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the high-performance housing magazine

winter 2014/15

HOW TO INSTALL CLADDING So your walls can dry

GLOBAL SOLUTIONS HOUSE Simple design a model for affordability

THE ELlIOTT RESIDENCE Reno and addition make farmhouse a local destination

FARNHAM AVENUE HOUSE

Old ideas and new technologies merge in eco-friendly Toronto infill

ecohouse CANADA | winter | 2014/15

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The national source of information on Canadian sustainable high-performance homebuilding in partnership with www.ecohome.net.

winter 2014/15 6

NEWS AND PRODUCTS

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THE ECOHOME DEMO HOUSE STAGE ONE: Slab-on-grade construction

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GLOBAL SOLUTIONS House

Simple design a model for Aging-in-Place affordability 16

The Elliott Residence

Reno and addition make farmhouse a local destination 21

Farnham Avenue House

Old ideas and new technologies merge in eco-friendly Toronto infill 26

How to install cladding So your walls can dry

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FLEXIBLE HOUSE DESIGN

Design basics for flexible housing

SEE MORE at:

• www.sabmagazine.com â click on ecoHouse Canada • www.ECOHOME.NET Cover: Farnham Avenue House. Photo: William Dewson Architects.

ecohouse CANADA | winter | 2014/15

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Excellence in Window & Door Hardware

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A sister publication of:

Message from the publisher Publishing Partners:

It’s all about the ideas

Canada Green Building Council

VISIT www.sabmagazine.com for our Product Directory

Publisher Don Griffith 800-520-6281, ext. 304, dgriffith@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:

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ISSN 1920-6259

Our purpose at ecoHouse Canada is to assemble and communicate ideas about building better housing that will conserve energy and water in a big way, provide a healthy indoor environment of fresh air Photo: Roy Grogan and daylight, be efficient and clever in design so that we only build as much space as we need without sacrificing comfort, and that will use quality products that will deliver long-term performance and durability in our homes. The article in this issue on flexible house design fits our theme perfectly because it tells us to take a step back and think about how we can design our houses so that they can be adapted to meet the changing needs of all the people who will live in them over generations. That’s a big idea: to think through the design to ensure space efficiency and adaptability over many years. What could be more sustainable? This issue also has our first article on the Stage 1 construction of the high-performance Demonstration House, a project of ecoHouse Canada and our web affiliates at ecohome.net and ecohabitation.com. We’ll document the construction in a Building Guide video series that will be packed with ideas and best practices on efficient interior design, high energy and water conservation, interiors of natural daylighting and replenished fresh air, and more, that can be applied to any house. Two houses we feature in this issue are certainly contrasts. The Elliot House is a renovation and addition to an old house in rural Ontario, while the Farnham Avenue House is a dream infill in Toronto. The scales and budgets of the two houses are much different but what they have in common is innovative thinking. We rely a lot on our readers for their ideas in how to build better homes for our climate. So, by all means, get in touch. Don Griffith, Publisher

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. Publication Mail Agreement #40024961 Return undelivered Canadian address mail to: Janam Publications Inc., 81 Leduc St., Gatineau, Qc J8X 3A7

The print version of ecoHouse Canada uses Rolland Environ100 Satin, 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 | 2014/15

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news

Ceramic tile industry releases EPD The Tile Council of North America, Inc. has released its Environmental Product Declaration [EPD] for ceramic tile made in North America, which is third-party certified certified by UL Environment. It can be found at www.TCNAtile.com. Specific to North American-made ceramic tile, the EPD is derived from in-depth analysis of data related to tile manufacturing and use--from the raw material extraction process to disposal of tile at the end of its life--with emphasis on the priority considerations of the green building community, including energy and resource consumption and emissions to air, land, and water. The environmental impacts that are measured and the methodology for measuring them are dictated by the North American Product Category Rule [PCR] for flooring EPDs. By following this standard, the ceramic tile EPD reports the environmental facts of ceramic tile in a fashion similar to other flooring EPDs, much as nutrition labelling for food is standardized in order to simplify its use. The EPD’s use can contribute to earning up to two points under LEED v4 provisions, which require the use of at least 20 products with EPDs and 50% of products with improved life cycle performance. Additionally, use of North American-made tile can contribute toward earning up to 30 points under Green Globes provisions for core, shell, and interior fit-outs.

