun construction when they were Green Country Amy Burke and Katrina Metzner Yarrow: working with builders with green track records.
  13. 13. 11WWW.BETTERBUILDER.CA | ISSUE 10 | SUMMER 2014 invited to participate in the PRIORITY GREEN Clarington program, it was too late to rough in the plumbing for greywater, but water manage- ment is a big part of other Jeffery Homes’ sites, and includes low flow toilets and showerheads among other water-saving measures. The PRIORITY GREEN Clarington project has taken water use to a new low with toilets that use only three litres of water per flush. The project has imple- mented many newer prod- ucts. For example, at Halmin- en Homes’ recent sites it was standard to install program- mable thermostats, but in the Discovery homes they had to use web-based ones, says Katrina Metzner Yarrow, architectural technologist for Halminen Homes. All three builders have previous experience con- structing homes at higher energy efficiency than code, some venturing into LEED designation or ENERGY STAR. And Metzner Yarrow says Halminen’s existing green practices came pretty close to the PRIORITY GREEN Clar- ington model. “But we tend to pick and choose items that will benefit both the environ- ment and our purchasers’ pocketbooks.” Tyvek exterior air barrier, and attic insulation – ENERGY STAR requirements that aren’t included in the recent build- ing code’s Package J – are something they regularly use because it ensures a better built home. They typically in- stall heat recovery ventilators (HRV), but for the Clarington Discovery home they added energy recovery ventilators (ERV) as well, and bumped up basement insulation to R20 from their standard R12. Brookfield has similar green standards. Previously, the company worked with Enbridge on the Savings by Design program (www.sav- They con- tinue to experiment with new procedures like panelization. So in addition to insulated sheeting with Excel board, Blueskin rolls and tape, and ROXUL exterior insulation, they’ve added panelization to the construction process because “it’s unbelievable for keeping a tight home,” says Stewart. “You use less mater- ial, so you have more room for insulation, and we’re able to build off-site.” Some municipalities dismissed the procedure as a cookie cutter approach. “But nothing could be farther from the truth. It provides incredibly tight and efficient homes, plus no materials go ‘lost’ on site. We did this to great success in our Picker- ing and Bradford projects,” Stewart says. Experimenting with new green technology had put Brookfield in a good posi- tion so that when Clarington developed the PRIORITY GREEN Clarington program, Continued on page 26
  14. 14. 12 WWW.BETTERBUILDER.CA | ISSUE 10 | SUMMER 2014
  15. 15. 13WWW.BETTERBUILDER.CA | ISSUE 10 | SUMMER 2014 D unnink Homes has demonstrated a number of build- ing practices promoted by the Institute for Cata- strophic Loss Reduction (ICLR) to make homes more resilient to extreme weather. The demon- stration house, located in Guelph, goes beyond code requirements to include advanced building practices that offer better protection from damage caused by wind, snow, ice and other hazards from extreme weather events. The house in- cludes a backwater valve, improved backfill and overland drainage, engi- neered trusses to resist high winds, strapping between rafters and wall framing, ½” roof sheath- ing with nails spaced at 6”, eave protection and roof underlayment. ICLR, established in 1997, is a world-class centre devoted to disaster prevention research and communication. It is an independent not-for-profit research institute founded by the insurance indus- try and affiliated with Western University. ICLR has devoted many years to developing new construction practices to help build more weather-resilient housing. Their work provides a science-based foundation for the construction of disaster-resilient homes as part of an adaptive strategy to deal with the increasing frequency and severity of extreme weather events. ICLR’s research responds to the in- creased severe weather events that cost Canadians billions of dollars every year. One of the most recent examples is last summer’s severe flooding event in the GTA. “Insured losses from flooded basements have increased drastically over the past decade in Canada, costing insurers close to $2 billion per year,” said Dan Sandink, manager of resilient communities and research at ICLR. “Homeowners also suffer significant- Building a More Weather-Resilient Home industrynews By Mi c h a e l L i o A weather-resilient home looks like any other home. ICLR’s research responds to the increased severe weather events that cost Canadians billions of dollars every year.
