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Better Builder Magazine, Issue 20 / Winter 2016

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 20 / Winter 2016

  1. 1. ISSUE 20 | WINTER 2016PUBLICATIONNUMBER42408014 Brookfield Blazes Own Trail Near Zero at Echo Haven Refining HRV/ERV Choices Exceptional Customer Service Outstanding Custom Home Clean50 Award Winner Proofing THIRD ANNUAL ISSUE IN THIS ISSUE Future
  2. 2. A b r e a t h o f f r e s h a i r . MAX SERVICE All mechanical and electrical components are accessible from the front of the unit. Heating coil and fan/motor slide out for easy service. One of the most extensive warranties in the business:1-year parts & labour,2-years on parts only,where applicable. MAX COMFORT With the increased efficiency of this optional Electronically Commuted Motor (ECM), homeowners will be free to cycle air continuously with a minimal increase in electricity cost. Continuous fan operation helps improve filtration,reduce temperature variations,and helps keep the air clear of dust and allergens – making your customers’ homes more comfortable. Mini Ducted Hi-Velocity Air Handling System Optional Prioritizing of Comfort Levels with Energy Savings MAX SPACE SAVER The MAXAIR fan coil is so compact that it fits anywhere:laundry room,attic,crawl space,you can even place it in a closet. It can be installed in new or existing homes. It takes less than 1/3 of the space of a conventional heating and air conditioning unit. MAX ENERGY SAVINGS Energy savings,temperature control and comfort levels are achieved in individual levels of the home by prioritizing the requirements.This is achieved by installing optional space thermostats. If any area calls for heating or cooling, the individual thermostat allows the space it serves to achieve optimum comfort and still maintain continuous air circulation throughout the home. This method of prioritizing is a great energy savings measure while offering an increased comfort level to the home owner. FLEXAIRTM DISTRIBUTION SYSTEM MAX FLEXIBILITY The supply outlets can be placed in the wall, ceiling or floor. Each unit has four choices of locations for the return air connections. The FLEXAIR™ insulated 2½" supply duct will fit in a standard 2"x 4" wall cavity. Can be mounted for vertical or horizontal airflow. Can be combined with humidifiers,high efficiency air cleaners or ERVs / HRVs. Snap-together branch duct and diffuser connections. MAX ELECTRICAL SAVINGS ECMs are ultra-high-efficient programmable brushless DC motors that are more efficient than the permanently split capacitor (PSC) motors used in most residential furnaces.This is especially true at lower speeds used for continuous circulation in many new homes. 1-800-453-6669 905-951-0022519-578-5560613-966-5643 416-213-1555 877-254-4729905-264-1414 For distribution of Air Max Technologies products call www.airmaxtechnologies.com209 Citation Drive, Units 5&6, Concord, ON L4K 2Y8, Canada
  3. 3. BETTERBUILDER.CA | ISSUE 20 | WINTER 2016 16 1 PUBLISHER’S NOTE 2 Everything in Moderation by John Godden THE BADA TEST 3 The Planning Act, the Ontario Building Code, Energy Efficiency and Building Permits by Lou Bada INDUSTRY NEWS 6 Ontario’s Mandatory Home Energy Rating and Disclosure Program by Patricia Duffy 10 Dow Celebrates 75 Years of Innovation with STYROFOAM™ by Dow & Better Builder Staff 20 Near Zero at Echo Haven by Alex Newman 29 New, Higher Performing Insulated Exterior Sheathing by Amvic INDUSTRY EXPERT 12 Refining Your HRV/ERV Choices by Gord Cooke 14 Exceptional Customer Service by Michael Lio BUILDER NEWS 9 Congratulations Award Winners by Better Builder Staff 24 Translating and Quantifying Appraisal Value for Better Than Code Homes by Teresa Lopez SITE SPECIFIC 27 Meet Clean50 Award Winner Candice Luck by Alex Newman FROM THE GROUND UP 31 The 2017 SB-12 by Doug Tarry FEATURE STORY 16 Brookfield Blazes Own Trail North American builder continues to innovate in energy efficient housing by Rob Blackstien 9 20 ISSUE 20 | WINTER 2016 On our cover: CHOATphotographer / SHUTTERSTOCK Images internally supplied unless otherwise credited. 27
  4. 4. BETTERBUILDER.CA | ISSUE 20 | WINTER 20162 T here are two axioms I live by: (1) there are no absolutes and (2) moderation is key. In home building, the terms “net zero” or “zero carbon” convey lofty goals – but they smack of extremism. I much prefer the terms “near zero” or “low carbon,” which imply a process or continuum over a longer timeframe and are more pragmatic for discussing the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions (GHGEs). The past two building code cycles have singled out low-rise housing to reduce GHGEs. The 2017 reference house built to package A1 has a small load at 28,000 BTU/hour at the outdoor winter design temperature – a 43.5% reduction in GHGEs from 1990 levels. Current reduction targets are set at 30%. This means that new homes have already surpassed this goal and are subject to diminishing returns from further upgrades to the envelope. The package A1 homes produce 4.7 tonnes of GHGEs annually. The average gasoline-powered car produces 5.0 tonnes. With current provincial incentives, an electric car would cost approximately $20,000, completely offsetting the footprint of the new house. The cost of the GHGE reduction is about $4,000 per tonne. A net zero approach increases the price tag of a home by $75,000, equaling $15000 per tonne for the GHGE reduction. The provincial government would be wise to incentivize charging stations for electric cars in new homes rather than push the construction of net zero houses. Electric heat pumps, used in many net zero homes, are another factor to consider. Heat pumps use refrigerants like R410A, which are 2,000 times more damaging to the atmosphere than C02 if released. The wide adoption of heat pumps in net zero homes could actually increase demand for electricity. In Ontario, nuclear reactors run 24/7. At night or off-peak hours, they have “stranded capacity” (a surplus). This excess power could be used to charge electric cars or solar battery storage systems for use during the day. Nuclear energy has been described as efficient and clean. In contrast, centrally generated power can lose up to 15% of energy in transmission, and Ontario Power Generation is facing an estimated $24 billion cost to store two million highly radioactive fuel bundles (their deep storage plan hasn’t been approved). We all know renewable energy is the right answer for the long term. But should nuclear energy be the bridging fuel in the short term? A well-insulated hybrid home with a small combination heating system and a solar battery storage system makes sense to me. A mixed fuel approach will produce less GHGEs and nuclear waste, helping us get to near zero. So the next time you’re constructing a new code building, just remember: everything in moderation. Good luck. BB Everything in Moderation 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 Rob Blackstien, Alex Newman PROOFREADING Carmen Siu CREATIVE Wallflower Design 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. publisher’snote / JOHN GODDEN John Godden Alex Newman Gord Cooke Michael Lio Lou Bada Doug Tarry CONTRIBUTORS
  5. 5. BETTERBUILDER.CA | ISSUE 20 | WINTER 2016 3 O ne person I have a lot of time to talk about new housing with is Richard Lyall, President of the Residential Construction Council of Ontario (RESCON). In RESCON’s latest newsletter, Lyall represents most high-, mid- and low-rise GTA new home builders when he rightly points out the following: “The provincial government’s plans to eliminate sprawl and rapidly pursue net-zero new housing are going to put new housing shelter further out of reach for working families. While there is no doubt we need to curb sprawl, intensify, and cut energy use and greenhouse gas emissions, it can’t be on the back of new housing supply.” So why does the homebuilding industry have a big red bull’s eye on its back? Why is it targeted by our governments so often? Please forgive the following lesson in civics. Legislation and regulation are the tools of the four levels of government by which they implement policy, ostensibly for the public good. The public good is a subjective political matter and should be determined through an open public discourse. Hopefully it is arrived at with some goodwill and based on sound evidence, a cost–benefit analysis and good advice (and, dare I add, common sense). Theoretically, compliance with rules and regulations should be straightforward if the debate on public policy has already been settled. Unfortunately, compliance is neither simple nor easy. In Ontario, we have the Planning Act and the Building Code Act. Within the lengthy Planning Act, it clearly states: “Part IV. Exclusions for Site Plan Control: “3. The manner of construction and standards for construction 2006, c.23, s.16(5).” Essentially, this means that the municipal approving authority does not have jurisdiction in determining how we build when reviewing a development proposal. How a builder goes about building would be the purview of the provincial Building Code Act (for good reason). The Planning