Mark your calendar: Green Homes Summits are coming to Edmonton and Toronto in January 2015 The Canada Green Building Council [CaGBC] Green Homes Summits are one-day, regionally-focused education sessions for developers, builders, designers, architects, and anyone involved in building ‘better than code’ housing. Both Summits will focus on residential construction, covering both single-family homes (including townhomes and various attached styles) and multifamily projects up to the midrise level [up to 12 storeys], and will include sessions on LEED Canada for Homes, and many regional energy and green building standards. Toronto Green Homes Summit: January 28, 2015 at Black Creek Pioneer Village. 7:45 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. The agenda includes a morning keynote presentation, panel discussion and forum, with plenary sessions, and a networking/trade show in the afternoon. Save with early bird rates: CaGBC Member: $100, Non-member: $150 Sponsored by The Sustainable Housing Foundation - Title Sponsor, Dow [Silver Sponsor] and the Toronto Regional Construction Association [Partner Sponsor]

Portland State researchers pinpoint links between trees and air quality A team of scientists from Portland State University [PSU] have found direct links between the presence of mature trees in a city and the air quality its citizens enjoy, uncovering new pathways to understanding the value provided by urban forests and the design of healthy cities. The PSU team worked with volunteers to place a network of 144 sensors across the greater Portland region. The scientists then examined neighbourhood-specific air quality data correlated with detailed maps of Portland’s tree canopy.  Then the researchers went a step further by calculating the total health-related respiratory benefit from Portland’s urban forest. The amount of nitrogen dioxide—an air pollutant that contributes to respiratory illnesses such as asthma—removed by the region’s trees amounts to $6.59 million per year saved by avoiding missed school and work days, emergency room visits, and hospitalizations.  The results of the study, published in the academic journal Environmental Pollution, is the first to take the study of air pollution effects to the neighborhood level and to quantify the regional ecosystem services provided by urban trees.

Energy Assessment Guidebook Launch Saving energy is easier than you think. And while you’re at it, you save money and help to protect the environment. Energy saving technology is improving every day. This booklet is a brief introduction to an energy assessment, or an energy audit. In this booklet you will find tips and tricks to help save energy in your business, office, home, or other building, and how to get started on your own energy assessment. Some of the subjects covered include: - How Much Energy Do You Use? - Ventilation - Optimize HVAC - Lights that Save Energy - Office and Electrical Equipment

Edmonton Green Homes Summit: January 29, 2015

- Water Uses Energy

Save with early bird rates: CaGBC Member: $195, Non-member: $250

- Become Independent [PV and CHP]

Details: www.cagbc.org

Get a copy at www.mi-group.ca

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news AND PRODUCTS

BOOK Common Threads: Weaving Community through Collaborative Eco-Art, by Sharon Kallis

Disposing of unwanted natural materials, dealing with invasive species, and managing green waste can be expensive and time-consuming, or it can present a tremendous opportunity for creating collaborative eco-art. Common Threads is a unique guide to engaging community members in communal handwork for the greater good. It combines step-by-step instructions with tips for successful process and an overview of completed projects of collaborative eco-art. $29.95, www.newsociety.com

