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BETTER
BuilderMAGAZINE
the builder’s source
ISSUE 10 | SUMMER 2014
WWW.BETTERBUILDER.CA
The Municipal Issue
Sharing the
Vision of a
Sustainable
Future
Priority Green Clarington
Doing the Right Thing
The Value of Engagement
Code Co-operation
Spray Foam and Thermal Barriers
What Homebuyers Want
Publicationnumber42408014
IN THIS ISSUE
2 ISSUE 10 | SUMMER 2014
A b r e a t h o f f r e s h a i r .
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Energy savings,temperature control and comfort
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FEATURE STORY
16 PRIORITY GREEN Clarington
BY TRACY HANES, AMY BURKE AND AARON KOTHIRINGER
INSIDE THIS ISSUE
02 Publisher’s Note: Shared Vision
BY JOHN GODDEN
03 The Bada Test: The (Tricky) Business of Doing the Right Thing
BY LOU BADA
04 Straight From the Hart: The Value of Local Engagement
BY LENARD HART
06 Industry Expert: Code Co-operation
BY GORD COOKE
08 Industry News: Working with Municipalities
BY MICHAEL LIO
10 Builder News: Green Country
BY ALEX NEWMAN
13 Industry News: Building a More Weather-Resilient Home
BY MICHAEL LIO
24 Builder News: Local Improvement Charge: Using Home Equity
BY ALEX NEWMAN
27 From the Ground Up: Air Sealing and Protecting
Foam Plastics
BY DOUG TARRY
31 Builder News: What Homebuyers Want?
BY TRACY PATTERSON
Cover: www.shutterstock.com
BETTER
BuilderMAGAZINE
the builder’s source
1
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2 WWW.BETTERBUILDER.CA | ISSUE 10 | SUMMER 2014
Publisher
Better Builder Magazine
12 Rowley Avenue
Toronto, ON M4P 2S8
416-481-4218 fax 416-481-4695
sales@betterbuilder.ca
Better Builder Magazine is a
sponsor of
Publishing editor
John B. Godden
managing editor
Wendy Shami
editorial@betterbuilder.ca
To advertise, contribute a story,
or join our distribution list, please
contact sales@betterbuilder.ca
Feature Writers
Tracy Hanes, Alex Newman
ProoFreading
Janet Dimond
creative
Robert Robotham Graphics
www.RobertRobotham.ca
This magazine brings
together premium product
manufacturers and leading
builders to create better,
differentiated homes and
buildings that use less energy,
save water and reduce our
impact on the environment.
Publication number
42408014
Copyright by Better Builder
Magazine. Contents may not
be reprinted or reproduced
without written permission. The
opinions expressed herein are
exclusively those of the authors
and assumed to be original
work. Better Builder Magazine
cannot be held liable for
any damage as a result of
publishing such works.
trademark disclaimer
All company and/or product
names may be trade names,
trademarks and/or registered
trademarks of the respective
owners with which they are
associated.
undeliverable mail
Better Builder Magazine
12 Rowley Avenue, Toronto,
ON M4P 2S8. Better Builder
Magazine is published four
times a year.
B
uilders and developers seeking subdi-
vision approval and building permits
from a municipality are met with one of
three scenarios. The builder’s brand (energy
performance features included in a home)
along with the municipality’s requirements
will determine which scenario unfolds.
In scenario one, the builder’s brand meets
or exceeds the current Ontario Building Code
(OBC) energy performance requirements out-
lined in Supplemental Bulletin 12 (SB-12). To
review, SB-12 contains 13 recipes (packages)
for a builder to choose from and use so the
house will achieve an EnerGuide rating of 80.
Prescription Package J is the most common
way of meeting this requirement.
In scenario two, the builder is building to
current OBC SB-12, but the municipal planners
ask for mandatory labelling such as LEED or EN-
ERGY STAR. Many builders agree to this without
fully understanding the implications of the pass
or fail nature of these programs, and the added
costs of higher performance.
A story comes to mind I heard through the
grapevine. Amidst a prolonged approval pro-
cess, a builder became very frustrated (that’s
putting it mildly) because of a lack of com-
munication between the planning and building
departments of a municipality. After going
between the two many times and still not get-
ting an answer that made sense, he went to
the municipal offices. The two departments
sending the mixed messages were across the
hall from each other. After opening both office
doors, he stood in the middle of the hallway
and pleaded at the top of his lungs, “This
thing isn’t gonna move forward until you two
*******s agree on what you want me to do!”
This story demonstrates the spirit of co-
operation necessary to meet all needs of the
stakeholders involved in the building and de-
velopment process. Let’s call that spirit shared
vision, our third scenario. This is a collabora-
tive effort on the part of the major stakehold-
ers including builders, planners, building offi-
cials and homebuyers. Ah, my dream come true
– creating more sustainable homes through
consensus. This effort allows all involved to
better understand and direct the goals and
intended development outcomes while allowing
the builder flexibility and choice.
My earliest involvement with shared vision
was the Rodeo Fine Homes EcoLogic subdivi-
sion in Newmarket. It was a very collaborative
project that spanned almost five years. Rodeo
Homes was offered incentives from the local
municipality to build 60 per cent more effi-
cient than code. In this issue, Len Hart’s article
describes this process.
The Sustainable Housing Foundation was
asked by the Municipality of Clarington to
facilitate an engagement of builders named
PRIORITY GREEN. One key to the success of
this engagement is a sustainable checklist that
can be used to educate and upsell homebuyers
on sustainable features while satisfying the
municipal requirement of better than code.
As Lou Bada points out in his piece, doing
the right thing requires facilitation rather than
regulation on the part of government. Our
regular contributors Gord Cooke, Michael Lio,
and Doug Tarry underscore the importance of
working with building departments to foster
innovation and change.
In the new development landscape, differ-
ent approaches need to be introduced – an
approach where land use minimizes infra-
structure costs, intensifies residential use
while maximizing open and green space.
Aaron Kothiringer investigates the fused grid
approach. And lastly, Tracy Patterson reflects
on the wisdom of the late and great Steve
Jobs. “It isn’t the consumers’ job to know
what they want.”
True collaboration and vision help us sell
ourselves on a better future. I’ve made my
sales pitch on shared vision. Read on. I hope
you’ll buy in. BB
Shared Vision
publisher’snote
By J oh n G o dden
2 WWW.BETTERBUILDER.CA | ISSUE 10 | SUMMER 2014
3WWW.BETTERBUILDER.CA | ISSUE 10 | SUMMER 2014
A
t the risk of sounding overly
mercenary and one dimen-
sional I’m going to state the
obvious – businesses exist for profit.
It always surprises me when busi-
nesspeople are asked why they do
what they do. They tend to recite
what seems like a corporate mission
statement. “At ABC Corporation we
strive to…customer focused…culti-
vate exceptional product and peo-
ple…corporate responsibility and en-
vironmental stewardship…” All these
great things are the mechanisms
we use to make money, but aren’t
usually viewed as an end in and of
themselves. Nor are they necessarily
mutually exclusive with profit. The
ideal is to make them necessary to
earn more profit.
On the other hand, I always twinge
when I hear government should be
run like a business. Government
should be certainly and unequivocally
much more businesslike. However, I
also believe many of the good works
governments do at home and abroad
would be difficult to justify in a
corporate boardroom. At the intersec-
tion of the public and private realms
is where it gets interesting. Politicians
speak about city building, but govern-
ment does not build cities or com-
munities, industry does – and only if
it’s profitable. Individuals and society
make these communities great. The
economy underpins it all. Government
is good at some things – and not so
good at others.
The often-cited new business para-
digm of the triple bottom line (profit,
people, planet) is interesting and
challenging for the new home building
industry. Though a more comprehen-
sive way of looking at the outcomes
of a venture, it has been criticized by
both sides of the political spectrum.
What is clear is that a market-based
approach in a market economy is a
requisite. Collaboration is better than
class warfare. The difficulty for new
homebuilders is the individual realiza-
tion or monetization of some of the
benefits accrued. If individual busi-
nesses become insolvent in pursuit of
the triple bottom line, then progress
can’t be made.
The best example of collaboration
I’ve been involved in was my experi-
ence in a new residential subdivision
developed in Vaughan’s Block 39 in
2007/2008. It involved an integrated
design process that yielded the first
of all ENERGY STAR housing devel-
opment of its kind in Ontario. All
stakeholders were present, and with
commonsense and goodwill made
it happen where an otherwise less
sustainable community would’ve been
built. The quid pro quo for the devel-
oper and homebuilder was an expe-
dited process. The proverbial carrot
was better than the stick.
Currently, the voluntary has often
become the mandatory. It is becoming
more difficult, if not impossible, to
make a compelling business case for
doing the right thing. Creativity will
have to replace bureaucracy if we wish
to move forward. Governments must
facilitate rather than regulate.
We all live on the same planet and
want the same things. It’s about time
we started acting that way. BB
Lou Bada is the construction & contracts
manager for Starlane Homes.
The (Tricky) Business of
Doing the Right Thing
thebadatest
By L ou Ba da
IMAGE:WWW.SHUTTERSTOCK.COM
WWW.BETTERBUILDER.CA | ISSUE 10 | SUMMER 20144
W
hen thinking about the
significant role munici-
palities play in growth and
development, we must acknowledge
the growing role local engagement is
playing in the process. Local govern-
ment is where much of the regulatory
hurdles builder/developers must face
to gain approvals for new develop-
ment, and when they
have to win over a
community to sup-
port their project,
this often means
overcoming any
not-in-my-backyard
(NIMBY) opposition.
Change is never easy,
and some people are opposed to it
in all its forms, but the vast majority
see the need for growth and change,
including new building developments.
Public perception and support can vary
depending on how the issue is framed
and how the process of engagement
is viewed. Interestingly, while it’s no
longer a number one issue for deci-
sion making, climate change and the
environment are core components to
most issues and still hugely influential
in decision and opinion making (often
manifesting as health, community or
pollution concerns).
All developments involve change
and change meets with resistance. In
many cases this resistance is simply
ignored and goes away, but as new
green field space runs out, more
development projects will be in built-
up areas and face serious opposition
from neighbours, whether in the
public and social media, or through
regulators and local governments. Not
only is the prospect of public scrutiny
increasing, but opposition is becom-
ing easier to do and do well with
Twitter, Facebook and the like. Simply
building to LEED or ENERGY STAR
standards is no longer enough to sati-
ate the concerns of local opponents.
Engaging and addressing local resis-
tance is key to managing opposition
and functioning with local govern-
ments. Let’s examine
a few examples.
Minto faced the
challenge of develop-
ing a plot of land on
the shores of Lake Sim-
coe, an environmen-
tally stressed lake that
receives far too much
phosphate runoff. One of the many
design standards set was that develop-
ment should improve the water quality
of the lake, with less phosphate runoff
postdevelopment than prior. While the
proposal was radically green and could
not easily be discounted, the project did
not get the necessary support needed,
in part because the engagement was
not up to the challenge.
Windmill Developments in Victo-
ria had an advanced LEED Platinum
project of its own on-site sewage
treatment systems, but still received
pushback from local aboriginal
groups who had unresolved land
claim issues in the area. Windmill ad-
dressed these concerns and eventually
invited band elders to be part of the
project, along with training and hiring
local aboriginal youth as construction
workers. Windmill’s engagement of lo-
cal opposition was exemplary in that
it addressed the issue and came up
with real solutions. It was this engage-
ment, not the green project, that won
over local opposition.
The Rodeo Fine Homes project in
Newmarket ended up with some 34
LEED Platinum-rated homes in a 200-
plus subdivision of ENERGY STAR-
rated homes, yet at one point it was
scheduled to have none of that, just
code built homes throughout. It was
the local support of a green building
project that was the only thing that
changed the plan. The difference was
a strong pro-green lobby by local citi-
zens, including a Grade 9 student for
the local Catholic school who got a lot
of media coverage. In an extraordinary
council meeting, many speakers got
up to petition the council to change
their minds about allocating the 34
homes to Rodeo, and this in turn got
the large code builder to upgrade
to ENERGY STAR. The code builder
tried to quietly duck under the radar
and get the additional 34 homes for
themselves, but the viral nature of lo-
cal engagement and the local support
turned the project around.
I recently saw a presentation from
pollster Greg Lyle, who clarified the
role of local engagement in the devel-
opment process. He noted that more
than any other issue, a sense of fair-
ness correlates strongly with whether
or not a project is supported or not
supported by the public. Addition-
ally, younger cohorts are less likely to
defer to authority than older ones, so
they are more likely to challenge local
government or committee rulings. Ad-
ditionally, Lyle noted that universally
regulators and governments are not
seen as competent, trustworthy, or to
have the public’s interests at heart.
This is a crucial point for builder/
developers, because simply following
The Value of Local Engagement
straightfromthehart
By L e n a rd Ha rt
Climate change and
the environment are
core components
to most issues and
still hugely influential
in decision and
opinion making.
5WWW.BETTERBUILDER.CA | ISSUE 10 | SUMMER 2014
the zoning rules, or getting approval
from a committee of adjustment, is
not going to sway people to your side.
Ontarians are a skeptical lot, and
less likely to trust regulators more
than the Canadian average – 61% show
a mild to strong distrust of regula-
tors, 64% feel regulators make deci-
sions not based on the best evidence,
and 73% feel regulators’ decision-
making processes are not transparent.
All this is about 12 to 20% higher than
the Canadian average. The resulting
challenge that builder/developers face
when working with local governments
and local communities is that people
do not trust the regulatory process
will be in their or the environment’s
best interest.
Winning over public opinion is
complicated. Being legal might not be
enough, and building green might not
be enough, but engaging people in a
fair and open way just might mean
the difference in swaying public sup-
port for your project.
The last quote goes to Greg Lyle.
“Process is king. The way you run
your project is just as important as
what you are building.” BB
Lenard Hart is the vice-president of sales and
marketing at Summerhill Group.
Strong local support resulted in the construction of the 34 sustainable homes.
energy
rating
training &
educating
sustainability
consulting
6 WWW.BETTERBUILDER.CA | ISSUE 10 | SUMMER 2014
U
sually I am challenging high
performance builders to look
ahead up the path of continu-
ous improvement, but a quick look
back can also be helpful. It helps
ensure that the foundation for future
change is solid. Think back about two
and a half years ago to the simulta-
neous introduction of Part 12 of the
Ontario Building Code (OBC) and the
accompanying Supplementary Stan-
dard SB-12, as well as the first look
at Version 12 of the ENERGY STAR
for New Homes program. Progressive
builders and their energy evalua-
tors had anticipated the changes and
sorted out which of the four possible
compliance paths was most cost ef-
fective for them. Those who chose the
prescriptive path evaluated the 30-
plus alternate building packages from
the six prescriptive tables, and found
the one that best suited their process-
es, housing type and trade base.
Let’s recognize that municipal
building departments across the
province were also looking at the
exponential rise in energy compliance
options that would be coming across
their counters and in the hands of
field inspectors, and wondering how
it would affect their processes and
challenge their technical capabilities.
Indeed, it was relatively simple for
individual builders to choose a com-
pliance path compared to the task for
building departments to understand
and sort through all the options those
individual builders might present, in-
cluding the technical requirements of
SB-12, the EnerGuide for New Houses
administrative and technical proce-
dures, the ENERGY STAR for New
Homes technical specification, or the
four alternative software programs
accredited by the Residential Energy
Services Network (RESNET) for the
Home Energy Rating System (HERS).
Of course, it got
even more complex
with the recognition
that energy efficiency
compliance required
cross-referencing
inputs from architec-
tural, HVAC, plumbing,
energy evaluators and
even electrical permit
documents. In addition,
some municipalities
have superimposed ad-
ditional environmental
or energy requirements
into planning objectives
and subdivision agree-
ments.
Fortunately, and it
really shouldn’t have
been a surprise, we, as an energy
evaluator company, have experi-
enced a broad base of co-operation
and support from building officials
throughout the province. It started
very early on when we were asked
to facilitate an ad hoc committee
with building officials, energy evalu-
ators, and builders that ultimately
culminated in the Energy Efficiency
Design Summary form (EEDS) and
process. One of the participants was
Tim Benedict, manager of building,
building division, City of Kitchener.
As we interact with and serve on a
daily basis the same builder clientele,
we have worked very closely with his
department and found them to be an
excellent example of how the efforts
of three groups – builders, building
officials and energy evaluators – are
made more productive through co-
operation. As Tim said, “This is just
as new to us as to anyone else, and
Code Co-operation
navigate energy performance
in the 2012 OBC.
industryexpert
By G ord Cooke
7WWW.BETTERBUILDER.CA | ISSUE 10 | SUMMER 2014
the more resources we have available
to us, the better for everyone.”