Act, however, gives lower- tier governments the ability to review development applications through the lens of what they deem desirable or appropriate for the municipality and gives them the right to enter into “voluntary” agreements with parties towards that end. I won’t mince words here: the word should be “extorting,” not “voluntary.” Here’s why: these “voluntary” undertakings involve many facets of development, have many financial consequences adding to the cost of already unaffordable housing, and also often increase the required energy efficiency of buildings (standards of construction) within a development proposal, further eroding affordability without regard to costs and benefits. In an already excruciatingly long process, municipalities delay approvals if a developer doesn’t sign on. In an environment of constrained housing supply, it only makes matters worse. Anyone trying to assert their rights with a municipality on the written word of the Planning Act is in for a very rude awakening. On the other hand, when we look to the Building Code Act and its regula­ tions, SB-12 in particular has prescrip­ tive compliance paths and perform­ ance path methods of compliance. The proprietary ENERGY STAR label has also been accepted as a method of compliance. ENERGY STAR as a prescriptive alternative shouldn’t be problematic if it is truly voluntary and if there is a rational, workable and flexible way of dealing with the performance path method of compli­ ance. Unfortunately, neither is true. I would challenge anyone to deal with alternative methods of compliance for any Ontario Building Code (OBC) regulation, or SB-12 for that matter, as a normal course of business in most municipal building departments. See if you come out of that situation with a satisfying The Planning Act, the Ontario Building Code, Energy Efficiency and Building Permits thebadatest / LOU BADA Total Household Energy Usage by Year of Construction 2000 Ontario Building Code 171.9 GJ/year 2006 Ontario Building Code 147.9 GJ/year 14% reduction 2012 Ontario Building Code 127.9 GJ/year 26% reduction 2017 Ontario Building Code 96.4 GJ/year 44% reduction
  6. 6. BETTERBUILDER.CA | ISSUE 20 | WINTER 20164 outcome. Trying to propose an equivalent energy efficiency standard to ENERGY STAR with the municipal planning departments to meet their imposed voluntary agreements and council’s political aspirations is even more daunting. Honestly, municipalities do not have the resources to deal with evaluating, assessing and verifying alternative solutions for building, even though the OBC regulations have allowances for them. This is exacerbated by the fact that some municipal councils are looking to get even further ahead of the OBC with experimental and expensive net zero and net zero-ready homes through the approvals process. This is an overly ambitious, foolhardy approach by the Ontario and municipal governments, especially without a robust discussion with its industry partners to develop a flexible approach to achieve reductions in greenhouse gas emissions. I honestly believe that the success of these government targets is in jeopardy without providing the flexibility we require. We’re not asking for much – but a continued strong dialogue and partnership is a place to start. Frankly, governments may want to consider taking a break from penalizing our industry and consumers even further and allowing the industry to flourish and continue to drive this province’s economy (as well as make a huge impact on Canada’s overall economy). The misguided beliefs that we can grow and progress through innovation in the current regulatory environment are unachievable. If we need to provide consumers a choice of housing types, build more affordable housing and thrive as an industry, we need governments to roll out the red carpet instead of the red tape. BB Lou Bada is vice president of low- rise construction at Starlane Home Corporation and is on the board of directors for RESCON. 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 Superior Energy Efficiency Ideal for LEED homes and new building codes 5-year warranty* FRESH AIR JUST GOT GREENER *ON MOST MODELS.
  7. 7. PANASONIC HAS THE RIGHT PRODUCTS TO BUILD THE RIGHT HOME Learn more about Panasonic’s Partnership Program for rebates, co-branding and value added programs for your buyers and employees
  8. 8. BETTERBUILDER.CA | ISSUE 20 | WINTER 20166 industrynews / PATRICIA DUFFY A s we have been hearing now for several years, ever since the adoption of the Green Energy Act in 2009, Ontario has had a conservation-first focus – and this includes the authority to implement a home energy rating and disclosure program. The reality of such a program came into sharper focus with the release last June of the Climate Change Action Plan: “7.1 Provide free energy audits for pre-sale homes “Energy audits would be required before a new or existing single-family home can be listed for sale, and the energy rating will be included in the real estate listing. These audits are intended to be provided free of charge under this plan. The Home Energy Rating and Disclosure program will improve consumer awareness by allowing homebuyers to compare homes by energy rating. It will also encourage uptake of retrofit incentive programs. To meet the expected demand for home energy auditors, Ontario will support development of energy audit training programs and will further consult before launching this program in 2019.” The board of directors for both the Canadian Residential Energy Services Network (CRESNET) and the Sustainable Housing Foundation (SHF) have made a commitment to engage in a lobby effort with the provincial government to ensure that the politicians voting on the implementation of any regulations around this proposal are aware of the complexity of the issues involved in a mandatory program. Both organizations are also reaching out to other organizations and partnering with them to ensure a coordinated lobby effort with all political parties is undertaken. After all, there will be a provincial election between now and the proposed 2019 launch date! July 8, 2016 CRESNET and SHF board members meet with John Yakabuski, Progressive Conservative energy critic. September 14, 2016 CRESNET and SHF board members meet with Lisa Thompson, Progressive Conservative climate change critic. October 6, 2016 CRESNET and RESCON meet with members of Glen Murray’s staff, Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change. BB Patricia Duffy is executive director of CRESNET and the Sustainable Housing Foundation. Making Our Voice Heard: Ontario’s Mandatory Home Energy Rating and Disclosure Program Both organizations are reaching out to ensure a coordinated lobby effort is undertaken with all political parties. (L to R) Patricia Duffy, John Godden, The Honourable John Yakabuski and Michael White.
  9. 9. BETTERBUILDER.CA | ISSUE 20 | WINTER 2016 7 Save more. Worry less. Professionals who install Uponor PEX plumbing, radiant floor heating, and fire sprinkler systems report faster installation times, fewer callbacks and greater peace of mind. Exceptional products, tools and support. Uponor. Tested in the lab. Proven in the field. Connect with Uponor. Connect with confidence. PEX PLUMBING FIRE SPRINKLER SYSTEMS RADIANT HEATING & COOLING PRE-INSULATED PIPEFind your solution at
  10. 10. BETTERBUILDER.CA | ISSUE 20 | WINTER 2016 Barrie, GTA West, GTA North Eric Byle | 416-937-8793 Toronto East Al Crost | 416-676-0168 Available to water heater customers whose equipment is not operational (i.e. no hot water)
  11. 11. BETTERBUILDER.CA | ISSUE 20 | WINTER 2016 9 Congratulations Winners of the OHBA Awards of Distinction buildernews / BETTER BUILDER STAFF 63 Yorkview – Toronto Castleform Developments Inc. OHBA Award of Distinction for Room Design 2016 WINNER, Most Outstanding New Home Kitchen (new low-rise home 2001 square feet and over). Peter Voong, president of Castleform Developments Inc., would like to give special thanks to My Design Studio for their creativity in designing the kitchen, and D.O.T. Custom Millwork for the manufacturing and installation. This prestigious award was won two years ago in 2014 with the same designer and manufacturer. “It’s great to be working with talented people in the industry,” says Peter Voong. “The people that I surround myself with, I consider them part of the Castleform team. This shows you that great things are achievable when everyone works together as a team.” The Twisted Willow – Brighton Gordon Tobey Developments Ltd. OHBA Awards of Distinction for Architectural Design 2016 WINNER, Most Outstanding Custom Home (up to 3000 square feet). Credit to Monaghan Lumber Specialties, Hollandale Nurseries Ltd., Clearsphere. Additional recognition: CHBA National Awards, Housing Excellence 2016 FINALIST, Custom Homes Detached (from 2,500 – 3,500 square feet). RESNET Cross Border Home Builder Challenge San Diego, California 2015 WINNER, awarded to the Canadian custom home builder with the lowest Home Energy Rating System (HERS) score with a HERS rating of 36. Heather and Steve Tobey celebrate their award. Castleform Developments’ award-winning kitchen.