  16. 16. 14 WWW.BETTERBUILDER.CA | ISSUE 10 | SUMMER 2014 ly when their homes flood. This is especially true when they are flooded from sewer backup, which frequently includes flooding from raw sewage. “While there are many critical measures that must be taken on the municipal infrastructure side to reduce risk,” he continued, “many important risk reduction measures can also be economically and ef- fectively applied at the lotside. For example, sanitary backwater valves are widely applied in many Canadian provinces to reduce the risk of sewer backup. It seems likely these types of measures will be increasingly encour- aged, if not required, for homeown- ers to retain affordable and effective insurance coverage for sewer backup in the future.” The Dunnink house demonstra- tion was designed using a number of ICLR-recommended construction details. buildABILITY Corporation on behalf of ICLR consulted with a working group of the Ontario Home Builders’ Association (OHBA) tech- nical committee to determine the practices builders would favour. A number of these were included in the demonstration home. Manufacturers were contacted regarding specific products for the demonstration home. Mainline Back- water Valve Company provided the backwater valve and Henry building products also assisted by provid- ing the roof underlay and ice dam- ming protection with the use of their Henry Company’s Blueskin RF200 Self-Adhesive Ice and Water Barrier. “Henry Company shares the views of ICLR. We see the need to build more weather-resilient housing,” said Martin Kuypers, residential business development leader at Henry. “Henry products and systems manage the flow of water, air, vapour and energy through the building envelope from foundation to roof.” Henry products used on the dem- onstration house are: Blueskin TWF (Thru-Wall Flashing) brick sill Blueskin WB (Weather Barrier) win- dow and door flashing Blueskin VP (Vapour Permeable) breathable air bar- rier for exterior walls Blueskin Roof (RF200) Ice and Water Barrier, total roof coverage. After working with the OHBA technical committee working group, John Dunnink from Dun- nink Homes was the first to take up the challenge and build a more resilient home. “Building the first Discovery house using some of the ICLR building practices was a great experience that was very informative,” he said. “For the completed Discovery home, the additional labour and materials total approximately $7,000 for the up- grades, which provide additional pro- tection from flooding, wind storms, snow and ice buildup and hail.” “ICLR learned a great deal working with John Dunnink and the manufac- turers,” said Jason Thistlethwaite, di- rector of the Climate Change Adapta- tion project and research associate at ICLR. “ICLR has committed to work- ing with homebuilders to improve awareness and uptake of resilient- housing practices. Resilient housing will grow in demand as the frequency of extreme weather increases. The implementation of high-wind straps, wind-resistant nails and backwa- ter valves represents an important step in learning the building tech- niques necessary to meet this objec- tive. John’s efforts have helped provide important lessons on the opportuni- ties and limitations of resilient-building practices in the marketplace. With- out support from homebuilders like John Dunnink, it is difficult to build a bridge between the science and practice.” Adapting housing to severe weather events caused by climate change will better protect homeown- ers from the emotional and financial hardships of damage to what is often their largest investment. Continued collaboration between researchers, builders, manufacturers and govern- ment is required to further these endeavours. BB Written by: Michael Lio, president buildABILITY Corporation industrynews By M ichael Lio “ICLR has committed to working with homebuilders to improve awareness and uptake of resilient-housing practices. Resilient housing will grow in demand as the frequency of extreme weather increases.” Contacts:
  17. 17. 15WWW.BETTERBUILDER.CA | ISSUE 10 | SUMMER 2014 Features
  18. 18. 16 WWW.BETTERBUILDER.CA | ISSUE 10 | SUMMER 2014 R ecognizing the challenges that significant popula- tion growth between now and 2031 will bring, the Municipality of Clarington has launched PRIORITY GREEN Clarington, an initiative to develop a stan- dard for creating sustainable neighbourhoods. As part of PRIORITY GREEN Clarington the Municipality is developing a green demonstration project (GDP) with in- terested builders to construct homes that will demonstrate energy efficiency and water conservation, have excellent indoor air quality, manage stormwater runoff and include other sustainability measures. Between 2011 and 2031, Clarington will experience a forecasted 60 per cent increase in population and signifi- cant new building (22,000 new units) that will present social, economic and environmental challenges to the municipality. The vision of PRIORITY GREEN Clarington is to estab- lish a new standard for residential development that pri- oritizes sustainability, promotes innovation and improves quality of life, said Amy Burke, sustainable development co-ordinator for Clarington’s planning services depart- ment, community planning and design branch. Recently, a GDP planning workshop was held with three interested builder partners (Brookfield Homes, Halminen Homes and Jeffery Homes), representatives from the Sus- tainable Housing Foundation, and municipal and regional staff members. All three builders have built better than code in the past and have constructed ENERGY STAR homes. Burke said the GDP aims to implement green practices that will exceed the Ontario Building Code (OBC). Six categories