The first example of this co-
operative effort is when Eastforest
Homes organized an on-site air barrier
forum very early in 2012. Tim sent the
majority of his building department’s
inspectors and plan examiners, while
Eastforest had site supervisors and key
trades attend. We essentially took each
line item of section 9.25.3 Air Barrier
Systems of the OBC, compared them to
the requirements of the ENERGY STAR
for New Homes program, and demon-
strated how each Eastforest trade and
site was dealing or planning to deal
with the requirements. In the ensuing
months, we found that a builder who
was already excelling
at air tightness met-
rics got even better,
and building officials
became even more
helpful in helping
Eastforest achieve
their goal as the first
builder in Ontario to
fully adopt Version 12 of the ENERGY
STAR program.
We have had similar great re-
sponse from other building depart-
ments, many of them providing op-
portunities for training. For example,
the City of London and the City of
Cambridge both invited the DuPont
Tyvek specialists to review appropri-
ate field verification of exterior air
barrier materials and strategies. Tim
Benedict reiterates that “comprehen-
sive and repeated training is crucial
in ensuring proper application of new
code requirements in a timely and
cost-effective way.”
One thing that has come up fre-
quently are last-minute changes to
heating systems, water heating or
even window specifications. Some
of these are driven by cost or un-
avoidable process changes, or even
consumer option choices. While
last-minute changes have always been
an issue, there are more consider-
ations now with the energy efficiency
requirements.
Take for example a change from a
traditional furnace to combo heating
to accommodate combustion venting
difficulties. Here was another example
of the City of Kitchener providing a
builder with the flexibility to provide a
traditional power-vented water heater
as the heat source for very small, ef-
ficient lower-level units of a stacked
townhouse complex originally permit-
ted with gas furnaces and separate
water heaters. HOT 2000 energy mod-
elling showed that
slightly upgrading the
energy factor of the
water to a still com-
monly available rental
model, along with
envelope upgrades
the builder was al-
ready doing, compen-
sated for the energy penalty resulting
from the lower efficiency of the water
heater in space heat mode compared
to a standard high efficiency furnace.
It resulted in a win-win solution
for a builder to meet the expecta-
tions of the energy code, and for the
homeowners in terms of better use of
space in a small dwelling, fewer enclo-
sure penetrations, and overall lower
operating costs because of optimized
monthly rental fees.
The process and solution were a
great example of the building depart-
ment working within the energy evalu-
ation process to find the most cost-
effective solution for the builders and
community members they serve. BB
Gord Cooke is the president of Building
Knowledge Canada.
We have experienced
a broad base of
co-operation and
support from building
officials throughout
the province.
8 WWW.BETTERBUILDER.CA | ISSUE 10 | SUMMER 2014
industrynews
By Mi c h a e l L i o
O
ver the years, we
have worked with
hundreds of build-
ers and developers to re-
solve building code issues
as they work with their
building officials. While
much of the code is clearly
black and white, there are
many, many grey areas
open to interpretation and
subject to dispute. Build-
ers can also find them-
selves in situations where
innovative designs need
additional documentation
to allow acceptance by
municipalities. In every
situation the key is to have
an open dialogue with the
municipality and rely on
evidence. The evidence must demon-
strate performance through calcula-
tion, testing, and/or in the field.
The first step is to prepare for a
discussion with the municipality by
learning about the issue at hand. Work
to fully understand possible interpre-
tations, opinions and code intent. This
can often include researching past
precedents and acceptance in other
municipalities or other codes. It also
includes a search for past Building
Code Commission (BCC) rulings, min-
ister’s interpretations, and Canadian
Construction Materials Centre (CCMC)
evaluations. It is important that the
understanding of the issues is rooted
in the requirements of the Ontario
Building Code (OBC), and in how the
function of the proposed building
relates to the black letter of the code.
The Ontario Ministry of Municipal
Affairs and Housing’s (MMAH) Code
and Construction Guide for Housing
(CCGH) can provide guidance on the
intentions of the code.
An introductory conversation with
the municipality to discuss the prob-
lem is needed. The goal of the call is
to understand the basis for their point
of view. This includes a discussion on
the perceived risk of code and prod-
uct deficiencies, and the challenges
related to expected performance.
It is then a matter of negotiation
with the municipality on how the
building is intended to function, and
what the code intends. Negotiations
should be evidenced based and objec-
tive. The conversation with the mu-
nicipality should be tailored to each
situation and to the capabilities of the
municipality. It is always important
to preserve good relations and be re-
spectful. Both the builder and munici-
pality have the health and safety of
the homeowners in mind.
The goal is to find a com-
mon solution that works
and where everyone
believes the code objec-
tives are being met. The
municipality will some-
times ask for corroborat-
ing evidence including a
letter from an expert or
professional engineer.
Builders should be aware
of their legal recourse
should an agreement not
be reached. Those denied
permits or served with
orders can appeal to the
BCC.
Over the years we have
been asked to help bridge
many code disputes.
We make a point of understanding
the intent of the code and building
creative, enduring solutions. Working
with municipalities is about connect-
ing the dots between what’s proposed
and the code’s objectives, functional
statements and specific requirements.
Working with municipalities is about
informing yourself of the issues, un-
derstanding your legal recourse and
negotiating in good faith to resolve
the situation. BB
Michael Lio is a member of the National Build-
ing Code of Canada’s standing committee on
housing and small buildings. Since 1986 he
has been a member of the Ontario Building
Code technical advisory committee. From
1995 to 2001 he was a member of the Ontario
Building Code Commission serving as its vice-
chair for four years. Mr. Lio is intimately aware
of the code development process, its structure
and syntax. Through his consulting practice, he
is actively engaged with builders and designers
in the residential building industry.
Working with Municipalities
9WWW.BETTERBUILDER.CA | ISSUE 10 | SUMMER 2014
Balancing Performance and Affordability
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Designed to provide both continuous and intermittent ventilation, the WhisperGreenTM
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As an Energy Star® Partner, Panasonic has determined that this product meets the Energy Star® Guidelines for energy efficiency.
10 WWW.BETTERBUILDER.CA | ISSUE 10 | SUMMER 2014
buildernews
By Al e x Ne w m a n
W
hen the Town of Clarington
went looking for builders
to participate in its PRIOR-
ITY GREEN Clarington program, they
wanted those with green track re-
cords. They didn’t have to look far.
Halminen Homes, Brookfield
Homes and Jeffery Homes were cho-
sen to upgrade two homes apiece to
PRIORITY GREEN Clarington levels on
energy efficiency and water reduc-
tion. The homes were then sold –
with the energy upgrades free – to
homeowners willing to have the Town
monitor water and energy use over a
four-month period.
All three builders were eager for
the chance to expand their sustain-
ability knowledge and practice, and
experiment with future proofing
homes against increased energy and
water costs. It was also a good way of
educating their staff, from trades all
the way to sales and marketing, says
Bob Stewart of Brookfield Homes. “It’s
a good way to stay ahead of the curve
since the building code is always be-
ing upgraded.”
However, PRIORITY GREEN Clar-
ington exceeds both current code
and the upcoming 2017 code. When
municipal staff from Clarington, Dur-
ham regional staff and reps from the
Sustainable Housing Foundation met
to discuss ways to increase energy ef-
ficiency and reduce water consump-
tion, they came up with six categories
to improve building practices: high
performance envelope, high perfor-
mance HVAC, energy-efficient light-
ing and appliances, indoor air quality,
reduced water usage and runoffs, and
efficient material management.
The three builders, along with
Clearsphere consultant John Godden,
devised a list that would be energy ef-
ficient, but also cost effective to make
it more attractive to builders who are
just starting into sustainable construc-
tion. That list included exterior air bar-
riers, two-stage furnaces, web-based
thermostats, drainwater heat recovery
units, energy recovery ventilators
(ERV), front-loading washing machines,
and natural gas ranges and dryers.
Furnace right-sizing and two-stage
furnaces are critical components to
energy efficiency. Both Jeffery Homes
and Halminen Homes have been in-
stalling two-stage furnaces as standard
in recent projects. They work with an
idle option so the furnace isn’t con-
stantly turning on and off. When you
don’t need heat or cooling, the air still
circulates and stays steady, making for
a much more comfortable home, es-
pecially important these days with the
rise in asthma, Stewart points out. “It
also reduces energy use, which really
affects the bottom line.”
Greywater recycling is a newer
idea. In PRIORITY GREEN Clarington
Discovery homes (the name given to
the two homes at each site) plumbing
rough-ins will allow this to be added
later, if buyers want. Brookfield has
been working with consultant John
Bell on a new greywater recovery sys-
tem that promises fewer maintenance
headaches. “With the old greywater
recovery systems,” says Stewart, “you
had to constantly clean out the filters
and put in chlorine pucks to sterilize
the water. The new system is much
easier and should cost only about
$600 to rough in.”
Because Jeffery Homes had already
begun construction when they were
Green Country
Amy Burke and Katrina Metzner Yarrow: working with builders with green track records.
11WWW.BETTERBUILDER.CA | ISSUE 10 | SUMMER 2014
invited to participate in the
PRIORITY GREEN Clarington
program, it was too late to
rough in the plumbing for
greywater, but water manage-
ment is a big part of other
Jeffery Homes’ sites, and
includes low flow toilets and
showerheads among other
water-saving measures. The
PRIORITY GREEN Clarington
project has taken water use
to a new low with toilets that
use only three litres of water
per flush.
The project has imple-
mented many newer prod-
ucts. For example, at Halmin-
en Homes’ recent sites it was
standard to install program-
mable thermostats, but in
the Discovery homes they
had to use web-based ones,
says Katrina Metzner Yarrow,
architectural technologist for
Halminen Homes.
All three builders have
previous experience con-
structing homes at higher
energy efficiency than code,
some venturing into LEED
designation or ENERGY STAR.
And Metzner Yarrow says
Halminen’s existing green
practices came pretty close
to the PRIORITY GREEN Clar-
ington model. “But we tend
to pick and choose items that
will benefit both the environ-
ment and our purchasers’
pocketbooks.”
Tyvek exterior air barrier,
and attic insulation – ENERGY
STAR requirements that aren’t
included in the recent build-
ing code’s Package J – are
something they regularly use
because it ensures a better
built home. They typically in-
stall heat recovery ventilators
(HRV), but for the Clarington
Discovery home they added
energy recovery ventilators
(ERV) as well, and bumped up
basement insulation to R20
from their standard R12.
Brookfield has similar
green standards. Previously,
the company worked with
Enbridge on the Savings by
Design program (www.sav-
ingsbydesign.ca). They con-
tinue to experiment with new
procedures like panelization.
So in addition to insulated
sheeting with Excel board,
Blueskin rolls and tape, and
ROXUL exterior insulation,
they’ve added panelization
to the construction process
because “it’s unbelievable for
keeping a tight home,” says
Stewart. “You use less mater-
ial, so you have more room
for insulation, and we’re able
to build off-site.”
Some municipalities
dismissed the procedure as
a cookie cutter approach.
“But nothing could be farther
from the truth. It provides
incredibly tight and efficient
homes, plus no materials go
‘lost’ on site. We did this to
great success in our Picker-
ing and Bradford projects,”
Stewart says.
Experimenting with new
green technology had put
Brookfield in a good posi-
tion so that when Clarington
developed the PRIORITY
GREEN Clarington program,
Continued on page 26
12 WWW.BETTERBUILDER.CA | ISSUE 10 | SUMMER 2014
13WWW.BETTERBUILDER.CA | ISSUE 10 | SUMMER 2014
D
unnink Homes has
demonstrated a
number of build-
ing practices promoted by
the Institute for Cata-
strophic Loss Reduction
(ICLR) to make homes
more resilient to extreme
weather. The demon-
stration house, located
in Guelph, goes beyond
code requirements to
include advanced building
practices that offer better
protection from damage
caused by wind, snow,
ice and other hazards
from extreme weather
events. The house in-
cludes a backwater valve,
improved backfill and
overland drainage, engi-
neered trusses to resist
high winds, strapping
between rafters and wall
framing, ½” roof sheath-
ing with nails spaced at
6”, eave protection and
roof underlayment.
ICLR, established in
1997, is a world-class centre devoted
to disaster prevention research and
communication. It
is an independent
not-for-profit
research institute
founded by the
insurance indus-
try and affiliated
with Western University. ICLR has
devoted many years to developing
new construction practices to help
build more weather-resilient housing.
Their work provides a science-based
foundation for the
construction of
disaster-resilient
homes as part
of an adaptive
strategy to deal
with the increasing
frequency and severity of extreme
weather events.
ICLR’s research responds to the in-
creased severe weather events that
cost Canadians billions of dollars
every year. One of the most recent
examples is last summer’s severe
flooding event in the GTA. “Insured
losses from flooded basements have
increased drastically over the past
decade in Canada, costing insurers
close to $2 billion per year,” said
Dan Sandink, manager of resilient
communities and research at ICLR.
“Homeowners also suffer significant-
Building a More
Weather-Resilient Home
industrynews
By Mi c h a e l L i o
A weather-resilient home
looks like any other home.
ICLR’s research responds
to the increased severe
weather events that cost
Canadians billions of
dollars every year.
14 WWW.BETTERBUILDER.CA | ISSUE 10 | SUMMER 2014
ly when their homes flood. This is
especially true when they are flooded
from sewer backup, which frequently
includes flooding from raw sewage.
“While there are many critical
measures that must be taken on
the municipal infrastructure side to
reduce risk,” he continued, “many
important risk reduction measures
can also be economically and ef-
fectively applied at the lotside. For
example, sanitary backwater valves
are widely applied in many Canadian
provinces to reduce the risk of sewer
backup. It seems likely these types of
measures will be increasingly encour-
aged, if not required, for homeown-
ers to retain affordable and effective
insurance coverage for sewer backup
in the future.”
The Dunnink house demonstra-
tion was designed using a number
of ICLR-recommended construction
details. buildABILITY Corporation
on behalf of ICLR consulted with a
working group of the Ontario Home
Builders’ Association (OHBA) tech-
nical committee to determine the
practices builders would favour. A
number of these were included in the
demonstration home.
Manufacturers were contacted
regarding specific products for the
demonstration home. Mainline Back-
water Valve Company provided the
backwater valve and Henry building
products also assisted by provid-
ing the roof underlay and ice dam-
ming protection with the use of their
Henry Company’s Blueskin RF200
Self-Adhesive Ice and Water Barrier.
“Henry Company shares the views
of ICLR. We see the need to build
more weather-resilient housing,” said
Martin Kuypers, residential business
development leader at Henry. “Henry
products and systems manage the
flow of water, air, vapour and energy
through the building envelope from
foundation to roof.”
Henry products used on the dem-
onstration house are:
Blueskin TWF (Thru-Wall Flashing)
brick sill
Blueskin WB (Weather Barrier) win-
dow and door flashing
Blueskin VP (Vapour Permeable)
breathable air bar-
rier for exterior
walls
Blueskin Roof
(RF200) Ice and
Water Barrier, total
roof coverage.
After working
with the OHBA
technical committee
working group, John
Dunnink from Dun-
nink Homes was the
first to take up the
challenge and build a more resilient
home. “Building the first Discovery
house using some of the ICLR building
practices was a great experience that
was very informative,” he said. “For
the completed Discovery home, the
additional labour and materials total
approximately $7,000 for the up-
grades, which provide additional pro-
tection from flooding, wind storms,
snow and ice buildup and hail.”
“ICLR learned a great deal working
with John Dunnink and the manufac-
turers,” said Jason Thistlethwaite, di-
rector of the Climate Change Adapta-
tion project and research associate at
ICLR. “ICLR has committed to work-
ing with homebuilders to improve
awareness and uptake of resilient-
housing practices. Resilient housing
will grow in demand as the frequency
of extreme weather increases. The
implementation of high-wind straps,
wind-resistant nails and backwa-
ter valves represents an important
step in learning
the building tech-
niques necessary
to meet this objec-
tive. John’s efforts
have helped provide
important lessons
on the opportuni-
ties and limitations
of resilient-building
practices in the
marketplace. With-
out support from
homebuilders like
John Dunnink, it is difficult to build
a bridge between the science and
practice.”
Adapting housing to severe
weather events caused by climate
change will better protect homeown-
ers from the emotional and financial
hardships of damage to what is often
their largest investment. Continued
collaboration between researchers,
builders, manufacturers and govern-
ment is required to further these
endeavours. BB
Written by: Michael Lio, president
buildABILITY Corporation
business@buildability.ca
industrynews
By M ichael Lio
“ICLR has committed
to working with
homebuilders to
improve awareness
and uptake of
resilient-housing
practices. Resilient
housing will grow
in demand as the
frequency of extreme
weather increases.”