RESIDENTIAL CONSTRUCTION INDUSTRY CELEBRATES INNOVATION EnerQuality Housing Innovation Forum and EQ Awards Gala EnerQuality, Canada’s #1 certifier of energy-efficient homes, is hosting a full-day conference followed by an evening awards show that explores the future of residential green construction and celebrates the industry’s biggest achievements. Experience insightful seminars, networking and education with some of the brightest minds in the industry, and explore the most compelling and groundbreaking products and services in the EQ Innovation Trade Show. When it comes to energy efficiency and sustainability, builders are re-thinking and changing housing in all disciplines, including planning, design, construction and marketing. Not to be missed is the Innovation Gauntlet – a Dragon’s Den-style competition where industry manufacturers and organizations pitch their smartest, most innovative products and services to a panel of judges and the audience. The forum will be followed by the EQ Awards, where the residential construction industry’s leading innovators and influencers will be recognized, and the most successful green residential construction program in Canada, ENERGY STAR® for New Homes, will be celebrating its 10th Anniversary.  When: Thursday, February 19th, 2015 Where: Sheraton Parkway Toronto North Hotel & Suites Housing Innovation Forum: 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. EQ Awards: Doors Open at 6:30 p.m. The EQ Housing Innovation Forum includes a full-day of programing; details can be found at http://www.enerquality.ca/awards-of-excellence-home. Examples of sessions include: · Zero to Hero: ENERGY STAR® for New Homes and a Decade of Innovation  - In 2013 alone, more than 9,500 homes were ENERGY STAR qualified in Ontario, representing 28% of all homes built in the province. ENERGY STAR for New Homes has become the most widely adopted residential green construction program in Canada.

This session will explore a decade of successes and a future of opportunities. · From Pilot to Production: Scaling Net Zero Homes - Experts will share their experiences of moving from pilot to production.  · Singles to Attached: Housing Grows Up – In this session, a panel of speakers will discuss the shift to higher density and the future direction of the housing market from singles to attached homes to multi-family housing. Highlights include key changes to the building code that include six-storey wood construction and panelized construction.

PRODUCTS Intus Advanced windows suited to Passive House Intus Windows has introduced its Premier 78 Alu Advanced line, triple-pane wood windows which are Passive House [PH] suitable and are a great choice for anyone looking to install energy efficient PH-type windows. The high-tech windows feature beautiful pine wood frames with a high-density composite foam material integrated into the window frame. This design increases the window efficiency and provides a thermal break in the frame profile. Triple gasket weather-stripping creates superb air tightness, warm edge spacers increase the glass surface temperature and reduce condensation on the glass. Numerous SHGC options are available based on climate and design goals.

Healthy mineral-based paint ROMA has introduced a new, mineral-based paint technology that is the healthy alternative to acrylic paints, completely zero VOC, ultralow TVOC, toxin-free, odourless, asthma-free, and naturally mould-resistant and highly durable. ROMA’s mineral paints and plasters are made from natural, raw materials manufactured without toxic chemicals. ROMA is the only paint manufacturer to have 13 products Cradle to Cradle Certified™ v3.0. www.romabio.com.

Ads in this issue: 2 Zehnder America 4 Euroline Windows Inc. 15 Canplas

31 Roxul 32 Velux

become a high-performance sponsor Get great, lasting visibility as a sponsor of the high-performance Demonstration House. Contact dgriffith@sabmagazine.com

ecohouse CANADA | winter | 2014/15

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THE ECOHOME DEMO HOUSE STAGE ONE

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Slab-on-grade construction

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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. 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.

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Compacted gravel was tamped in stages to ensure a solid base. The machine we used can apparently tamp successfully to three feet deep, we did it every foot and a half for good measure. A retaining wall was built using rocks from the site to hold the compacted gravel and future slab in place. It is more common to drive stakes in the ground then nail boards up as concrete forms, but we decided to pre-build forms, then raise and square them the way you would with walls. This was intended to make disassembly easier so we could reuse the wood. Hard to say if it was easier, but it went fine.

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Forms need to be wel-secured to avoid a blow out, including lots of braces to hold the weight of the concrete so forms don’t bend. Three runs of 2x6’s easily held concrete and insulation, and after forms were removed, that wood was used for framing. 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. We used insulated water pipes courtesy of Uponor for greater energy efficiency, which also brings us LEED points.

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You really need to be sure about your placement of plumbing at this point. Concrete is not so forgiving when it comes to making changes afterwards. After all the plumbing was in place, 8 inches of rigid insulation was installed on every surface. On the advice of Roxul engineers, we put 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 Comfortboard CIS [more dense than Comfortboard IS] was used below the main slab.

