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THE HIGH-PERFORMANCE HOUSING MAGAZINE

WINTER 2015/16

THE HIGH-PERFORMANCE

EDELWEISS HOME SPECIAL ISSUE

THE COMPLETE RECORD: Design Philosophy, Shell, Interior and Systems ECOHOUSE CANADA | WINTER | 2015/16

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ECOHOUSE CANADA | WINTER | 2015/16


THE NATIONAL SOURCE OF INFORMATION ON CANADIAN SUSTAINABLE HIGH-PERFORMANCE HOMEBUILDING IN PARTNERSHIP WITH WWW.ECOHOME.NET.

WINTER 2015/16 The Edelweiss Demo House Issue 7

NEWS AND PRODUCTS

10 DESIGN PHILOSOPHY 16

THE SHELL: SLAB, WALLS, ROOF

23 THE INTERIOR: FINISHING FROM THE GROUND UP 27 THE SYSTEMS: HEATING, VENTILATION, LIGHTING 30 FINAL WORD FROM THE BUILDERS

SEE MORE AT • WWW.SABMAGAZINE.COM u CLICK ON ECOHOUSE CANADA

• WWW.ECOHOME.NET Cover: The Edelweiss Demo House great room, photo: Mike Reynolds ECOHOUSE CANADA | WINTER | 2015/16

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LOOKING UP TO SUCCESSFUL SOLUTIONS Columbia Forest Products assembles high quality panels sourced from responsibly managed forests in the United States and Canada. In 2006, we stopped using formaldehyde in our mills in favor of EPA award winning PureBond® soy-based panel assembly technology. We have a long history of expertise in fine hardwood veneer and decorative wood panel construction to HP-1 standards, yet are contemporary in our approach to third-party supply chain assurance including certification of responsible forestry by FSC and panel emissions by HPVA. Every graded, thick panel we make features ink jet edge printing which corresponds with complete credentials by product code on invoice to support due care within the supply chain. We work with architects, designers and fabricators to help elevate the application of real decorative wood panel products in today’s built spaces.

COLUMBIA SUPPORTS DESIGNERS WITH BRANDED PRODUCTS, EXPERTISE AND CERTIFICATION. Home of PureBond®, MPX®, Radius®, UV Wood, Classic Core®, DesignEdge® and Appalachian Traditions panel brands. LEED® APs support for LEED® 2009, LEED V4, Living Building Challenge™ and Architectural Woodwork Standards V2. Finished and unfinished PureBond® panels available Red List Free and FSC® Mix upon demand.

Innovating Responsibly™ Samples, Literature & Information visit cfpwood.com 4

ECOHOUSE CANADA | WINTER | Columbia 2015/16 Rotary white maple veneer plywood featuring PureBond® assembly technology in an acoustic

ceiling application, Sacramento International Airport. Photo courtesy of 9Wood, Inc.


A sister publication of:

Message from the publisher THE DEMO HOUSE A TOP PERFORMER

Publishing Partners:

Canada Green Building Council

Photo: Roy Grogan

VISIT www.sabmagazine.com for our Product Directory PUBLISHER Don Griffith 800-520-6281, ext. 304, dgriffith@sabmagazine.com MARKETING MANAGER Denis Manseau 800-520-6281, ext. 303; dmanseau@sabmagazine.com GRAPHIC DESIGN Carine De Pauw 819-778-5040, ext. 308, cdepauw@sabmagazine.com SENIOR ACCOUNT MANAGER Patricia Abbas 416-438-7609, pabbas8@gmail.com EDITORIAL ADVISORS • Tom Knezic, M.ARCH., LEED AP, OAA Solares Architecture Inc., www.solares.ca • Roy Nandram, LEED AP, RND Construction, www.rndconstruction.ca • Mike Reynolds, LEED AP-Homes, ecohome.net Published by:

media + marketing communications 81 Leduc Street | Gatineau Qc | J8X 3A7 | T 819 778 5040

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ISSN 1920-6259 Copyright by Janam Publications Inc. All rights reserved. Contents may not be reprinted or reproduced without written permission. Views expressed are those of the authors exclusively.