Contacts:
www.iclr.org
john@dunninkhomes.com
15WWW.BETTERBUILDER.CA | ISSUE 10 | SUMMER 2014
Features
16 WWW.BETTERBUILDER.CA | ISSUE 10 | SUMMER 2014
R
ecognizing the challenges that significant popula-
tion growth between now and 2031 will bring, the
Municipality of Clarington has launched PRIORITY
GREEN Clarington, an initiative to develop a stan-
dard for creating sustainable neighbourhoods.
As part of PRIORITY GREEN Clarington the Municipality
is developing a green demonstration project (GDP) with in-
terested builders to construct homes that will demonstrate
energy efficiency and water conservation, have excellent
indoor air quality, manage stormwater runoff and include
other sustainability measures.
Between 2011 and 2031, Clarington will experience a
forecasted 60 per cent increase in population and signifi-
cant new building (22,000 new units) that will present
social, economic and environmental challenges to the
municipality.
The vision of PRIORITY GREEN Clarington is to estab-
lish a new standard for residential development that pri-
oritizes sustainability, promotes innovation and improves
quality of life, said Amy Burke, sustainable development
co-ordinator for Clarington’s planning services depart-
ment, community planning and design branch.
Recently, a GDP planning workshop was held with three
interested builder partners (Brookfield Homes, Halminen
Homes and Jeffery Homes), representatives from the Sus-
tainable Housing Foundation, and municipal and regional
staff members. All three builders have built better than code
in the past and have constructed ENERGY STAR homes.
Burke said the GDP aims to implement green practices
that will exceed the Ontario Building Code (OBC). Six
categories have been developed, including high perfor-
mance envelope, high performance HVAC, energy-efficient
lighting and appliances, indoor air quality, reduced water
usage and runoff and efficient material management.
John Godden of the Sustainable Housing Foundation
explained how integrated design works and how it’s impor-
tant in building high performance homes. Integrated design
brings together key stakeholders and design professionals
to work in collaboration from the early planning stages
through to completion, and focuses on whole building de-
sign and how all the various systems work interactively.
He talked about the changes coming with the OBC. In
2017, builders will be required to build homes 15 per cent
more energy efficient with a target rating of EnerGuide 83.
As of January 2014, builders were required to install pro-
grammable thermostats and seal supply ductwork. As of
January 2015, furnaces must have electronically commu-
tated motors (ECMs) (that use 80 per cent less electricity),
which is an important development.
To meet code builders can pursue either prescriptive-
or performance-based paths. Godden doesn’t recommend
the Municipality tie its code rules to voluntary labelling
programs.
“It’s a good idea to have a performance approach for
code compliance” said Godden. “Keep code compliance
separate from labelling, because if a house doesn’t pass the
blower door test, it won’t be issued an occupancy permit.”
Godden said the three Cs of air tightness are comfort,
cost and condensation. Increasing home energy efficiency
has created some issues. With greater insulation values,
condensation is becoming a problem and will have to
be addressed through measures such as heat recovery
ventilators (HRV) or energy recovery ventilators (ERV).
Furnace right sizing is another issue that will have to
be rectified as most currently available furnaces are too
large. Godden says two-stage furnaces will be something
green builders should look at, as they are quieter and use
80 per cent less electricity than conventional one-stage
models when running continuously.
Godden said it’s important to ensure HRV are verified
to work properly from a code perspective, and while they
supply whole house ventilation, it’s also important to have
spot ventilation such as an effective bathroom fan.
Effective spot ventilation, HRV/ERV, furnace balancing
and rough-ins for radon gas detectors are ways to provide
superior indoor air quality, he said.
John Bell of the Sustainable Housing Foundation talked
about means to reduce water usage. Toilets typically ac-
count for 30 per cent of household water usage, he said.
Rough-ins for future recycling of grey water from showers
and baths to use to flush toilets are “a no-brainer,” said
Bell. Although currently there is no reliable technology on
PRIORITY GREEN Clari
featurestory
By Tra c y Ha ne s
17WWW.BETTERBUILDER.CA | ISSUE 10 | SUMMER 2014
the market, the Greyter
system coming in 2015
should remedy that prob-
lem, he said.
Low flow toilets and
fixtures, ENERGY STAR
washing machines, dish-
washers, rain barrels and
permeable pavers are
other means to achieve
water conservation.
While there has been
talk about solar thermal
hot water systems, they
are not practical for
subdivision homes, said
Godden. A drainwater
heat recovery pipe that
recovers heat from water
going down the drain costs $700, while a solar hot water
system costs $7,000 and has a 30-year payback.
Although builders are concerned homebuyers won’t pay
extra for energy- and water-saving upgrades, Godden says
it’s important to educate them about the value of future
proofing against rising energy bills.
“People are willing to buy this stuff if you tell them why
they should,” said Godden. “Décor centre staff should not
be selling this as it competes with other upgrades.”
He said builders could market Good, Better and Best
packages to buyers and show the return on investment of
the various features. Godden also suggested the Municipal-
ity and participating builders could co-brand on a label
that would designate homes built to the better than code
standard.
Builder participants considered various options for GDP
homes, and what features and products would deliver the
energy savings, save on water use, offer other green benefits
and be most cost effective.
Their list included things such as exterior air barriers,
two-stage furnaces, web-based thermostats, drainwater heat
recovery units, ERV, front-loading washing machines, and
natural gas ranges and dryers. They favoured ENERGY STAR
washing machines, grey water recycling, permeable pavers
and topsoil as means to reduce water usage and runoff.
The next steps in the process to establishing the GDP
will include confirming builder partner commitment, se-
curing homebuyer interest in demonstration homes, and
promotion and community education. BB
Tracy Hanes is a freelance feature writer for the largest daily newspaper
in Canada and several other magazines. www.tracyhanes.ca
Note from PRIORITY GREEN Clarington co-ordinator Amy
Burke: In addition to the GDP, PRIORITY GREEN Clarington will
identify goals, targets, and criteria for the design and construction
of greener neighbourhoods within new developments and exist-
ing areas in the Municipality. Clarington will undertake a review
of current land development policies, processes and guidelines,
and will consider incentives that encourage a more sustainable
approach to residential land development. Funding support for
PRIORITY GREEN Clarington has been provided by the Federation
of Canadian Municipalities Green Municipal Fund and the Province
of Ontario’s Showcasing Water Innovation program.
ngton
The builder workshop resulted in a sustainability checklist with eight categories.
18 WWW.BETTERBUILDER.CA | ISSUE 10 | SUMMER 2014
R
ecognizing the financial,
environmental and social challenges
associated with the traditional
pattern of suburban growth, the
Municipality of Clarington is taking
action to advance future residential growth
in a more sustainable direction through the
PRIORITY GREEN Clarington initiative.
Clarington is located 40 km east of
Toronto on the eastern edge of the Regional
Municipality of Durham. It’s comprised of a
collection of smaller communities including
the urban centres of Bowmanville, Courtice,
Newcastle Village and Orono, which are
surrounded by scenic countryside. Not unlike
other municipalities surrounding the Greater
Toronto Area, Clarington will experience
significant growth in the coming years. To
accommodate this growth new subdivisions and
neighbourhood areas will be needed.
PRIORITY GREEN Clarington aims to
set a new standard for future residential
development that prioritizes sustainability,
promotes innovation and improves the
community’s quality of life through green
development practices. Green development
looks at the ways in which both homes and
neighbourhoods are designed and built. It’s
about using practices that will reduce the environmental
impacts of development, and respond to the growing
threat of climate change. In addition, it’s an important
component of creating healthier places to live, work and
play for the community.
To achieve this vision the Municipality, in collaboration
with the private sector and community engagement, is
developing policies and standards, approval measures
and incentives to encourage green development from the
initial design of a subdivision through home construction.
In addition, PRIORITY GREEN Clarington will reach beyond
the enhancement of policy and process to put green
building into practice.
This February, the Municipality announced a partnership
formed with Brookfield Residential, Halminen Homes
and Jeffery Homes for the PRIORITY GREEN Clarington
green demonstration project (GDP). The GDP will offer
homebuyers in designated subdivisions currently under
construction a beyond code option. This upgrade features a
package of water and energy improvements (referred to as
“green practices”) that exceed the efficiency requirements
of the latest Ontario Building Code (OBC). Each builder has
PRIORITY GREEN Clarington:
Supporting Green Development
Through Demonstration
PRIORITY GREEN at work: inspecting Discovery homes and upgrades on the
sustainability checklist.
featurestory
By Am y Bu rke
19WWW.BETTERBUILDER.CA | ISSUE 10 | SUMMER 2014
ELECTRICAL DATA
WEIGHT 75K 105K 120K
lb / kg 114 / 51,7 138 / 62,6 146 / 66,2
Supply 115 Volts - 60 Hertz - 1 Phase
Maximum consumption From 10,53 to 16,19 Amps
40 VA
www.dettson.ca
WARM AIR GAS FURNACE DESIGNED,
ENGINEERED, AND MANUFACTURED IN
CANADA FOR HEATING AND
COOLING CANADIAN RESIDENCES
Benefits and differentiators
Product line features
- Single stage
Product release schedule
Phase I
September 2013 - Achieved
Phase II
Achieved
Phase III
15 K 34,29 31,75 27,94 33,02 x 60,96
30 K 34,29 31,75 27,94 33,02 x 60,96
45 K 34,29 31,75 27,94 33,02 x 60,96
60 K 40 37,46 33,02 38,1 x 60,96
75 K 40 37,46 33,02 38,1 x 60,96
105 K 53,34 50,80 38,1 43,18 x 60,96
120 K 53,34 50,80 38,1 43,18 x 60,96
15 k 13 1/2 12 1/2 11 1/4 13 x 24
30 k 13 1/2 12 1/2 11 1/4 13 x 24
45 k 13 1/2 12 1/2 11 1/4 13 x 24
60 k 15 3/4 14 3/4 13 1/4 15 x 24
75 k 15 3/4 14 3/4 13 1/4 15 x 24
105 k 21 20 15 1/4 17 x 24
120 k 21 20 15 1/4 17 x 24
DIMENSIONS (inches)
DIMENSIONS ( )
Furnace
size
Filter Size
A
Cabinet
width
B
Supply
Outlet width
C
Return
Outlet width
Furnace
size
Filter Size
A
Cabinet
width
B
Supply
Outlet width
C
Return
Outlet width
19.08 8.54
0
2.50
5.03
B
SUPPLY OUTLET
WIDTH
A
15.71
33.57
6.76
29,02
24,00
1.09
1.03
6.05
2.66
2.26
0
0.88
2.00
C
Returnoutletheight
Return outlet width
20 WWW.BETTERBUILDER.CA | ISSUE 10 | SUMMER 2014
worked with the Municipality to establish their own unique
list of green practices.
With the support of their new owners, six of the
constructed homes (two per builder) will be monitored
for performance under real-life conditions. Performance
monitoring for the GDP involves installing water (hot
and cold) and electricity submeters to data log the
demands associated with specific appliances, fixtures
and equipment. Water, electricity and natural gas usage
of the home as a whole will also be measured. Further,
energy performance testing will be carried out on each
residence. Performance monitoring will be carried out over
a minimum four-month period.
Through performance monitoring and comparison
with data from built to code homes, conservation and
efficiency improvements will be quantified. Insight will
be gained into the water and energy synergies of heat
recovery drainpipes and ENERGY STAR Most Efficient-
designated washing machines, for example. Return on
investment may also be calculated for some of the green
practices that have been implemented. A survey of
participating homebuyers will gauge their perceptions
of having the green upgrade package implemented in
their home. The results of the assessment will be used
to inform residents and the building sector about the
potential environmental, economic and social benefits of
the green practices used.
Opportunities presented by the local demonstration of a
beyond code approach to home building include:
showcasing opportunities for reducing the
environmental impacts of housing and responding to
the growing threat of climate change
informing and engaging the community
strengthening local capacity amongst builders,
engineers, architects, inspectors and trades about
green building practices
building support for a local green economy
fostering community partnership and collaboration
promoting leadership and innovation.
Funding support for PRIORITY GREEN Clarington and
the GDP is provided by the Government of Ontario through
the Showcasing Water Innovation project, and the Green
Municipal Fund, a fund financed by the Government of
Canada and administered by the Federation of Canadian
Municipalities. BB
Amy Burke is PRIORITY GREEN Clarington co-ordinator for the
Municipality of Clarington.
Clarington’s close proximity to Toronto is under pressure for land development.
featurestory
By Amy Burke
21WWW.BETTERBUILDER.CA | ISSUE 10 | SUMMER 2014
PRIORITY GREEN Clarington:
Three Perspectives
Small Town Feel and High Density Building
featurestory
By Aa ron K ot h i ri n ge r
S
ince our focus this issue
revolves around the PRIORITY
GREEN Clarington project
taking place in Clarington,
Ont., we here at Better Builder
wanted to get some insight from people
who are directly involved with the
project. We asked Mayor Adrian Foster,
Councillor Wendy Partner and Steve
Jacques, Ontario manager of community
development, research and professional
services with Canada Mortgage and
Housing Corporation (CMHC) to sit
down with us to talk about their views
on environmentalism and sustainability,
their involvement with PRIORITY GREEN
Clarington, as well as their aspirations
and concerns for the Region of Clarington
in the years to come.
For Mayor Foster, it began with a
conversation he had with a colleague in the city’s planning
division about water efficacy. The region has been
exploring ways to promote and implement sustainability
and conservation over the last few years, largely due to
the forecasted population growth expected over the next
two decades. They decided to apply for a provincial grant,
which was awarded, and along with some additional
funding were able to establish a pilot project.
“Water is about two-thirds of the average household’s
energy bill,” Foster said. “This pilot project will be a
great way for residents and would-be residents of our
community to see that in doing their part to reduce
their household’s consumption, they will end up saving
a significant amount of money.” The pilot will monitor
six different homes with green upgrades ranging from
greywater recycling to solar power collection. Foster hopes
the pilot project will encourage people looking to buy a
new home in Clarington to consider including these kinds
of above code upgrades.
While he admits his own home is a work in progress,
he has implemented several energy- and water-saving
products that reduce his household’s consumption. He
recently upgraded his furnace, exchanging it for an above
code model, and uses only high efficiency lightbulbs and
low flow toilets.
“Even with the upgrades, it is difficult for me to monitor
the reduction in consumption and the monetary savings.
This is why I am excited to see the results of the pilot
project. It will give us hard, quantitative data we hope will
convince people and builders that building above code is
not only of benefit to the region and its resources, but also
a benefit to them and their wallets.” Foster does have some
concerns as his municipality moves forward.
“We need to convince residents that high or higher
density building is necessary.” Adding that people’s
preconceived and unwarranted notions about noise and
crime keep them from seeing that high density buildings
like mid-rise apartment buildings, mixed-use and
Water use reduction: the genesis of PRIORITY GREEN.
22 WWW.BETTERBUILDER.CA | ISSUE 10 | SUMMER 2014
commercial building actually increase local property values.
As a final point of pride, Foster added this is the first
time he has been involved with a project in which all levels
of government, the building industry and local enterprise
are all “sitting at the same table.” He is optimistic about
the future of Clarington, and hopes other municipalities
will be inspired by the work they are doing.
City Councillor Wendy Partner, who lives in the
Ganaraska Forest area, became involved with the PRIORITY
GREEN Clarington project after attending last year’s
symposium in Courtice, Ont. “I was very excited to learn
all the things that they are working with the developers to
complete,” said Partner. “As vice-chair of the Ganaraska
Region Conservation Authority, I speak about sustainability
and ways we can become more sustainable in our lives, to
all who will listen. It is one of my goals as a local councillor
to bring this to the forefront in Clarington and beyond.”
Partner is in her first term as councillor for Ward
4, primarily a farming community, and says as new
development continues the region must encourage
builders to build with a “green mentality.”
“We do have developers in Clarington who believe in
protecting our lands while developing subdivisions that are
sustainable to our future, and I believe those developers are
the ones we should be allowing to build here.”
The difficulty Partner and the PRIORITY GREEN
Clarington project face is maintaining the small town
atmosphere while creating new housing for people moving
to the region. Partner says the majority of new residents
are families who have moved from Toronto to get away
from the hustle and bustle of big city life in exchange for
the tranquillity Clarington offers.
“My concern is people move here from the city and
want that small town, laid back atmosphere, but feel they
should have all the things that a city offers to them at their
fingertips. I think we have to find a balance of where to
put high density [development], and not mix it in with the
quaint country feel that people want when they move here.
“They come for peace and quiet, not a city life. We need
to keep Clarington as a community for the people where
they can work, live and play and not have to travel to the
city. I believe there is a way to mix high density in without
destroying our small town community feel.”
At the PRIORITY GREEN Clarington symposium held
in October 2013, an array of experts and industry leaders
were invited to discuss development strategies Clarington
can use to achieve its goals.