  12. 12. BETTERBUILDER.CA | ISSUE 20 | WINTER 201610 industrynews / DOW BETTER BUILDER STAFF Rooted in sustainable technology, STYROFOAM™ facilitates a future of innovation in the building and construction industry Dow Building Solutions (DBS), a business unit of The Dow Chemical Company, is celebrating the 75 year anniversary of STYRO­FOAM™ Brand XPS Insulation, which has continued to facilitate sustain­ability, innovation and community success in the building and construc­tion industry since its discovery in 1941. Dow marked the anniversary while attending the 2016 NAHB Inter- national Builders’ Show® , among the largest annual light construction shows in the world, that brings together the industry’s most important global manufacturers and suppliers. Builders today face a bewildering number of products and technologies promising better building perform­ ance. Dow’s portfolio-based approach offers solutions for the entire building envelope, offering energy efficiency that can stand the test of time. STYROFOAM™ has a long and rich heritage as a sustainable building product, insulating to meeting core thermal, moisture, air and vapour performance requirements through its rigid foam board technology. Over its lifetime, STYROFOAM™ can help save more than 30 times the energy embodied in it. STYROFOAM™ has been part of Dow’s commitment to sustainable chemistry innovations for the last 75 years and will expand this legacy well into the future through continual optimization of building energy efficiency and performance. Dow has been a proud national insulation partner of Habitat for Humanity, with STYROFOAM™ donations leading Dow’s pledge to the address the need of affordable housing around the globe. More than 2,500 Habitat builds in 2015 used Dow products to help home­ owners reduce their home’s overall natural gas and electricity usage. “New possibilities for resilient, energy efficient and well-designed homes and buildings are being realized in neighbourhoods and communities around the world thanks to imagination, science and engineering,” said Tim Lacey, global business director for Dow Building Solutions. “We are proud to offer 75 years of product innovation that addresses the need for long-term value as a sustainable building solution and look forward to improving, innovating Dow Celebrates 75 Years of Innovation with STYROFOAM™ Rear view of Brookfield Discovery house. Dow CLADMATE™ CM20 was used as insulated sheathing plus air barrier and weather resistant barrier, which Dow calls the Total Barrier System. Third-party tested per CAN ULC S741 S742 as referenced in 2015 National Building Code (NBC).
  13. 13. BETTERBUILDER.CA | ISSUE 20 | WINTER 2016 11 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 and perfecting building envelope science well into the future.” About Dow Building Solutions Dow Building Solutions serves the residential and commercial building and construction markets with an industry-leading portfolio of products and integrated systems designed to insulate and seal the whole house. Beginning more than 70 years ago with our flagship STYROFOAM™ Brand Extruded Polystyrene (XPS) Foam Insulation, Dow has continued to offer innovative insulation, weatherization and air sealing solutions that work behind the scenes – above grade, below grade – to help builders and contractors deliver more comfortable, durable and affordable homes. Follow Dow Building Solutions on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn or subscribe to our News Release RSS Feed. About Dow Dow combines the power of science and technology to passionately innovate what is essential to human progress. The Company is driving innovations that extract value from the intersection of chemical, physical and biological sciences to help address many of the world’s most challenging problems such as the need for clean water, clean energy generation and conservation, and increasing agricultural productivity. Dow’s integrated, market-driven, industry- leading portfolio of specialty chemical, advanced materials, agrosciences and plastics businesses delivers a broad range of technology-based products and solutions to customers in approximately 180 countries and in high-growth sectors such as packaging, electronics, water, coatings and agriculture. In 2014, Dow had annual sales of more than $58 billion and employed approximately 53,000 people worldwide. The Company’s more than 6,000 product families are manufactured at 201 sites in 35 countries across the globe. BB References to “Dow” or the “Company” mean The Dow Chemical Company and its consolidated subsidiaries unless otherwise expressly noted. More information about Dow can be found at
  14. 14. BETTERBUILDER.CA | ISSUE 20 | WINTER 201612 industryexpert / GORD COOKE The changes in SB-12 (2017) should spur you to review and fine tune your HRV and ERV selections to take advantage of the hard work manufacturers have put in to provide cost-effective solutions to meet the new prescriptive and performance pathways described in the code. One significant change in the 2017 code requirements is the addition of the following words: “the minimum SRE (Sensible Recovery Efficiency) required is based on a test temperature of 0 °C at an air flow rate equal to the principle exhaust flow but need not exceed 30 L/s.” In previous codes, an HRV or ERV efficiency could be selected at any airflow. Now, it is tied to the principal ventilation rate of the house. The example below should help illustrate this. It shows the SRE required for prescriptive package A1. If you are going to use one of the prescriptive packages A1 through A6, for homes in southern Ontario, you will be looking for HRVs or ERVs with an SRE of between 65% and 81%, with the most likely packages requiring an SRE of 75%. Fortunately, leading manufacturers such as vänEE and Venmar are responding quickly with cost-effective units that will still fit nicely into the ever-smaller mechanical spaces builders like to provide. This is something you will want to check up on, because higher- efficiency HRVs are by definition bigger, and not all manufacturers will have choices available in compact models. The good news is that all HRVs or ERVs installed in Canada must be independently rated and listed by the Home Ventilating Institute. Just confirm that your HVAC contractor is able to provide you with this independent listing showing that the equipment they are installing meets code requirements. Of course, more thoughtful builders may well decide to use the more flexible performance path options in SB-12. Using REM/Rate or HOT2000, or simply building to ENERGY STAR specifications, allows total flexibility in choices of efficiencies of HRVs or ERVs. For example, if you are using a 65% efficient HRV as part of your ENERGY STAR specifications now, you can continue to use those specifications and that appliance under the 2017 code requirements. In other performance path software evaluations, you will find that higher efficiency HRVs or ERVs may be more cost-effective than other envelope upgrades. For example, choosing one of the new high-performance HRVs or ERVs would offset or allow a builder to reduce basement insulation from R20 back down to R12 or eliminate the need for a drain water heat recovery unit. Ask your energy rater to run some comparisons for you so you can best match your selections with your building process. I do feel inclined to ask you to tune up a few other things now that HRVs are as normal and as common P lease don’t blame me, but the new 2017 Ontario Supplementary Standard SB-12 for energy efficiency requires all Part 9 dwellings to meet the principal ventilation requirements with a heat recovery ventilator (HRV) or energy recovery ventilator (ERV). Certainly I have been an advocate for properly balanced ventilation for over 30 years, but I think most readers will know that this specific new requirement is a natural progression. The requirement for mechanical ventilation first appeared in 1990. With recognition that ventilation without heat recovery can easily represent 15% to 20% of the annual energy loss of a home, it stands to reason there needs to be an energy efficiency requirement on ventilation, in the same way that other house components such as furnaces, water heaters and even windows and walls are required to meet minimum energy efficiency levels. Refining Your HRV/ERV Choices Number Bedrooms Compliance Package Minimum SRE Requirement 0 ºC –25 ºC 1 A1 75% at 15 L/s (31.8 cfm) 55% at 30 L/s (63.6 cfm) 2 A1 75% at 22.5 L/s (47.7 cfm) 55% at 30 L/s (63.6 cfm) 3+ A1 75% at 30 L/s (63.6 cfm) 55% at 30 L/s (63.6 cfm) An example illustrating the SRE required for prescriptive package A1.