Only recently completed, the Edelweiss Demo House has already earned high credentials by becoming the first project in Canada to earn LEED v4 certification, and only the second LEED v4 home in the world to reach the Platinum level. According to baseline energy modelling, over a year this house would operate with an average of 24.6 kWh hours per day. Quebec hydro charges 5.6 cents for the first 30kWh and 8.6 cents per kWh over that. In monetary terms, that translates to a yearly average of $1.39 per day for the total energy demand of this house [heating, cooling, interior loads], or $507.35 annually. [Actual consumption levels could vary significantly depending on the living habits of the occupants.] Moreover, with a conservative value for the greenhouse gas emissions from Hydro-Quebec’s grid, the four-bedroom home is expected to generate 0.3 tonnes of CO2 annually when combined with the energy from daily use of an electric vehicle. Yes, all of these numbers are estimates, but still reliable indicators of the level of performance the Edelweiss Demo House will deliver. The object of building the house was education: demonstrating that building a top-performing house can cost about the same as an ‘average’ house using products that are readily available. And, the house itself will be a teaching tool through regular tours, on-site seminars for design and construction professionals, and a Video Building Guide at www.ecohome.net, which covers all of the main construction steps and products which were kindly donated by our sponsors: Roxul, W.R. Meadows, Kott Lumber, Uponor, Ecogenia/Lunos, CGC, Fantech, Delta [Cosella Dorken], Mitsubishi Electric Canada, American Standard, Benjamin Moore, A.O. Smith, Riopel, Columbia Forest Products, Elite Windows and Doors Inc., Logs End, Venmar, Broan-Nutone, Cosentino Canada, Glendyne, Isocork Canada, Rainfresher, Bostik, Aeratron and Philips.

Publication Mail Agreement #40024961

This issue is devoted to the design and construction of the high-performance Demo House, known as the Edelweiss House, in Wakefield, QC just north of Ottawa, which was conceived and built by Emmanuel Cosgrove and Mike Reynolds of our web affiliate www.ecohome.net.

- Don Griffith, Publisher

Return undelivered Canadian address mail to: Janam Publications Inc., 81 Leduc St., Gatineau, Qc J8X 3A7 The print version of ecoHouse Canada uses a 100% post-consumer fiber that is certified FSC and EcoLogo. It is processed chlorine-free, FSC-recycled and is manufactured using biogas energy.

Please forward comments, article ideas and project contributions to: Don Griffith, Publisher dgriffith@sabmagazine.com - 1 800 520 6281 ext.304

Environmental savings for this issue:

FSC LOGO

14 Trees

52,769 litres water

799 kg waste

2,078 kg CO2 ECOHOUSE CANADA | WINTER | 2015/16

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NEWS

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2016 THE NATIONAL PROGRAM OF SUSTAINABLE ARCHITECTURE & BUILDING MAGAZINE AND THE CANADA GREEN BUILDING COUNCIL Sponsors

THE JURY MARIE-ODILE MARCEAU AIBC, FRAIC, LEED AP Partner, McFarland Marceau Architects, Vancouver

CALVIN BROOK OAA, SAA, MRAIC, MCIP, RPP, LEED AP Partner, Brook McIlroy Architects, Toronto

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REGISTRATION & INFO http://sabmagazine.com/Register.html

AMAN HEHAR P.Eng., LEED AP BD+C Energy Efficiency Manager, Humber College, Toronto

MARC BERTRAND OAQ, AAPPQ, MRAIC Partner, FABRIQ architecture, Montreal

DATES Submission: March 4; Judging: March 11 RECOGNITION Awards presented at the CaGBC National Conference in June, and winning projects published in the Summer Awards issue of SABMag, ecoHouse Canada magazines and web sites.