Steve Jacques with CMHC spoke about the fused grid
approach to neighbourhood design, and has high hopes
for the region.
“I think what they [Clarington] are trying
to do is fantastic,” Jacques said. “These
regions outside Toronto are where growth
will be happening. [When looking at city
planning] you can’t think in 5-year blocks.
You have to start thinking in 25-, 50- and
even 100-year blocks.”
Jacques outlined the fused grid technique
as a way to maintain green open spaces
and walkability while maximizing the
development of each parcel of land – an
area of much concern for current Clarington
residents who unanimously agreed that
maintaining the small town feel of their town
is of the highest priority.
Jacques said strategies like the fused
grid will allow for major population growth
without losing the small town aspect. “High
density development with open green
space is the only way to go. Large estate
lots are not an efficient use of land. Clarington has the
right priorities, and they are going about it the right
way [pilot project, community survey]. But, ultimately,
the municipality will have to create the documents,
guidelines and policy that developers will follow for years
to come.” BB
Aaron Kothiringer is a freelance writer/journalist and has worked for
several community newspapers including the East York Observer.
featurestory
By Aaron K othiringer
The fused grid maximizes land use and green space and minimizes roads.
23WWW.BETTERBUILDER.CA | ISSUE 10 | SUMMER 2014
24 WWW.BETTERBUILDER.CA | ISSUE 10 | SUMMER 2014
I
f you’ve got clients who’d like to
upgrade to new, more efficient
HVAC systems, but don’t have the
money, now’s a good time to let them
in on a new City of Toronto program.
The $20 million program intends
to retrofit about 1000 homes and 10
multiresidential buildings (totalling
1000 apartments) by lending money
to eligible property owners. Now run-
ning as a pilot project, the program
will have a process that includes ap-
plication (available online), and an en-
ergy audit to assess the home based
on certain specified criteria, which
will outline all the ways homeowners
can reduce energy consumption to
comply with the program.
Councillor Mike Layton, who intro-
duced the program, explains it will
outline both the low-hanging fruit –
things you can do eas-
ily and inexpensively
– as well as the deeper
retrofit. Once aproved,
the homeowner can go
ahead with their con-
tractor.
The 5- to 20-year loans will come
with low/competitive interest rates,
and are to be paid back through the
property tax bill. Because interest rates
are low, and payments are geared to
the savings homeowners will realize on
utility bills from increased efficiency,
household budgets won’t change.
Issued through the municipal local
improvement charge (LIC), loans are
placed against the property instead of
the homeowner, which means the loan
stays with the property until paid off.
Having a loan on your property tax
bill would automatically be disclosed
whenever the house is being sold.
Layton explains this should help en-
courage homeowners to go ahead with
deep energy retrofits on their homes,
since what holds some homeowners
back is the fear they will not realize a
return on their investment when they
go to sell the home.
“This plan has the full support
of the Toronto Real Estate Board,”
says Layton. “The board can help by
looking at ways to communicate the
value of energy savings to homebuy-
ers. When I bought my home, I asked
to see the previous year’s energy bills,
and this I think may breathe new life
into the Province’s proposal for en-
ergy audits at the point of sale.”
Although homeowners are the
obvious beneficiaries of the program
because of reduced en-
ergy bills from retrofit-
ting, there are several
benefits.
As Layton points out,
every $1 million in-
vested in this program
garners approximately 14.2 jobs. It is
expected that the budget of 20 million
will translate into 300 additional jobs,
including energy advisors, auditors,
inspectors, retrofit technicians and
construction workers. “I believe that
buildernews
By Al e x Ne w m a n
Local Improvement Charge: Using
Home Equity for Energy Efficiency
PHOTO:WWW.DESIGNPICS.COM
Every $1 million
invested in this
program garners
approximately
14.2 jobs.
25WWW.BETTERBUILDER.CA | ISSUE 10 | SUMMER 2014
if the program is successful and goes
to a full-scale program, it could lead
to thousands of new jobs in Toronto,”
Layton says.
These numbers were calculated
during several studies done over the
past few years by the City of Toronto
on residential retrofits, in conjunction
with the Green Energy Act Alliance,
Blue Green Canada and the WWF.
To date, over $750,000 has been se-
cured from the Ontario Power Authori-
ty, Toronto Hydro, Enbridge and others.
The rest of the funds will come from
the City’s working capital reserve – no
costs will come from the City’s tax levy,
nor will Toronto’s debt load increase.
The City uses money from its working
capital, which will be increased for that
particular year, but paid back out of the
property tax loans over the years.
It’s expected the reduction in
carbon emissions from this pilot
program will result in the equivalent
of taking a thousand cars off the
road. Reducing energy consumption
also reduces the strain on the city’s
overloaded infrastructure, leading to
fewer blackouts and lower mainte-
nance costs on our energy grid.
In addition to having the full back-
ing of the mayor’s executive commit-
tee, the program has the support of
private sector, labour and environmen-
tal organizations including the Toron-
to Real Estate Board, Building Industry
and Land Development Association
(BILD), Toronto Environmental Alli-
ance, Toronto & York Region Labour
Council, as well as the David Suzuki
Foundation.
For more information on how to tap
into the finance possibilities, check
toronto.ca/teo/residential-energy-
retrofit. BB
Alex Newman is a writer, editor and researcher
at www.integritycommunications.ca
26 WWW.BETTERBUILDER.CA | ISSUE 10 | SUMMER 2014
Clearsphere consultant John
Godden knew they were ready
and able to take it on. “It was
a great logical next step in our
quest for sustainable housing
construction,” Stewart says.
Most builders are aware
of sustainability issues, and
want to do the right thing, but
are not so sure of the cost or
difficulty of implementation,
what the benefits are exactly,
and whether buyers are pre-
pared to pay.
Metzner Yarrow has found
consumers generally like the
words “green” and “ENERGY
STAR,” but aren’t so eager
to pay for it, particularly in
the suburbs around Toronto,
although she also says those
attitudes are slowly chang-
ing. She has also found some
green practices easier than
others to implement, and
give good bang for your buck.
“Adding an exterior barrier
and sealing the basement
ducts are really simple and
make such a difference in a
home’s air tightness. They’re
not required by code, but
something that makes a huge
difference.”
Another thing Halminen
is exploring, she says, is a
way to reduce water runoff
by using a 6” layer of topsoil
and incorporating permeable
hardscaping.
A more challenging issue
to resolve is homeowners’
buy-in. Stewart, who is “ex-
cited” about the Discovery
homes potential, admits,
“It’s tough to break into that
sustainability side unless you
include it into a bells and
whistles package.”
Brookfield, though, has
had some success in selling
this upgrade. And Stewart has
found on previous projects
that a few of these upgrades
“went over really well with
buyers, especially with homes
that came out with low air
changes and lower Home
Energy Rating System (HERS)
scores.”
Indeed, at the Clarington
site, all three builders have
not come across great reluc-
tance by purchasers to con-
sider the free Discovery home
upgrade, especially once the
program has been explained.
In Jeffery’s case, he’s the
buyer for his company’s two
Discovery homes, because he
intends to rent out the 1600
sq. ft. attached towns. He be-
lieves the savings on utilities,
thanks to the townhomes
being 25 to 30 per cent more
efficient than current code,
will be an incentive to poten-
tial tenants responsible for
paying their own utilities.
Consumption is something
that intrigues Jeffery, so he
will be watching very closely
as the Town reveals its find-
ings through the monitor-
ing process. “John [Godden]
measures consumption with
a unit called kilowatts. That’s
something you can relate to
dollars and cents, and gives
you a good barometer of what
is worth spending money on
– and what isn’t.” BB
Alex Newman is a writer,
editor and researcher at
www.integritycommunications.ca
Green Country
Continued from page 11
27WWW.BETTERBUILDER.CA | ISSUE 10 | SUMMER 2014
fromthegroundup
By Dou g Ta rry
I
n previous articles about the
Optimum Basement Wall, I have
mentioned air sealing the main
floor rim joist. Because we do a
blower door test of every home
we build, we’ve developed a really
good database of our air tightness.
When we initially started testing,
we always managed to get under
the 2.5 air changes per hour (ACH)
requirement for ENERGY STAR. As
we standardized our methods and
improved our subtrades’ knowl-
edge, our average settled in be-
tween 1.8 and 1.9 ACH, a very good
number.
However, we did notice a sig-
nificant area of leakage around
the main floor rim joist where
penetrations had occurred, even
though we were wrapping the
floor assembly with a house wrap.
Even though the framers had done
a good job installing the header
wrap, we had other subtrades
(plumbers, HVAC and electricians)
who insisted on punching a bunch
of holes in my nicely installed
header wrap air barrier. I asked
them to stop, but they wouldn’t.
Something to do with following the
building code.
I’m kidding, of course, but this
is actually a really good example
where the requirements of one
part of the building code (ventila-
tion of combustion appliances)
causes a challenge with another part
(continuous air barrier).
So we did some research and
worked with our building inspectors
to reduce leakage in this area. We
decided for our air leakage goals we
would use spray foam as an air seal-
ant. We came upon a product called
Dow FROTH-PAK that enabled us to
do this work using our own staff so
we could better control
our construction schedule.
FROTH-PAK has a Canadian
Construction Materials
Centre (CCMC) rating as an
air sealant (CCMC 13447-L),
but does not have a spe-
cific insulation rating for
Canada, so we don’t count
it as part of our header
insulation.
Our back framers Joe
and Chris quickly got
the hang of it, and even
worked out a method for
moving the FROTH-PAK
tanks around the basement
quickly using a small pull
cart to speed up the appli-
cation process. Of course,
we were very curious to see
if there would be a change
to our ACH numbers, so it
was time to look at some
test results.
When we looked at
our next group of blower door test
results, we were very surprised at
the significant impact the air sealing
had. Our average had dropped by
nearly 0.8 ACH to just over 1.1 ACH
Air Sealing and Protecting
Foam Plastics
R22 ROXUL Comfortbatt (5.5 ther-
mal protection 3.1.4.2) to cover
the foam to top of insulated wall
(protection of foamed plastics
OBC 9.10.17.10).
Spray foam air sealant for an
air barrier and reduction of dew
point (vapour barrier in header).
28 WWW.BETTERBUILDER.CA | ISSUE 10 | SUMMER 2014
for about $250 to $300 per house.
This further reduction in ACH not
only improved our EnerGuide rat-
ing, it meant our mechanicals didn’t
need to be as big. (This is part of how
we ended up undertaking the Right-
Sized Furnace project.)
However, as FROTH-PAK is a
sprayed foam, the code requires us to
protect it from potential fire. In the
2006 Ontario Building Code (OBC),
this requirement did not prevent
occupancy if it was incomplete at
time of final inspection. With the new
2012 OBC, this is now a requirement
for occupancy (9.10.17.10.(1)). This
would include on-step walls or walk-
out walls if there is rigid insulation
on the exterior of the stud wall and
the basement is not drywalled.
For anyone who has had to install
drywall into the floor joist space to
meet this requirement, you know how
challenging and labour intensive this
can be. So we knew we wanted a dif-
ferent option. As it turns out, DOW
had considered this problem and had
a lab test showing that a 5.5” ROXUL
batt would meet the requirement for
combustible insulation and its pro-
tection (3.1.5.12.(2)(e)). We found this
to be a much faster and easier detail
to complete than trying to drywall
the joist ends. And since we were
using the ROXUL for both protecting
foam plastics and to meet our insula-
tion requirements, the incremental
cost was fairly minor.
Recently, ROXUL conducted its
own lab test and confirmed the 5.5”
ROXUL batt had a classification B rat-
ing for protecting foam plastics. This
rating is available through ROXUL
if you are interested in using it for
your foam plastics protection. The air
sealing of our main floor header has
enabled us to significantly exceed the
air tightness requirements of the OBC
and has been a significant factor in
our increased EnerGuide rating, which
is now averaging 83 to 84. If this is
an area you are struggling with, check
out the Optimum Basement Wall de-
tail for ideas on installation. It is also
available from ROXUL. BB
Doug Tarry Jr. is the director of marketing at
Doug Tarry Homes in St. Thomas, Ontario.
fromthegroundup
By Doug Tarry
29WWW.BETTERBUILDER.CA | ISSUE 10 | SUMMER 2014
30 WWW.BETTERBUILDER.CA | ISSUE 10 | SUMMER 2014
31WWW.BETTERBUILDER.CA | ISSUE 10 | SUMMER 2014
G
ranite countertops, that’s what
buyers want.” It’s a statement
I’ve heard from builders many
times over the years when the topic
of building “green” comes up. Apple
cofounder Steve Jobs once said, “It
isn’t the consumers’ job to know
what they want.” So how do you
navigate these waters of unknowns
and contradictions when trying to
sell green upgrades and features to
prospective buyers?
In fairness to Mr. Jobs, he was
explaining that Apple did not conduct
market research because consumers
couldn’t know they want what has
not yet been created. Some context is
important here. In reality, Apple does
market research. Mr. Jobs shunned fo-
cus group research with generic con-
sumers, but Apple regularly queries
its customers to determine the moti-
vations behind their recent purchases.
So here’s the interesting part. Both
the builders’ and Mr. Jobs’ viewpoints
are correct, with some caveats. It’s
not about what consumers want – it’s
about what motivates their wants.
Intrinsic beliefs drive every action
of every individual. These beliefs are
shared among demographics and often
passed along to the next generation
with some culturally induced changes
along the way. What motivates all of
us and the perspectives we form arise
from our intrinsic beliefs.
This belief system is deeply
entrenched and comes from
the common upbringing and
cultural values of popula-
tions within a given demo-
graphic.
It’s the Apple brand and
design that are the primary
drivers for consumer pur-
chases, not software and
applications. Yet, as Mr.
Jobs pointed out, the con-
sumer doesn’t know what
product design they want
until it’s developed and
put into the marketplace.
Buyers didn’t want gran-
ite countertops until they
were introduced as the
latest and greatest trend in
kitchen design.
Success, happiness, vital-
ity, youth, comfort, safety,
beauty – these emotions
and more are the driving
motivations behind our purchases.
Granite countertops reflect our suc-
cess. They show our guests we have
taste, money and design savvy. We are
in turn validated by our guests’ oohs
and ahhs.
Lower utility bills and greater
home comfort are most often the
main selling points of green features
and upgrades marketed to prospec-
tive homebuyers. These are logical
reasons for purchasing green homes,
but not emotional ones. Unless green
homebuilders tap into the emotional
motivations of potential buyers, gran-
ite countertops will win every time.
Working recently with a devel-
oper of single-family homes in York
Region and convincing him of the
value of installing rain gardens was
no small task. To paraphrase him,
“People want neat, clean yards, not
messy, weedy gardens they have to
maintain.” With lots of photos and
discussion, the developer and builder
agreed to add the rain gardens to
corner lots in the development. In a
buildernews
By Tra c y P a t t e rson
What Homebuyers Want?
“
“Granite countertops, that’s what buyers want.” It’s
a statement I’ve heard from builders many times over
the years when the topic of building “green” comes
up. Apple cofounder Steve Jobs once said, “It isn’t
the consumers’ job to know what they want.”
PHOTO:WWW.DESIGNPICS.COM
32 WWW.BETTERBUILDER.CA | ISSUE 10 | SUMMER 2014
RELIABLE,
CONSISTENT,
MARTINOHeating • Air Conditioning • Indoor Air Quality • HVAC Design
www.martinohvac.com1-800-465-5700
™
meeting with their marketing people
and sales agents, I explained how to
position the rain gardens as “fu-
sion gardens” and the latest trend in
landscape design. I provided them
with full-colour images of beautiful
gardens and landscapes to include as
wall art in their sales office. The lots
with rain gardens were the first to
sell. Other green features were collec-
tively marketed as lifestyle enhancing
and in harmony with nature – a vital,
healthy place to live and raise a fam-
ily. Green features can and will sell.
It’s all in how they are positioned.
So, what do homebuyers want?
Builders need to appreciate that this
is the wrong question to ask, and
worse, assume they know the answer.
What all green homebuilders should
understand are the intrinsic motiva-
tions and values of prospective buy-
ers. In a robust market, insights into
the motivations of potential purchas-
ers may seem less important, but with
this information builders can’t just
successfully market green homes, but
create “must have” designs, layouts
and features that will give them a de-
cided edge in the marketplace. BB
Tracy Patterson is a marketing consultant
and principal of Freeman Associates.
buildernews
By Tracy Patterson
Buyers didn’t want granite countertops
until they were introduced as the latest and
greatest trend in kitchen design.
33WWW.BETTERBUILDER.CA | ISSUE 10 | SUMMER 2014
With residential building codes changing across Canada you need
an exterior insulated sheathing that measures up. In the move
from nominal to effective R-values, ROXUL®
COMFORTBOARD™
IS
provides a stable solution.