  15. 15. BETTERBUILDER.CA | ISSUE 20 | WINTER 2016 as furnaces or water heaters. It’s time we cleaned up a few things. Improper installation and balancing of HRVs continues to be the most common defect in ENERGY STAR and other energy programs. This occurs despite extensive efforts by manufacturers and representatives, such as ourselves, to offer training and installation assistance. Here are three things to check in on with your HVAC contractor. I will ask you, the builders, to step up and expect to pay perhaps $30 to $50 more for your installation, but expect the following three improvements: 1. There has been an important change to the fire ratings of insulated flexible duct. You will find that the cheapest of duct, typically characterized by a black or grey plastic outer liner, can no longer meet the required flame spread ratings. As of this fall, you will see that your contractor will be switching to a higher-quality flex that is more durable and has an attractive metalized (silver) jacket, for just $7 to $8 more per 25' length. 2. Ask for better quality exterior hoods. The cheapest hoods have a plastic bird screen on the face of the duct that restricts airflow significantly. In order to get good airflow performance out of the better and better HRVs you are buying, pay $4 to $5 more per hood and get one with a 1/4” mesh wire screen – or better yet, a sloped hood that has a proper rain-screen fitting that minimizes potential water intrusion. 3. Lastly, ask your HVAC contractor to partner with a leading manufacturer to have their installers regularly and repeatedly trained on how to properly balance and verify flow of the units they install. Leading manufacturers offer experienced field personnel to do this at no charge. I suggest a touch-up training every six months or so. It can be done in the field or in their office and takes 45 minutes or less. You will benefit from fewer callbacks due to window condensation and cold air complaints. BB Gord Cooke is president of Building Knowledge Canada. 13 A low-cost hood with a restrictive plastic bird screen. A “tandem” hood that allows fresh air and exhaust air through one-vent penetration for when you have limited wall space for venting. A great hood by Primex that has a built-in brick flange.
  16. 16. BETTERBUILDER.CA | ISSUE 20 | WINTER 201614 industryexpert / MICHAEL LIO C ustomer service delivery has become the most important factor contributing to customer satisfaction. Builders are always looking for better ways to understand and to serve their customers. In the 1980s, service culture captured the attention of North America with the publication of landmark books such as In Search of Excellence by Tom Peters and Robert H. Waterman and Service America! by Karl Albrecht and Ron Zemke. A decade later, service companies realized that better service was a business strategy that was critical to their success. Customers would seek out ratings for various products and services such as those from J.D. Power Associates before they buy. Historically, builders have not fared well in customer service. In the earliest Canadian J.D. Power Associates ratings of new home buyer satisfaction in 2005, only 33% of customers responded that they were satisfied with their homes. In the same year, Jim Adair wrote an article in Homes Cottages which also reported that customer service tops the list of complaints about builders, according to focus groups conducted by the Canadian Home Builders’ Association. Less than half of the homeowners in the focus group felt their builder had set realistic expectations and prepared them for what to expect with their new home purchase experience. In 2009, the great recession took its toll on the building industry. The 2009 J.D. Power survey of new home buyer satisfaction in four major Canadian cities reported that satisfaction declined significantly as builders diverted resources away from customer service. Builders today recognize that bad customer service affects customer satisfaction and their reputations. They are eager to adopt practices that improve the efficiency or profitability of their company, but may fail to address customer satisfaction as a critical component to building a resilient organization. Few builders understand the full range of policies and procedures that they can adopt within their companies to enable them to deliver the customer outcomes that they want. In her book, The House that Service Built, Nancy Bandy suggests that for all their good intentions to establish responsive customer-service capabilities, most companies today still can’t tell you exactly what “good” customer service is, or how effective they are in providing it to satisfy their customers’ needs. Bandy defines customer care as the process of understanding, communicating with and supporting the needs of a builder’s customers before, during and after the product is purchased. In fact, the customer experience at each customer contact point needs to be appropriately engineered to produce the desired customer outcomes. This is only possible if each contact point is supported by detailed policies and procedures that guide the actions of the builder’s staff. Builders need to create a service culture that is driven by empathy and that is informed by the customer’s home buying journey. Failing to understand the customer’s journey can mean that the customer’s expectations and the builder’s actions become misaligned. Service strategy should be founded on what customers think, say, feel and do. Understanding the customer’s explicit expectations – and their seldom-spoken implicit expectations – is key. Business schools across North America teach methods that can be used to better understand customers and their needs and expectations. Closing the gap between reality and their expectations minimizes disappointment and improves satisfaction. When the disagreements arise, good builders need to have the tools to be able to dissect the conversation and shift from arguing positions to learning from one another. Good builders recognize the elements of difficult conversations and are able to pivot toward constructive resolution. This Is Exceptional Customer Service Expectations Reality Disappointment
  17. 17. BETTERBUILDER.CA | ISSUE 20 | WINTER 2016 15 Learning to listen, to understand and to respond are abilities that require effort and investment on the part of every building company. There are proven techniques available to move from confrontation to collaboration. Our new book, This is Exceptional Customer Service: A Definitive Guidebook for Builders, establishes a set of best practices to help builders deliver improved customer satisfaction and achieve the desired customer outcomes. The book identifies the critical contact points between the buyer and the builder, and acts as a catalogue of best practices that the very best Canadian builders have adopted. It identifies the most important factors of service excellence and how to implement them as part of an effective customer service strategy and plan. Whether you’re a new or experienced builder, your reputation hinges on how you treat your customers. The trust that you seek to build every time you engage with your customers depends on the competence and the character of everyone who interacts with your buyers. In the same way that you invested time to learn how to build a house, time must also be invested to learn how to deliver exceptional customer service. In return, you’ll get fantastically loyal customers who drive your reputation and lower your costs. This is Exceptional Customer Service is available from For more information, contact Edith Yu at BB Michael Lio is the former executive director of the Consumers Council of Canada and the Homeowner Protection Centre. Roof truss and wood sill connection. Simpson Strong Tie MGT system shown Drywall screwed into amvic polypropylene webs as per building code Electrical outlet Wood sub-floor installed as per local building Simpson strong tie ICFLC and wood floor joists connection Amvic insulating concrete forms Amdeck floor roof system Exterior wood siding installed as per local building code Amvic high impact polypropylene webs Acrylic, standard ptucco or eifs applied to exterior face of Amvic ICF Brick veneer Parge face of exposed brick ledge Grade Peel-and-stick waterproofing membrane (or equivalent) as per local building code Perforated weeping tile INSULATED CONCRETEFORMS FOR MORE INFORMATION VISIT: AMVIC.COM Most companies today still can’t tell you exactly what “good” customer service is, or how effective they are in providing it to satisfy their customers’ needs.
