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Better Builder Magazine, Issue 15 / Fall 2015

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 15 / Fall 2015

  1. 1. 1 BETTER BuilderMAGAZINE the builder’s source ISSUE 15 | FALL 2015 WWW.BETTERBUILDER.CA Making the Old New Again Renovations and Missed Opportunities Top Five Reno Must Dos Renovation Time Bombs High Performance Renovation Climate Change and Existing Homes Publicationnumber42408014 IN THIS ISSUE The Renovation Issue
  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 Airmax ad with Prioritizing AMT 12430 AD FPG 09_HR.pdf 1 2013-04-18 8:46 AM
  3. 3. FEATURE STORY 16 The Challenge of Urban Renos Urban renos can be more extensive than expected, as Philip Barton discovered when he rebuilt a home on a busy Toronto street. BY ALEX NEWMAN INSIDE THIS ISSUE 02 Publisher’s Note: BY JOHN GODDEN 03 The Bada Test: Opportunities BY LOU BADA 04 Industry News: Passive Design Strategies for Renovations BY MICHAEL PATHAK 06 Industry Expert: Top Five Renovation Must Dos BY GORD COOKE 08 Builder News: BY BETTER BUILDER STAFF 11 Builder News: Krumpers Solar Blinds BY ALEX NEWMAN 13 Industry News: Renovation Time Bombs BY MICHAEL LIO 23 High Performance Renovation BY NOEL CHEESEMAN 27 From the Ground Up: Climate Change, Carbon Footprints and Existing Homes BY DOUG TARRY 29 Builder News: BY JANE LOGAN 32 Builder News: BY ROXUL AND BETTER BUILDER STAFF BETTER BuilderMAGAZINE the builder’s source 1 13 Cover: Kinswater Renovation Project 27 WWW.BETTERBUILDER.CA | ISSUE 15 | FALL 2015 6 11
  4. 4. 2 WWW.BETTERBUILDER.CA | ISSUE 15 | FALL 2015 Publisher Better Builder Magazine, 63 Blair Street, Toronto, ON M4B 3N5 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 63 Blair Street, Toronto, ON M4B 3N5 Better Builder Magazine is published four times a year. I n 1982 I graduated from university in the middle of a recession. Not able to find a job in my chosen field, I went to work for Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) and the Canada Home Renovation plan. This stimulus program used federal tax dollars to give a rebate to homeowners who spent money on home renovations. The program directors claimed it saved the economy. A mighty claim. I wonder, did it have a lasting effect? Recently at Olympia Tile in Toronto, Steven Harper announced that if re-elected, his party will make the Home Renovation Tax Credit a permanent program. Remember there was a temporary Home Renovation Tax Credit program launched and ended in 2009, result- ing in almost a third of Canadian households keeping $700 of their own money. Here’s how it worked. By spending $10,000 on home reno- vations, a credit for the GST was applied to the homeowner’s personal income tax. It worked, effectively stimulating households to spend. Rebates on incentives are different. Incen- tives from utilities or government give rate- payers/taxpayers (us) our own money back – money that was paid in the form of utility bills or taxes. Ecoenergy incentives are our tax dollars paid back to us at a fraction of the value at which these same dollars were paid out. Why the change in value? The government has to manage the high overhead it carries in the form of civil servants’ wages, pensions and servicing the debt. Approaching the election, each political party presents its own formula for deal- ing with the recession some think we are in. Whichever way we vote, we all pay for it. The multiplier effect (ME) in the economy happens where an increase in spending produces an increase in national income and consumption greater than the initial amount spent. Incen- tives by their nature reduce the ME because each dollar collected does not find its way back into the economic flow. These incentives produce market distortions – think boom and bust scenarios. When the incentive is available, people spend. When it’s not, they don’t. The incentive does not create longer term market effects because it can’t be sustained. Wouldn’t it be grand if politicians would play nicely and share good ideas that benefit us all, regard- less of their party affiliation? Specifically the proposition of a permanent home renovation tax credit we know can create long-term posi- tive effects in the marketplace. Scotiabank’s market analysis reveals home renovation is a $50 billion business in Canada. Most of that money is not spent on energy efficiency, but on new kitchens and the proverbial granite countertops. Educating homeowners so good sustainable choices can be made is needed. The ever-popular home improvement shows would better serve the masses if they shifted their focus from the drama associated with the home improvement process to energy efficiency and remodelling to promote conservation. Energy audits provided by a third party are a powerful tool for educating and training home- owners, renovators and designers – education to be called on to make good sustainable choices when faced with the multitude of options in the marketplace, and balancing the “house porn” being watched on TV. Our fall issue provides plenty of technical information and stories of real-life renovation projects demonstrating that balance can be achieved and savings realized. The word renovate means “To restore to good condition; to make new as if new again or repair.” It’s time to renovate our approach, educating and allowing people to spend their money in a way that fosters the green econ- omy and reduces global warming. I’m a fan of Ben Franklin’s principle “A penny saved is a penny earned.” So by apply- ing the multiplier effect – each penny saved from energy conservation equals more pennies for your future. BB The Multiplier Effect publisher’snote By J oh n G o dden 2 WWW.BETTERBUILDER.CA | ISSUE 15 | FALL 2015
  5. 5. 3WWW.BETTERBUILDER.CA | ISSUE 15 | FALL 2015 E ver wonder why you don’t have a John Godden- or Gord Cooke- type host on HGTV? Although I do find these two fellows rather entertaining at times, reality TV is supposed to be entertainment, not building science. Every aspect of tele- vision is contrived and John, Gord and others in their field are certainly not. There’s a good reason some people call these programs “house porn.” Although difficult to measure and correlate, I believe most would agree there has been a definite trend toward greater cosmetic upgrades in new and existing homes. I would put forward they often come at the expense of sustainable/energy conservation improvements because budgets by definition are limited. According to a Scotiabank report from December 2014 quoting Statis- tics Canada figures, Canadians spend about $50 billion a year on home renovations, outpacing new construc- tion. It would be difficult to discern how much of that would go to energy efficiency upgrades intentionally. Win- dows and furnaces get replaced all the time due to reaching the end of their normal life spans. It’s also difficult to know whether customers are purchas- ing the most energy-efficient products available for their projects. A quick, informal polling of some of the renovators and suppliers I know would lead you to believe that top- end, energy-efficient retrofits do not make up the bulk of spending when it comes to purchasing renovation products or spending on renovation projects. It’s similar to our experience when selling new home upgrades. We all need to do much better on this. It’s an enormous lost opportunity. I met John Godden shortly after I built my new home in 2002, then in accordance with the 1997 Ontario Building Code (OBC). I built what I believed was a relatively airtight home with the best mechanicals and windows available at the time. John tested my home. I achieved a 3 air changes per hour (ACH) leakage rate, better than most, but not as good as I’d hoped. I had an EnerGuide 75 rating (code for the home would’ve been about 57). John pointed out some flaws, largest of which was a detail I used for my second floor ceiling/attic. In the ensuing years, I’ve foamed my attic, replaced all the mechanicals (fur- nace, heat recovery ventilator (HRV) and air conditioner) before I needed to with the latest and greatest. I also installed a condensing water heater, drainwater heat recovery, energy-efficient lighting and then retested. I achieved a respectable 2 ACH and had the home rated as a Home Energy Rating System (HERS) 47, which would be about 18% better than the current 2012 building code (HERS 60 or EnerGuide 80). The home has very good indoor air quality, is comfortable and relatively inexpensive to operate. Although I incurred some expenses, I am very happy with the outcome and saved a few more tons of CO2 from being expelled into the atmosphere. In truth, if I were to resell the home today, I wouldn’t likely make back the investment, but if I stay there long enough, I will make the money back and be more comfortable. Part of the problem is an unjustly expensive real estate market. Homes are looked upon as an investment or commodity. The “fix it and flip it” philosophy, as showcased on many TV programs, reflects a certain type of consumer sentiment about their homes. They are seen as investments and money makers. A kitchen renova- tion is always considered before a new furnace or windows. New homeowners aren’t immune from this speculative mindset either. We’re missing an enormous oppor- tunity to improve the huge existing housing stock while we continuously ratchet up the energy conservation requirements for new construction. Although government and utility incentives can be problematic, there could be a role if properly structured. Changing the narrative is the difficult part. Rather than look at homes as a speculative investment, we should begin to look at sustainable and afford- able homes as an investment in the public good. Government would need to rethink its approach to our industry. There are no easy answers here, but maybe we can roll out John and Gord as the “Energy Efficiency Brothers” on TV and see what they can tell us about the efficiencies of homes across the GTA. Perhaps there’d be a lot of public shaming, but I’d certainly watch. BB Lou Bada manager for Starlane Homes. thebadatest By L ou Ba da Retrofits, Renovations and Missed Opportunities Canadians spend about $50 billion a year on home renovations.