Vapour permeable, it dries easily even if the framing gets wet,
guarding against mould and mildew all while delivering an extra
layer of thermal protection.
DON’T JUST INSULATE, ROXULATE
roxul.com | 1-800-265-6878
Find comfort in a world of change.
WWW.BETTERBUILDER.CA | ISSUE 10 | SUMMER 201434
PAGE TITLE
Features
To learn more, visit
www.savingsbydesign.ca
TM
Helping builders design and build
more energy efficient homes.
New building codes require new approaches to housing
design and energy performance. Enbridge’s Savings
by Design program is here to help. The program offers
free access to design and technical experts, as well
as valuable incentives to help design and build more
energy efficient homes.
Using our unique and collaborative Integrated Design
Process (IDP), we will work with you to identify optimal
solutions for improving energy efficiency 25% beyond
Ontario Building Code 2012.

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Better Builder Magazine, Issue 10 / Summer 2014

  • 1. 1 BETTER BuilderMAGAZINE the builder’s source ISSUE 10 | SUMMER 2014 WWW.BETTERBUILDER.CA The Municipal Issue Sharing the Vision of a Sustainable Future Priority Green Clarington Doing the Right Thing The Value of Engagement Code Co-operation Spray Foam and Thermal Barriers What Homebuyers Want Publicationnumber42408014 IN THIS ISSUE
  • 2. 2 ISSUE 10 | SUMMER 2014 A b r e a t h o f f r e s h a i r . MAX SERVICE All mechanical and electrical components are accessible from the front of the unit. Heating coil and fan/motor slide out for easy service. One of the most extensive warranties in the business:1-year parts & labour,2-years on parts only,where applicable. MAX COMFORT With the increased efficiency of this optional Electronically Commuted Motor (ECM), homeowners will be free to cycle air continuously with a minimal increase in electricity cost. Continuous fan operation helps improve filtration,reduce temperature variations,and helps keep the air clear of dust and allergens – making your customers’ homes more comfortable. Mini Ducted Hi-Velocity Air Handling System Optional Prioritizing of Comfort Levels with Energy Savings MAX SPACE SAVER The MAXAIR fan coil is so compact that it fits anywhere:laundry room,attic,crawl space,you can even place it in a closet. It can be installed in new or existing homes. It takes less than 1/3 of the space of a conventional heating and air conditioning unit. MAX ENERGY SAVINGS Energy savings,temperature control and comfort levels are achieved in individual levels of the home by prioritizing the requirements.This is achieved by installing optional space thermostats. If any area calls for heating or cooling, the individual thermostat allows the space it serves to achieve optimum comfort and still maintain continuous air circulation throughout the home. This method of prioritizing is a great energy savings measure while offering an increased comfort level to the home owner. FLEXAIRTM DISTRIBUTION SYSTEM MAX FLEXIBILITY The supply outlets can be placed in the wall, ceiling or floor. Each unit has four choices of locations for the return air connections. The FLEXAIR™ insulated 2½" supply duct will fit in a standard 2"x 4" wall cavity. Can be mounted for vertical or horizontal airflow. Can be combined with humidifiers,high efficiency air cleaners or ERVs / HRVs. Snap-together branch duct and diffuser connections. MAX ELECTRICAL SAVINGS ECMs are ultra-high-efficient programmable brushless DC motors that are more efficient than the permanently split capacitor (PSC) motors used in most residential furnaces.This is especially true at lower speeds used for continuous circulation in many new homes. 1-800-453-6669 905-951-0022519-578-5560613-966-5643 416-213-1555 877-254-4729905-264-1414 For distribution of Air Max Technologies products call www.airmaxtechnologies.com209 Citation Drive, Units 5&6, Concord, ON L4K 2Y8, Canada Airmax ad with Prioritizing AMT 12430 AD FPG 09_HR.pdf 1 2013-04-18 8:46 AM
  • 3. FEATURE STORY 16 PRIORITY GREEN Clarington BY TRACY HANES, AMY BURKE AND AARON KOTHIRINGER INSIDE THIS ISSUE 02 Publisher’s Note: Shared Vision BY JOHN GODDEN 03 The Bada Test: The (Tricky) Business of Doing the Right Thing BY LOU BADA 04 Straight From the Hart: The Value of Local Engagement BY LENARD HART 06 Industry Expert: Code Co-operation BY GORD COOKE 08 Industry News: Working with Municipalities BY MICHAEL LIO 10 Builder News: Green Country BY ALEX NEWMAN 13 Industry News: Building a More Weather-Resilient Home BY MICHAEL LIO 24 Builder News: Local Improvement Charge: Using Home Equity BY ALEX NEWMAN 27 From the Ground Up: Air Sealing and Protecting Foam Plastics BY DOUG TARRY 31 Builder News: What Homebuyers Want? BY TRACY PATTERSON Cover: www.shutterstock.com BETTER BuilderMAGAZINE the builder’s source 1 22 ISSUE 10 | SUMMER 2014 WWW.BETTERBUILDER.CA | ISSUE 10 | SUMMER 2014 3 5 13 IMAGE:WWW.SHUTTERSTOCK.COM
  • 4. 2 WWW.BETTERBUILDER.CA | ISSUE 10 | SUMMER 2014 Publisher Better Builder Magazine 12 Rowley Avenue Toronto, ON M4P 2S8 416-481-4218 fax 416-481-4695 sales@betterbuilder.ca Better Builder Magazine is a sponsor of Publishing editor John B. Godden managing editor Wendy Shami editorial@betterbuilder.ca To advertise, contribute a story, or join our distribution list, please contact sales@betterbuilder.ca Feature Writers Tracy Hanes, Alex Newman ProoFreading Janet Dimond creative Robert Robotham Graphics www.RobertRobotham.ca This magazine brings together premium product manufacturers and leading builders to create better, differentiated homes and buildings that use less energy, save water and reduce our impact on the environment. Publication number 42408014 Copyright by Better Builder Magazine. Contents may not be reprinted or reproduced without written permission. The opinions expressed herein are exclusively those of the authors and assumed to be original work. Better Builder Magazine cannot be held liable for any damage as a result of publishing such works. trademark disclaimer All company and/or product names may be trade names, trademarks and/or registered trademarks of the respective owners with which they are associated. undeliverable mail Better Builder Magazine 12 Rowley Avenue, Toronto, ON M4P 2S8. Better Builder Magazine is published four times a year. B uilders and developers seeking subdi- vision approval and building permits from a municipality are met with one of three scenarios. The builder’s brand (energy performance features included in a home) along with the municipality’s requirements will determine which scenario unfolds. In scenario one, the builder’s brand meets or exceeds the current Ontario Building Code (OBC) energy performance requirements out- lined in Supplemental Bulletin 12 (SB-12). To review, SB-12 contains 13 recipes (packages) for a builder to choose from and use so the house will achieve an EnerGuide rating of 80. Prescription Package J is the most common way of meeting this requirement. In scenario two, the builder is building to current OBC SB-12, but the municipal planners ask for mandatory labelling such as LEED or EN- ERGY STAR. Many builders agree to this without fully understanding the implications of the pass or fail nature of these programs, and the added costs of higher performance. A story comes to mind I heard through the grapevine. Amidst a prolonged approval pro- cess, a builder became very frustrated (that’s putting it mildly) because of a lack of com- munication between the planning and building departments of a municipality. After going between the two many times and still not get- ting an answer that made sense, he went to the municipal offices. The two departments sending the mixed messages were across the hall from each other. After opening both office doors, he stood in the middle of the hallway and pleaded at the top of his lungs, “This thing isn’t gonna move forward until you two *******s agree on what you want me to do!” This story demonstrates the spirit of co- operation necessary to meet all needs of the stakeholders involved in the building and de- velopment process. Let’s call that spirit shared vision, our third scenario. This is a collabora- tive effort on the part of the major stakehold- ers including builders, planners, building offi- cials and homebuyers. Ah, my dream come true – creating more sustainable homes through consensus. This effort allows all involved to better understand and direct the goals and intended development outcomes while allowing the builder flexibility and choice. My earliest involvement with shared vision was the Rodeo Fine Homes EcoLogic subdivi- sion in Newmarket. It was a very collaborative project that spanned almost five years. Rodeo Homes was offered incentives from the local municipality to build 60 per cent more effi- cient than code. In this issue, Len Hart’s article describes this process. The Sustainable Housing Foundation was asked by the Municipality of Clarington to facilitate an engagement of builders named PRIORITY GREEN. One key to the success of this engagement is a sustainable checklist that can be used to educate and upsell homebuyers on sustainable features while satisfying the municipal requirement of better than code. As Lou Bada points out in his piece, doing the right thing requires facilitation rather than regulation on the part of government. Our regular contributors Gord Cooke, Michael Lio, and Doug Tarry underscore the importance of working with building departments to foster innovation and change. In the new development landscape, differ- ent approaches need to be introduced – an approach where land use minimizes infra- structure costs, intensifies residential use while maximizing open and green space. Aaron Kothiringer investigates the fused grid approach. And lastly, Tracy Patterson reflects on the wisdom of the late and great Steve Jobs. “It isn’t the consumers’ job to know what they want.” True collaboration and vision help us sell ourselves on a better future. I’ve made my sales pitch on shared vision. Read on. I hope you’ll buy in. BB Shared Vision publisher’snote By J oh n G o dden 2 WWW.BETTERBUILDER.CA | ISSUE 10 | SUMMER 2014
  • 5. 3WWW.BETTERBUILDER.CA | ISSUE 10 | SUMMER 2014 A t the risk of sounding overly mercenary and one dimen- sional I’m going to state the obvious – businesses exist for profit. It always surprises me when busi- nesspeople are asked why they do what they do. They tend to recite what seems like a corporate mission statement. “At ABC Corporation we strive to…customer focused…culti- vate exceptional product and peo- ple…corporate responsibility and en- vironmental stewardship…” All these great things are the mechanisms we use to make money, but aren’t usually viewed as an end in and of themselves. Nor are they necessarily mutually exclusive with profit. The ideal is to make them necessary to earn more profit. On the other hand, I always twinge when I hear government should be run like a business. Government should be certainly and unequivocally much more businesslike. However, I also believe many of the good works governments do at home and abroad would be difficult to justify in a corporate boardroom. At the intersec- tion of the public and private realms is where it gets interesting. Politicians speak about city building, but govern- ment does not build cities or com- munities, industry does – and only if it’s profitable. Individuals and society make these communities great. The economy underpins it all. Government is good at some things – and not so good at others. The often-cited new business para- digm of the triple bottom line (profit, people, planet) is interesting and challenging for the new home building industry. Though a more comprehen- sive way of looking at the outcomes of a venture, it has been criticized by both sides of the political spectrum. What is clear is that a market-based approach in a market economy is a requisite. Collaboration is better than class warfare. The difficulty for new homebuilders is the individual realiza- tion or monetization of some of the benefits accrued. If individual busi- nesses become insolvent in pursuit of the triple bottom line, then progress can’t be made. The best example of collaboration I’ve been involved in was my experi- ence in a new residential subdivision developed in Vaughan’s Block 39 in 2007/2008. It involved an integrated design process that yielded the first of all ENERGY STAR housing devel- opment of its kind in Ontario. All stakeholders were present, and with commonsense and goodwill made it happen where an otherwise less sustainable community would’ve been built. The quid pro quo for the devel- oper and homebuilder was an expe- dited process. The proverbial carrot was better than the stick. Currently, the voluntary has often become the mandatory. It is becoming more difficult, if not impossible, to make a compelling business case for doing the right thing. Creativity will have to replace bureaucracy if we wish to move forward. Governments must facilitate rather than regulate. We all live on the same planet and want the same things. It’s about time we started acting that way. BB Lou Bada is the construction & contracts manager for Starlane Homes. The (Tricky) Business of Doing the Right Thing thebadatest By L ou Ba da IMAGE:WWW.SHUTTERSTOCK.COM
  • 6. WWW.BETTERBUILDER.CA | ISSUE 10 | SUMMER 20144 W hen thinking about the significant role munici- palities play in growth and development, we must acknowledge the growing role local engagement is playing in the process. Local govern- ment is where much of the regulatory hurdles builder/developers must face to gain approvals for new develop- ment, and when they have to win over a community to sup- port their project, this often means overcoming any not-in-my-backyard (NIMBY) opposition. Change is never easy, and some people are opposed to it in all its forms, but the vast majority see the need for growth and change, including new building developments. Public perception and support can vary depending on how the issue is framed and how the process of engagement is viewed. Interestingly, while it’s no longer a number one issue for deci- sion making, climate change and the environment are core components to most issues and still hugely influential in decision and opinion making (often manifesting as health, community or pollution concerns). All developments involve change and change meets with resistance. In many cases this resistance is simply ignored and goes away, but as new green field space runs out, more development projects will be in built- up areas and face serious opposition from neighbours, whether in the public and social media, or through regulators and local governments. Not only is the prospect of public scrutiny increasing, but opposition is becom- ing easier to do and do well with Twitter, Facebook and the like. Simply building to LEED or ENERGY STAR standards is no longer enough to sati- ate the concerns of local opponents. Engaging and addressing local resis- tance is key to managing opposition and functioning with local govern- ments. Let’s examine a few examples. Minto faced the challenge of develop- ing a plot of land on the shores of Lake Sim- coe, an environmen- tally stressed lake that receives far too much phosphate runoff. One of the many design standards set was that develop- ment should improve the water quality of the lake, with less phosphate runoff postdevelopment than prior. While the proposal was radically green and could not easily be discounted, the project did not get the necessary support needed, in part because the engagement was not up to the challenge. Windmill Developments in Victo- ria had an advanced LEED Platinum project of its own on-site sewage treatment systems, but still received pushback from local aboriginal groups who had unresolved land claim issues in the area. Windmill ad- dressed these concerns and eventually invited band elders to be part of the project, along with training and hiring local aboriginal youth as construction workers. Windmill’s engagement of lo- cal opposition was exemplary in that it addressed the issue and came up with real solutions. It was this engage- ment, not the green project, that won over local opposition. The Rodeo Fine Homes project in Newmarket ended up with some 34 LEED Platinum-rated homes in a 200- plus subdivision of ENERGY STAR- rated homes, yet at one point it was scheduled to have none of that, just code built homes throughout. It was the local support of a green building project that was the only thing that changed the plan. The difference was a strong pro-green lobby by local citi- zens, including a Grade 9 student for the local Catholic school who got a lot of media coverage. In an extraordinary council meeting, many speakers got up to petition the council to change their minds about allocating the 34 homes to Rodeo, and this in turn got the large code builder to upgrade to ENERGY STAR. The code builder tried to quietly duck under the radar and get the additional 34 homes for themselves, but the viral nature of lo- cal engagement and the local support turned the project around. I recently saw a presentation from pollster Greg Lyle, who clarified the role of local engagement in the devel- opment process. He noted that more than any other issue, a sense of fair- ness correlates strongly with whether or not a project is supported or not supported by the public. Addition- ally, younger cohorts are less likely to defer to authority than older ones, so they are more likely to challenge local government or committee rulings. Ad- ditionally, Lyle noted that universally regulators and governments are not seen as competent, trustworthy, or to have the public’s interests at heart. This is a crucial point for builder/ developers, because simply following The Value of Local Engagement straightfromthehart By L e n a rd Ha rt Climate change and the environment are core components to most issues and still hugely influential in decision and opinion making.