  18. 18. BETTERBUILDER.CA | ISSUE 20 | WINTER 2016 Brookfield featurestory / ROB BLACKSTIEN The Brookfield Residential home at 4 McCabe Lane in Tottenham, Ontario is 57% better than code. (Rating date October 20, 2016.) HERSSCORE 30
  19. 19. BETTERBUILDER.CA | ISSUE 20 | WINTER 2016 17 “The goal here is simple,” explains Bob Stewart, director, land develop­ ment, “build great communities that meet the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.” Brookfield aims to be ahead of the curve in the development of their communities as well as their home building techniques. In a nutshell, the company’s philosophy is “the best places to call home,” he says. That ethos encompasses all aspects of the process, from land development and design all the way through to the end product and end user. “We try to do the right thing for the community and our stakeholders,” Stewart says. Brookfield’s focus on the future is very much centred on developing more energy-efficient housing – at a cost that won’t bankrupt potential North American builder continues to innovate in the area of energy-efficient housing T he Ontario (Canada) division of Brookfield Residential is celebrating its 60th anniversary this year – but instead of revelling in its past, this North American development giant continues to look towards the future. Brookfield has spread its wings far across North America, currently developing in 12 cities across the continent, with a particular focus in the western U.S., including Hawaii, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Sacramento and San Diego. home owners. This is currently a huge issue in Ontario, with the provincial government’s climate change policy combining with a new Building Code set to be enacted in 2017 that is expected to be among the strictest in the country. This could present a perfect storm for builders trying to grapple with all these changes while continuing to try to provide top-quality housing at a price that hopefully won’t reach the stratosphere. There are many moving parts that make this a big challenge for the building community, Stewart says, not the least of which is the fact that on the building science side of Ontario’s climate change policy, the province is essentially encouraging municipalities to ask for better-than-code standards within proposed communities. This is an issue of concern for the Blazes OwnTrail
  20. 20. BETTERBUILDER.CA | ISSUE 20 | WINTER 201618 building community, one which we explored in the summer issue (see “Misguided Municipal Regulation of the Home Building Industry”). It’s especially difficult for builders that develop across the province, as they can be faced with several municipalities asking for varying standards. In a nutshell, the issue is this: the province wants a carbon-free solution, but by pushing electricity – which costs 10 times what natural gas does per energy unit – the price of the home can skyrocket. Achieving net zero energy with solar and high-efficiency electrical products will deliver a HERS (Home Energy Rating System) score of zero (the lower the HERS score, the better). Given the current cost of electricity, including these items is what causes the home costs to rise so significantly. However, given the current price of natural gas, a hybrid home that is also powered by natural gas makes a lot more sense, especially when the end goal is – or at least should be – to save the home owner the most money possible. Brookfield has taken it upon themselves to experiment with different building techniques in an effort to balance high energy efficiency with affordability. This has manifested itself in the company’s discovery home project in Tottenham, Ontario. (See “The Tottenham Discovery Home” sidebar for complete project details.) And yes, staying on brand matters to this company. “Sustainability will continue to be a focus for our brand,” Stewart maintains. That’s why the discovery home project is right in Brookfield’s sweet spot as an innovator. “We pride ourselves on pushing the envelope and seeing what it takes to get to the next level on building science.” The ultimate goal here, Stewart explains, is to take the Tottenham findings and be able to commoditize them in different tiers for homebuyers: If you want a home that’s, say, 20% better than code, this is how you get there, and this is what it will cost. For a home that’s 50% better, here is the process and the price. And so on. By being able to offer their customers packages like this, Brookfield will be able to provide flexible options to home buyers, depending on their specific needs. “We’ve got to try to make this feasible, especially if municipalities are wanting it,” he says. It’s a process of education. Brookfield continues to educate itself through practices like the discovery home, and then passes that knowledge on to municipalities, its trades and its home owners. “So the education is required on all levels,” Stewart says. The other issue facing the industry as we head towards net zero building is figuring out how these homes can be financed. Currently, there seems to be a disconnect between how homes that include major energy-saving features are assessed and, in turn, financed In a nutshell, the issue is this: the province wants a carbon- free solution, but by pushing electricity – which costs 10 times what natural gas does per energy unit – the price of the home can skyrocket. Members of Brookfield’s Near Zero discovery team (L to R) Jimmy Neto, Tiago Moura, Ghazal Kheradpisheh.
  21. 21. BETTERBUILDER.CA | ISSUE 20 | WINTER 2016 19 The Tottenham Discovery Home Brookfield is currently building a discovery home in Tottenham, Ontario, that will help drive the company’s direction in energy-efficient housing. The aggressive goal of this near zero energy home was to be 80% better than Building Code standards. It has a HERS rating of 13 and is 77% above code when solar battery storage is included. Among the features of this house are: • Fuel switching: There’s a gas-fired furnace, but also an air conditioner heat pump. In the shoulder months, the heat pump can provide the space heating with the furnace kicking in when it gets really cold outside. • Insulation: There’s two inches of exterior polystyrene foam on the outside (R10), plus Roxul (R24) in the main walls. It’s a panelized home featuring less wood in the cavity, meaning more insulation can be added. • Windows: The home features triple-glazed windows with a U-value of 1.0. • Photovoltaics: Brookfield is considering using the Panasonic solar battery storage system. • Exhaust fans: The home includes Panasonic WhisperGreen fans, which displace more air while using a lot less electricity. • Grey water: Brookfield chose Greyter Water Systems, a unit that supports drain water heat recovery, collecting water in a holding tank to use shower water to flush toilets. —RB see “Translating and Quantifying Appraisal Value for Better-Than-Code Homes” on page 24.) Brookfield has taken notice of this initiative, and Stewart thinks it’s “a possible option on getting the banks to understand what goes into these homes.” Financial institutions don’t tend to deal with shades of grey, so expecting them to understand the value of adding grey water systems could be a difficult task. “It’s that learning curve again and it’s taking a while to get there, but I think a lot of people are onside. It just takes time and the right people to push it.” In the meantime, Brookfield will continue to gather data from its Tottenham home, with full results expected by the end of the year. Stay tuned for a followup report in a future issue once Brookfield shares what it has learned. BB Rob Blackstien is a Toronto-based freelance writer. by banks. It’s become somewhat of a catch-22 as governments are pushing green building, but there aren’t the means within financial institutions to finance these homes based on their true value from a total cost of ownership perspective. Stewart concedes that “it’s a fine line to walk.” The answer may lie in a model conceived by Austin, Texas-based Green Energy Money, Inc. (GEM). GEM provides the financial analysis tools needed to help fund green home building. (For more on GEM, Component Package J Discovery Ceiling w/ Attic R-50 R-60 Ceiling w/o Attic R-31 R-31 Exposed Floor R-31 R-40 AG Walls R-22 R-24+R-10 @ 24” O.C. BG Walls R-12 R-24 + R-5 Slab 600mm R-10 R-10 Slab — R-10 Windows Sliding Doors 1.8 R = 1.0, SHG = 0.20 Skylights 2.8 2.8 Space Heating 94% 96% c/w ECM Space Cooling — 21 SEER VS Heat Pump Domestic Hot Water 67% 90% Eff HRV Efficiency 60% 75% Air Tightness 2.5 1.5 Insulation Grade III I Renewables — 2 x R3-48 Grey Water System — Complete System Lighting — 100% LED Solar — N/A HERS Score 59 30 Energy Consumption (kWh/yr) 41,596 17,804.0 % Better Than Code — 57%
  22. 22. BETTERBUILDER.CA | ISSUE 20 | WINTER 201620 buildernews / ALEX NEWMAN What they found was that Echo Haven was developed by four like- minded individuals, on land compiled 10 years before, in a spectacular natural landscape in northwest Calgary. The aim was net zero – homes that produce as much energy as they use – and on creating minimal environmental footprint. With expectations of reducing up to 80% of grid power and zero greenhouse gas emissions, the individuals who bought there would build healthy and efficient homes using solar heating strategies and water conservation initiatives to reduce water consumption by 72%. It was music to Christen’s ears and she immediately told her sister, Amanda Robertson, and brother-in- law, Ronnie Blow. The two couples had always talked about building their own homes, and the community was aligned with what they all believed in. Plus it would allow them to build themselves rather than use a designated builder. The couples lived near each other and spent a lot of time together. But undertaking a building project can test even the best relationships, and Christen admits there were “definitely times when it got tense. But none of us really fights, and we all had the same goal. At the end of the day I get to live beside my sister, brother-in-law and nephew, and that’s the coolest thing. You just have to remember it’s not a forever [construction] process and that there’s an end in sight.” Theirs is the only duplex in Echo Haven, the rest being single-family dwellings. Before securing approvals from the city of Calgary, they needed to demonstrate to the community board of directors that the house would have an EnerGuide rating of 84. To help them with this, they found an architectural draftsperson, Kim Walton of Bow Crow Design, who specializes in green design. “She had been involved in some of the other projects in this community and did the drawings for our duplex,” Christen says. “We worked with her to design the home, and she provided information on the green aspects – window placement and design, R-value of walls and ceiling – and did the design on how to meet those specs. We worked with her to balance what we wanted in our home and how to get the best green design to achieve it.” Walton also put the couples in touch with John Godden, who provided guidance throughout the construction of the project. Most notably, she adds, he did energy modelling and guided them in the duct design to make it as efficient as possible. He also made recommend­ ations on drain water heat recovery, which they will eventually add. A duplex experiences less heat loss from its shared wall, but Walton also aimed to avoid bump-outs to minimize heat loss even more. Cantilevers, for example, are very inefficient, Amanda says. The aim was to “strike the right balance between esthetics and efficiency, and for the most part it’s a box with very few cantilevers.” Each side is 2,000 square feet (not including the basement), with three bedrooms and three baths. At street level are the front doors and a drive down to the garage, which is built under the house and takes up a portion of the basement. The rest of the finished basement features a rec room, home gym and media room. The home at 25 Rockhaven Green in NW Calgary, Alberta has a HERS score of 35 and is 68% better than code. (Rating date October 17, 2016.) O n a crisp fall day two years ago, a bike ride around the neighbourhood set Calgary couple Christen and Jordan Gray on a whole new path. They happened to ride by Echo Haven, a 25-lot subdivision that is aiming for net zero homes. Intrigued, the Grays stopped to investigate, went home to research further and grew more excited about the prospect of building their own home. HERSSCORE 35 Near Zero at Echo Haven