For information contact dgriffith@sabmagazine.com 1-800-520-6281, x304 6

ECOHOUSE CANADA | WINTER | 2015/16


NEWS

Quebec Demo House becomes Canada’s first LEED v4 certified building The high-performance Demo House, known as the Edelweiss House, in Wakefield, QC just north of Ottawa has become the first project in Canada to earn LEED v4 certification, and only the second LEED v4 home in the world to reach the Platinum level. Built by Mike Reynolds and Emmanuel Cosgrove of our web affiliate, www.ecohome.net, in which SABMag and ecoHouse Canada are media partners, the 1,552 sq. ft. home cost under $250,000 to build and its energy bills are estimated to be less than $1.40/day – about one-tenth that of a standard new home. “We don’t really build anymore as our mission is education,” sais Reynolds and Cosgrove. “We undertook this project to show builders and homeowners that it isn’t that hard or expensive to build better performing homes, and that your true monthly bills can actually be lower right from the moment you move in.” The home will now be used for full-day workshops, as well as for short-term rentals that allow building professionals or future homeowners to experience the comfort of a passive solar home first hand. This ultra-low energy home has earned high praise from the CaGBC for its innovation and leadership. “The Edelweiss House is a phenomenal achievement – the first Canadian project to meet the stringent requirements of the latest version of LEED at its highest level,” said Thomas Mueller, President and CEO of the CaGBC. “I commend Ecohome for being a leader in the Canadian home building community and for demonstrating to the industry that high sustainability standards can be achieved right here in Canada, right now.” Canada currently has nine additional projects registered for LEED v4 certification in Canada, with this certification marking the first of its kind for any project type. Our web affiliate, www.ecohome.net, has released the first 13 productions of a 20-part Video Building Guide series covering the building techniques, products and technologies used to build the Demo House. The Guide makes a fantastic visual resource for design and construction professionals, and homeowners. The videos are only a few minutes each, and can be seen here: http://www.ecohome.net/video/ guide . For more information on additional LEED v4 registered project in Canada, visit CaGBC’s LEED v4 Leaderboard webpage.

Net Zero homes open as part of national program Two Net Zero Energy [NZE] homes have recently opened in Ottawa and Calgary as part of a national program by Natural Resources Canada and sponsored by Owens Corning. Net Zero means the houses will generate as much energy as they consume on an annual basis. More than $4 million in funding and inkind contributions from Natural Resources Canada’s ecoENERGY Innovation Initiative [ecoEII], Owens Corning Canada and the building industry will allow for the construction of at least 25 Net Zero Energy homes in four provinces – Alberta, Nova Scotia, Ontario and Quebec. The goal of the Net Zero Energy Homes Project is to make what were once one-off, high-performance custom homes accessible to the everyday consumer.

Ribbon Cutting VIP’s from left to right: Salvatore Ciarlo, Owens Corning Canada Kevin Lee, Canadian Home Builders’ Association Marianne Wilkinson, City of Ottawa Andy Goyda, Owens Corning Canada Brent Strachan, Minto Communities Mark Taylor, City of Ottawa, Derek Hickson, The Minto Group. The house is designed to stay above 16 degrees Celsius for 24 hours on a winter day in the event of a power outage. The NZEr Minto home starts at $495,000. Minto will build its four other NZEr townhomes in spring 2016.

Ottawa Ottawa-based home and condo builder Minto Communities Canada has completed its first Net Zero Energy Ready [NZEr] home in Ottawa’s Arcadia community. The home is the first of five such homes which Minto will build. Key features include: -Advanced insulation techniques, including Owens Corning CodeBord® Air Barrier System that will help retain warmth in colder seasons and protect against drafts -Triple-pane windows -A heating system that is twice as efficient as a natural gas furnace -LED lighting -An energy monitoring system to keep homebuyers informed on their energy consumption -A roof designed to accommodate solar panels to generate electricity

Calgary Mattamy Homes, North America’s largest privately-owned homebuilder, opened its first Net Zero Energy [NZE home] which is one of five that Mattamy will build in the NE community of Cityscape by Spring 2016. The 1,658 sq. ft. home features advanced insulation [the Owens Corning™ CodeBord® Air Barrier System]; Plygem triple-pane windows; Mitsubishi Electric Cold Climate Air Source Heat Pump; Rheem High Efficiency Domestic Hot Water Heater, Eyedro real-time energy monitoring system; and 40 SolarMax photovoltaic panels.