  6. 6. WWW.BETTERBUILDER.CA | ISSUE 15 | FALL 20154 T his article defines passive design strategies as strategies which use the ambient utility sources (energy and water) available to the building, in place of design strategies that use purchased energy, such as natural gas or electricity. Examples of these passive design strategies are natural ventilation, solar energy, daylighting and rainwa- ter usage. It is important to note that, in this definition, passive water con- sumption strategies are also included. While this article focuses on renovation options, passive design strategies can also be used in new construc- tion. Although there are numerous passive design strategies, this article will focus on three topics – control- ling solar gain, passive cooling and rainwater management. When designing an efficient building, we first look to maximize energy conservation, then identify passive design opportunities, and finally explore renewable energy generation, such as adding solar photovoltaic (PV) panels. Doing so allows for the mechanical and renew- able energy generation systems to be sized appropriately to match reduced energy demands. This means that, before the passive design strategies are considered, it is assumed the building already has a well-perform- ing thermal envelope, at minimum with an air leakage no higher than 1 air change per hour (ACH) at 50 Pa (pascals of pressure or lbs/sq. in.) and overall insulation values, inclusive of thermal bridging, of R30 for walls, R50 for roofs and R5 for windows. When a building has a good enve- lope, solar gains, in terms of thermal energy from the sun collected in a building, can have a significant effect on heating and cooling loads, so man- aging solar gains differently in sum- mer and winter is important. With proper solar gain management, gains are maximized dur- ing the winter for free heat, and mini- mized during the summer to reduce the cooling load. This reduces overall utility costs. In Can- ada, the south- and west-facing sides of the building receive solar gains which coincide with peak cooling demands, and therefore windows on these sides need to be optimized to maximize solar gain benefits. A possible solution, if space per- mits, is to plant deciduous trees on the south and west sides of the building. In the summer, the trees will pro- vide shading, allowing the building to remain cooler, while in the winter, when the leaves have fallen, the build- ing will receive solar gains from the sun. If trees are not a possibility, then adding overhangs can provide a similar effect. The overhangs can be a perma- nent structure or more flexible, like a retractable awning commonly seen in Europe. Regardless of choice, the overhangs or awnings need to be sized correctly so when the sun is high in the sky, as it is in the summer, the over- hangs provide shade, and when the sun is low, like in winter, the sunlight can directly enter the window. Blinds are another solar gain control solution. They can be on the interior or exterior of the windows, and either manually controlled or automated. Interior blinds typi- cally reduce 30% of solar gains while exterior blinds can cut solar gains up to 100%, since the exterior blinds are rejecting the gain before it enters the window. A manually controlled system will require owner discipline to open or close the blinds depending on heat- ing and cooling demands of the build- ing. An automated system will better optimize the needs of the building, but will require controls and sensors to make the system work, which adds extra capital and running costs. In some cases the system will fail to opti- mize, such as on a partly cloudy day. If changing the windows is part of the renovation, a solar-rejecting glazing could be part of the package. Choosing glazing with a lower solar heat gain coefficient (SHGC) means the amount of solar gain entering the window will be less, reducing the cooling load, but also increasing the heating load as there will be less solar heat collection in winter. A cheaper alternative, assuming the windows are still acceptable, would be to have a professional low SHGC film installed on the existing windows. Lastly, storm industrynews By Mi c h a e l P a t h a k Passive Design Strategies for Renovations When a building has a good envelope, solar gains, in terms of thermal energy from the sun collected in a building, can have heating and cooling loads, so managing solar gains differently in summer and winter is important.
  7. 7. 5WWW.BETTERBUILDER.CA | ISSUE 15 | FALL 2015 windows can be added to the exterior of the windows for the heating sea- son. This additional pane of glass will add extra insulation and is typically vented to prevent moisture buildup. With solar gains of the building under control, further reducing cool- ing demands using passive design strategies can help reduce or elimi- nate the need for air conditioning. One strategy is to use natural ventila- tion to cool the building. It is known that hot air rises and the hottest part of a building are the highest levels, whereas the coldest point is at the lowest level. Therefore, adding opera- ble windows or skylights to the upper level, and operable windows on the ground floor, will allow for hot air to leave the top of the building, drawing the cooler air from the ground level inside. In the cooling season, when the evening air is below 20°C, allowing the buildings to naturally ventilate overnight will precool the building. In the morning, the building is closed up to keep the cold air in, so it will stay at a comfortable temperature as the day warms up. Another passive cooling strategy is to look at the base ventilation load. Good indoor air quality requires proper ventilation. As the airtightness of houses increases, homeowners can no longer rely on fresh air to simply infiltrate through cracks in the build- ing envelope. Natural or mechanical ventilation strategies are needed to provide required ventilation. To assist with preconditioning the air enter- ing the building, an earth tube can be installed. Instead of the supply duct drawing air directly from the outdoor ambient air, it is run underground to allow the ground temperatures to temper the supply air. This will cool the supply temperature in summer and preheat it in winter, helping reduce the ventilation cooling and heating load. Rainwater man- agement is also an important passive design consideration for reducing the use of potable (domestic) water use. Rainwater collection can be as simple as using rain barrels at the end of downspouts. It can also be a more work-intensive solu- tion such as using underground storage. Where storage is used, the water can then be pumped or gravity fed to water plants and for other uses at a later time. Stored rainwater can even be used for laundry, but may require some treatment for quality, as it is typically soft water which improves the performance of laundry detergent. On the market there are many rain- water collection systems which are simple to install, so this passive solu- tion does not require detailed design or cost to work. Passive design strategies range from controlling solar gains to managing your stormwater. Each strategy should be implemented with or after conser- vation measures, such as an improved envelope, have been completed. To provide the most benefit, strategies need to be assessed to optimize the best solutions for the building. BB Michael Pathak, in mechanical engineering and sustain- able building consulting. Contact michael. industrynews By Michael Pathak Passive design strategies implemented in a house: deciduous tree, overhangs, Low E coatings on windows.
  8. 8. 6 WWW.BETTERBUILDER.CA | ISSUE 15 | FALL 2015 W hen you think of the compelling changes made in the energy efficiency of new homes, even over the last 10–15 years, there is reason to look back and question what is or could be done in the 13 million existing Canadian homes. It is well documented that the Ontario Building Code (OBC) changes even since 2000 have resulted in a 50% reduction in space heating energy use in a new 2015 code-built house. On the existing home side, the popular EcoENERGY program that ended in 2012 resulted in over a million homes in Canada having an energy audit done. Hundreds of thousands of the homes tested had new high efficiency furnaces installed, windows replaced or insulation added, and renovation contractors can learn from the success and findings of the program. For example, it is pretty clear that energy efficiency alone is seldom the motivation for renovation work, but every renovation project can and should include some energy effi- ciency improvement elements. We can even set an improvement goal. While we saw a 50% improve- ment in new homes over the last 15 years, that is seldom a reasonable goal for existing ones. A responsible goal is a 15%–20% reduction in energy use for the homes you work in. That reduction can come in space heat- ing, space cooling, water heating or usage, or electrical use. Whatever you are working on, improve the energy efficiency of that element by 15%– 20%. Following are what I consider the top five opportunities and the real motivation for doing them. First, always, always air seal. Do a prerenovation airtightness test, incor- porate recommendations to improve it in your scope of work, and aim for a 20% reduction in air leakage. In a kitchen remodel, open up that valence or soffit box over the cabinets to air seal and insulate it properly. My skep- tical neighbour, who didn’t want to do this, was shocked by the mouse droppings and wasp nest they found in this area that were eliminated by air sealing. Similarly, in a bathroom redo, pull that tub that’s on the outside wall to air seal so they can enjoy a longer soak. Pull down that garage ceiling and air seal so the kids sleeping above aren’t breathing car exhaust. Caulk all casings and base- boards before any redeco- rating work. Remember the easiest place to get large leaks is in the attic. Seal around pot lights, exhaust fans, plumbing stacks and masonry fireplaces. Drops over showers and bathtubs could also be inspected. Second, if you are resid- ing a building, add a fully flashed weather barrier that will be simultane- ously airtight and add at least R5 insulation to the exterior – better would be R10. Yes, this means building win- dows and other penetrations out, but imagine the next time this home will be resided may be 50 years from now, and who knows what energy costs will be then? Water intrusion destroys buildings, and every project you do must reduce the chances for leaks. Third, always, always switch to direct vent-sealed combustion appli- ances – furnaces, water heaters and fireplaces. This is as much for safety as for energy efficiency and, for the most part, appliance efficiency Top Five Renovation Must Dos industryexpert By G ord Cooke Blower door fans enable contractors to conduct pre- renovation airtightness tests. The results are used to find ways to aim for a 20% reduction in air leakage.