  • 7. 5WWW.BETTERBUILDER.CA | ISSUE 10 | SUMMER 2014 the zoning rules, or getting approval from a committee of adjustment, is not going to sway people to your side. Ontarians are a skeptical lot, and less likely to trust regulators more than the Canadian average – 61% show a mild to strong distrust of regula- tors, 64% feel regulators make deci- sions not based on the best evidence, and 73% feel regulators’ decision- making processes are not transparent. All this is about 12 to 20% higher than the Canadian average. The resulting challenge that builder/developers face when working with local governments and local communities is that people do not trust the regulatory process will be in their or the environment’s best interest. Winning over public opinion is complicated. Being legal might not be enough, and building green might not be enough, but engaging people in a fair and open way just might mean the difference in swaying public sup- port for your project. The last quote goes to Greg Lyle. “Process is king. The way you run your project is just as important as what you are building.” BB Lenard Hart is the vice-president of sales and marketing at Summerhill Group. Strong local support resulted in the construction of the 34 sustainable homes. energy rating training & educating sustainability consulting
  • 8. 6 WWW.BETTERBUILDER.CA | ISSUE 10 | SUMMER 2014 U sually I am challenging high performance builders to look ahead up the path of continu- ous improvement, but a quick look back can also be helpful. It helps ensure that the foundation for future change is solid. Think back about two and a half years ago to the simulta- neous introduction of Part 12 of the Ontario Building Code (OBC) and the accompanying Supplementary Stan- dard SB-12, as well as the first look at Version 12 of the ENERGY STAR for New Homes program. Progressive builders and their energy evalua- tors had anticipated the changes and sorted out which of the four possible compliance paths was most cost ef- fective for them. Those who chose the prescriptive path evaluated the 30- plus alternate building packages from the six prescriptive tables, and found the one that best suited their process- es, housing type and trade base. Let’s recognize that municipal building departments across the province were also looking at the exponential rise in energy compliance options that would be coming across their counters and in the hands of field inspectors, and wondering how it would affect their processes and challenge their technical capabilities. Indeed, it was relatively simple for individual builders to choose a com- pliance path compared to the task for building departments to understand and sort through all the options those individual builders might present, in- cluding the technical requirements of SB-12, the EnerGuide for New Houses administrative and technical proce- dures, the ENERGY STAR for New Homes technical specification, or the four alternative software programs accredited by the Residential Energy Services Network (RESNET) for the Home Energy Rating System (HERS). Of course, it got even more complex with the recognition that energy efficiency compliance required cross-referencing inputs from architec- tural, HVAC, plumbing, energy evaluators and even electrical permit documents. In addition, some municipalities have superimposed ad- ditional environmental or energy requirements into planning objectives and subdivision agree- ments. Fortunately, and it really shouldn’t have been a surprise, we, as an energy evaluator company, have experi- enced a broad base of co-operation and support from building officials throughout the province. It started very early on when we were asked to facilitate an ad hoc committee with building officials, energy evalu- ators, and builders that ultimately culminated in the Energy Efficiency Design Summary form (EEDS) and process. One of the participants was Tim Benedict, manager of building, building division, City of Kitchener. As we interact with and serve on a daily basis the same builder clientele, we have worked very closely with his department and found them to be an excellent example of how the efforts of three groups – builders, building officials and energy evaluators – are made more productive through co- operation. As Tim said, “This is just as new to us as to anyone else, and Code Co-operation navigate energy performance in the 2012 OBC. industryexpert By G ord Cooke
  • 9. 7WWW.BETTERBUILDER.CA | ISSUE 10 | SUMMER 2014 the more resources we have available to us, the better for everyone.” The first example of this co- operative effort is when Eastforest Homes organized an on-site air barrier forum very early in 2012. Tim sent the majority of his building department’s inspectors and plan examiners, while Eastforest had site supervisors and key trades attend. We essentially took each line item of section 9.25.3 Air Barrier Systems of the OBC, compared them to the requirements of the ENERGY STAR for New Homes program, and demon- strated how each Eastforest trade and site was dealing or planning to deal with the requirements. In the ensuing months, we found that a builder who was already excelling at air tightness met- rics got even better, and building officials became even more helpful in helping Eastforest achieve their goal as the first builder in Ontario to fully adopt Version 12 of the ENERGY STAR program. We have had similar great re- sponse from other building depart- ments, many of them providing op- portunities for training. For example, the City of London and the City of Cambridge both invited the DuPont Tyvek specialists to review appropri- ate field verification of exterior air barrier materials and strategies. Tim Benedict reiterates that “comprehen- sive and repeated training is crucial in ensuring proper application of new code requirements in a timely and cost-effective way.” One thing that has come up fre- quently are last-minute changes to heating systems, water heating or even window specifications. Some of these are driven by cost or un- avoidable process changes, or even consumer option choices. While last-minute changes have always been an issue, there are more consider- ations now with the energy efficiency requirements. Take for example a change from a traditional furnace to combo heating to accommodate combustion venting difficulties. Here was another example of the City of Kitchener providing a builder with the flexibility to provide a traditional power-vented water heater as the heat source for very small, ef- ficient lower-level units of a stacked townhouse complex originally permit- ted with gas furnaces and separate water heaters. HOT 2000 energy mod- elling showed that slightly upgrading the energy factor of the water to a still com- monly available rental model, along with envelope upgrades the builder was al- ready doing, compen- sated for the energy penalty resulting from the lower efficiency of the water heater in space heat mode compared to a standard high efficiency furnace. It resulted in a win-win solution for a builder to meet the expecta- tions of the energy code, and for the homeowners in terms of better use of space in a small dwelling, fewer enclo- sure penetrations, and overall lower operating costs because of optimized monthly rental fees. The process and solution were a great example of the building depart- ment working within the energy evalu- ation process to find the most cost- effective solution for the builders and community members they serve. BB Gord Cooke is the president of Building Knowledge Canada. We have experienced a broad base of co-operation and support from building officials throughout the province.
  • 10. 8 WWW.BETTERBUILDER.CA | ISSUE 10 | SUMMER 2014 industrynews By Mi c h a e l L i o O ver the years, we have worked with hundreds of build- ers and developers to re- solve building code issues as they work with their building officials. While much of the code is clearly black and white, there are many, many grey areas open to interpretation and subject to dispute. Build- ers can also find them- selves in situations where innovative designs need additional documentation to allow acceptance by municipalities. In every situation the key is to have an open dialogue with the municipality and rely on evidence. The evidence must demon- strate performance through calcula- tion, testing, and/or in the field. The first step is to prepare for a discussion with the municipality by learning about the issue at hand. Work to fully understand possible interpre- tations, opinions and code intent. This can often include researching past precedents and acceptance in other municipalities or other codes. It also includes a search for past Building Code Commission (BCC) rulings, min- ister’s interpretations, and Canadian Construction Materials Centre (CCMC) evaluations. It is important that the understanding of the issues is rooted in the requirements of the Ontario Building Code (OBC), and in how the function of the proposed building relates to the black letter of the code. The Ontario Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing’s (MMAH) Code and Construction Guide for Housing (CCGH) can provide guidance on the intentions of the code. An introductory conversation with the municipality to discuss the prob- lem is needed. The goal of the call is to understand the basis for their point of view. This includes a discussion on the perceived risk of code and prod- uct deficiencies, and the challenges related to expected performance. It is then a matter of negotiation with the municipality on how the building is intended to function, and what the code intends. Negotiations should be evidenced based and objec- tive. The conversation with the mu- nicipality should be tailored to each situation and to the capabilities of the municipality. It is always important to preserve good relations and be re- spectful. Both the builder and munici- pality have the health and safety of the homeowners in mind. The goal is to find a com- mon solution that works and where everyone believes the code objec- tives are being met. The municipality will some- times ask for corroborat- ing evidence including a letter from an expert or professional engineer. Builders should be aware of their legal recourse should an agreement not be reached. Those denied permits or served with orders can appeal to the BCC. Over the years we have been asked to help bridge many code disputes. We make a point of understanding the intent of the code and building creative, enduring solutions. Working with municipalities is about connect- ing the dots between what’s proposed and the code’s objectives, functional statements and specific requirements. Working with municipalities is about informing yourself of the issues, un- derstanding your legal recourse and negotiating in good faith to resolve the situation. BB Michael Lio is a member of the National Build- ing Code of Canada’s standing committee on housing and small buildings. Since 1986 he has been a member of the Ontario Building Code technical advisory committee. From 1995 to 2001 he was a member of the Ontario Building Code Commission serving as its vice- chair for four years. Mr. Lio is intimately aware of the code development process, its structure and syntax. Through his consulting practice, he is actively engaged with builders and designers in the residential building industry. Working with Municipalities
  • 11. 9WWW.BETTERBUILDER.CA | ISSUE 10 | SUMMER 2014 Balancing Performance and Affordability Choose a combination of WhisperGreenTM and WhisperValueTM ventilation fans from Panasonic® for a complete ventilation solution. Designed to provide both continuous and intermittent ventilation, the WhisperGreenTM fan is ideally suited as the principal exhaust. Complete the ventilation equation by using WhisperValueTM ventilation fans through-out the rest of the home. Together, WhisperGreenTM and WhisperValueTM provide the perfect balance. To learn more about Panasonic ventilation fans visit www.panasonic.ca, email VentiltionFans@ca.panasonic.com or call 1-800-669-5165 As an Energy Star® Partner, Panasonic has determined that this product meets the Energy Star® Guidelines for energy efficiency.
  • 12. 10 WWW.BETTERBUILDER.CA | ISSUE 10 | SUMMER 2014 buildernews By Al e x Ne w m a n W hen the Town of Clarington went looking for builders to participate in its PRIOR- ITY GREEN Clarington program, they wanted those with green track re- cords. They didn’t have to look far. Halminen Homes, Brookfield Homes and Jeffery Homes were cho- sen to upgrade two homes apiece to PRIORITY GREEN Clarington levels on energy efficiency and water reduc- tion. The homes were then sold – with the energy upgrades free – to homeowners willing to have the Town monitor water and energy use over a four-month period. All three builders were eager for the chance to expand their sustain- ability knowledge and practice, and experiment with future proofing homes against increased energy and water costs. It was also a good way of educating their staff, from trades all the way to sales and marketing, says Bob Stewart of Brookfield Homes. “It’s a good way to stay ahead of the curve since the building code is always be- ing upgraded.” However, PRIORITY GREEN Clar- ington exceeds both current code and the upcoming 2017 code. When municipal staff from Clarington, Dur- ham regional staff and reps from the Sustainable Housing Foundation met to discuss ways to increase energy ef- ficiency and reduce water consump- tion, they came up with six categories to improve building practices: high performance envelope, high perfor- mance HVAC, energy-efficient light- ing and appliances, indoor air quality, reduced water usage and runoffs, and efficient material management. The three builders, along with Clearsphere consultant John Godden, devised a list that would be energy ef- ficient, but also cost effective to make it more attractive to builders who are just starting into sustainable construc- tion. That list included exterior air bar- riers, two-stage furnaces, web-based thermostats, drainwater heat recovery units, energy recovery ventilators (ERV), front-loading washing machines, and natural gas ranges and dryers. Furnace right-sizing and two-stage furnaces are critical components to energy efficiency. Both Jeffery Homes and Halminen Homes have been in- stalling two-stage furnaces as standard in recent projects. They work with an idle option so the furnace isn’t con- stantly turning on and off. When you don’t need heat or cooling, the air still circulates and stays steady, making for a much more comfortable home, es- pecially important these days with the rise in asthma, Stewart points out. “It also reduces energy use, which really affects the bottom line.” Greywater recycling is a newer idea. In PRIORITY GREEN Clarington Discovery homes (the name given to the two homes at each site) plumbing rough-ins will allow this to be added later, if buyers want. Brookfield has been working with consultant John Bell on a new greywater recovery sys- tem that promises fewer maintenance headaches. “With the old greywater recovery systems,” says Stewart, “you had to constantly clean out the filters and put in chlorine pucks to sterilize the water. The new system is much easier and should cost only about $600 to rough in.” Because Jeffery Homes had already begun construction when they were Green Country Amy Burke and Katrina Metzner Yarrow: working with builders with green track records.
  • 13. 11WWW.BETTERBUILDER.CA | ISSUE 10 | SUMMER 2014 invited to participate in the PRIORITY GREEN Clarington program, it was too late to rough in the plumbing for greywater, but water manage- ment is a big part of other Jeffery Homes’ sites, and includes low flow toilets and showerheads among other water-saving measures. The PRIORITY GREEN Clarington project has taken water use to a new low with toilets that use only three litres of water per flush. The project has imple- mented many newer prod- ucts. For example, at Halmin- en Homes’ recent sites it was standard to install program- mable thermostats, but in the Discovery homes they had to use web-based ones, says Katrina Metzner Yarrow, architectural technologist for Halminen Homes. All three builders have previous experience con- structing homes at higher energy efficiency than code, some venturing into LEED designation or ENERGY STAR. And Metzner Yarrow says Halminen’s existing green practices came pretty close to the PRIORITY GREEN Clar- ington model. “But we tend to pick and choose items that will benefit both the environ- ment and our purchasers’ pocketbooks.” Tyvek exterior air barrier, and attic insulation – ENERGY STAR requirements that aren’t included in the recent build- ing code’s Package J – are something they regularly use because it ensures a better built home. They typically in- stall heat recovery ventilators (HRV), but for the Clarington Discovery home they added energy recovery ventilators (ERV) as well, and bumped up basement insulation to R20 from their standard R12. Brookfield has similar green standards. Previously, the company worked with Enbridge on the Savings by Design program (www.sav- ingsbydesign.ca). They con- tinue to experiment with new procedures like panelization. So in addition to insulated sheeting with Excel board, Blueskin rolls and tape, and ROXUL exterior insulation, they’ve added panelization to the construction process because “it’s unbelievable for keeping a tight home,” says Stewart. “You use less mater- ial, so you have more room for insulation, and we’re able to build off-site.” Some municipalities dismissed the procedure as a cookie cutter approach. “But nothing could be farther from the truth. It provides incredibly tight and efficient homes, plus no materials go ‘lost’ on site. We did this to great success in our Picker- ing and Bradford projects,” Stewart says. Experimenting with new green technology had put Brookfield in a good posi- tion so that when Clarington developed the PRIORITY GREEN Clarington program, Continued on page 26
  • 14. 12 WWW.BETTERBUILDER.CA | ISSUE 10 | SUMMER 2014
  • 15. 13WWW.BETTERBUILDER.CA | ISSUE 10 | SUMMER 2014 D unnink Homes has demonstrated a number of build- ing practices promoted by the Institute for Cata- strophic Loss Reduction (ICLR) to make homes more resilient to extreme weather. The demon- stration house, located in Guelph, goes beyond code requirements to include advanced building practices that offer better protection from damage caused by wind, snow, ice and other hazards from extreme weather events. The house in- cludes a backwater valve, improved backfill and overland drainage, engi- neered trusses to resist high winds, strapping between rafters and wall framing, ½” roof sheath- ing with nails spaced at 6”, eave protection and roof underlayment. ICLR, established in 1997, is a world-class centre devoted to disaster prevention research and communication. It is an independent not-for-profit research institute founded by the insurance indus- try and affiliated with Western University. ICLR has devoted many years to developing new construction practices to help build more weather-resilient housing. Their work provides a science-based foundation for the construction of disaster-resilient homes as part of an adaptive strategy to deal with the increasing frequency and severity of extreme weather events. ICLR’s research responds to the in- creased severe weather events that cost Canadians billions of dollars every year. One of the most recent examples is last summer’s severe flooding event in the GTA. “Insured losses from flooded basements have increased drastically over the past decade in Canada, costing insurers close to $2 billion per year,” said Dan Sandink, manager of resilient communities and research at ICLR. “Homeowners also suffer significant- Building a More Weather-Resilient Home industrynews By Mi c h a e l L i o A weather-resilient home looks like any other home. ICLR’s research responds to the increased severe weather events that cost Canadians billions of dollars every year.