Subscribe to ecoHouse digital Readers can now subscribe to and access the ecoHouse Canada digital versions on their phones and tablets through iTunes, Pocketmags or Google Play. ecoHouse Canada covers high-performance housing and related products for healthier and much more energy-efficient living in one of the toughest climates in the world. High-performance housing is making great strides, and ecoHouse Canada will keep you in the know. Consider subscribing now … iTunes: http://apple.co/1QmCaqw Pocketmags: http://bit.ly/1W7W2l1 Google Play: http://bit.ly/1FRGXKX

ECOHOUSE CANADA | WINTER | 2015/16

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NEWS

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Bella Bella Staff housing goes prefab passive New Passive House Planning Tool launched at Vancouver conference

The Passive House Institute’s new guidelines for building evaluation have come into effect with the introduction of a new version of the Passive House Planning Package [PHPP] tool at the NAPHN15 Conference in Vancouver in October, 2015. Not only is certification according to the Passive House Classes Plus and Premium now possible worldwide, but the EnerPHit criteria for retrofits are also now applicable in all climates. The heating demand of a Passive House may not exceed 15 kWh/[m2a]; this applies for all three certification classes. For a Passive House Classic, the limit value for the PER demand is 60 kWh/[m2a]. A Passive House Plus must not use more than 45 kWh/[m2] of renewable energy. In addition, it must generate at least 60 kWh/[m2a] energy based on the projected building footprint. For a Passive House Premium building the energy demand is limited to 30 kWh/[m2a] and at least 120 kWh/[m2a] of energy must be generated. Over a third of the energy used in industrialised countries is for running buildings, most of this goes towards heating. With the Passive House Standard, it is possible to reduce this consumption by up to 90 percent, and the remaining demand can be met sustainably through renewable energy sources. The Passive House Standard is thus not only an ideal solution for climate protection but is also an especially attractive investment opportunity for all building owners. A more detailed description of the new Passive House Classes and the evaluation of sustainability according to PER factors can be found on the internet platform Passipedia. http://www.passipedia. org/certification/passive_house_categories

Vancouver Coastal Health has replaced six residential housing units with factory-built modules that have achieved passive house standard and certification. Each unit is two bedroom and 900 square feet. Being in a remote location, modular was chosen to minimize on-site construction time and to detail the building envelope in a controlled environment. Pre-testing for air leakage was done in the factory, and units finished and sealed before moving to the site. The building form, roof structure and colours were designed to respond to the community context. Designed by Mobius Architecture Inc. and modular fabrication by Britco Building Innovations. Watch for this project in a future issue of SABMag.

Large parks key to city success Cities should feature compact development alongside large, contiguous green spaces to maximise benefits of urban ecosystems to humans, research led by the University of Exeter has concluded. As populations continue to swell in cities, decision-makers across the globe grapple with how best to accommodate growing resident numbers while maintaining healthy urban ecosystems. Previous research has demonstrated that urban green spaces and trees

yield far-reaching benefits to humans, from increased happiness and health to absorbing surface water run-off and storing carbon. Researchers have long debated whether it is better to build compact developments with large parks or nature reserves, as often found in Europe and Japan, or whether it is preferable to build sprawling suburbs with many small parks and gardens, as found in many North American and Australian cities.