  9. 9. 7WWW.BETTERBUILDER.CA | ISSUE 15 | FALL 2015 regulations have eliminated chim- ney-vented furnaces already. Don’t miss the opportunity to improve the efficiency of the water heater. A power-vented water heater still only has an energy factor of just 0.67 or less. Let’s recognize that our clients will be interested in the new condens- ing tank or tankless water heaters that simultaneously save space, offer flexibility in location, are safer and provide consistent hot water. I see the efforts companies such as Navien and Rinnai have made to improve the performance and hot water experi- ence of tankless units, and feel it is time to empower your clients to include these in every bathroom and kitchen project. Fourth, include ventilation on every project – at least a good, quiet, efficient bath fan or range hood. Certainly, you know I want you to consider an energy recovery ventila- tor (ERV) on every project as well – not because you are making houses tighter, but because your clients are staying inside more often and not opening windows as much as they used to. You are putting your clients and yourselves at risk if you don’t have a fresh air conversation with them as part of every project you do. Help them uncover air quality prob- lems they may already be having, but don’t recognize. That musty smell in the basement, the plug-in scents, the scented candles are all symptoms of an issue you can help them resolve while lowering their energy bills. Finally, let’s not forget electri- cal usage. Two important trends are converging – the price of electricity will be going up regularly over the next 15–20 years, and the availability of very cost-effective LED lights has quickly arrived. I recently purchased LED GU10 lights for a bathroom fix- ture for less than the halogen equiva- lent. Better yet, I had a choice of light colour to complement my décor. Every renovation project can be enhanced with a true lighting design that takes advantage of the flexibility LED lights now provide, while saving energy. That’s a quick list and, of course, there are lots of other opportunities in every project. Notice though, in each case, simultaneously when you make homes more energy efficient, you also improve the health, safety, comfort and durability of the home. It’s a real win- win for you and your customers. BB Gord Cooke is president of Building Knowledge Canada. All these products meet ENERGY STAR’s higher standards For more information or to order, contact your local distributor. vänEE 100H vänEE 200HvänEE 60H vänEE 60H-V+ vänEE 90H-V ECMvänEE 40H+vänEE 90H-V+ vänEE 60H+ vänEE 50H1001 HRV vänEE Gold Series 2001 HRV vänEE Gold Series vänEE air exchangers: improved line-up meets ENERGY STAR® standards Ideal for LEED homes and new building codes 5-year warranty* FRESH AIR JUST GOT GREENER *ON MOST MODELS. industryexpert By Gord Cooke
  10. 10. 8 WWW.BETTERBUILDER.CA | ISSUE 15 | FALL 2015 A ll Angles Renovations is a Toronto-based, family-run residential renovation firm. They say one of the best parts of being a renovator in the city is the oppor- tunity to work with all the quirks and unique characteristics older homes exhibit. Working with older homes also means huge opportunities for energy upgrades as most of these lovely abodes are leaky, need a little love, and someone who understands their uniqueness to help give them a new lease on life. The company, led by owner Ken George, continually reinforces that sustainable practices and materials be used in their renovations, and believe strongly in making sure they success- fully convey the importance of these practices and materials to their clients. This is the standard approach for any All Angles renovation. Larger scope projects allow for many of the energy efficiency upgrades that may otherwise be cost prohibitive. Smaller, less inva- sive renovations can be more challeng- ing, yet they have found ways to make upgrades that still make an impact. Some of the typical smaller scale sustainable recommendations are exterior wall insulation upgrades using ROXUL batt and IS board insulation, window replacement with Strassburger or North Star ENERGY STAR windows for better efficiency and to incorporate more natural light, exclusive use of LED lighting throughout, attic top-up of blown-in insulation to R50, use of Forest Stewardship Council (FSC)- certified framing lumber, Rainforest Alliance- and FSC-certified trim, low flow toilets and faucets to reduce indoor water consumption, and low VOC paints, to name a few. When tar- geting indoor air quality in renovation projects, the ventilation fans of choice are the Panasonic Whisper Sense fans. These fans have an electronically com- mutated motor (ECM) which runs con- tinuously, providing spot ventilation at a lower cubic feet per minute (CFM) rating, yet is motion sensor activated to provide higher ventilation when required. They are also big fans of the VanEE heat recovery ventilators (HRV) and energy recovery ventilators (ERV), and have installed these in various projects when ventilation is key. Ken finds their best approach when discussing energy retrofits with new clients is to emphasize the increase in comfort level and improvements in indoor air quality that would be achieved, along with the benefits of return on investment (ROI) and long- term money savings. Usually when all those points are explained, clients readily embrace the concepts. One tool that has helped sell these improvements is a blower test and energy audit, coupled with programs like Enbridge’s Home Energy Conserva- tion program. These provide valuable incentives to the customer, and the required energy audits present impar- tial information that reinforces their recommendations. Recently All Angles Renovations has completed several relatively smaller renovations that did not involve the entire home and yet covered most ele- ments that typically only large-scale, full home renovations would be able to incorporate. One of the most success- ful upgrades for these and other reno- vation projects has been the replace- ment heating, ventilating and air conditioning (HVAC) system they have been promoting. Ken was so impressed with this system after installing one in his own home, it has become the go-to system for his company. The truly Canadian NY Thermal Inc. (NTI) combination hot water boiler/ heater, combined with an AIRMAX air handler, circulates warm air throughout the home. It also handles domestic hot water in an on-demand capacity, and can be easily adapted to incorporate in-floor radiant heating throughout the home or connect to any other hydronic system. Combining all heating require- ments through one boiler effectively reduces the amount of off-cycle losses and is also fully modulating, with a turndown ratio of 8:1. Simply put, this system will allow you to tune it to the buildernews By Be t t e r Bu i l de r S t a ff Retrofits – Looking at All Angles Even If You Have to Borrow, Themselves Upgrades $15,200 New furnace, DHW and insulation Year 1 Year 1
  11. 11. 9WWW.BETTERBUILDER.CA | ISSUE 15 | FALL 2015 improvements you make to your home. Incorporating this system in a number of recently completed renovation projects resulted in a 50% gas consump- tion reduction postaudit, with significantly lower electricity costs due to the removal of the electric domestic hot water systems – a definitive success. All Angles is currently in the final planning stages for a large-scale exterior energy retrofit project. This 1920s two-storey gem was untouched. It was drafty, had little to no insulation, original windows and a cold, unfinished basement. Phase one was completed last year with the existing basement underpinned, hydronic in- floor heating installed, and a two-storey addition completed to expand the living space. A new insulated concrete form (ICF) foundation was poured and the main floor kitchen expanded into the new space. Phase two, completing the basement renovation, wrapped up this spring. All basement windows were replaced, ROXUL IS board insulation was affixed to all exterior walls, and ROXUL batt insulation installed throughout for a total exterior wall R-value of R22. Phase three will include replacing the rest of the win- dows, the biggest challenge being insulating the entire exterior of the house. The plan is to use a Larsen truss system – deep enough to allow for a larger than usual amount of insulation. To avoid disruptive interior renovations and allow the family to live on-site through the upgrade, retrofitting from the exterior is the easiest way to add significant insulation value to a building as well as getting the most continuous air barrier. The resulting R30 wall will then be ready for installing fibre cement siding. Because this project was divided into stages, there have been some unusual challenges and a lot of foreplanning required. When renovating the basement, the windows needed to be built out ahead of time to accommodate the new deeper walls, and weath- erproofed to withstand the ele- ments during the phase before the exterior work would be completed. All the remaining windows will also have to be built out in the same manner again before the exterior work gets underway. Ken and his team are sure this project will be an exciting and successful addition to their repertoire. Ultimately, All Angles Renovations has committed to sustainable strategies in their renovations, using energy auditing and benchmarking as essential tools to understand- ing the initial performance of the homes they work on. Presenting these approaches, goals and targets to clients and trade partners reinforces their importance, making all parties feel completely informed. This easily allows the team to sell energy-efficient upgrades and most importantly, gives them a sustainable final product they can be proud of. BB buildernews By Better Builder St a ff