  • 16. 14 WWW.BETTERBUILDER.CA | ISSUE 10 | SUMMER 2014 ly when their homes flood. This is especially true when they are flooded from sewer backup, which frequently includes flooding from raw sewage. “While there are many critical measures that must be taken on the municipal infrastructure side to reduce risk,” he continued, “many important risk reduction measures can also be economically and ef- fectively applied at the lotside. For example, sanitary backwater valves are widely applied in many Canadian provinces to reduce the risk of sewer backup. It seems likely these types of measures will be increasingly encour- aged, if not required, for homeown- ers to retain affordable and effective insurance coverage for sewer backup in the future.” The Dunnink house demonstra- tion was designed using a number of ICLR-recommended construction details. buildABILITY Corporation on behalf of ICLR consulted with a working group of the Ontario Home Builders’ Association (OHBA) tech- nical committee to determine the practices builders would favour. A number of these were included in the demonstration home. Manufacturers were contacted regarding specific products for the demonstration home. Mainline Back- water Valve Company provided the backwater valve and Henry building products also assisted by provid- ing the roof underlay and ice dam- ming protection with the use of their Henry Company’s Blueskin RF200 Self-Adhesive Ice and Water Barrier. “Henry Company shares the views of ICLR. We see the need to build more weather-resilient housing,” said Martin Kuypers, residential business development leader at Henry. “Henry products and systems manage the flow of water, air, vapour and energy through the building envelope from foundation to roof.” Henry products used on the dem- onstration house are: Blueskin TWF (Thru-Wall Flashing) brick sill Blueskin WB (Weather Barrier) win- dow and door flashing Blueskin VP (Vapour Permeable) breathable air bar- rier for exterior walls Blueskin Roof (RF200) Ice and Water Barrier, total roof coverage. After working with the OHBA technical committee working group, John Dunnink from Dun- nink Homes was the first to take up the challenge and build a more resilient home. “Building the first Discovery house using some of the ICLR building practices was a great experience that was very informative,” he said. “For the completed Discovery home, the additional labour and materials total approximately $7,000 for the up- grades, which provide additional pro- tection from flooding, wind storms, snow and ice buildup and hail.” “ICLR learned a great deal working with John Dunnink and the manufac- turers,” said Jason Thistlethwaite, di- rector of the Climate Change Adapta- tion project and research associate at ICLR. “ICLR has committed to work- ing with homebuilders to improve awareness and uptake of resilient- housing practices. Resilient housing will grow in demand as the frequency of extreme weather increases. The implementation of high-wind straps, wind-resistant nails and backwa- ter valves represents an important step in learning the building tech- niques necessary to meet this objec- tive. John’s efforts have helped provide important lessons on the opportuni- ties and limitations of resilient-building practices in the marketplace. With- out support from homebuilders like John Dunnink, it is difficult to build a bridge between the science and practice.” Adapting housing to severe weather events caused by climate change will better protect homeown- ers from the emotional and financial hardships of damage to what is often their largest investment. Continued collaboration between researchers, builders, manufacturers and govern- ment is required to further these endeavours. BB Written by: Michael Lio, president buildABILITY Corporation business@buildability.ca industrynews By M ichael Lio “ICLR has committed to working with homebuilders to improve awareness and uptake of resilient-housing practices. Resilient housing will grow in demand as the frequency of extreme weather increases.” Contacts: www.iclr.org john@dunninkhomes.com
  • 17. 15WWW.BETTERBUILDER.CA | ISSUE 10 | SUMMER 2014 Features
  • 18. 16 WWW.BETTERBUILDER.CA | ISSUE 10 | SUMMER 2014 R ecognizing the challenges that significant popula- tion growth between now and 2031 will bring, the Municipality of Clarington has launched PRIORITY GREEN Clarington, an initiative to develop a stan- dard for creating sustainable neighbourhoods. As part of PRIORITY GREEN Clarington the Municipality is developing a green demonstration project (GDP) with in- terested builders to construct homes that will demonstrate energy efficiency and water conservation, have excellent indoor air quality, manage stormwater runoff and include other sustainability measures. Between 2011 and 2031, Clarington will experience a forecasted 60 per cent increase in population and signifi- cant new building (22,000 new units) that will present social, economic and environmental challenges to the municipality. The vision of PRIORITY GREEN Clarington is to estab- lish a new standard for residential development that pri- oritizes sustainability, promotes innovation and improves quality of life, said Amy Burke, sustainable development co-ordinator for Clarington’s planning services depart- ment, community planning and design branch. Recently, a GDP planning workshop was held with three interested builder partners (Brookfield Homes, Halminen Homes and Jeffery Homes), representatives from the Sus- tainable Housing Foundation, and municipal and regional staff members. All three builders have built better than code in the past and have constructed ENERGY STAR homes. Burke said the GDP aims to implement green practices that will exceed the Ontario Building Code (OBC). Six categories have been developed, including high perfor- mance envelope, high performance HVAC, energy-efficient lighting and appliances, indoor air quality, reduced water usage and runoff and efficient material management. John Godden of the Sustainable Housing Foundation explained how integrated design works and how it’s impor- tant in building high performance homes. Integrated design brings together key stakeholders and design professionals to work in collaboration from the early planning stages through to completion, and focuses on whole building de- sign and how all the various systems work interactively. He talked about the changes coming with the OBC. In 2017, builders will be required to build homes 15 per cent more energy efficient with a target rating of EnerGuide 83. As of January 2014, builders were required to install pro- grammable thermostats and seal supply ductwork. As of January 2015, furnaces must have electronically commu- tated motors (ECMs) (that use 80 per cent less electricity), which is an important development. To meet code builders can pursue either prescriptive- or performance-based paths. Godden doesn’t recommend the Municipality tie its code rules to voluntary labelling programs. “It’s a good idea to have a performance approach for code compliance” said Godden. “Keep code compliance separate from labelling, because if a house doesn’t pass the blower door test, it won’t be issued an occupancy permit.” Godden said the three Cs of air tightness are comfort, cost and condensation. Increasing home energy efficiency has created some issues. With greater insulation values, condensation is becoming a problem and will have to be addressed through measures such as heat recovery ventilators (HRV) or energy recovery ventilators (ERV). Furnace right sizing is another issue that will have to be rectified as most currently available furnaces are too large. Godden says two-stage furnaces will be something green builders should look at, as they are quieter and use 80 per cent less electricity than conventional one-stage models when running continuously. Godden said it’s important to ensure HRV are verified to work properly from a code perspective, and while they supply whole house ventilation, it’s also important to have spot ventilation such as an effective bathroom fan. Effective spot ventilation, HRV/ERV, furnace balancing and rough-ins for radon gas detectors are ways to provide superior indoor air quality, he said. John Bell of the Sustainable Housing Foundation talked about means to reduce water usage. Toilets typically ac- count for 30 per cent of household water usage, he said. Rough-ins for future recycling of grey water from showers and baths to use to flush toilets are “a no-brainer,” said Bell. Although currently there is no reliable technology on PRIORITY GREEN Clari featurestory By Tra c y Ha ne s
  • 19. 17WWW.BETTERBUILDER.CA | ISSUE 10 | SUMMER 2014 the market, the Greyter system coming in 2015 should remedy that prob- lem, he said. Low flow toilets and fixtures, ENERGY STAR washing machines, dish- washers, rain barrels and permeable pavers are other means to achieve water conservation. While there has been talk about solar thermal hot water systems, they are not practical for subdivision homes, said Godden. A drainwater heat recovery pipe that recovers heat from water going down the drain costs $700, while a solar hot water system costs $7,000 and has a 30-year payback. Although builders are concerned homebuyers won’t pay extra for energy- and water-saving upgrades, Godden says it’s important to educate them about the value of future proofing against rising energy bills. “People are willing to buy this stuff if you tell them why they should,” said Godden. “Décor centre staff should not be selling this as it competes with other upgrades.” He said builders could market Good, Better and Best packages to buyers and show the return on investment of the various features. Godden also suggested the Municipal- ity and participating builders could co-brand on a label that would designate homes built to the better than code standard. Builder participants considered various options for GDP homes, and what features and products would deliver the energy savings, save on water use, offer other green benefits and be most cost effective. Their list included things such as exterior air barriers, two-stage furnaces, web-based thermostats, drainwater heat recovery units, ERV, front-loading washing machines, and natural gas ranges and dryers. They favoured ENERGY STAR washing machines, grey water recycling, permeable pavers and topsoil as means to reduce water usage and runoff. The next steps in the process to establishing the GDP will include confirming builder partner commitment, se- curing homebuyer interest in demonstration homes, and promotion and community education. BB Tracy Hanes is a freelance feature writer for the largest daily newspaper in Canada and several other magazines. www.tracyhanes.ca Note from PRIORITY GREEN Clarington co-ordinator Amy Burke: In addition to the GDP, PRIORITY GREEN Clarington will identify goals, targets, and criteria for the design and construction of greener neighbourhoods within new developments and exist- ing areas in the Municipality. Clarington will undertake a review of current land development policies, processes and guidelines, and will consider incentives that encourage a more sustainable approach to residential land development. Funding support for PRIORITY GREEN Clarington has been provided by the Federation of Canadian Municipalities Green Municipal Fund and the Province of Ontario’s Showcasing Water Innovation program. ngton The builder workshop resulted in a sustainability checklist with eight categories.
  • 20. 18 WWW.BETTERBUILDER.CA | ISSUE 10 | SUMMER 2014 R ecognizing the financial, environmental and social challenges associated with the traditional pattern of suburban growth, the Municipality of Clarington is taking action to advance future residential growth in a more sustainable direction through the PRIORITY GREEN Clarington initiative. Clarington is located 40 km east of Toronto on the eastern edge of the Regional Municipality of Durham. It’s comprised of a collection of smaller communities including the urban centres of Bowmanville, Courtice, Newcastle Village and Orono, which are surrounded by scenic countryside. Not unlike other municipalities surrounding the Greater Toronto Area, Clarington will experience significant growth in the coming years. To accommodate this growth new subdivisions and neighbourhood areas will be needed. PRIORITY GREEN Clarington aims to set a new standard for future residential development that prioritizes sustainability, promotes innovation and improves the community’s quality of life through green development practices. Green development looks at the ways in which both homes and neighbourhoods are designed and built. It’s about using practices that will reduce the environmental impacts of development, and respond to the growing threat of climate change. In addition, it’s an important component of creating healthier places to live, work and play for the community. To achieve this vision the Municipality, in collaboration with the private sector and community engagement, is developing policies and standards, approval measures and incentives to encourage green development from the initial design of a subdivision through home construction. In addition, PRIORITY GREEN Clarington will reach beyond the enhancement of policy and process to put green building into practice. This February, the Municipality announced a partnership formed with Brookfield Residential, Halminen Homes and Jeffery Homes for the PRIORITY GREEN Clarington green demonstration project (GDP). The GDP will offer homebuyers in designated subdivisions currently under construction a beyond code option. This upgrade features a package of water and energy improvements (referred to as “green practices”) that exceed the efficiency requirements of the latest Ontario Building Code (OBC). Each builder has PRIORITY GREEN Clarington: Supporting Green Development Through Demonstration PRIORITY GREEN at work: inspecting Discovery homes and upgrades on the sustainability checklist. featurestory By Am y Bu rke
  • 21. 19WWW.BETTERBUILDER.CA | ISSUE 10 | SUMMER 2014 ELECTRICAL DATA WEIGHT 75K 105K 120K lb / kg 114 / 51,7 138 / 62,6 146 / 66,2 Supply 115 Volts - 60 Hertz - 1 Phase Maximum consumption From 10,53 to 16,19 Amps 40 VA www.dettson.ca WARM AIR GAS FURNACE DESIGNED, ENGINEERED, AND MANUFACTURED IN CANADA FOR HEATING AND COOLING CANADIAN RESIDENCES Benefits and differentiators Product line features - Single stage Product release schedule Phase I September 2013 - Achieved Phase II Achieved Phase III 15 K 34,29 31,75 27,94 33,02 x 60,96 30 K 34,29 31,75 27,94 33,02 x 60,96 45 K 34,29 31,75 27,94 33,02 x 60,96 60 K 40 37,46 33,02 38,1 x 60,96 75 K 40 37,46 33,02 38,1 x 60,96 105 K 53,34 50,80 38,1 43,18 x 60,96 120 K 53,34 50,80 38,1 43,18 x 60,96 15 k 13 1/2 12 1/2 11 1/4 13 x 24 30 k 13 1/2 12 1/2 11 1/4 13 x 24 45 k 13 1/2 12 1/2 11 1/4 13 x 24 60 k 15 3/4 14 3/4 13 1/4 15 x 24 75 k 15 3/4 14 3/4 13 1/4 15 x 24 105 k 21 20 15 1/4 17 x 24 120 k 21 20 15 1/4 17 x 24 DIMENSIONS (inches) DIMENSIONS ( ) Furnace size Filter Size A Cabinet width B Supply Outlet width C Return Outlet width Furnace size Filter Size A Cabinet width B Supply Outlet width C Return Outlet width 19.08 8.54 0 2.50 5.03 B SUPPLY OUTLET WIDTH A 15.71 33.57 6.76 29,02 24,00 1.09 1.03 6.05 2.66 2.26 0 0.88 2.00 C Returnoutletheight Return outlet width
  • 22. 20 WWW.BETTERBUILDER.CA | ISSUE 10 | SUMMER 2014 worked with the Municipality to establish their own unique list of green practices. With the support of their new owners, six of the constructed homes (two per builder) will be monitored for performance under real-life conditions. Performance monitoring for the GDP involves installing water (hot and cold) and electricity submeters to data log the demands associated with specific appliances, fixtures and equipment. Water, electricity and natural gas usage of the home as a whole will also be measured. Further, energy performance testing will be carried out on each residence. Performance monitoring will be carried out over a minimum four-month period. Through performance monitoring and comparison with data from built to code homes, conservation and efficiency improvements will be quantified. Insight will be gained into the water and energy synergies of heat recovery drainpipes and ENERGY STAR Most Efficient- designated washing machines, for example. Return on investment may also be calculated for some of the green practices that have been implemented. A survey of participating homebuyers will gauge their perceptions of having the green upgrade package implemented in their home. The results of the assessment will be used to inform residents and the building sector about the potential environmental, economic and social benefits of the green practices used. Opportunities presented by the local demonstration of a beyond code approach to home building include: showcasing opportunities for reducing the environmental impacts of housing and responding to the growing threat of climate change informing and engaging the community strengthening local capacity amongst builders, engineers, architects, inspectors and trades about green building practices building support for a local green economy fostering community partnership and collaboration promoting leadership and innovation. Funding support for PRIORITY GREEN Clarington and the GDP is provided by the Government of Ontario through the Showcasing Water Innovation project, and the Green Municipal Fund, a fund financed by the Government of Canada and administered by the Federation of Canadian Municipalities. BB Amy Burke is PRIORITY GREEN Clarington co-ordinator for the Municipality of Clarington. Clarington’s close proximity to Toronto is under pressure for land development. featurestory By Amy Burke
  • 23. 21WWW.BETTERBUILDER.CA | ISSUE 10 | SUMMER 2014 PRIORITY GREEN Clarington: Three Perspectives Small Town Feel and High Density Building featurestory By Aa ron K ot h i ri n ge r S ince our focus this issue revolves around the PRIORITY GREEN Clarington project taking place in Clarington, Ont., we here at Better Builder wanted to get some insight from people who are directly involved with the project. We asked Mayor Adrian Foster, Councillor Wendy Partner and Steve Jacques, Ontario manager of community development, research and professional services with Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) to sit down with us to talk about their views on environmentalism and sustainability, their involvement with PRIORITY GREEN Clarington, as well as their aspirations and concerns for the Region of Clarington in the years to come. For Mayor Foster, it began with a conversation he had with a colleague in the city’s planning division about water efficacy. The region has been exploring ways to promote and implement sustainability and conservation over the last few years, largely due to the forecasted population growth expected over the next two decades. They decided to apply for a provincial grant, which was awarded, and along with some additional funding were able to establish a pilot project. “Water is about two-thirds of the average household’s energy bill,” Foster said. “This pilot project will be a great way for residents and would-be residents of our community to see that in doing their part to reduce their household’s consumption, they will end up saving a significant amount of money.” The pilot will monitor six different homes with green upgrades ranging from greywater recycling to solar power collection. Foster hopes the pilot project will encourage people looking to buy a new home in Clarington to consider including these kinds of above code upgrades. While he admits his own home is a work in progress, he has implemented several energy- and water-saving products that reduce his household’s consumption. He recently upgraded his furnace, exchanging it for an above code model, and uses only high efficiency lightbulbs and low flow toilets. “Even with the upgrades, it is difficult for me to monitor the reduction in consumption and the monetary savings. This is why I am excited to see the results of the pilot project. It will give us hard, quantitative data we hope will convince people and builders that building above code is not only of benefit to the region and its resources, but also a benefit to them and their wallets.” Foster does have some concerns as his municipality moves forward. “We need to convince residents that high or higher density building is necessary.” Adding that people’s preconceived and unwarranted notions about noise and crime keep them from seeing that high density buildings like mid-rise apartment buildings, mixed-use and Water use reduction: the genesis of PRIORITY GREEN.
  • 24. 22 WWW.BETTERBUILDER.CA | ISSUE 10 | SUMMER 2014 commercial building actually increase local property values. As a final point of pride, Foster added this is the first time he has been involved with a project in which all levels of government, the building industry and local enterprise are all “sitting at the same table.” He is optimistic about the future of Clarington, and hopes other municipalities will be inspired by the work they are doing. City Councillor Wendy Partner, who lives in the Ganaraska Forest area, became involved with the PRIORITY GREEN Clarington project after attending last year’s symposium in Courtice, Ont. “I was very excited to learn all the things that they are working with the developers to complete,” said Partner. “As vice-chair of the Ganaraska Region Conservation Authority, I speak about sustainability and ways we can become more sustainable in our lives, to all who will listen. It is one of my goals as a local councillor to bring this to the forefront in Clarington and beyond.” Partner is in her first term as councillor for Ward 4, primarily a farming community, and says as new development continues the region must encourage builders to build with a “green mentality.” “We do have developers in Clarington who believe in protecting our lands while developing subdivisions that are sustainable to our future, and I believe those developers are the ones we should be allowing to build here.” The difficulty Partner and the PRIORITY GREEN Clarington project face is maintaining the small town atmosphere while creating new housing for people moving to the region. Partner says the majority of new residents are families who have moved from Toronto to get away from the hustle and bustle of big city life in exchange for the tranquillity Clarington offers. “My concern is people move here from the city and want that small town, laid back atmosphere, but feel they should have all the things that a city offers to them at their fingertips. I think we have to find a balance of where to put high density [development], and not mix it in with the quaint country feel that people want when they move here. “They come for peace and quiet, not a city life. We need to keep Clarington as a community for the people where they can work, live and play and not have to travel to the city. I believe there is a way to mix high density in without destroying our small town community feel.” At the PRIORITY GREEN Clarington symposium held in October 2013, an array of experts and industry leaders were invited to discuss development strategies Clarington can use to achieve its goals. Steve Jacques with CMHC spoke about the fused grid approach to neighbourhood design, and has high hopes for the region. “I think what they [Clarington] are trying to do is fantastic,” Jacques said. “These regions outside Toronto are where growth will be happening. [When looking at city planning] you can’t think in 5-year blocks. You have to start thinking in 25-, 50- and even 100-year blocks.” Jacques outlined the fused grid technique as a way to maintain green open spaces and walkability while maximizing the development of each parcel of land – an area of much concern for current Clarington residents who unanimously agreed that maintaining the small town feel of their town is of the highest priority. Jacques said strategies like the fused grid will allow for major population growth without losing the small town aspect. “High density development with open green space is the only way to go. Large estate lots are not an efficient use of land. Clarington has the right priorities, and they are going about it the right way [pilot project, community survey]. But, ultimately, the municipality will have to create the documents, guidelines and policy that developers will follow for years to come.” BB Aaron Kothiringer is a freelance writer/journalist and has worked for several community newspapers including the East York Observer. featurestory By Aaron K othiringer The fused grid maximizes land use and green space and minimizes roads.