  23. 23. BETTERBUILDER.CA | ISSUE 20 | WINTER 201622 The building envelope Because the couples didn’t have the budget to accomplish net zero, they aimed for near zero, which is 50% better than code. This meant beefing up the building envelope, making it tighter so that less energy is consumed. The exterior walls are constructed like a sandwich – a one foot-thick sandwich – with 2' x 4' walls on either side with R-14 bats and the middle gap filled with Roxul R-22 comfort bat insulation, creating an overall R-value of 50 (think extra thick Wonderbread slathered with PBJ and you’ll get the idea). That value doesn’t include the drywall; the roof is filled with loose cellulose fill for an R-value of 50. Under the basement slab, two layers of two-inch rigid foam insulation were added. As Ronnie explains, one typically packs down gravel and then pours the slab – but after they compacted the gravel in place, they added two layers of rigid foam insulation before pouring the concrete slab. As well, the basement’s outside cement walls were covered in rigid foam insulation before exterior cladding was applied. Before adding the drywall, a blower door air test was conducted by Tyler Hermanson of 4elements design, a local Calgary company, in order to identify any leaks in the walls. Triple- glazed windows with multiple coats of low-e argon and selective coatings were used to maximize solar heat gain. Operating awning windows were strategically placed to maximize natural ventilation. As Amanda says, the house is “very cozy” and draft- free, as R-2000 levels of airtightness were achieved. The biggest thing about the energy efficiency of this house is the building envelope, says Christen. After that’s done, you can work on the interior efficiency: HVAC, heat recovery and drain water recovery, right down to LED lights, low VOC finishes and energy-efficient appliances. A key component in the mechanical system was the Zuba central heat pump system by Mitsubishi, which looks like a furnace but isn’t. The community does not have natural gas hookups, because the aim is to eventually go solar to produce electricity. The Zuba has a compressor in the back yard, an air handler inside the mechanical room and a backup heater because Calgary’s harsh winters can dip below –30° C. A Lifebreath high-efficiency double core heat recovery ventilator (HRV) constantly exchanges and circulates fresh air from outside into the house while exhausting stale air from each bathroom. In the ensuite master bathroom, a Panasonic WhisperGreen exhaust fan manages the excess humidity created by the large shower stall with two shower heads. For hot water, they have a hybrid air source heat pump hot water heater, which they purchased through Sears, because it had the best rating on noise and was very efficient, Ronnie says. The water heater will be enhanced by drain water heat recovery, which will be supplied by Renewability. Since the community has no storm sewers – to reduce burden on the city’s storm sewer infrastructure – rainwater runoff is to be managed within each yard and on common grounds by the condo development. (Only common land is under condo ownership, not homes, which owners maintain themselves.) Calgary does not allow grey water recycling at present, but the community plans to implement it when the bylaw changes. Although the houses (at around $480,000) were about 30% more expensive than a regular home, the final cost brought them better insulation, more expensive windows and rough-ins for solar panels and for separate greywater plumbing. The land for each home was $215,000 – but condo ownership gives them access to large common areas like a pond, skating rink and village green. The couples found that construction was more demanding than they expected, especially since all four work full time, but it was also richly rewarding. Jordan oversaw the building envelope, exterior finishing, interior finishing and on-site coordination of trades, while Christen and Amanda researched interior finishing and Christen looked into windows. Ronnie handled plumbing, electrical, HVAC, interior finishing and on-site coordination of trades. The biggest challenge, say Amanda and Ronnie, was having a small child – their son was just a year old through the whole endeavour and, not surprisingly, they are later moving in than Christen and Jordan. Amanda’s advice? “Don’t build a house when you have a one-year-old.” BB Alex Newman is a writer, editor and researcher at Calgary Near Zero owner/builders Ronnie Blow and Jordan Gray.
  24. 24. BETTERBUILDER.CA | ISSUE 20 | WINTER 201624 buildernews / TERESA LOPEZ Quantifying and monetizing the value of homes built better than code is possible today through a certified third-party Home Energy Rating System (HERS) energy audit as well as education that teaches appraisers and lenders how to interpret and monetize building performance data. The Appraisal Foundation (TAF) provides appraisers with critical tools to make proper comparisons and adjustments to appraisal valuations. Appraisers are now being armed with guidance for homes that are better quality, more durable and energy efficient. Still, many appraisers are not competent in interpreting or adopting green premium guideline adjustments. The potential value the high- performance building market repre­ sents is only beginning to be under­ stood. Collateral in current loan portfolios may be discounted (brown discount) in the near future as inven­ tory and demand increases for homes built beyond code (green premium). Market research and studies show that building performance represents a new era of risk mitigation, and high- performance building can serve as a buffer to those risks. TAF’s 2013 first exposure draft report, Valuation of Green Buildings: Background and Core Competency, included a definition of a brown discount noted in their research: “Potential for obsolescence, also known as the brown discount, for existing buildings that don’t ‘green up’: Just as green buildings that outperform the market may show a value premium, brown buildings that underperform relative to their market may show a discount.” Building science quantifies durability, quality of construction and efficiency. HERS audits provide baselines on energy savings and costs, allowing for an industry- accepted present-value formula calculation. This practice combines a paired sales analysis with an income adjustment for energy savings. Appraisers typically can’t factor the costs associated with high- performance building upgrades in value. However, the costs to operate and the savings can be quantified to make income adjustments in value. This is a critical factor for appraisers who need data in order to support energy cost-savings adjustments and who can now use HERS analysis data. This methodology can impact higher green value premiums in appraisal valuations. A recent Green Energy Money, Inc. (GEM) economic analysis conducted for a Brookfield Residential, Toronto project compares a better-than-code Translating and Quantifying Appraisal Value for Better-Than-Code Homes A s building science and technology continue to evolve, scale and become more affordable, innovative builders are finding ways to meet and exceed mandated energy building code requirements. However, builders are finding that projects built better than code can pose new challenges with trans­ lating the extra costs to buyers, lenders and appraisers, even though the energy savings are at least 50% greater than comparable conventional new homes. ADAPTEDFROMCOSTAR.COM/UPLOADEDFILES/JOSRE/JOURNALPDFS/11.221_248.PDF Green Premium and Brown Discount Appraisal Valuations GREEN PREMIUM • Demand for green • Sufficient supply of green buildings • High-quality asset • Premium value assignment BROWN DISCOUNT • High deferred maintenance-energy operating costs • Low-quality asset • Declining regional markets EARLY ADAPTER MID ADAPTER LATE ADAPTER 2013 2014–2016 TIPPING POINT Critical Mass Mortgage Write-Downs
  25. 25. BETTERBUILDER.CA | ISSUE 20 | WINTER 2016 home with and without solar power. The analysis proves the potential return on investment that the savings represent over conventional homes; adding solar actually provides an excellent financial investment. Brookfield’s test cases are proving that building better than code offers greater community and buyer investment potential. Even though the sales price was $40,000 higher due to the solar equipment price (which doesn’t include any rebates or incentives that could reduce the costs), the energy savings and reduced operating expenses can be absorbed in value. Cost benefits also account for a potential future value and can be applied to pay off the loan sooner. GEM developed an energy-efficient rating methodology that includes over 39 points of certified data for appraisers to properly quantify value. GEM offers a nationally accredited (TAF-approved) green appraisal course for appraisers. GEM conducted a beta green appraisal program with several U.S. mortgage lenders from 2014 to 2016. The $38 million loan portfolio conducted in nine U.S. cities achieved a $2.8 million, or an 8% to 10%, green premium appraisal value increase in incremental property value. The portfolio’s HERS Index averaged 41 on 78 loans, all were better than code and over 30% of the portfolio were near- to-net-zero homes producing as much energy as they were using. For more information, visit www.greenenergy. money. BB Teresa Lopez is the CEO of Green Energy Money. 25 BETTER THAN CODE (BTC) HOME ECONOMIC ANALYSIS BTC HOME WITH SOLAR SYSTEM $715,000 SALES PRICE $755,000 45 HERS INDEX 25 $8200–$9000 ESTIMATED VALUE INCREASE $27,000–$30,000 $543 ($45 per month) ENERGY SAVINGS $1799 ($150 per month) 21.8 YEARS POTENTIAL LOAN PAYOFF 20.8 YEARS $34,430 INTEREST SAVINGS @ 3% FOR 25 YEARS (3.29 APR) $46,753 $14,593 FUTURE VALUE (FV) ENERGY SAVINGS @ 3% FOR 20 YEARS $49,222 Brookfield Residential economic comparison between Better Than Code Croyton Model Homes (Toronto, CA) — with and without solar system. 2016©GREENENERGYMONEY,INC.