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Comfortboard is great to work with, it cuts really easily and stays securely in place without slipping, allowing for tight clean joints. This is a nice added benefit when you are doing multi-layers as we did here. The joints of panels were overlapped as well to further reduce heat loss. We placed 8 inches of Roxul Comfortboard vertically to protect the exterior of the slab, and we included a cement board outside the Roxul but inside the form. We later attached the cement board with plastic tie straps that passed through the insulation and vapour barrier into where the future footing will be; a 1.5” screw was put into the end of the tie strap to act as an anchor inside the concrete after it sets.

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We really like this little detail, and a clear description will no doubt make it to our video guide. The reasoning behind this step was to have a well-insulated slab with no thermal bridging, and a cement exterior ready for parging when the forms were removed. After disassembling the forms we were happy to see that worked exactly as planned. Plastic ties were chosen over long nails or screws to prevent the heat loss that would come through metal, which our engineer assured us would be significant, far more than we would have expected before seeing software energy simulations. Metal fasteners would have effectively reduced the total R value by almost half, testament to the conductive powers of metal and why as a material it should be very selectively used in wall assemblies.


The Ecohome Demonstration House is well underway, the following page chronicles the first stage of constuction, building the slab-on-grade. The house is oriented facing south to maximize passive solar heat gain in winter, but will be shaded in the summer by deciduous trees, wall mounted sun shades and a large overhang to prevent overheating. By Mike Reynolds

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For added durability over the commonly used 6 mil polyethylene vapour barrier, we used the 10 mil ‘Perminator’ sub slab vapour barrier, courtesy of W.R. Meadows. The added thickness gives us more protection against accidental holes made during the construction phase, giving us greater confidence in it for vapour and radon gas protection. Any holes would also be easier to find with the green colour, as it tends to discolour and turn white where damaged. We found this out by trying to rip holes by jamming rocks through it, which we are happy to report is not an easy task.

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To support the concrete mesh as it extends over the footing, we cut sections of mesh that sit on small foam feet. This also supports 4 rebars that will be imbedded in the concrete footing at exactly the position we want them. Despite that it may look somewhat labour intensive, this little detail took only a few hours to do and it ensured that our mesh was level, our rebars were well-positioned and our vapour mat was not punctured.

8 Uponor also provided us with tubing for a radiant floor, complete with a floor plan layout for 10 individual zones, so the temperature in each part of the house can be controlled independently. Limiting the length of tube installed per zone is very important at this stage, too long a run and the water will no longer be hot towards the end of its return trip. There was no effort required on our part in regards to planning zones and zone lengths, it was all figured in the Uponor plan. So the tubing was installed by 3 workers in only a few hours. The final floor will be a polished concrete, which is completely nontoxic and very durable. The production of concrete is a heavy polluter, releasing one ton of GHGs [greenhouse gases] per ton of concrete. So we chose a concrete mix that included 50% recycled material, which significantly lowers the total emissions of our build, and brings in some LEED points as well.

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There is an often overlooked advantage when you choose a slab over a basement - concrete is very expensive, so the reduced amount of concrete used in a slab along with not needing to install a subfloor and finished flooring product translates into a savings of many thousands of dollars. So, stage one is now complete. The next issue of ecoHouse will describe the wall system, framing techniques and roof assembly. All of the main construction stages will be recorded in a video guide on ecohome.net, so stay tuned for details. And if the very concept of slab-on-grade construction leaves you scratching your head or worrying about frost heave, check out the building guide at ecohome.net for these articles: -

Slab on grade technical guide Slab-on-grade: step by step guide Insulating below slabs and basement floors: how much is best? Why basements are mouldy and how to avoid it.

We thank our product sponsors who have joined us so far: Roxul, W.R. Meadows, Kott Lumber, Uponor, Ecogenia, CGC, Lunos, Fantech, Delta [Cosella Dorken], and Mitsubishi Electric Canada. Companies wishing to sponsor should contact dgriffith@sabmagazine.com. v Mike Reynolds is a former home builder, a LEED for Homes Green Rater and the editor of Ecohome.net.

Compacted slab on grade base [1]. Slab on grade forms [2]. Plumbing infrastructure [3]. Slab floor insulation [4]. Slab-on-grade insulation [5]. Perminator 10 mil Sub-slab vapour barrier [6]. Mesh supports over footing [7]. Radiant floor tubing [8]. Recycled concrete polished slab [9]. all images © Ecohome.net.