have been developed, including high perfor- mance envelope, high performance HVAC, energy-efficient lighting and appliances, indoor air quality, reduced water usage and runoff and efficient material management. John Godden of the Sustainable Housing Foundation explained how integrated design works and how it’s impor- tant in building high performance homes. Integrated design brings together key stakeholders and design professionals to work in collaboration from the early planning stages through to completion, and focuses on whole building de- sign and how all the various systems work interactively. He talked about the changes coming with the OBC. In 2017, builders will be required to build homes 15 per cent more energy efficient with a target rating of EnerGuide 83. As of January 2014, builders were required to install pro- grammable thermostats and seal supply ductwork. As of January 2015, furnaces must have electronically commu- tated motors (ECMs) (that use 80 per cent less electricity), which is an important development. To meet code builders can pursue either prescriptive- or performance-based paths. Godden doesn’t recommend the Municipality tie its code rules to voluntary labelling programs. “It’s a good idea to have a performance approach for code compliance” said Godden. “Keep code compliance separate from labelling, because if a house doesn’t pass the blower door test, it won’t be issued an occupancy permit.” Godden said the three Cs of air tightness are comfort, cost and condensation. Increasing home energy efficiency has created some issues. With greater insulation values, condensation is becoming a problem and will have to be addressed through measures such as heat recovery ventilators (HRV) or energy recovery ventilators (ERV). Furnace right sizing is another issue that will have to be rectified as most currently available furnaces are too large. Godden says two-stage furnaces will be something green builders should look at, as they are quieter and use 80 per cent less electricity than conventional one-stage models when running continuously. Godden said it’s important to ensure HRV are verified to work properly from a code perspective, and while they supply whole house ventilation, it’s also important to have spot ventilation such as an effective bathroom fan. Effective spot ventilation, HRV/ERV, furnace balancing and rough-ins for radon gas detectors are ways to provide superior indoor air quality, he said. John Bell of the Sustainable Housing Foundation talked about means to reduce water usage. Toilets typically ac- count for 30 per cent of household water usage, he said. Rough-ins for future recycling of grey water from showers and baths to use to flush toilets are “a no-brainer,” said Bell. Although currently there is no reliable technology on PRIORITY GREEN Clari featurestory By Tra c y Ha ne s
  19. 19. 17WWW.BETTERBUILDER.CA | ISSUE 10 | SUMMER 2014 the market, the Greyter system coming in 2015 should remedy that prob- lem, he said. Low flow toilets and fixtures, ENERGY STAR washing machines, dish- washers, rain barrels and permeable pavers are other means to achieve water conservation. While there has been talk about solar thermal hot water systems, they are not practical for subdivision homes, said Godden. A drainwater heat recovery pipe that recovers heat from water going down the drain costs $700, while a solar hot water system costs $7,000 and has a 30-year payback. Although builders are concerned homebuyers won’t pay extra for energy- and water-saving upgrades, Godden says it’s important to educate them about the value of future proofing against rising energy bills. “People are willing to buy this stuff if you tell them why they should,” said Godden. “Décor centre staff should not be selling this as it competes with other upgrades.” He said builders could market Good, Better and Best packages to buyers and show the return on investment of the various features. Godden also suggested the Municipal- ity and participating builders could co-brand on a label that would designate homes built to the better than code standard. Builder participants considered various options for GDP homes, and what features and products would deliver the energy savings, save on water use, offer other green benefits and be most cost effective. Their list included things such as exterior air barriers, two-stage furnaces, web-based thermostats, drainwater heat recovery units, ERV, front-loading washing machines, and natural gas ranges and dryers. They favoured ENERGY STAR washing machines, grey water recycling, permeable pavers and topsoil as means to reduce water usage and runoff. The next steps in the process to establishing the GDP will include confirming builder partner commitment, se- curing homebuyer interest in demonstration homes, and promotion and community education. BB Tracy Hanes is a freelance feature writer for the largest daily newspaper in Canada and several other magazines. Note from PRIORITY GREEN Clarington co-ordinator Amy Burke: In addition to the GDP, PRIORITY GREEN Clarington will identify goals, targets, and criteria for the design and construction of greener neighbourhoods within new developments and exist- ing areas in the Municipality. Clarington will undertake a review of current land development policies, processes and guidelines, and will consider incentives that encourage a more sustainable approach to residential land development. Funding support for PRIORITY GREEN Clarington has been provided by the Federation of Canadian Municipalities Green Municipal Fund and the Province of Ontario’s Showcasing Water Innovation program. ngton The builder workshop resulted in a sustainability checklist with eight categories.