  12. 12. 10 WWW.BETTERBUILDER.CA | ISSUE 15 | FALL 2015 The Smart Way to Use Electric Power RESIDENTIAL ENERGY STORAGE IS HERE Our intelligent battery system can: To find out more, please email EneTelus Hybrid Inverter and Lithium Ion Battery Unit
  13. 13. 11WWW.BETTERBUILDER.CA | ISSUE 15 | FALL 2015 A t the recent Scotiabank EcoLiv- ing Awards, Krumpers Solar Blinds won in the business leadership category. You might won- der why mere window blinds – out of all the possible components that go into building a home – would win such a major award. But that’s because you haven’t seen them in action. Even for solar blinds, they’re unique. Essentially, they’re two-sided blinds that can be physi- cally turned around so that in sum- mer they reflect 76% of the heat back outside, and in winter they actually generate heat in direct light. And they also insulate the window. They work like regular blinds, says Diana Livshits, who with her husband purchased the sole Canadian rights to the technology from the inventor almost eight years ago, and opened Krumpers Solar Solutions in Ottawa to manufacture and sell the blinds. “The material is unique,” she says. “It’s proprietary technology, with a layer of aluminum and a layer of nano-carbon graphite sealed together. One side is solar absorptive, and the other is solar reflective. “The material is perforated, with every hole done on a different angle for two reasons. One is so heat reflection is random and doesn’t create hot spots, and the other is so light transmission is the same frequency as the retinal receptors in the eye. You’ll never get a headache looking through these blinds the way you do with most.” The blinds are then laminated with third-grade encapsulated polyvinyl chloride (PVC), which Livshits says they intend to change once the technology pro- vides another material that works as well. The research sup- ports the claims. “This is the only window treat- ment on the market with independent lab results that show a reduction in heating and cooling costs between 39% and 44%. They also provide museum-grade ultraviolet (UV) protection, which is anything above 92%.” However, it’s not air conditioning (AC), Livshits says. “It won’t take your house from 40°C to 18°C, but it will take the temperature down to 28°C or 30°C. That’s why the lab results show the AC and heating load is 40% less. You can feel hot sit- ting on the couch, pull down the blind, and you’ll find you’re not hot.” It works the same in winter – you put the blinds down and it feels warmer. On a sunny winter day, a 4’x4’ window will generate 2096 BTUs, equiv- alent to a 600-watt electric heater, she explains. “Moreover, because it insu- lates the window, it also prevents heat loss. Even with Low E argon windows, you get 68% of hot air transfer. With the blinds that goes down to about 18%.” Krumpers’ client base is wide – everything from trailers to estates, Livshits says. She remembers get- ting called to a trailer, and really understanding once she walked in why they needed the solar blinds. Business Leadership Winner: Krumpers Solar Blinds buildernews By A l e x Ne wm a n Diana Livshits explains that Krumpers Solar Blinds are two sided – they can be physically turned around so that in summer they reflect 76% of the heat back outside, and in winter they actually generate heat in direct light.
  14. 14. 12 WWW.BETTERBUILDER.CA | ISSUE 15 | FALL 2015 “You couldn’t breathe in there, even though the AC was going full blast, because the sun was pouring in.” Naturally, condos, with their floor to ceiling banks of windows, are a huge market. “People are more than happy to pay a premium for the view in a condo, but then they have to live with the climatic conditions of that view, so they end up covering what they paid to have,” Livshits says. However, these blinds are so trans- parent, she says, “You can distinguish which birds are flying. It’s kind of like sunglasses for your windows.” The other thing is what that unre- lenting natural light does to interior climate – and appliances. Livshits recounts making a customer call to a condo when the owner was on the phone to Miele. “It was the fourth fridge that needed to be changed in three months. Because the sun was beating directly on the stainless steel fridge, it was raising the temperature inside. It hadn’t occurred to anyone that it wasn’t the fridge, but the sunlight coming through the window that caused this.” They also make vertical blinds in the same material because condos in the winter can be hot during the day, but cold once the sun sets. With a vertical blind all you need to do is pull the cord to make them turn 180° to either winter or summer setting. “It’s really ultimate control,” Livshits says. She had no prior experience in this kind of business. She was a Nortel employee and her husband an electron- ics academic. They were looking for a solution to a problem in their home that was resolved by these blinds. “When Nortel went under, my hus- band insisted we buy the rights to this technology, and try this as a business. We initially outsourced the manufactur- ing, but less than a year later set up our own manufacturing facility.” They make both commercial and residential blinds, and have even engineered a solution for oddly shaped windows and skylights. Turning the blinds around winter or summer takes six seconds. Livshits knows because she’s timed it. “If you can change a roll of toilet paper, you can turn these.” Once people see how the blinds work, she says, “It’s pretty much a nonissue for them to buy and our lead to close ratio reflects that – it’s over 90%.” BB Alex Newman is a writer, editor and researcher at buildernews By Alex Newman The blinds from Krumpers Solar Solutions are outstanding. For one thing, the company has been honoured with the Best of Ottawa Homestars Award in Shutters and Blinds. The award is the ultimate heating and cooling costs while allowing you to enjoy an unobstructed while keeping your home cool in summer. In winter, they reduce heat loss and collect energy to keep your home cozy. Through the year, Krumpers solar blinds protect fur- nishings from fading, reduce glare, was so impressed with these results that I immediately ordered blinds or 613-864-4921 for details. Ottawa, ON K2H 5P3 T. 613.864.4921 F. 613.829.2718
  15. 15. 13WWW.BETTERBUILDER.CA | ISSUE 15 | FALL 2015 O lder homes, for all their old-fashioned charm, can require large amounts of energy to heat and are often uncom- fortable, particularly for the grow- ing number of seniors. In Ontario, nearly 1.8 million aging homes could use one type of energy-effi- cient retrofit or another. For government, the savings in greenhouse gas emissions, and even the potential for tax revenue, make this fertile ground for new policy and regulation. All three levels of government have become active in capitalizing on the potential for energy-efficient retrofits. The federal ecoENERGY program offered incentives for energy effi- ciency improvements in homes. The program applied to existing Part 9 residential buildings and sought to motivate the homeowner to action by offering a customized, house-specific report using standardized software and trained certified energy evalua- tors. The homeowner had 18 months to complete the measures and have their house retested to qualify for grants. Prescriptive-based incen- tives were used for this program. In Ontario, there were over 435,000 ret- rofit incentives paid under the ecoEN- ERGY program, with by far the largest incremental upgrade being new furnaces (75% of all retrofits included a furnace upgrade, see Table 1). Through the Green Energy Act, the Government of Ontario has signalled its intention to make the disclosure of a home’s energy consumption mandatory at the time of sale. While Renovation Time Bombs industrynews By Mi c h a e l Li o the Act is in place, regula- tions to support this part of the Act have yet to be adopted, leaving the disclosure requirement unenforceable. However, should regulation be adopted, this manda- tory disclosure would likely drive energy-efficient renovations as home- owners look to increase the value of their homes. Municipalities are beginning to offer financing for energy-efficient retrofits under an existing municipal revenue tool, the local improvement charge (LIC). Homeowners can receive financing to increase the energy effi- ciency of their home, and are charged an LIC on their municipal tax bill. Essentially a loan on the property, this can make renovations accessible to more Ontarians who would oth- erwise be unable to afford to do so. They in turn would save money each month on their utility bills to offset the property tax charge. Given this interest from govern- ment, it would be no surprise if the number and scale of home renova- tions significantly increase over the next decade. While governments capitalize on new HST and income taxes, and reduced greenhouse gas emissions, bad renovations can leave homeowners with major problems. The move toward energy-efficient retrofits, supported and sometimes even funded by government, assumes renovations will be completed by com- petent renovators doing quality work. Poorly executed renovation work, however, can leave homes with hidden defects and put occupant health and safety at risk. For the last ten years, home reno- vations/repairs has been in the top three of the Ontario Ministry of Gov- ernment and Consumer Services’ list of Top 10 Complaints and Inquiries. The most recently available data has