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Global Solutions House Simple design a model for Aging-in-Place affordability

All materials were selected by balancing factors such as local sourcing, durability, embodied energy, occupant health and comfort, environmentally-preferable products and the progressive introduction of sustainable communities. Some of these materials included the following;decking milled from reclaimed telephone poles, floor, trim and window sills made from site-harvested timbers, concrete with over 30% supplemental material and FSC certified lumber [1]. View from the living room to the south-facing outdoor deck [2].

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Construction We designed the house for affordability, technical repeatability, accessibility, conservation, and environmentally-preferable products and practices. The Passive E House is a LEED-registered project with a Platinum target that is also an Energy Star qualified home achieving an Energuide Rating of 91. The Net-Zero ready home has also integrated NRCan’s Solar Ready guidelines and has been certified in accordance with the Passive House Principles. A simple design along with the local sourcing of labour and materials helped to keep construction affordable and left money for valueadded sustainability features including passive solar and solar-ready design, increased insulation, and a roof structure built to accommodate photovoltaic and solar thermal panels.

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Permanent foam forms were fabricated prior to pouring concrete for footings, and insulated concrete form [ICF] construction was used from the footings to the eaves. We feel that ICF construction provides consistent thermal breaks, reduces vulnerabilities for air leakage, increases construction efficiency, reduces noise pollution, and delivers a higher level of comfort for the building occupants while optimizing the overall building performance and durability. As this project was designed and constructed according to the Passive House principles, increased insulation, air tightness and passive solar design were major components of the build. With exterior walls performing at an R-value of 50, R-99 in the attic, R-32 under-slab, an average air tightness of 0.365 @ 50 Pascals, and the majority of triple-paned windows facing south, these, along with other passive design strategies allowed us to scale down the heating and cooling equipment which typically demand active energy.


Designed and built as an Aging-in-Place affordable housing model with the possibility for a secondary suite, the Passive E House will serve in part as a demonstration home by having its energy performance monitored over the coming years. BY Cody Smith

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Showers are connected to a 205-litre grey water recycling system that serves the toilet flushing needs [6]. Permanent foam forms were fabricated prior to pouring concrete for footings, and insulated concrete form [ICF] construction was used from the footings to the eaves [7]. A ground loop was installed around the foundation and connects to a Water-to-Air Coil exchanger that pre-conditions supply air for the heat recovery ventilator [HRV] [8].

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Light, air and water Day lighting and natural ventilation rely on appropriately arranged glazing with operating windows in each room for cross ventilation. 100% of the main floor and 60% of the basement are within seven metres of an operating window. All lighting, including ceiling fans, is 100% Energy Star qualified. All area and under-cabinet lighting are LEDs with dimmer switches where applicable and CFL’s for tasklighting. The projected annual energy consumption of the lighting system is 1.36 kwh/ m2/yr, compared to the norm of 4 kwh/m2/yr. One of four roof downspouts connects to an above-ground rain barrel, and the other three to an underground 850 gallon tank. Water collected via the weeper system is also sent to the underground tank – all of which is used for outdoor irrigation. Showers are connected to a 205-litre grey-water recycling system that serves the toilet flushing needs. High-efficiency faucets, appliances and dual flush toilets were installed throughout the home. Potable water supply is sourced from an on-site drilled well. Age-in-place living The anticipated service life of the house is approximately 100 + years. The measures that have been taken to ensure flexibility in use are no-step entrances into the garage and into the home, exclusive 36-inch wide doorways and passageways on the main floor, integrated wall mounts for the future installation of grab bars, an interior stairwell large enough to accommodate the installation of a stair lift or elevator retrofit, the option for an income suite or live-in care suite, and solar-ready features to allow for the installation of solar panels. v Cody Smith is president of Global Sustainable Solutions.