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  • 26. 24 WWW.BETTERBUILDER.CA | ISSUE 10 | SUMMER 2014 I f you’ve got clients who’d like to upgrade to new, more efficient HVAC systems, but don’t have the money, now’s a good time to let them in on a new City of Toronto program. The $20 million program intends to retrofit about 1000 homes and 10 multiresidential buildings (totalling 1000 apartments) by lending money to eligible property owners. Now run- ning as a pilot project, the program will have a process that includes ap- plication (available online), and an en- ergy audit to assess the home based on certain specified criteria, which will outline all the ways homeowners can reduce energy consumption to comply with the program. Councillor Mike Layton, who intro- duced the program, explains it will outline both the low-hanging fruit – things you can do eas- ily and inexpensively – as well as the deeper retrofit. Once aproved, the homeowner can go ahead with their con- tractor. The 5- to 20-year loans will come with low/competitive interest rates, and are to be paid back through the property tax bill. Because interest rates are low, and payments are geared to the savings homeowners will realize on utility bills from increased efficiency, household budgets won’t change. Issued through the municipal local improvement charge (LIC), loans are placed against the property instead of the homeowner, which means the loan stays with the property until paid off. Having a loan on your property tax bill would automatically be disclosed whenever the house is being sold. Layton explains this should help en- courage homeowners to go ahead with deep energy retrofits on their homes, since what holds some homeowners back is the fear they will not realize a return on their investment when they go to sell the home. “This plan has the full support of the Toronto Real Estate Board,” says Layton. “The board can help by looking at ways to communicate the value of energy savings to homebuy- ers. When I bought my home, I asked to see the previous year’s energy bills, and this I think may breathe new life into the Province’s proposal for en- ergy audits at the point of sale.” Although homeowners are the obvious beneficiaries of the program because of reduced en- ergy bills from retrofit- ting, there are several benefits. As Layton points out, every $1 million in- vested in this program garners approximately 14.2 jobs. It is expected that the budget of 20 million will translate into 300 additional jobs, including energy advisors, auditors, inspectors, retrofit technicians and construction workers. “I believe that buildernews By Al e x Ne w m a n Local Improvement Charge: Using Home Equity for Energy Efficiency PHOTO:WWW.DESIGNPICS.COM Every $1 million invested in this program garners approximately 14.2 jobs.
  • 27. 25WWW.BETTERBUILDER.CA | ISSUE 10 | SUMMER 2014 if the program is successful and goes to a full-scale program, it could lead to thousands of new jobs in Toronto,” Layton says. These numbers were calculated during several studies done over the past few years by the City of Toronto on residential retrofits, in conjunction with the Green Energy Act Alliance, Blue Green Canada and the WWF. To date, over $750,000 has been se- cured from the Ontario Power Authori- ty, Toronto Hydro, Enbridge and others. The rest of the funds will come from the City’s working capital reserve – no costs will come from the City’s tax levy, nor will Toronto’s debt load increase. The City uses money from its working capital, which will be increased for that particular year, but paid back out of the property tax loans over the years. It’s expected the reduction in carbon emissions from this pilot program will result in the equivalent of taking a thousand cars off the road. Reducing energy consumption also reduces the strain on the city’s overloaded infrastructure, leading to fewer blackouts and lower mainte- nance costs on our energy grid. In addition to having the full back- ing of the mayor’s executive commit- tee, the program has the support of private sector, labour and environmen- tal organizations including the Toron- to Real Estate Board, Building Industry and Land Development Association (BILD), Toronto Environmental Alli- ance, Toronto & York Region Labour Council, as well as the David Suzuki Foundation. For more information on how to tap into the finance possibilities, check toronto.ca/teo/residential-energy- retrofit. BB Alex Newman is a writer, editor and researcher at www.integritycommunications.ca
  • 28. 26 WWW.BETTERBUILDER.CA | ISSUE 10 | SUMMER 2014 Clearsphere consultant John Godden knew they were ready and able to take it on. “It was a great logical next step in our quest for sustainable housing construction,” Stewart says. Most builders are aware of sustainability issues, and want to do the right thing, but are not so sure of the cost or difficulty of implementation, what the benefits are exactly, and whether buyers are pre- pared to pay. Metzner Yarrow has found consumers generally like the words “green” and “ENERGY STAR,” but aren’t so eager to pay for it, particularly in the suburbs around Toronto, although she also says those attitudes are slowly chang- ing. She has also found some green practices easier than others to implement, and give good bang for your buck. “Adding an exterior barrier and sealing the basement ducts are really simple and make such a difference in a home’s air tightness. They’re not required by code, but something that makes a huge difference.” Another thing Halminen is exploring, she says, is a way to reduce water runoff by using a 6” layer of topsoil and incorporating permeable hardscaping. A more challenging issue to resolve is homeowners’ buy-in. Stewart, who is “ex- cited” about the Discovery homes potential, admits, “It’s tough to break into that sustainability side unless you include it into a bells and whistles package.” Brookfield, though, has had some success in selling this upgrade. And Stewart has found on previous projects that a few of these upgrades “went over really well with buyers, especially with homes that came out with low air changes and lower Home Energy Rating System (HERS) scores.” Indeed, at the Clarington site, all three builders have not come across great reluc- tance by purchasers to con- sider the free Discovery home upgrade, especially once the program has been explained. In Jeffery’s case, he’s the buyer for his company’s two Discovery homes, because he intends to rent out the 1600 sq. ft. attached towns. He be- lieves the savings on utilities, thanks to the townhomes being 25 to 30 per cent more efficient than current code, will be an incentive to poten- tial tenants responsible for paying their own utilities. Consumption is something that intrigues Jeffery, so he will be watching very closely as the Town reveals its find- ings through the monitor- ing process. “John [Godden] measures consumption with a unit called kilowatts. That’s something you can relate to dollars and cents, and gives you a good barometer of what is worth spending money on – and what isn’t.” BB Alex Newman is a writer, editor and researcher at www.integritycommunications.ca Green Country Continued from page 11
  • 29. 27WWW.BETTERBUILDER.CA | ISSUE 10 | SUMMER 2014 fromthegroundup By Dou g Ta rry I n previous articles about the Optimum Basement Wall, I have mentioned air sealing the main floor rim joist. Because we do a blower door test of every home we build, we’ve developed a really good database of our air tightness. When we initially started testing, we always managed to get under the 2.5 air changes per hour (ACH) requirement for ENERGY STAR. As we standardized our methods and improved our subtrades’ knowl- edge, our average settled in be- tween 1.8 and 1.9 ACH, a very good number. However, we did notice a sig- nificant area of leakage around the main floor rim joist where penetrations had occurred, even though we were wrapping the floor assembly with a house wrap. Even though the framers had done a good job installing the header wrap, we had other subtrades (plumbers, HVAC and electricians) who insisted on punching a bunch of holes in my nicely installed header wrap air barrier. I asked them to stop, but they wouldn’t. Something to do with following the building code. I’m kidding, of course, but this is actually a really good example where the requirements of one part of the building code (ventila- tion of combustion appliances) causes a challenge with another part (continuous air barrier). So we did some research and worked with our building inspectors to reduce leakage in this area. We decided for our air leakage goals we would use spray foam as an air seal- ant. We came upon a product called Dow FROTH-PAK that enabled us to do this work using our own staff so we could better control our construction schedule. FROTH-PAK has a Canadian Construction Materials Centre (CCMC) rating as an air sealant (CCMC 13447-L), but does not have a spe- cific insulation rating for Canada, so we don’t count it as part of our header insulation. Our back framers Joe and Chris quickly got the hang of it, and even worked out a method for moving the FROTH-PAK tanks around the basement quickly using a small pull cart to speed up the appli- cation process. Of course, we were very curious to see if there would be a change to our ACH numbers, so it was time to look at some test results. When we looked at our next group of blower door test results, we were very surprised at the significant impact the air sealing had. Our average had dropped by nearly 0.8 ACH to just over 1.1 ACH Air Sealing and Protecting Foam Plastics R22 ROXUL Comfortbatt (5.5 ther- mal protection 3.1.4.2) to cover the foam to top of insulated wall (protection of foamed plastics OBC 9.10.17.10). Spray foam air sealant for an air barrier and reduction of dew point (vapour barrier in header).
  • 30. 28 WWW.BETTERBUILDER.CA | ISSUE 10 | SUMMER 2014 for about $250 to $300 per house. This further reduction in ACH not only improved our EnerGuide rat- ing, it meant our mechanicals didn’t need to be as big. (This is part of how we ended up undertaking the Right- Sized Furnace project.) However, as FROTH-PAK is a sprayed foam, the code requires us to protect it from potential fire. In the 2006 Ontario Building Code (OBC), this requirement did not prevent occupancy if it was incomplete at time of final inspection. With the new 2012 OBC, this is now a requirement for occupancy (9.10.17.10.(1)). This would include on-step walls or walk- out walls if there is rigid insulation on the exterior of the stud wall and the basement is not drywalled. For anyone who has had to install drywall into the floor joist space to meet this requirement, you know how challenging and labour intensive this can be. So we knew we wanted a dif- ferent option. As it turns out, DOW had considered this problem and had a lab test showing that a 5.5” ROXUL batt would meet the requirement for combustible insulation and its pro- tection (3.1.5.12.(2)(e)). We found this to be a much faster and easier detail to complete than trying to drywall the joist ends. And since we were using the ROXUL for both protecting foam plastics and to meet our insula- tion requirements, the incremental cost was fairly minor. Recently, ROXUL conducted its own lab test and confirmed the 5.5” ROXUL batt had a classification B rat- ing for protecting foam plastics. This rating is available through ROXUL if you are interested in using it for your foam plastics protection. The air sealing of our main floor header has enabled us to significantly exceed the air tightness requirements of the OBC and has been a significant factor in our increased EnerGuide rating, which is now averaging 83 to 84. If this is an area you are struggling with, check out the Optimum Basement Wall de- tail for ideas on installation. It is also available from ROXUL. BB Doug Tarry Jr. is the director of marketing at Doug Tarry Homes in St. Thomas, Ontario. fromthegroundup By Doug Tarry
  • 31. 29WWW.BETTERBUILDER.CA | ISSUE 10 | SUMMER 2014
  • 32. 30 WWW.BETTERBUILDER.CA | ISSUE 10 | SUMMER 2014
  • 33. 31WWW.BETTERBUILDER.CA | ISSUE 10 | SUMMER 2014 G ranite countertops, that’s what buyers want.” It’s a statement I’ve heard from builders many times over the years when the topic of building “green” comes up. Apple cofounder Steve Jobs once said, “It isn’t the consumers’ job to know what they want.” So how do you navigate these waters of unknowns and contradictions when trying to sell green upgrades and features to prospective buyers? In fairness to Mr. Jobs, he was explaining that Apple did not conduct market research because consumers couldn’t know they want what has not yet been created. Some context is important here. In reality, Apple does market research. Mr. Jobs shunned fo- cus group research with generic con- sumers, but Apple regularly queries its customers to determine the moti- vations behind their recent purchases. So here’s the interesting part. Both the builders’ and Mr. Jobs’ viewpoints are correct, with some caveats. It’s not about what consumers want – it’s about what motivates their wants. Intrinsic beliefs drive every action of every individual. These beliefs are shared among demographics and often passed along to the next generation with some culturally induced changes along the way. What motivates all of us and the perspectives we form arise from our intrinsic beliefs. This belief system is deeply entrenched and comes from the common upbringing and cultural values of popula- tions within a given demo- graphic. It’s the Apple brand and design that are the primary drivers for consumer pur- chases, not software and applications. Yet, as Mr. Jobs pointed out, the con- sumer doesn’t know what product design they want until it’s developed and put into the marketplace. Buyers didn’t want gran- ite countertops until they were introduced as the latest and greatest trend in kitchen design. Success, happiness, vital- ity, youth, comfort, safety, beauty – these emotions and more are the driving motivations behind our purchases. Granite countertops reflect our suc- cess. They show our guests we have taste, money and design savvy. We are in turn validated by our guests’ oohs and ahhs. Lower utility bills and greater home comfort are most often the main selling points of green features and upgrades marketed to prospec- tive homebuyers. These are logical reasons for purchasing green homes, but not emotional ones. Unless green homebuilders tap into the emotional motivations of potential buyers, gran- ite countertops will win every time. Working recently with a devel- oper of single-family homes in York Region and convincing him of the value of installing rain gardens was no small task. To paraphrase him, “People want neat, clean yards, not messy, weedy gardens they have to maintain.” With lots of photos and discussion, the developer and builder agreed to add the rain gardens to corner lots in the development. In a buildernews By Tra c y P a t t e rson What Homebuyers Want? “ “Granite countertops, that’s what buyers want.” It’s a statement I’ve heard from builders many times over the years when the topic of building “green” comes up. Apple cofounder Steve Jobs once said, “It isn’t the consumers’ job to know what they want.” PHOTO:WWW.DESIGNPICS.COM
  • 34. 32 WWW.BETTERBUILDER.CA | ISSUE 10 | SUMMER 2014 RELIABLE, CONSISTENT, MARTINOHeating • Air Conditioning • Indoor Air Quality • HVAC Design www.martinohvac.com1-800-465-5700 ™ meeting with their marketing people and sales agents, I explained how to position the rain gardens as “fu- sion gardens” and the latest trend in landscape design. I provided them with full-colour images of beautiful gardens and landscapes to include as wall art in their sales office. The lots with rain gardens were the first to sell. Other green features were collec- tively marketed as lifestyle enhancing and in harmony with nature – a vital, healthy place to live and raise a fam- ily. Green features can and will sell. It’s all in how they are positioned. So, what do homebuyers want? Builders need to appreciate that this is the wrong question to ask, and worse, assume they know the answer. What all green homebuilders should understand are the intrinsic motiva- tions and values of prospective buy- ers. In a robust market, insights into the motivations of potential purchas- ers may seem less important, but with this information builders can’t just successfully market green homes, but create “must have” designs, layouts and features that will give them a de- cided edge in the marketplace. BB Tracy Patterson is a marketing consultant and principal of Freeman Associates. buildernews By Tracy Patterson Buyers didn’t want granite countertops until they were introduced as the latest and greatest trend in kitchen design.
  • 35. 33WWW.BETTERBUILDER.CA | ISSUE 10 | SUMMER 2014 With residential building codes changing across Canada you need an exterior insulated sheathing that measures up. In the move from nominal to effective R-values, ROXUL® COMFORTBOARD™ IS provides a stable solution. Vapour permeable, it dries easily even if the framing gets wet, guarding against mould and mildew all while delivering an extra layer of thermal protection. DON’T JUST INSULATE, ROXULATE roxul.com | 1-800-265-6878 Find comfort in a world of change.
  • 36. WWW.BETTERBUILDER.CA | ISSUE 10 | SUMMER 201434 PAGE TITLE Features To learn more, visit www.savingsbydesign.ca TM Helping builders design and build more energy efficient homes. New building codes require new approaches to housing design and energy performance. Enbridge’s Savings by Design program is here to help. The program offers free access to design and technical experts, as well as valuable incentives to help design and build more energy efficient homes. Using our unique and collaborative Integrated Design Process (IDP), we will work with you to identify optimal solutions for improving energy efficiency 25% beyond Ontario Building Code 2012.