  20. 20. 18 WWW.BETTERBUILDER.CA | ISSUE 10 | SUMMER 2014 R ecognizing the financial, environmental and social challenges associated with the traditional pattern of suburban growth, the Municipality of Clarington is taking action to advance future residential growth in a more sustainable direction through the PRIORITY GREEN Clarington initiative. Clarington is located 40 km east of Toronto on the eastern edge of the Regional Municipality of Durham. It’s comprised of a collection of smaller communities including the urban centres of Bowmanville, Courtice, Newcastle Village and Orono, which are surrounded by scenic countryside. Not unlike other municipalities surrounding the Greater Toronto Area, Clarington will experience significant growth in the coming years. To accommodate this growth new subdivisions and neighbourhood areas will be needed. PRIORITY GREEN Clarington aims to set a new standard for future residential development that prioritizes sustainability, promotes innovation and improves the community’s quality of life through green development practices. Green development looks at the ways in which both homes and neighbourhoods are designed and built. It’s about using practices that will reduce the environmental impacts of development, and respond to the growing threat of climate change. In addition, it’s an important component of creating healthier places to live, work and play for the community. To achieve this vision the Municipality, in collaboration with the private sector and community engagement, is developing policies and standards, approval measures and incentives to encourage green development from the initial design of a subdivision through home construction. In addition, PRIORITY GREEN Clarington will reach beyond the enhancement of policy and process to put green building into practice. This February, the Municipality announced a partnership formed with Brookfield Residential, Halminen Homes and Jeffery Homes for the PRIORITY GREEN Clarington green demonstration project (GDP). The GDP will offer homebuyers in designated subdivisions currently under construction a beyond code option. This upgrade features a package of water and energy improvements (referred to as “green practices”) that exceed the efficiency requirements of the latest Ontario Building Code (OBC). Each builder has PRIORITY GREEN Clarington: Supporting Green Development Through Demonstration PRIORITY GREEN at work: inspecting Discovery homes and upgrades on the sustainability checklist. featurestory By Am y Bu rke
  21. 21. 19WWW.BETTERBUILDER.CA | ISSUE 10 | SUMMER 2014 ELECTRICAL DATA WEIGHT 75K 105K 120K lb / kg 114 / 51,7 138 / 62,6 146 / 66,2 Supply 115 Volts - 60 Hertz - 1 Phase Maximum consumption From 10,53 to 16,19 Amps 40 VA WARM AIR GAS FURNACE DESIGNED, ENGINEERED, AND MANUFACTURED IN CANADA FOR HEATING AND COOLING CANADIAN RESIDENCES Benefits and differentiators Product line features - Single stage Product release schedule Phase I September 2013 - Achieved Phase II Achieved Phase III 15 K 34,29 31,75 27,94 33,02 x 60,96 30 K 34,29 31,75 27,94 33,02 x 60,96 45 K 34,29 31,75 27,94 33,02 x 60,96 60 K 40 37,46 33,02 38,1 x 60,96 75 K 40 37,46 33,02 38,1 x 60,96 105 K 53,34 50,80 38,1 43,18 x 60,96 120 K 53,34 50,80 38,1 43,18 x 60,96 15 k 13 1/2 12 1/2 11 1/4 13 x 24 30 k 13 1/2 12 1/2 11 1/4 13 x 24 45 k 13 1/2 12 1/2 11 1/4 13 x 24 60 k 15 3/4 14 3/4 13 1/4 15 x 24 75 k 15 3/4 14 3/4 13 1/4 15 x 24 105 k 21 20 15 1/4 17 x 24 120 k 21 20 15 1/4 17 x 24 DIMENSIONS (inches) DIMENSIONS ( ) Furnace size Filter Size A Cabinet width B Supply Outlet width C Return Outlet width Furnace size Filter Size A Cabinet width B Supply Outlet width C Return Outlet width 19.08 8.54 0 2.50 5.03 B SUPPLY OUTLET WIDTH A 15.71 33.57 6.76 29,02 24,00 1.09 1.03 6.05 2.66 2.26 0 0.88 2.00 C Returnoutletheight Return outlet width
  22. 22. 20 WWW.BETTERBUILDER.CA | ISSUE 10 | SUMMER 2014 worked with the Municipality to establish their own unique list of green practices. With the support of their new owners, six of the constructed homes (two per builder) will be monitored for performance under real-life conditions. Performance monitoring for the GDP involves installing water (hot and cold) and electricity submeters to data log the demands associated with specific appliances, fixtures and equipment. Water, electricity and natural gas usage of the home as a whole will also be measured. Further, energy performance testing will be carried out on each residence. Performance monitoring will be carried out over a minimum four-month period. Through performance monitoring and comparison with data from built to code homes, conservation and efficiency improvements will be quantified. Insight will be gained into the water and energy synergies of heat recovery drainpipes and ENERGY STAR Most Efficient- designated washing machines, for example. Return on investment may also be calculated for some of the green practices that have been implemented. A survey of participating homebuyers will gauge their perceptions of having the green upgrade package implemented in their home. The results of the assessment will be used to inform residents and the building sector about the potential environmental, economic and social benefits of the green practices used. Opportunities presented by the local demonstration of a beyond code approach to home building include: showcasing opportunities for reducing the environmental impacts of housing and responding to the growing threat of climate change informing and engaging the community strengthening local capacity amongst builders, engineers, architects, inspectors and trades about green building practices building support for a local green economy fostering community partnership and collaboration promoting leadership and innovation. Funding support for PRIORITY GREEN Clarington and the GDP is provided by the Government of Ontario through the Showcasing Water Innovation project, and the Green Municipal Fund, a fund financed by the Government of Canada and administered by the Federation of Canadian Municipalities. BB Amy Burke is PRIORITY GREEN Clarington co-ordinator for the Municipality of Clarington. Clarington’s close proximity to Toronto is under pressure for land development. featurestory By Amy Burke