  16. 16. 14 WWW.BETTERBUILDER.CA | ISSUE 15 | FALL 2015 it occupying the third spot after collection agencies and water heater rentals/removal. Clearly, there seem to be real problems in the home reno- vation market in Ontario. The house is a collection of interrelated systems, com- prised of hundreds of mate- rials and components, and inevitably changes to one system can adversely affect others. For instance, sealing and air tightening can affect indoor air quality and occu- pant health. Adding insula- tion increases condensation potential, making mould and rot a risk only proper air sealing and vapour protec- tion can reduce. Replacing a furnace to improve energy efficiency without resizing based on heating loads can result in furnace cycling that would significantly erode efficiency improvements. Without a proper understanding of building science principles, renova- tors risk leaving homeowners with a time bomb that could explode many years after the renovation. Home- owners, or subsequent homebuyers, could be saddled with a tax bill and a house not fit for occupancy. Mould, mildew, and rot can damage the shell of the house. Impaired indoor air quality can make people sick. Replac- ing an old furnace with a new one that cycles can make everyone cold and uncomfortable. The resulting problems would not manifest immediately. The impacts of a wrong-sized furnace would not be felt until the following winter. Mould and rot problems from improper air and vapour barriers may not be known for years after a ren- ovation. The risks to home- owners could be significant where there are insufficient safeguards. Before govern- ments jump on the energy retrofit bandwagon, they need to seriously consider the harm to homeowners that might result from their programs or regulations. It is time the provincial government considered licensing professional ren- ovators. Licensing should require a mandatory demonstration of build- ing science and contract management expertise. A warranty fund should be established for home renovations as it exists for new homes. The regulatory system should be admin- istered by a delegated administrative authority that protects public health and safety, and provides economic relief for homeowners with defective renovations or absconded deposits. It is irresponsible for governments to call for mandatory energy retrofits without providing the necessary pro- tection homeowners are entitled to. BB Michael Lio is industrynews By M ichael Lio Table 1: January 2008 – November 2010 Frequency (% of Program Participants) Furnace/boiler replacement 75 39 Central air conditioner replacement 33 27 24 Toilet replacement 17 Basement insulation 15 Door replacement 13 11 Floor header insulation 11 Domestic hot water heater replacement 6 Ground source heat pump installation 4 Heat recovery ventilator installation 3 Lifebreath MAX Residential HRVs: Maximum efficiency Maximum reliability Maximum choice
  17. 17. 15WWW.BETTERBUILDER.CA | ISSUE 15 | FALL 2015 industrynews By Michael Lio
  18. 18. 16 WWW.BETTERBUILDER.CA | ISSUE 15 | FALL 2015 T here were nights Philip Barton would wake at 2 a.m. and not go back to sleep. The 49-year-old Toronto contractor had taken on the challenge of a lifetime – renovating a semidetached live-work space, add- ing an underground garage and rear addition, for a total of 6,500 sq. ft. (which made it 200% lot coverage). It was also on one of Toronto’s busiest downtown streets and the client was a well-known architect. Barton, who’s been in construction since 1988, is a licensed carpenter and opened his renovation company Kinswater Construction and Project Management in 2009. He does every- thing from bungalow top-ups to com- plicated structural additions in the $300,000–$3 million range. Although he’d worked on several previous projects with architect DeeDee Taylor Eustace of Taylor Hannah Architect Inc., when she asked him to project manage the site with her, he didn’t realize the extent of the job – or the potential challenges – until he saw the drawings. But by then he was intrigued by the challenge. “It was an as-built situation with every challenge being met at the time of occurrence … no way to antici- pate and prepare ahead, so you had to be on site a lot.” Eustace says Barton was “abso- lutely the right person to project man- age this with me. He’s conscientious, … does all the things you’re supposed to do. I can’t have someone working who doesn’t respect those things, especially on such a densified site.” While Barton worked the labour and trades component, Eustace engineered and worked with the City on the zoning bylaws. “Part of my specialty as an architect, interior designer, and developer is to look at zoning and figure the most favourable and best use of the design.” The Neighbours – a Constant Presence and Construction Challenge Anytime there’s a party wall, the renovation is bound to have chal- lenges. To compound matters at this site, the third-level wall was just one brick thick, so construction required an accordion method or zigzag approach of demolishing and rebuild- ing in sections, bracing between the old and new, replacing ceiling joists, then reframing piece by piece. A new underground garage and rear addition called for major excava- tion and serious underpinning which also affected the demolition. Because the third floor party wall was not strong laterally, Barton didn’t want to take away more than 20 ft. at a time. So the demo and framing crews had to take everything down and rebuild in sequences. On this job there were five such sequences. Had the existing basement ceiling height stayed the same, the process would have been easier, but Eustace wanted higher ceilings, and a walk-out for better light and outdoor access. To accomplish that required very deep- stepped underpinning of 15 ft. at the basement party wall. Shoring (steel piles and lagging) were required for the garage and addition at the rear of the building (there was an 18 ft. drop in elevation from the street to the laneway). Dump trucks and rubble bins could not manoeuvre the hairpin turn from the laneway to the backyard, so all the excavated materi- als were carried to waiting trucks via bobcat through the laneway. “To achieve the front walkout, we would have needed to submit our proposal to 12 City departments and get approval to place shoring equip- ment on the City sidewalk, but that would have taken months and set the project back. So [Barton] elected to dig featurestory By Al e x Ne w m a n The Challenge of
  19. 19. 17WWW.BETTERBUILDER.CA | ISSUE 15 | FALL 2015 Urban Renos A new underground garage and rear addition called for major excavation and serious underpinning which also affected the demolition.
  20. 20. 18 WWW.BETTERBUILDER.CA | ISSUE 15 | FALL 2015 by hand and timber shore about 14 ft. below the sidewalk, all while staying on our property.” “It was always a question of time versus money,” Barton says. “This monumental hand dig would cost the same as shoring, but not waiting for the report allowed us to get further ahead and save time.” With such tight quarters many materials had to be carried in. In some cases, things normally built off-site had to be constructed inside – the open riser stairs between each floor, for example. “There was no way we could have turned the corner on the side entrance to bring those in already assembled,” Barton says. For the same reason, excavated materials had to be carried out through the rear laneway to wait- ing trucks on Pears Ave. Because the water truck couldn’t make the tight turn, cleaning up afterward took hours with power washers. And when road construction on Bay Street stopped all road permits in the area, they had to pour the garage footings using motorized wheel- barrows buggied from Pears Ave. through the laneway. Underpinning To prepare for underpinning, the distance between cuts is measured and then numbered on the wall – one, two, three and so on. (The distance depends on soil conditions, Barton adds.) After digging under all the foot- ings marked number one, you pour the concrete, then pack nonshrink grout between the new concrete and existing footing to let it cure. Then do all the number three cuts, and skip back to do the number two cuts. In the party wall agreement that had been negotiated, the neighbour had a say on how close those cuts would be. Barton’s structural engi- neer felt every 3 ft. was appropri- ate, but the neighbour’s consultant wanted 18 in. cuts. Barton says usually an engineer will observe a couple of pours, as will the building inspector, but the third party agreement insisted on inspectors and engineers being present for every underpinning cut. They also wanted cuts done and cement poured the same day. Eustace paid for both her featurestory By Alex Newman With limited access manpower was the name of the game. Wheelbarrows moved concrete and soil for underpinning. Red iron was moved and placed by hand.