Rendering courtesy Foyd Architects. Edmonton City Centre Redevelopment. Now, the team at the University of Exeter, working with Hokkaido University in Japan, has analysed nine case studies of cities worldwide which considered how urbanisation patterns affect the functioning of urban ecosystems. The research, published in Frontiers in Ecology and Environment and supported by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council [EPSRC], has concluded that high-density cities featuring large parks or nature reserves yield the most benefits – although they stress that smaller parks and gardens should not be sacrificed and still play a positive role. Info: l.vennells@exeter.ac.uk

Factory-stained, FSC-certified exterior wood siding in a variety of colours, with a 50-year guarantee on the wood and 15-year on the stain. Used on the Edelweiss House.

www.groupecrete.ca 1/8 ad riopel.indd 1

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THE DEMO HOUSE SPECIAL ISSUE

ILLUSTRATION: COURTESY ECOHOME. DRAWINGS COURTESY OLIVIER CHABOT, ARCHITECTURAL TECHNOLOGIST.

THE DESIGN PHILOSOPHY The underlying goal of the Ecohome Demo House was to design a home that would greatly outperform conventionally built homes, yet be on par with those homes in construction cost.

BY MIKE REYNOLDS

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THE SHELL

SLAB-ON-GRADE CONSTRUCTION Location and orientation of the house on the lot was chosen not only for passive solar heat gain, but to make best use of the terrain for drainage, to limit the cutting of mature trees as much as possible and to ensure a quality of life for occupants with a mix of privacy and usable outdoor space.

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After the land was cleared, compacted gravel was brought in to bring the site to a workable level. The house sits at about grade at the north side, but needed about 3.5 feet of fill at the south to level the building site. Compacted gravel was tamped in stages every foot and a half to ensure a solid base. A retaining wall was built using rocks from the site to hold the compacted gravel and future slab in place.

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Footing forms were well secured to avoid a blow out during the concrete pour, including lots of braces to hold the weight of the concrete so forms don’t bend. Three runs of 2x6s easily held concrete and insulation, and after forms were removed, that wood was used for framing.

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All plumbing and other infrastructure [water pipes, drains, radon stack, central vac, power conduits, etc.] was put in place next, below the coming insulation and concrete. Insulated water pipes were used for greater energy efficiency, and to contribute points for LEED certification.

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After all the plumbing was in place, eight inches of Roxul rigid insulation was installed on every surface. Roxul engineers recommended high-density EPS foam under the footing, as Roxul has not yet been tested against the weight of a footing and load-bearing wall, but Roxul

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Comfortboard CIS [more dense than Comfortboard IS] panels were used below the main slab. Comfortboard is convenient to work with as it cuts easily and stays securely in place without slipping, allowing for tight clean joints. The joints of panels were overlapped as well to further reduce heat loss.

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THE SHELL

BUILDING THE WALLS THE REMOTE SYSTEM The wall construction follows the principles of the ‘REMOTE’ wall Residential Exterior Membrane Outside-insulation Technique - a highperformance building envelope developed by the Cold Climate Housing Research Centre in Alaska. Walls are framed conventionally with 2x6s and sheathing; stud cavities are still insulated with batts, but most of the insulation is on the outside of the sheathing. This type of design allows vapour and air barriers to be sandwiched in between layers of insulation to protect their continuity. And in the case of polyethylene vapour barriers in such a variable climate as we have in Canada, they perform better on an annual basis when they are about 1/3 into the wall assembly instead of right behind drywall. With the Edelweiss House we have opted to omit the 6 mil poly entirely, its role being filled instead by an exterior moisture-permeable airtight weather barrier (Delta Vent SA) and an interior vapour retarder primer from Benjamin Moore. Vapour retarder primers stop twice the moisture required by building code, but allow walls to dry a bit to the interior during summer months,

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which is a growing concern among building scientists in terms of summer condensation damage as most homes now are air conditioned.

Wall assembly: • 60% of glazing is facing south and walls were framed using 100% FSC certified wood from Kott Lumber, insulated with Roxul batts [9]. • Delta Vent SA moisture-permeable exterior membrane from CosellaDorken as air barrier [10]. • Four courses of 2” Comfortboard IS from Roxul for an 8” seamless exterior blanket of R-32 [11]. • Delta Vent S exterior weather barrier, taped for additional air sealing [9 and 11]. • FSC-certified shiplap wood siding from Riopel [see next page]; • Interior - CGC Sheetrock® Brand UltraLight Panels , coated with vapourretarder primer from Benjamin Moore and zero VOC Natura paint, also from Benjamin Moore [12].