  23. 23. 21WWW.BETTERBUILDER.CA | ISSUE 10 | SUMMER 2014 PRIORITY GREEN Clarington: Three Perspectives Small Town Feel and High Density Building featurestory By Aa ron K ot h i ri n ge r S ince our focus this issue revolves around the PRIORITY GREEN Clarington project taking place in Clarington, Ont., we here at Better Builder wanted to get some insight from people who are directly involved with the project. We asked Mayor Adrian Foster, Councillor Wendy Partner and Steve Jacques, Ontario manager of community development, research and professional services with Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) to sit down with us to talk about their views on environmentalism and sustainability, their involvement with PRIORITY GREEN Clarington, as well as their aspirations and concerns for the Region of Clarington in the years to come. For Mayor Foster, it began with a conversation he had with a colleague in the city’s planning division about water efficacy. The region has been exploring ways to promote and implement sustainability and conservation over the last few years, largely due to the forecasted population growth expected over the next two decades. They decided to apply for a provincial grant, which was awarded, and along with some additional funding were able to establish a pilot project. “Water is about two-thirds of the average household’s energy bill,” Foster said. “This pilot project will be a great way for residents and would-be residents of our community to see that in doing their part to reduce their household’s consumption, they will end up saving a significant amount of money.” The pilot will monitor six different homes with green upgrades ranging from greywater recycling to solar power collection. Foster hopes the pilot project will encourage people looking to buy a new home in Clarington to consider including these kinds of above code upgrades. While he admits his own home is a work in progress, he has implemented several energy- and water-saving products that reduce his household’s consumption. He recently upgraded his furnace, exchanging it for an above code model, and uses only high efficiency lightbulbs and low flow toilets. “Even with the upgrades, it is difficult for me to monitor the reduction in consumption and the monetary savings. This is why I am excited to see the results of the pilot project. It will give us hard, quantitative data we hope will convince people and builders that building above code is not only of benefit to the region and its resources, but also a benefit to them and their wallets.” Foster does have some concerns as his municipality moves forward. “We need to convince residents that high or higher density building is necessary.” Adding that people’s preconceived and unwarranted notions about noise and crime keep them from seeing that high density buildings like mid-rise apartment buildings, mixed-use and Water use reduction: the genesis of PRIORITY GREEN.
  24. 24. 22 WWW.BETTERBUILDER.CA | ISSUE 10 | SUMMER 2014 commercial building actually increase local property values. As a final point of pride, Foster added this is the first time he has been involved with a project in which all levels of government, the building industry and local enterprise are all “sitting at the same table.” He is optimistic about the future of Clarington, and hopes other municipalities will be inspired by the work they are doing. City Councillor Wendy Partner, who lives in the Ganaraska Forest area, became involved with the PRIORITY GREEN Clarington project after attending last year’s symposium in Courtice, Ont. “I was very excited to learn all the things that they are working with the developers to complete,” said Partner. “As vice-chair of the Ganaraska Region Conservation Authority, I speak about sustainability and ways we can become more sustainable in our lives, to all who will listen. It is one of my goals as a local councillor to bring this to the forefront in Clarington and beyond.” Partner is in her first term as councillor for Ward 4, primarily a farming community, and says as new development continues the region must encourage builders to build with a “green mentality.” “We do have developers in Clarington who believe in protecting our lands while developing subdivisions that are sustainable to our future, and I believe those developers are the ones we should be allowing to build here.” The difficulty Partner and the PRIORITY GREEN Clarington project face is maintaining the small town atmosphere while creating new housing for people moving to the region. Partner says the majority of new residents are families who have moved from Toronto to get away from the hustle and bustle of big city life in exchange for the tranquillity Clarington offers. “My concern is people move here from the city and want that small town, laid back atmosphere, but feel they should have all the things that a city offers to them at their fingertips. I think we have to find a balance of where to put high density [development], and not mix it in with the quaint country feel that people want when they move here. “They come for peace and quiet, not a city life. We need to keep Clarington as a community for the people where they can work, live and play and not have to travel to the city. I believe there is a way to mix high density in without destroying our small town community feel.” At the PRIORITY GREEN Clarington symposium held in October 2013, an array of experts and industry leaders were invited to discuss development strategies Clarington can use to achieve its goals. Steve Jacques with CMHC spoke about the fused grid approach to neighbourhood design, and has high hopes for the region. “I think what they [Clarington] are trying to do is fantastic,” Jacques said. “These regions outside Toronto are where growth will be happening. [When looking at city planning] you can’t think in 5-year blocks. You have to start thinking in 25-, 50- and even 100-year blocks.” Jacques outlined the fused grid technique as a way to maintain green open spaces and walkability while maximizing the development of each parcel of land – an area of much concern for current Clarington residents who unanimously agreed that maintaining the small town feel of their town is of the highest priority. Jacques said strategies like the fused grid will allow for major population growth without losing the small town aspect. “High density development with open green space is the only way to go. Large estate lots are not an efficient use of land. Clarington has the right priorities, and they are going about it the right way [pilot project, community survey]. But, ultimately, the municipality will have to create the documents, guidelines and policy that developers will follow for years to come.” BB Aaron Kothiringer is a freelance writer/journalist and has worked for several community newspapers including the East York Observer. featurestory By Aaron K othiringer The fused grid maximizes land use and green space and minimizes roads.