  21. 21. 19WWW.BETTERBUILDER.CA | ISSUE 15 | FALL 2015 engineer and the neighbour’s, which added about $25,000 to the final cost. EXTERIOR With the residential-commercial zoning of the site, exterior walls had to be noncombustible. This meant using 18-gauge metal studs screwed together, then covered with Dens- Glass Gold, which were then clad with HardiePanel and limestone. To ensure proper fire separations between office and residence, double drywall was installed with a resilient channel, all joist cavities were filled with R24 ROXUL SAFE’n’SOUND®, and metal fire doors hung between the two spaces. The building design required Bar- ton to build moment frames, which means installing steel columns from basement to roof, and across the top and bottom of every window to pro- vide lateral stability. This process is commonly used on high-rise buildings to resist lateral loads from wind or earthquakes. Flat Roof Although flat roofs today perform as well as peaked, Barton called in a roof specialist to consult on the job because of the potential for moisture problems due to runoff and dew points, and advise on whether or not to vent, and whether and how much to insulate above or below the roofline. INTERIOR The three mechanical systems each have forced air high efficiency gas furnaces, with two-stage electronically commutated motors (ECM) that are more energy efficient. Windows are all Low E argon, or Low E2 double glazed. A boiler drives the radiant heat in the walkout walls and floor (for added frost protection), and in the garage. ROXUL is the main insulation which also provides sound attenuation. OTHER Working in a major city centre pres- ents a number of challenges including tight spaces, strict bylaws and dealing with high traffic streets. Parking was a major issue, Barton says. Scaffolding over the shared drive between the site and the next door neighbours meant providing alterna- tive parking for them. That added another $14,000 in parking meters and tickets to the bill. Barton’s crew incurred another $10,000 in parking expenses and each vendor racked up about $1,000. Barton figures the total parking cost was about $40,000. Paid duty police officers were hired for traffic control in the lane-
  22. 22. 20 WWW.BETTERBUILDER.CA | ISSUE 15 | FALL 2015 way, not because it was required, but to reduce neighbour questions or complaints, Barton says. And they hired someone to help people over the ramp under the hoarding that cov- ered the sidewalk on Daven- port Ave. In spite of “doing every- thing by the book” – even printing off letters to inform nearby residents of the schedule – Barton says neighbours were hard to please. He thinks it’s partly because the affluent area may generate NIMBYism (Not in My Backyard), but also because the site got a 200% lot coverage (100% residential and 100% com- mercial) with no committee of adjustment. The building inspector’s voice mail was filled with neighbour complaints, and Barton says they had two site visits from the Ministry of Labour to “investigate unsubstantiated reports of unsafe work. There was someone from the council- lor’s office, from the rate- payers’ association, lots of people with clipboards, doing what, I don’t know.” The weather didn’t co- operate either. Just as the crew was about to take down the structure’s last 20 ft. along Davenport Ave., the ice storm of 2013 hit, followed by months of deep freeze temperatures. It wreaked havoc with con- struction schedules, Barton says. “At -18°F you’re get- ting only 30% productivity out of your crew.” Barton is amazed at Eustace’s fortitude in deal- ing with so many compli- cations. Eustace is more sanguine about it all. “I’ve built a lot of complex things – my cottage is on 70 ft. of steel cantilevered over the water. To me it was just a process, shoring the site, underpinning, and all the various ways of going about building it. There are issues with any structure – of the thousands of details that go into one build, there will always be things that go well, and others that take more time. The secret is working through it with your trades.” Although he’s not sure he would want to tackle another project of this complexity again, Barton feels a certain sense of accomplishment. “I can’t believe what was done there. We made the impos- sible possible. Even the building inspector was blown away when he did the final inspection, especially consid- ering the location.” In retrospect, Barton says, “It would have made great TV – the stakes were always high, the obstacles constant, and ever-present neighbours.” Eustace loves her new home and office. “It’s stun- ningly beautiful. At the end of the day, I’m the first sin- gle-family home on Daven- port Ave. just shy of 7,000 sq. ft. with 1,500 sq. ft. of roof garden and another 200 sq. ft. of mahogany terrace off the kitchen. I’m very lucky.” BB Alex Newman is a writer, editor and researcher at featurestory By Alex Newman
  23. 23. 21WWW.BETTERBUILDER.CA | ISSUE 15 | FALL 2015 Telephone 905-760-9894 Toll Free 1-800-465-5700 Fax 905-660-5967 Mike Martino I am a “GOOD MAN” MikeMartino HVAC2014 We provide home comfort solutions that exceed our customers’ expectations through professional design, installation, service and use of environmentally friendly, energy efficient products. CALL US FIRST!
  24. 24. 22 WWW.BETTERBUILDER.CA | ISSUE 15 | FALL 2015
  25. 25. 23WWW.BETTERBUILDER.CA | ISSUE 15 | FALL 2015 A fter living in our Toronto 1940s two-storey brick home that leaked air, was drafty and had high energy bills, we were motivated to create a high perfor- mance house. So we set out to reduce our energy and water use through an extensive renovation in 2009. A major renovation is a project for the long term. A key goal was to reduce our energy consumption, veri- fied through our actual utility bills. We set an energy reduction perfor- mance target of 25% while expanding the area by 75% to 2,700 sq. ft. This would amount to a reduction in elec- tricity and natural gas consumption per square foot of 57%. Besides the need for greater space for our family of four with two young children, we wanted more natural light, a space that delights, and good indoor air quality with no more drafts. There was much research done and I was fortunate to be able to tap into build- ing science experts given my work as a management consultant in the area of energy-efficient buildings. The main energy and water perfor- mance areas we focused on were: make the house as airtight as possible use as much insulation as pos- sible use the highest efficiency heating and domestic hot water system have high water efficiency. In addition, we wanted to: come up with a better solution to insulating double masonry walls from the inside without compromising the exterior brick’s durability incorporate mainstream proce- dures and technologies that were readily available for reasonable costs. Even an extensive house retrofit is much more challenging to do well as you have to live with certain layouts and related cost constraints. Our house had a large tree shading it, and was oriented so we had very limited opportunities to take advantage of solar gains. What We Did While we greatly improved the airtightness of the house from 7.5 to 3 air changes per hour (ACH) at 50 Pa, I was disappointed we could not get below 2. My colleague and expert in sustainable houses John sitespecific By Noe l Ch e e se m a n High Performance Renovation On June 25, 2015 the Sus- tainable Housing Founda- tion (SHF) hosted its annual Green Builder Challenge golf tournament. The SHF promotes education and awareness for sustainable housing in Canada. Builders and manu- facturers from across the GTA attended the nine-hole event. Bruce Young from drive competition on the fifth hole. Martin Kuypers from Henry Canada won the closest to the hole at the forth. The Green Build- er Challenge raised money the photo, Patsy Duffy, the executive director of the SHF presents the dona- tion cheque to Agatha Pisi from the Flemington Park Golf Club with Steve Doty of Empire Communities looking on. 23WWW.BETTERBUILDER.CA | ISSUE 15 | FALL 2015
  26. 26. 24 WWW.BETTERBUILDER.CA | ISSUE 15 | FALL 2015 Godden suggested it is very difficult to achieve that tightness in an old house, but I thought about what we could have done better. Our trades meant well, but didn’t fully under- stand the importance of the details for airtightness. Contractors will serve their clients – and the earth – better if they commit to raising the bar on airtightness levels in a house renovation. Our new windows were double- glazed, Low E2 argon-filled wood and aluminum clad with some high performance fibreglass. The Low E2 coatings were tuned on different wall elevations to either take advantage of solar gain in the winter or block it in the summer. We insulated the existing walls from the inside using a combination of ROXUL R14 batts inside a con- tinuous layer of DRAINBOARD® (now known as COMFORTBOARD®) directly against the masonry. This greatly increased the effective R-value of the wall as it provided a thermal break for the 2x4 interior wall. The addi- tional 1” layer of just R4 continuously across the entire masonry wall, before the 2x4 framing, increased that wall’s effective R-value by 47% over a typical one without the R4 layer. This was one of the first times this product was used in this application, according to ROXUL. With so many houses in Toronto and across the country built with a double masonry wall and no insulation, this approach will deal with the movement of moisture from the outside through the brick and cinder block. Without careful attention when insulating from the inside, the freeze-thaw cycle on the masonry wall can lead to brick spalling. Addressing this issue was a major goal for this project. ROXUL R22 batts in 2x6 walls were used in the new extension and when the exterior 2” expanded poly- styrene (EPS) foam was added for the stucco, we knew we had a good solu- tion with a relatively high R-value and limited thermal bridging. The basement also employed full length COMFORTBOARD® against the block before the interior framed R14 2x4 walls. In the ceiling we used R50 cel- lulose insulation. The last critical area of focus was the mechanical system. Here I was fortunate to obtain a hardly used small Viessmann 95% efficient boiler, which became the heart of the hot water heat source for our forced air furnace (air handler), the radiant heat in-joist loop we installed in the two second floor bathrooms, the radiant loop in the slab of the new section of the basement, and the domestic hot water (DHW). For the DHW, we used an indirect 30-gal tank with high insulation. We also installed an energy recovery ventilator (ERV), which we interlocked with the air handler electronically commutated motor (ECM) fan, and use it practi- cally year round on a 20/40 minute on/off cycle to bring in fresh air. For water efficiency, we installed the necessary low flow fixtures and 6-litre toilets. But we also had the plumber run all the toilet water lines together on a separate circuit that can be easily redirected to a future greywater system we plumbed for in the mechanical room. We installed a drainwater heat recovery pipe to preheat the cold water going into the hot water tank. While the tree shading prevents solar use today, eventually when the tree dies we’ll be ready. We installed copper tubing and control wire from the attic to the basement mechanical room for a future solar thermal sys- tem to preheat domestic hot water. TheHealthyHomeSpecialists BuilderServices: Aeroseal Duct Sealing Validate/Refute Homeowner comfort related complaints Data logging for: temperature, RH, Equipment run times, etc. Chronic icicles Excess moisture issues Thermal Imaging Air Leakage Investigations Written Reports with Photos/Thermal Scans Recommendations for remediation HVAC balancing HRV Balancing Exhaust Fan performance measurement For homeowner/consumer services please visit our website 905.875.4544 sitespecific By Noel Cheeseman