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THE INTERIOR

INTERIOR FINISHING FROM THE GROUND UP Using low-impact materials that are also healthier for occupants was a priority in design. Wherever possible products containing contaminants were avoided, aiming for low and zero Volatile Organic Compound [VOC] surface finishes, as well sourcing products that were free of formaldehyde. Durability was also a priority, so for surfaces in wet areas like kitchens and bathrooms, materials that are more resistant to water and moisture damage were chosen. Here is a quick rundown of some notable products we used and some of their origins.

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BY EMMANUEL COSGROVE

Paint: The interior paints we used were low odour and zero VOC Natura and Eco Spec from Benjamin Moore. Volatile Organic Compounds [VOCs] in paint will off-gas into your home long after paint has dried, so it is a health concern for painters and occupants alike. And maybe don’t buy the first brand you encounter - some companies will offer Zero VOC paint but not mention that there are VOCs in the colourants, that’s some fine print worth asking about. A vapour retarder primer from Benjamin Moore was used on the exterior walls as a base coat

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[replacing the standard 6 mil poly vapour barrier].

Great room ceiling: The great room ceiling is made with wood hauled up from the bottom of the Ottawa River and milled into finished products by Logs End Inc. The quality and colours of wood that was cut a century ago and spent that time underwater is unmatched by trees felled in a forest today. These

Flooring: Our final floor surface is thin cork tiles from Lusimat applied

trees had to fight for sunshine so they grew straight and slow

with GreenForce adhesive that is zero VOC, provided by Bostik. Cork is a

with very few branches, resulting in a tight grain structure and

renewable material, it is harvested from a specific oak tree found almost

small knots. Using reclaimed river wood means rather than cut-

exclusively in Portugal. Cork is peeled from the tree without killing it and

ting down a forest you are cleaning up a river [Photo 2].

can be harvested about every nine years [Photo 1].

Walls/ bedroom ceilings: Synthetic gypsum was sourced

Sourcing regional materials is not only about encouraging the local

from CGC - Sheetrock UltraLight gypsum panels. Synthetic gyp-

economy, it is also about reducing the overall carbon footprint of a house

sum is the by-product of coal-fired electric plants, and replaces

through shipping materials over long distances. Portugal is certainly not

mined gypsum without any effect on the physical properties.

considered ‘local’ for a Quebec build, but the fact that the tiles are very

The mechanical room was soundproofed with Roxul, resilient

light and thin means there is far less fuel required for shipping. Sometimes

channels and two layers of 5/8 drywall, each with taped joints.

products that aren’t available locally are worth the added shipping, this is

DUROCK Next Gen Cement Board was used in the bathrooms

one of those cases.

as a tile backer.

ECOHOUSE CANADA | WINTER | 2015/16

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THE SYSTEMS

A COMPREHENSIVE ENERGY EFFICIENCY STRATEGY Energy efficiency is a big topic, and at times a rather convoluted one. It takes energy to heat and light a house, it takes energy to cook and wash in a house, it takes energy to manufacture and transport materials to build a house. So, if you want to create a house with a reduced energy/carbon footprint, there are a lot of ways to do that. BY MIKE REYNOLDS

INSULATING HOT WATER PIPES REDUCES ENERGY LOSS.

There is a lot of talk lately about net zero houses, which produce as much energy as

Here is a look at some of the challenges and conclu-

is required for operation. The Edelweiss House is not a net zero house, it is just an

sions from the design process.

extremely efficient one. So much so that it is hard to justify the purchase cost or the energy required to manufacture solar panels. A net zero house is a great achievement but does not automatically amount to being an ‘efficient’ house, as you could build a monstrous and inefficient one and proceed to load it with an untold amount of solar panels. We think solar panels are a great idea, after you’ve gone as far as you can with reducing demand. Although power flows though the electrical grid in something of a free-for-all, individual homes are actually powered by the closest source. So, if you live by a nuclear or coal plant, that’s how your house is being powered. The Edelweiss House is located in Quebec, so right off the bat it benefits from being fed by renewable hydro electric power. The cost of electricity in Quebec is quite low, so the financial and ecological costs to power this house are already low to begin with.

