FineHomes Saskatoon Winter 2011

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By Krista Martens Architectural Technologist A. Sc. T. LEED Green Associate Beyond Measure Design Inc. 306.974.3955


esigning a new home can be a fun but challenging endeavor. It takes research, plan development and collaboration with your home design professional to get the home you’ve always dreamed of. Your homes energy efficiency is an integral part of the home, not just an add on feature. Did you know that in Canada 80% of all residential energy use in 2008 was for space & water heating? (1) Quality home design looks at the operation of the entire home and integrates measures to reduce overall energy consumption.



Many new homes include high efficiency furnaces, HRV (Heat recovery ventilators) units and programable thermostats; all which go toward helping reduce energy consumption. Having said this, we can also make an impact by considering the following items during design.

Size of home The average home size in 1990 was 1249 square feet and has grown to 1378 square feet in 2008(1). That isn’t a huge increase but when you consider that the residential industry as a whole makes up 17% of the total energy use in Canada a reduction in home energy consumption can go a long way toward reducing the overall need for energy. So the idea is simple; build the home that best reflects your lifestyle and is sized appropriately. This isn’t a new concept, but is one that I’ve observed people have a disconnect with. Take the time to determine with your home designer your wants and needs and work to incorporate them into a functional plan that suits you. Try to avoid the “just in case” rooms; instead consider alternative solutions that may be appropriate. Having a home that fits your specific needs will in most cases be smaller than you first thought you needed; reducing the cost to build as well as operate.

Home Orientation Locating your home in relationship to the sun, prevailing winds and surrounding area is another consideration to be made during design. It stands to reason that if your home is located to take full advantage of natural daylight you can reduce the overall need for artificial lighting & by using solar heat gain, reduce the need for heating during the winter months. Having said that, we need to consider shading for these same windows during the summer; extending your roof overhangs , designing the home to provide protection or strategically placing deciduous trees in your landscape plans will all achieve results. There is also natural ventilation to consider. By placing operable windows on the exterior of the home, located in relation to prevailing winds you can pull a cross breeze through the home reducing your need to operate your air conditioning during summer months. These are by no means the only options available to reduce your homes energy consumption. These are simple ideas to consider when planning you new home; they don’t cost you anything but a little extra thought. FLS (1) Energy Efficiency Trends in Canada, 1990 to 2008