  27. 27. 25WWW.BETTERBUILDER.CA | ISSUE 15 | FALL 2015 Performance We took a year of postrenovation electricity and gas bills to determine the performance numbers. Initial computer-based modelled numbers done for the project were EnerGuide 83 and Home Energy Rating System (HERS) 50. These rating systems generate numbers used in new home construction when there are no actual bills on which to base perfor- mance. But once a house is a home with people living in it, real perfor- mance matters, and that comes from the actual consumption on our utility bills over a year. Our actual consumption reduction came in at 18%, or an energy inten- sity of 9.9 equivalent kWh per sq. ft. (ekWh/sq. ft.), which is quite good. The average house in Toronto uses 10,000 kWh and around 3,000 m3 of gas annually – about 20 ekWh/sq. ft. for a 2,000 sq. ft. home. Our actual annual emissions reductions are just over 1 tonne eCO2 (carbon). We could not report on water as we had a mal- functioning water meter. I recently went online to Scotia- bank’s EcoLiving Home Energy Savings Calculator (www.ecoliving.scotiabank. com/calculate-savings) to see what it suggested we do and what we could save. After entering our profile infor- mation through easy step-by-step questions, it produced a list of rec- ommended upgrades and what the savings would be for our house in Toronto. While it was not able to incor- porate our area expansion, the recom- mendations were almost exactly the ones we did. From replacing our heat- ing system with a combined space and hot water system to more insulation in the walls, it was encouraging that the recommendations were relevant to our situation. And it showed we could save about $1,300 per year for energy and water at today’s prices. Our work and promotion of resi- dential performance metrics earned project finalist in the 2012 Green Toronto Awards for Energy Conserva- tion. It’s not difficult to measure the actual performance of our homes. We will build and renovate better when we measure what we have done and learn from the data. Our hope is that more contractors will become more familiar with performance metrics and best practices. With better pro- cesses, including standardization methods like labelling for houses and training, we will all pay more atten- tion to what makes a high perfor- mance house. BB Noel Cheeseman is president of Equanim Systems. Dow’s full house of insulation, air sealants and adhesives work together to create an airtight, moisture resistant structure from roof to foundation, helping builders and contractors meet or exceed building codes, reduce callbacks and create a comfortable, durable, energy efficient structure for their customers. DOW BUILDING SOLUTIONS 1-866-583-BLUE (2583) ®™The DOW Diamond Logo is a trademark of The Dow Chemical Company © 2014 Whole-House SolutionsTHAT HELP BUILDERS AND CONTRACTORS OUTPERFORM sitespecific By Noel Cheesema n
  28. 28. 26 WWW.BETTERBUILDER.CA | ISSUE 15 | FALL 2015
  29. 29. 27WWW.BETTERBUILDER.CA | ISSUE 15 | FALL 2015 to develop wall system improvements for existing older homes by developing and testing exterior insulation/ wall assem- blies that can be retrofitted to existing buildings. The research is far enough advanced that a training program can and should be developed for renovators. It is important they be properly trained, but it does not mean the training has to be either extensive or burdensome – no different than the ENERGY STAR and R2000 training is for builders. In discussing this issue with a number of MPs, it was suggested they develop a robust national home renovation program to tackle several issues at once. Here are the win-win- win priorities of the program that should be enacted: Create an ongoing revenue neutral home tax credit program for homeowners who complete energy-efficient home renova- tions, specifically improving their building envelope through air sealing, improved insulation, bet- ter windows, and then installing higher-performing mechanicals. T here is a growing sense of urgency around the concept of climate change and what to do about it. The headlines range from bold to alarming, anything from “G7 Targets Huge Emissions Cuts” (The Sun Times, June 9, 2015) to “The Boiling Planet” (Toronto Star, June 27, 2015). At the recent G7 Summit, leaders agreed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 40%–70% by 2050 compared to 2010 levels. Those reductions are going to have to come from somewhere, and you can bet our industry will play a large part in meet- ing those targets. As an industry, we have long been advocating for more energy-efficient housing and have had voluntary pro- grams for decades. Recently the con- versation has begun to focus on net zero homes. While it is aspirational to think of building homes that cre- ate as much energy as they consume, it seems we are miss- ing the point. The far bigger issue is the exist- ing housing stock of leaky old homes that are not energy efficient. If we really want to drop the carbon footprint of housing, we need to deal with exist- ing homes. It is time for the govern- ment to step forward with a program aimed at improving the energy performance of existing homes. This fromthegroundup By Dou g Ta rry program needs to have a primary focus on the building envelope to help reduce energy needs. Done prop- erly, this pro- gram will have broad consumer appeal and can be designed to be revenue neutral, which should allow the Federal and Pro- vincial governments to maintain the pro- gram permanently. At the same time, con- sumers should be aware of what they are buying. I believe it is time to require manda- tory labelling of all homes at time of sale. There are enough energy raters now that this pro- gram could be put into effect within 24 months. From past arti- cles, many of you will know our com- pany developed the Optimum Basement Wall with ROXUL Insulation, and had it studied by the Applied Research Green Innova- tion Lab Experience (ARGILE) project from George Brown College. How- ever, you probably don’t know that the ARGILE project was designed Climate Change, Carbon Footprints and Existing Homes The far bigger issue is the existing housing stock of leaky old homes that the carbon footprint of housing, we need to deal with existing homes.
  30. 30. 28 WWW.BETTERBUILDER.CA | ISSUE 15 | FALL 2015 Prepare our industry’s renovators for the market transformation of mandatory labelling of existing homes to ensure the updates are completed by qualified renova- tors. Level the playing field on the underground economy further by requiring receipts and build- ing permits for the work to be completed. (Statistics Canada has a really good study on the under- ground economy that shows its numbers dropping concurrent with the previous EcoENERGY pro- gram.) Provide ongoing affordability to consumers by enabling them to reduce their heating and cooling loads, and their exposure to rising energy costs. Maintain Canada’s historic lead- ership in housing, building sci- ence for housing, and carbon footprint reduction by reducing overall heating and cooling energy consumption. This technology can be exported to other countries who have not done this type of research. Create a more durable building envelope, better able to withstand the changing weather patterns climate change brings. Here is a potential program that can be revenue neutral to the gov- ernment, protect consumers from fraudulent renovators, reduce the underground economy, and improve affordability of home ownership while increasing Canada’s leadership role in both energy-efficient building and climate change initiatives. Our suggestion is to make it a permanent program. This will allow industry to plan and grow into it. I’d say that’s a pretty good place to start. BB Doug Tarry Jr. Tarry Homes in St. Thomas, Ont. fromthegroundup By Do ug Tar r y
  31. 31. 29WWW.BETTERBUILDER.CA | ISSUE 15 | FALL 2015 buildernews By Ja n e Loga n M ark Madigan, owner of Total Renovations Inc. (, was intro- duced to sustainable building expert John Godden ( at a Project FutureProof home seminar hosted by Better Builder writer Alex Newman. It was a perfect opportunity to discuss green energy initiatives and ways to implement them in his projects. Mark proposed putting Future- Proof into practice with clients George and Maureen MacDonald. The retired couple had recently purchased a bungalow in Toronto’s East End that they planned to totally gut and renovate, including a large addition. Maureen’s wish was to have a larger kitchen which opened onto a deck and backyard, with lots of room and seating for family gatherings. Since everything in the home – from the insulation to the windows to the furnace – was being replaced, Maureen and George agreed it was the perfect time to upgrade their home’s efficiency. They were intrigued with the idea of future proofing, and with the prospect of major savings on future heating, cooling and water costs for their new home. “That did the trick,” says George of their deci- sion to future proof their home. Initially they were simply thinking about installing a more efficient fur- nace. However, they soon discovered A Total Reno Promotes Homeowner Awareness at Every Stage