Size: How much space do you need? The bigger the house, the more material it takes to build and the more power it takes to run. The first step to an efficient home is keeping it at a reasonable size. This house is a comfortable and spacious 1,450 interior square feet with two bathrooms, four bedrooms and no basement.

Passive heating: Whether it comes from fossil fuels, solar panels, passive heat gain or the electrical grid, heat is energy. And the less heat you lose, the less heat you need to add. This house loses so little heat that what comes in through the south

For that reason, solar panels weren’t on the agenda, whereas reducing the overall

facing windows supplies the majority of the total

demand was at the top of the list. If as assumed, consumption stays under 25 kWh

heat demand.

per day once annualized, the general operation of the house would stay within Hydro Quebec ’s first tier rate of 5.68 cents per kWh, which is well below the average cost per kWh for PV solar panel installation.

Air leakage: It may not at first seem like an ‘energy’ issue, but it is. Warm air leaking out of your house will be replaced with cold air. Long before

This house relies on electricity for heat, a concept that seems to induce instant panic

any efforts were made towards air tightness in

in places like Ontario where rates are much higher, but I would have no hesitation

house construction, about 1/3 of the total heat loss

myself in heating with electricity in regions with fluctuating rates during peak hours.

was attributed to air leakage. Always build a house

A code-built house needs regular injections of heat all day long in the winter, but a super-insulated and passively-heated house does not. The amount of heat it requires

as airtight as you can with fresh air supplied by mechanical ventilation.

is negligible to begin with, but also the fact that it cools down very slowly means there would be very little inconvenience or discomfort in waiting for off-peak hours to run heating systems.

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A FINAL WORD FROM THE BUILDERS

EMMANUEL COSGROVE [LEFT] AND MIKE REYNOLDS ON THE FRONT PORCH OF THE EDELWEISS HOUSE.

From design all the way through to completion, this was a very rewarding and challenging project, as we’re sure any of the builders on our team would attest to.

ply no such thing on soil or on paper because there is always going to be room for improvement. Would we build the exact same house again? Of course not. If you finish a project and wouldn’t change a single thing about it, then you learned nothing from it. We learned a lot here. This is a great house and we are happy with the

BY MIKE REYNOLDS AND EMMANUEL COSGROVE

results, but we look forward to building something even better. And we would likely say the same thing after the next one. There are things we wouldn’t do again, there are things we tried along the way that worked great, and some that are fledgling ideas which

We wanted to build something affordable but of high quality, and something that reflected global energy and climate issues, and the changing needs of families - home size, health, quality of life and affordability in both purchase and operational costs. That may sound like a tall order, but a house that serves the true best interest of the occupants will usually serve the best interest of the planet at the same time. When you undertake something like this, and do it under a spotlight, you invite scrutiny and feedback of all kinds, so to be clear …. We are not declaring this to be the best designed house, the best built house or the most efficient house ever. There is sim-

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ECOHOUSE CANADA | WINTER | 2015/16

merit further development. We certainly hope that the Building Guide pages on our website and the video series documenting the construction of this house will be of value [see ecohome.net], but we are not so presumptuous as to think this house ends the discussion about what a house should be. The Edelweiss House is just us adding our two cents to that discussion and hoping it continues. The materials sponsored for this project were products we intentionally sought out for their characteristics and performance. We were fortunate that those manufacturers chose to participate. We would like to thank them for taking part, and our partner ecoHouse Canada magazine for giving us a place to share what we’ve done.

v

MIKE REYNOLDS AND EMMANUEL COSGROVE ARE CO-FOUNDERS OF ECOHOME.NET.


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