  26. 26. 24 WWW.BETTERBUILDER.CA | ISSUE 10 | SUMMER 2014 I f you’ve got clients who’d like to upgrade to new, more efficient HVAC systems, but don’t have the money, now’s a good time to let them in on a new City of Toronto program. The $20 million program intends to retrofit about 1000 homes and 10 multiresidential buildings (totalling 1000 apartments) by lending money to eligible property owners. Now run- ning as a pilot project, the program will have a process that includes ap- plication (available online), and an en- ergy audit to assess the home based on certain specified criteria, which will outline all the ways homeowners can reduce energy consumption to comply with the program. Councillor Mike Layton, who intro- duced the program, explains it will outline both the low-hanging fruit – things you can do eas- ily and inexpensively – as well as the deeper retrofit. Once aproved, the homeowner can go ahead with their con- tractor. The 5- to 20-year loans will come with low/competitive interest rates, and are to be paid back through the property tax bill. Because interest rates are low, and payments are geared to the savings homeowners will realize on utility bills from increased efficiency, household budgets won’t change. Issued through the municipal local improvement charge (LIC), loans are placed against the property instead of the homeowner, which means the loan stays with the property until paid off. Having a loan on your property tax bill would automatically be disclosed whenever the house is being sold. Layton explains this should help en- courage homeowners to go ahead with deep energy retrofits on their homes, since what holds some homeowners back is the fear they will not realize a return on their investment when they go to sell the home. “This plan has the full support of the Toronto Real Estate Board,” says Layton. “The board can help by looking at ways to communicate the value of energy savings to homebuy- ers. When I bought my home, I asked to see the previous year’s energy bills, and this I think may breathe new life into the Province’s proposal for en- ergy audits at the point of sale.” Although homeowners are the obvious beneficiaries of the program because of reduced en- ergy bills from retrofit- ting, there are several benefits. As Layton points out, every $1 million in- vested in this program garners approximately 14.2 jobs. It is expected that the budget of 20 million will translate into 300 additional jobs, including energy advisors, auditors, inspectors, retrofit technicians and construction workers. “I believe that buildernews By Al e x Ne w m a n Local Improvement Charge: Using Home Equity for Energy Efficiency PHOTO:WWW.DESIGNPICS.COM Every $1 million invested in this program garners approximately 14.2 jobs.
  27. 27. 25WWW.BETTERBUILDER.CA | ISSUE 10 | SUMMER 2014 if the program is successful and goes to a full-scale program, it could lead to thousands of new jobs in Toronto,” Layton says. These numbers were calculated during several studies done over the past few years by the City of Toronto on residential retrofits, in conjunction with the Green Energy Act Alliance, Blue Green Canada and the WWF. To date, over $750,000 has been se- cured from the Ontario Power Authori- ty, Toronto Hydro, Enbridge and others. The rest of the funds will come from the City’s working capital reserve – no costs will come from the City’s tax levy, nor will Toronto’s debt load increase. The City uses money from its working capital, which will be increased for that particular year, but paid back out of the property tax loans over the years. It’s expected the reduction in carbon emissions from this pilot program will result in the equivalent of taking a thousand cars off the road. Reducing energy consumption also reduces the strain on the city’s overloaded infrastructure, leading to fewer blackouts and lower mainte- nance costs on our energy grid. In addition to having the full back- ing of the mayor’s executive commit- tee, the program has the support of private sector, labour and environmen- tal organizations including the Toron- to Real Estate Board, Building Industry and Land Development Association (BILD), Toronto Environmental Alli- ance, Toronto & York Region Labour Council, as well as the David Suzuki Foundation. For more information on how to tap into the finance possibilities, check retrofit. BB Alex Newman is a writer, editor and researcher at
  28. 28. 26 WWW.BETTERBUILDER.CA | ISSUE 10 | SUMMER 2014 Clearsphere consultant John Godden knew they were ready and able to take it on. “It was a great logical next step in our quest for sustainable housing construction,” Stewart says. Most builders are aware of sustainability issues, and want to do the right thing, but are not so sure of the cost or difficulty of implementation, what the benefits are exactly, and whether buyers are pre- pared to pay. Metzner Yarrow has found consumers generally like the words “green” and “ENERGY STAR,” but aren’t so eager to pay for it, particularly in the suburbs around Toronto, although she also says those attitudes are slowly chang- ing. She has also found some green practices easier than others to implement, and give good bang for your buck. “Adding an exterior barrier and sealing the basement ducts are really simple and make such a difference in a home’s air tightness. They’re not required by code, but something that makes a huge difference.” Another thing Halminen is exploring, she says, is a way to reduce water runoff by using a 6” layer of topsoil and incorporating permeable hardscaping. A more challenging issue to resolve is homeowners’ buy-in. Stewart, who is “ex- cited” about the Discovery homes potential, admits, “It’s tough to break into that sustainability