  32. 32. 30 WWW.BETTERBUILDER.CA | ISSUE 15 | FALL 2015 there were many more energy-saving options available to consider. “There was so much information to take in, it made our heads spin, but we were kept in the loop during the whole process,” says Maureen. “Ultimately, we felt comfortable going with the systems and products Clearsphere and Total Renovations recommended.” Clearsphere and Total Renova- tions guided the MacDonalds through the Discovery Home process, which includes testing and energy modelling to determine the home’s current energy use. This data was shared with the Mac- Donalds and together the appropriate course of action was decided. Total Renovations installed BP EXCEL sheathing on the home’s exte- rior, which is made with 98% recyclable materials with an R-value of 2, to create a secure building envelope and mini- mize heat loss and air leakage. ROXUL insulation was used in the cavities. The MacDonalds opted for the AIRMAX small duct high velocity air handling system. The powerful system runs briefly but frequently, maximiz- ing its efficiency throughout the home. Panasonic WhisperGreen Select ventila- tion fans and an energy recovery venti- lator (ERV) were also installed, provid- ing both spot ventilation in bathrooms and whole house continuous ventila- tion with energy recovery. A Power-Pipe drainwater heat recovery system was installed. Waste- water from the shower flows down a copper pipe. At the same time, cold fresh water travels up copper tubes wrapped around the pipe. The warm wastewater going down the pipe clings to the inner sides, heating the incoming cold fresh water. The water being delivered to the new NY Thermal Inc. (NTI) boiler on demand is already warmed, which reduces the amount of heating required. This energy-conserving system reduces water heating costs by as much as 35%, and also greatly reduces the home’s greenhouse gas emissions. The den and basement both have radiant floors, which are heated with warm water from the NTI boiler through polyethylene pipes imbed- ded in the floor. So the den, which sits above the garage, is always cozy. It also makes the basement very comfortable, which the MacDonalds’ grandchildren appreciate when they visit, says George, as they are fre- quently drawn to the basement pop fridge and family room. The home has also been roughed in for greywater recycling. With this system, grey wastewater from tubs and sinks is directed to a reservoir, treated, and then reused for toilet flushing and irrigation. When installa- tion of the greywater recycling system is complete, it will result in significant water savings for the MacDonalds. When renovations were complete, Clearsphere retested the home using the Home Energy Rating (HERS) system. A blower door test was done, and the ventilation and air handling systems balanced. As displayed on the Project FutureProof label issued to the MacDonalds by Clearsphere, their home’s HERS energy rating score is now 54, roughly 11% bet- ter than code. Here is the proof that building and renovating with sustain- ability in mind works. Better air quality, better heat dis- tribution, lower utility bills, and the Enbridge Home Energy Conservation program rebate they received with Cle- arsphere’s help, are among the many benefits enjoyed by the MacDonalds in their newly renovated and future- proofed home. They have already noticed appreciable reductions on their heating/cooling and electricity bills. In addition, sustainable Canadian oak hardwood floors were installed throughout the home. “From an ecological point of view, it all makes great sense. It really is the way of the future,” says Maureen. Now that it’s done, George and Mau- reen don’t actually think about it much, which is great for this active, family- oriented couple. “The guidance John Godden provided made it easy for us to operate the systems, and once they were in place and balanced, there was nothing else to do, really,” says George. “We would definitely recommend this process to other homeowners.” Homeowners George and Maureen MacDonald with Mark Madigan. buildernews By Jane Logan
  33. 33. 31WWW.BETTERBUILDER.CA | ISSUE 15 | FALL 2015 Mark Madigan says, “I and my team at Total Renovations appreciate the opportunity to collaborate with John Godden and Clearsphere in applying green technologies to this project. I believe it puts Total Renovations on the leading edge of renovators of existing homes who are working toward better energy efficiency and sustainability of resources. Most importantly, applying this new tech- nology benefits our client through the resulting permanent energy efficiency, a healthier atmosphere, and a higher level of comfort, coupled with ease of operation and lower operating costs.” Effecting change, both in industry and society, is a challenge, but Mark feels that “This is absolutely the way of the future. It’s time to embrace a new method of renovating, one with sustainability in mind. Total Reno- vations will definitely continue to incorporate sustainable practices and products, and green initiatives wher- ever possible. Everyone wins.” BB Total Renovations Inc. is a Toronto-based design/build company. Mark Madigan can be reached at 416-694-2488. Jane Logan is a freelance writer and adminis- trator in the homebuilding/renovation industry. BETTER BuilderMAGAZINE the builder’s source To advertise contact: or visit us at Consider Marmara Ltd. for all your interior / exterior painting and stucco needs with over 20 years of experience. Ahmet Mamaca President T. 1-647-567-1923 Ozcan Mamaca Vice-President T. 1-647-865-1062 E. “It’s a choice not a chance!”
  34. 34. 32 WWW.BETTERBUILDER.CA | ISSUE 15 | FALL 2015 B eing energy conscious goes beyond simply lowering monthly expenditures. It can actually stimulate economic growth and promote job creation. A report delivered at the 2014 Energy and Mines Ministers’ Conference titled Economic Benefits of Responsible Energy Use explores the concept of how there is a direct correlation between a country’s investment in energy efficiency and its improved overall economic health. When energy-conscious consumers invest in their homes by upgrading win- dows, doors or insulation, demand is created for goods and services. Jobs are created in numerous industries, rang- ing from research and development, production, sales, service and instal- lation – all of which lead to increased consumer confidence and spending. Did you know that keeping a home’s temperature comfortable year-round makes up as much as 2/3 of the average family’s energy bill? Installing insulation keeps tempera- tures stable and has been proven to reduce a building’s energy use by as much as half. It’s one of the easi- est and most cost-effective ways to improve energy efficiency. “Insulation takes effect immedi- ately and continues to have a measur- able impact over the lifetime of the building,” says Dave Smith, residential segment manager at ROXUL Inc. “The installation of ROXUL stone wool insulation can drastically reduce the monthly cost of heating and cooling your home while providing a number of other significant benefits.” Lowering monthly expenditures on energy costs will provide more dispos- able income, allowing homeowners to spend that money on consumer pack- aged goods, additional home renova- tions, or luxuries like recreation and travel. This spending creates a ripple effect, generating what the report defines as a “double bang for the buck” in the economy. Increased savings for consumers and ratepayers are obvious benefits. However, energy conservation has proven to go beyond simply financial savings and compensation. Accord- ing to a recent study conducted by Natural Resources Canada (NRCan), every $1 spent on energy efficiency programs generates between $4 and $8 to the gross domestic product (GDP), while every $1 million invested in energy efficiency programs gener- ates up to 57 job years (that’s one job, for one year, for 57 years). In 2011, it was found that Cana- dian consumers saved over $20 billion and businesses over $14 bil- lion in energy costs from all energy efficiency improvements since 1990. Considerable savings like this can unquestionably propel investment and job growth. According to the Environmental Careers Organiza- tion, there were over 100,000 active energy efficiency-related occupations, totalling $7.7 billion in wages. NRCan estimates the energy efficiency indus- try accounted for approximately 3% of GDP in 2013 or $54 billion. Another recent study by the Inter- national Energy Agency (IEA) ranked Canada a world leader in energy effi- ciency, which is particularly impressive given the many challenges we face in this country. Extreme seasonal temper- ature fluctuations, dispersed popula- tion, and an energy-intensive industrial sector each pose their own unique set of obstacles to be overcome. Out of 15 countries, Canada was ranked second for its energy efficiency improvement from 1990 to 2010. Canada earned high marks as a result of energy improvements that focused on higher efficiency rather than energy savings that resulted in a shift from industrial manufacturing to more service-focused industries. As a nation we continue to work toward greater improvements. The Economic Benefits of Responsible Energy Use report noted that “Approximately $300 million in utility, municipal, provincial and ter- ritorial incentives” currently promote energy conservation and efficiency in homes and businesses, and “Twelve provinces and territories have adopted or are in the process of adopting more stringent building codes…. The result is that building owners will see approximately $70 million in cost sav- ings in 2016.” More nations and corporations are realizing the benefit of adopting green practices to bolster efficiency, sustain- ability and profitability. Energy savings can be reinvested to increase capacity, fuel research, development and com- petitiveness, or passed along to con- sumers. Ultimately, we all benefit from greater energy efficiency. It may seem overly simple, but as a homeowner, when you do your part by building a more energy-efficient home, you’re helping to make an indelible contribu- tion to job creation and sustainable eco- nomic development in this country. BB buildernews By RO XU L a n d Bet t e r Bu i l de r st a ff By the Numbers: Economic Benefits &EnergyEfficiency
  35. 35. 33WWW.BETTERBUILDER.CA | ISSUE 15 | FALL 2015