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  27. 27. BETTERBUILDER.CA | ISSUE 20 | WINTER 2016 As part of the project, Luck was responsible for selecting five participating home builders who would think – and act – outside the box when it came to energy efficiency. In addition to adopting net zero energy in some of the homes within their regular projects, the five home builders would also be “influencers” by educating others in their region – builders and the general public – about the benefits of net zero. The point of the Buildability initiative, Luck says, was to demon­ strate that it was possible to build quality, energy efficient homes that were also affordable. “Cost is obviously an issue,” she admits. “But if we don’t demonstrate that it’s technically feasible, costs will never come down, so our team studied the type of builder who might be ready and able to adopt this.” Finding the five participants wasn’t all that easy, and the team interviewed several builders to ensure that each one would understand the Buildability approach. They also had to be of a certain size, Luck adds, to absorb the higher cost of building the net zero ready housing, since production builders generally keep construction costs down by working assembly-line style. In contrast to the Equilibrium Project launched in 2007 by the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, which invited custom builders constructing homes for families or clients who had “bought into the idea of net zero already,” these five builders took on the task because “it helped them know what their trades were capable of.” Each builder took a different approach to the challenge. In Calgary, Mattamy is offering some of the net zero upgrades as part of their standard package. In Ottawa, Minto is offering a single detached model as a net zero option at an upgrade cost of about 15%. Reid’s Heritage Homes in Guelph has committed to building all of their single detached homes as net zero ready – a strategic move that Luck says will leverage national, and even interna­ tional, presence for this small builder. For these builders, doing better than capacity and being the only one in a particular region to build a set of net zero homes is a point of pride. But the project – and the award – also boosts the builder’s exposure and enhances marketing efforts. They’ve produced videos on each site’s progress so that the public and buyers can see what is being done and when. At the end of the day, though, it’s also a business investment. “They aren’t there out of the goodness of their hearts,” Luck says. “They’re looking at ways to make building better, and we were able to define how this would work for them business-wise.” This is also the first time Natural Resources Canada will provide a label that reflects the modelled energy consumption of a home. Because it produces as much energy as it uses, a net zero home garners a zero rating. But the rating and the attention from Natural Resources Canada were non- existent when the project first began, Luck says. “Nobody was talking about 27 Meet Candice Luck Clean50 Award Winner sitespecific / ALEX NEWMAN I n the recent national Clean50 awards, 50 companies or individuals were honoured for their efforts to “advance the cause of sustainability and clean capitalism in Canada.” Among them was Candice Luck, director of strategy and programs with Buildability. At just 30, she is project leader of Buildability’s $4 million initiative aimed at demonstrating to home builders that building net zero energy homes is technologically feasible. The experience ended up teaching Luck much more: “It wasn’t about the technology itself, but about how people could adopt it and how trades would understand it.”
  28. 28. BETTERBUILDER.CA | ISSUE 20 | WINTER 2016 mandating net zero in government. It was only recently when the Climate Change Action Plan came out that this idea of achieving net zero carbon footprint has been all over the news.” Since the five builders are all on the Canadian Housing Council, their involvement in the project helps move the net zero discussion forward. Luck, who has an architecture degree from the University of Toronto, met Buildability’s president Michael Lio when he taught her building science. The course, which explored the “nuts and bolts of the built environment – what went between the walls, how materials interact with environment, the health of the built space,” was challenging. But during the exam, while Luck was “frantically” calculating a difficult R-value equation, Lio tapped her on the shoulder and asked if she would send him a resume. Having already agreed to an internship in New York, she took a pass, but contacted him on her return and accepted a position in his code consulting practice. “It was very educational, we looked a lot at the technical aspects of building.” At the time, Lio was also president of EnerQuality, which had piloted a program to help builders adopt ENERGY STAR. Luck was brought in to help him coordinate meetings and ensure builders met action lists. “I was quite impressed with these people, these executives of building companies, when they talked about the new technology.” But the experience ended up teaching her much more than that: “It wasn’t about the technology itself, the insulation or whatever, but about how people around could adopt the technology and how the trades would understand it, and how important it was for people to understand they were building homes and how much they care about that.” Better Builder would like to congra­ tulate Candice on her achievements and recognize her contributions for making Canada a cleaner country. BB Alex Newman is a writer, editor and researcher at
  29. 29. BETTERBUILDER.CA | ISSUE 20 | WINTER 2016 A s codes and standards change, it is important to constantly find innovative ways to maintain and improve the quality of a building. For Amvic, that means providing builders with the right products to achieve that quality. That is why SilveRboard Graphite exterior sheathing was developed. SilveRboard® Graphite XS is an expanded polystyrene (EPS) base material that is embedded with carbon “Graphite” particles which increase the thermal performance of the EPS insulation. The Graphite EPS beads reflect radiant heat energy similar to the effect of a mirror that reduces thermal conductivity and increases the material’s ability to resist the flow of heat (or R-value). SilveRboard® Graphite XS is a combination of graphite embedded EPS beads surrounded by air pockets, laminated on both sides with perforated reflective film. 98% of the EPS in SilveRboard® Graphite XS is air; Amvic calls this insulation “engineered air.” “We wanted to provide one of the most energy- efficient, environmentally friendly, sustainable and cost-effective insulation products available today,” says Victor Amend, presi­ dent and CEO of Amvic Building System. “And we did just that.” SilveRboard® Graphite XS performs better than traditional flat-sheet insulation by providing a built-in vapour and air barrier – the colder the climate, the higher the thermal resist­ ance (R-value). This unique property of EPS insulation is not commonly found in other rigid insulation boards. SilveRboard® Graphite XS holds its R-value for the life of the product and is an ideal exterior sheathing for the Canadian environment. SilveRboard® Graphite XS eliminates the need for house wrap and is effectively durable to resist construction site and weather damage. It is also lightweight, easy to handle and highly flexible for radius walls. “This type of insulation is perfect for builders looking for a sheet with reduced thickness that provides more flexible options and a leveled rigid surface for exterior finish materials,” Amend says. “It also accepts taping which adheres quickly and permanently to the SilveRboard film.” SilveRboard® Graphite XS creates a higher performing thermal envelope, maximizes heating and cooling efficiency and improves indoor air quality. It is designed with built-in air and moisture barriers and delivers a higher, long- term, stable R-value. “SilveRboard® Graphite XS is the new innovation of insulation,” says Amend. “It’s designed to build to a higher standard.” BB 29 A higher performing wall sheathing SilveRboard® Graphite XS industrynews / AMVIC
  30. 30. BETTERBUILDER.CA | ISSUE 20 | WINTER 201630