side unless you include it into a bells and whistles package.” Brookfield, though, has had some success in selling this upgrade. And Stewart has found on previous projects that a few of these upgrades “went over really well with buyers, especially with homes that came out with low air changes and lower Home Energy Rating System (HERS) scores.” Indeed, at the Clarington site, all three builders have not come across great reluc- tance by purchasers to con- sider the free Discovery home upgrade, especially once the program has been explained. In Jeffery’s case, he’s the buyer for his company’s two Discovery homes, because he intends to rent out the 1600 sq. ft. attached towns. He be- lieves the savings on utilities, thanks to the townhomes being 25 to 30 per cent more efficient than current code, will be an incentive to poten- tial tenants responsible for paying their own utilities. Consumption is something that intrigues Jeffery, so he will be watching very closely as the Town reveals its find- ings through the monitor- ing process. “John [Godden] measures consumption with a unit called kilowatts. That’s something you can relate to dollars and cents, and gives you a good barometer of what is worth spending money on – and what isn’t.” BB Alex Newman is a writer, editor and researcher at Green Country Continued from page 11
  29. 29. 27WWW.BETTERBUILDER.CA | ISSUE 10 | SUMMER 2014 fromthegroundup By Dou g Ta rry I n previous articles about the Optimum Basement Wall, I have mentioned air sealing the main floor rim joist. Because we do a blower door test of every home we build, we’ve developed a really good database of our air tightness. When we initially started testing, we always managed to get under the 2.5 air changes per hour (ACH) requirement for ENERGY STAR. As we standardized our methods and improved our subtrades’ knowl- edge, our average settled in be- tween 1.8 and 1.9 ACH, a very good number. However, we did notice a sig- nificant area of leakage around the main floor rim joist where penetrations had occurred, even though we were wrapping the floor assembly with a house wrap. Even though the framers had done a good job installing the header wrap, we had other subtrades (plumbers, HVAC and electricians) who insisted on punching a bunch of holes in my nicely installed header wrap air barrier. I asked them to stop, but they wouldn’t. Something to do with following the building code. I’m kidding, of course, but this is actually a really good example where the requirements of one part of the building code (ventila- tion of combustion appliances) causes a challenge with another part (continuous air barrier). So we did some research and worked with our building inspectors to reduce leakage in this area. We decided for our air leakage goals we would use spray foam as an air seal- ant. We came upon a product called Dow FROTH-PAK that enabled us to do this work using our own staff so we could better control our construction schedule. FROTH-PAK has a Canadian Construction Materials Centre (CCMC) rating as an air sealant (CCMC 13447-L), but does not have a spe- cific insulation rating for Canada, so we don’t count it as part of our header insulation. Our back framers Joe and Chris quickly got the hang of it, and even worked out a method for moving the FROTH-PAK tanks around the basement quickly using a small pull cart to speed up the appli- cation process. Of course, we were very curious to see if there would be a change to our ACH numbers, so it was time to look at some test results. When we looked at our next group of blower door test results, we were very surprised at the significant impact the air sealing had. Our average had dropped by nearly 0.8 ACH to just over 1.1 ACH Air Sealing and Protecting Foam Plastics R22 ROXUL Comfortbatt (5.5 ther- mal protection to cover the foam to top of insulated wall (protection of foamed plastics OBC Spray foam air sealant for an air barrier and reduction of dew point (vapour barrier in header).
  30. 30. 28 WWW.BETTERBUILDER.CA | ISSUE 10 | SUMMER 2014 for about $250 to $300 per house. This further reduction in ACH not only improved our EnerGuide rat- ing, it meant our mechanicals didn’t need to be as big. (This is part of how we ended up undertaking the Right- Sized Furnace project.) However, as FROTH-PAK is a sprayed foam, the code requires us to protect it from potential fire. In the 2006 Ontario Building Code (OBC), this requirement did not prevent occupancy if it was incomplete at time of final inspection. With the new 2012 OBC, this is now a requirement for occupancy ( This would include on-step walls or walk- out walls if there is rigid insulation on the exterior of the stud wall and the basement is not drywalled. For anyone who has had to install drywall into the floor joist space to meet this requirement, you know how challenging and labour intensive this can be. So we knew we wanted a dif- ferent option. As it turns out, DOW had considered this problem and had a lab test showing that a 5.5” ROXUL batt would meet the requirement for combustible insulation and its pro- tection ( We found this to be a much faster and easier detail to complete than trying to drywall the joist ends. And since we were using the ROXUL for both protecting foam plastics and to meet our insula- tion requirements, the incremental cost was fairly minor. Recently, ROXUL conducted its own lab test and confirmed the 5.5” ROXUL batt had a classification B rat- ing for protecting foam plastics. This rating is available through ROXUL if you are interested in using it for your foam plastics protection. The air sealing of our main floor header has enabled us to significantly exceed the air tightness requirements of the OBC and has been a significant factor in our increased EnerGuide rating, which is now averaging 83 to 84. If this is an area you are struggling with, check out the Optimum Basement Wall de- tail for ideas on installation. It is also available from ROXUL. BB Doug Tarry Jr. is the director of marketing at Doug Tarry Homes in St. Thomas, Ontario. fromthegroundup By Doug Tarry
  32. 32. 30 WWW.BETTERBUILDER.CA | ISSUE 10 | SUMMER 2014
  33. 33. 31WWW.BETTERBUILDER.CA | ISSUE 10 | SUMMER 2014 G ranite countertops, that’s what buyers want.” It’s a statement I’ve heard from builders many times over the years when the topic of building “green” comes up. Apple cofounder Steve Jobs once said, “It isn’t the consumers’ job to know what they want.” So how do you navigate these waters of unknowns and contradictions when trying to sell green upgrades and features to prospective buyers? In fairness to Mr. Jobs, he was explaining that Apple did not conduct market research because consumers couldn’t know they want what has not yet been created. Some context is important here. In reality, Apple does market research. Mr. Jobs shunned fo- cus group research with generic con- sumers, but Apple regularly queries its customers to determine the moti- vations behind their recent purchases. So here’s the interesting part. Both the builders’ and Mr. Jobs’ viewpoints are correct, with some caveats. It’s not about what consumers want – it’s about what motivates their wants. Intrinsic beliefs drive every action of every individual. These beliefs are shared among demographics and often passed along to the next generation with some culturally induced changes along the way. What motivates all of us and the perspectives we form arise from our intrinsic beliefs. This belief system is deeply entrenched and comes from the common upbringing and cultural values of popula- tions within a given demo- graphic. It’s the Apple brand and design that are the primary drivers for consumer pur- chases, not software and applications. Yet, as Mr. Jobs pointed out, the con- sumer doesn’t know what product design they want until it’s developed and put into the marketplace. Buyers didn’t want gran- ite countertops until they were introduced as the latest and greatest trend in kitchen design. Success, happiness, vital- ity, youth, comfort, safety, beauty – these emotions and more are the driving motivations behind our purchases. Granite countertops reflect our suc- cess. They show our guests we have taste, money and design savvy. We are in turn validated by our guests’ oohs and ahhs. Lower utility bills and greater home comfort are most often the main selling points of green features and upgrades marketed to prospec- tive homebuyers. These are logical reasons for purchasing green homes, but not emotional ones. Unless green homebuilders tap into the emotional motivations of potential buyers, gran- ite countertops will win every time. Working recently with a devel- oper of single-family homes in York Region and convincing him of the value of installing rain gardens was no small task. To paraphrase him, “People want neat, clean yards, not messy, weedy gardens they have to maintain.” With lots of photos and discussion, the developer and builder agreed to add the rain gardens to corner lots in the development. In a buildernews By Tra c y P a t t e rson What Homebuyers Want? “ “Granite countertops, that’s what buyers want.” It’s a statement I’ve heard from builders many times over the years when the topic of building “green” comes up. Apple cofounder Steve Jobs once said, “It isn’t the consumers’ job to know what they want.” PHOTO:WWW.DESIGNPICS.COM
  34. 34. 32 WWW.BETTERBUILDER.CA | ISSUE 10 | SUMMER 2014 RELIABLE, CONSISTENT, MARTINOHeating • Air Conditioning • Indoor Air Quality • HVAC Design www.martinohvac.com1-800-465-5700 ™ meeting with their marketing people and sales agents, I explained how to position the rain gardens as “fu- sion gardens” and the latest trend in landscape design. I provided them with full-colour images of beautiful gardens and landscapes to include as wall art in their sales office. The lots with rain gardens were the first to sell. Other green features were collec- tively marketed as lifestyle enhancing and in harmony with nature – a vital, healthy place to live and raise a fam- ily. Green features can and will sell. It’s all in how they are positioned. So, what do homebuyers want? Builders need to appreciate that this is the wrong question to ask, and worse, assume they know the answer. What all green homebuilders should understand are the intrinsic motiva- tions and values of prospective buy- ers. In a robust market, insights into the motivations of potential purchas- ers may seem less important, but with this information builders can’t just successfully market green homes, but create “must have” designs, layouts and features that will give them a de- cided edge in the marketplace. BB Tracy Patterson is a marketing consultant and principal of Freeman Associates. buildernews By Tracy Patterson Buyers didn’t want granite countertops until they were introduced as the latest and greatest trend in kitchen design.
  35. 35. 33WWW.BETTERBUILDER.CA | ISSUE 10 | SUMMER 2014 With residential building codes changing across Canada you need an exterior insulated sheathing that measures up. In the move from nominal to effective R-values, ROXUL® COMFORTBOARD™ IS provides a stable solution. Vapour permeable, it dries easily even if the framing gets wet, guarding against mould and mildew all while delivering an extra layer of thermal protection. DON’T JUST INSULATE, ROXULATE | 1-800-265-6878 Find comfort in a world of change.
  36. 36. WWW.BETTERBUILDER.CA | ISSUE 10 | SUMMER 201434 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.