  31. 31. BETTERBUILDER.CA | ISSUE 20 | WINTER 2016 T he new Ontario Building Code SB-12 takes effect on January 1, 2017. While there are still prescriptive paths (down from 13 to six for natural gas), I think of this as the first performance-based code, and a greater number of builders are likely to choose this path to meet the energy requirements of SB-12. In our stakeholder training sessions, we are outlining the three key objectives the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing had for the 2017 SB-12 regulation: 1) Preserve and reinforce investment in the building envelope; 2) Encourage airtightness and associated depressurization testing (blower door); and 3) Prepare the industry for movement towards net zero-like housing by 2030. The 2017 SB-12 provides several options that builders can use to reduce requirements in other areas by demonstrating an airtightness performance of 2.5 ACH. There are also performance path options to consider, which may provide for more cost-effective building performance designs. There are two constants: first, thermal efficiency cannot be reduced by more than 25%, and second, a heat recovery ventilator (HRV) or energy recovery ventilator (ERV) must be installed. That means you cannot make up for a poorly performing wall assembly by installing a massive solar wall; it also means occupants have the ability to have fresh air all year long. So what does the new SB-12 look like? As noted, there are fewer packages to choose from and an emphasis has been put on the key points above. Package A1 is likely to be the most common path chosen by builders. This path enables builders to use a 2 x 6 wall without rigid insulation and install R20 bag wrap insulation in the basement (up to 8” from the top of the basement slab), windows with an Energy Rating of 25, a 96% efficient furnace, a 75% efficient HRV and a .80 EF rental water heater. Oh, and you have to install a drain water heat recovery unit. But is this a good thing? If everyone is doing it, what is the risk? Are you ready for a deeper conversation about occupant health and comfort weighed against operation costs? I think we can all agree that electricity prices are going to continue to climb over the next decade. And as noted above, we will be building increasingly tighter homes. This combination will result in the need to take a serious look at latent energy (moisture) and how to control it. Let’s talk about windows Energy Rating (ER) is a measure of performance that actually favours heat gain. The higher the rating, the better the window is supposed to perform. But here is the challenge. When you gain heat in a tighter home, it becomes very difficult to get rid of it – to the point where your client will be extremely uncomfortable in rooms with high solar exposure and have to pay a high energy penalty to stay cool. However, this code permits the use of low solar glass on walls exposed to potentially high solar gain. By choosing a window with a low solar heat gain co-efficient (SHGC) and a low U-value, rather than a high ER, you can dramatically reduce heat gain and still have a window that performs well. In our experience, the incremental cost should be only a few hundred dollars. However, by working with your energy rater or HVAC consultant, you should be able to reduce your air conditioner (AC) capacity at least half a ton. Windows account for about half of the heat gain in our homes. Using windows with a low SHGC can reduce the window gain by 50% or more. So 31 The 2017 SB-12 Efficiency and performance vs. occupant health and comfort fromthegroundup / DOUG TARRY Windows account for about half of the heat gain in our homes ... windows with a low SHGC can reduce that gain by at least 50%.
  32. 32. BETTERBUILDER.CA | ISSUE 20 | WINTER 201632 if you have a home needing a two- ton AC, it is not unrealistic to see a reduction in the AC sizing of half a ton, which should typically save a few hundred dollars on the cost of the unit. So for effectively no additional cost, you can save your homeowner hundreds of dollars per year on their electrical bill. Best of all, you can avoid the comfort complaint. HRV vs. ERV Let’s be honest: we as builders are now building all of our homes as giant plastic bags and then asking our homeowners to live in them. So we need to consider strategies for controlling excess humidity within the home. Package A1 requires an HRV or ERV with a sensible recovery efficiency (SRE) of 75%. While there are many options for HRVs that meet this requirement, there are very few ERVs that do so. On the other hand, package A6 requires an SRE of only 65%. So builders wanting to use an ERV might wish to choose this path instead. Or, if you are doing blower door testing and can get your home under 2.5 ACH (or equivalent measurement), you can reduce your HRV from 75% to 65%, which again gives you a number of options. So why use an ERV? Because an ERV will help to manage latent energy (moisture) loads. In the wintertime, it can reduce over- drying of the home, whereas an HRV can over-dry the home, causing health and performance issues. If you want to talk about wasted energy, using a humidifier to compensate for an HRV over-drying the home might be one of the worst decisions you can make for a tighter high-performance home. It’s literally pouring money down the drain while creating the potential for indoor air quality issues such as mould. In the summertime, an ERV can reduce the amount of humidity that enters the home, which in turn reduces the load on the air conditioner and improves its performance. By having control over the humidity level of the home, the homeowner will not need to set the temperature as low to maintain comfort. This also helps control humidity levels within the home, reducing the opportunity for problems such as mould buildup and, in most cases, eliminating the need for a dehumidifier and thereby reducing operating costs further. Unfortunately, the new SB-12 does not reflect the importance of controlling latent (moisture) energy. This is an issue that we need to advocate strongly with the Ministry so that better decision options are available for builders and their energy advisors. Performance as an option I understand that there will be markets where the competition for trades, particularly framers, may make it a challenge for builders to build a better performing wall, and that builders may feel that using the R22 wall and R20 blanket wrap is their best option. But what if a builder were able to use these wall options and model the home to meet the energy performance requirements? For example, if you were to replace the drain water heat recovery system with triple-glazed windows, the incremental cost should be only a few hundred dollars – and that’s including using low solar glass on the worst orientation (this is from my recent costing exercise, and builders would need to verify costs with their suppliers). By combining this with an air source heat pump and a smaller high-performance furnace, builders should be able to meet the energy requirements while providing their homeowners with a more comfortable, healthy and cost-effective home to operate. And that’s worth thinking about. If this seems like an unknown language to you, it might be time to reach out to a certified energy rater to explore your options. At the very least, we as builders should start to consider if a performance path is a viable option so you can make an informed decision as to what is best for your company. BB Doug Tarry Jr is director of marketing at Doug Tarry Homes in St. Thomas, Ontario. An ERV will help to manage latent energy (moisture) loads. In the wintertime, an ERV can reduce over- drying of the home, whereas an HRV can over-dry the home, causing health and performance issues.
  33. 33. Your reputation is built, or crumbles, long after the keys have been handed over. That’s why projects like The Edelweiss Home – Canada’s first LEED® v4 home, and second in the world to achieve Platinum status – rely on the continuous insulation of ROXUL® COMFORTBOARD™ exterior sheathing. Its vapour permeability enables your wall assembly to dry to the outside, providing your clients with durability and comfort. See why ROXUL is a better fit for your next project at A BETTER WAY TO BUILD YOUR HOMES – AND YOUR REPUTATION. CAVITYROCK ® and COMFORTBOARD TM . For a better way to build. COMFORTBOARD™ . For the better way to build.LEED® is a registered trademark of United States Green Building Council.
  34. 34. The demand for energy efficient homes is increasing and building codes will be changing in 2017. Enbridge can help. Our Savings by Design (SBD) program offers free access to design and technical experts, plus over $100,000 in incentives and benefits.* It’s the support you need to construct energy efficient, healthy and sustainable homes beyond code requirements. Find out how the SBD program helps builders like you at Over80Ontariobuildershave participated.Jointhem. *Builders can earn $300,000 in incentives by participating in the program three separate times. To qualify for the program, your project must be located in the Enbridge Gas Distribution franchise area. Participation is a three-year commitment. During that time, builders are expected to design and construct at least one new construction home based on resulting recommendations. In order to receive incentive payments, you must agree to all program terms and conditions, must fully participate in all stages of the program and must meet all program requirements.