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2014-12-08 4:12 PM


The Elliott Residence is a retrofit / addition to a 1930 farmhouse near Ottawa. Designed for durability, energy independence and carbon neutrality, it meets R-2000, ENERGY STAR and GreenHouse, is participating in the 1000 Home Challenge and is Certified LEED Gold. Situated on five acres, the flex design stresses home-based income and food security, accessibility, community and rural aging-in-place. The house is designed to be divided so half may serve as a caregiver suite, a rental unit, or a home-based business.

front before renovation

BY ROSS ELLIOTT

back before renovation

The Elliott Residence Reno and addition make farmhouse a local destination 1

The renovated and enlarged house has a cafe attached at the back which provides a public gathering space, healthy organic food resource and a venue for live music and films for the local community, reducing the need to travel to the nearest town 30 km away [1].

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A vegetarian café, which operates from part of the home during the summer, provides a public gathering space, healthy organic food resource and a venue for live music and films for the local community, reducing the need to travel to the nearest town 30km away. The home office for our consulting business is housed in the adjacent strawbale guest house.

Driveway and parking

Exixting house

The site includes a year-round soap-bubble greenhouse [irrigated 100% by collected rainwater], food garden, orchard and maple bush. The property is self-sufficient in firewood for heating energy, and the surrounding land abundantly provides fresh organic produce and maple products for value-added café and farmgate sales or homeowner’s consumption.

Indoor ventilation The majority of the windows in the café face south or southwest, allowing an abundance of natural light into the space. The house is naturally cross-ventilated by operable windows on all elevations and levels. 100% of the occupied floor area is within 7 metres of an operable window.

Access to greenhouse

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Fresh air is delivered continuously via an ERV [energy recovery ventilator] with an ECM [energy-saving electronically commutated or variable-speed] blower. LEDs and CFLs have been used throughout the house to minimize the energy consumption when artificial lighting is needed, projected to be around 2.9 kWh/m2 annually.

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The cafe walls behind the house have a granite facing that was sourced within 800 kms from the site. Metal roofing was chosen as a long-lasting material that is fully recyclable at the end of its lifespan [2].

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Currently domestic hot water is supplied by an instantaneous propane water heater, which will later provide backup only for four panels of evacuated tube solar collectors [solar-ready piping has been installed from the roof to the future 70 gallon solar exchange tank]. The design allows for the future installment of a 7 kW PV array which would cover the home’s electrical demand. Building assemblies include R-45 walls, R-60 roofs, R-30 slabon-grade and foundation, R-10 below-grade slabs and airtightness of less than 1.0 ACH50, achieving EnerGuide 90 before renewables, and ERS 94 once PV and solar thermal are added.

Construction The curved walls of the café use ICFs [insulated concrete forms] for ease of installation, mass and continuous insulation, while other areas employ advanced framing with FSC [Forest Stewardship Council] certified wood. The existing house and side addition were clad with cement board siding, while the café’s walls have a granite facing that was sourced within 800 km from the site. Metal roofing was chosen as a long lasting material that is fully recyclable at the end of its lifespan, with unvented soffits for enhanced fire safety. v Ross Elliot is president of Homesol Building Solutions Inc., www.homesol.ca

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PROJECT CREDITS Architect Linda Chapman Architects Construction 4Syte Design Buik ldt. Landscape Architect Kathryn Elliott Energy Design, Green Rater Homesol Building Solutions Inc. materials - Wood framing is FSC [Forest Stewardship Council], other framing includes I-joists and laminated veneer lumber; insulated concrete forms [ICFs] for cafe addition. - Owens Corning Foamular Extruded Polystyrene exterior insulation, blown cellulose in wall cavities; soya polyurethane spray foam used on inside of existing foundation walls and on existing first-floor timber framing. - Heating system includes a GeoFlex geothermal heat pump, energy recovery ventilator, and a wood gasification boiler connected to 850 gallon heat storage tank [insulated with vacuum- insulated panels] to supply the radiant floor heating. - Fiberglass-frame windows, cement board siding, granite cladding and steel roofing. - Flooring types include linoleum, cork, bamboo, engineered maple.

The interior of the cafe is finished with coloured American Clay, a completely natural product [7].


Farnham Avenue House Old ideas and new technologies merge in eco-friendly Toronto infill

Farnham Avenue House is a single-family detached residential infill project. Some of the eco-friendly design aspects are time honoured such as, vertical ventilation and natural daylight shafts, dynamic cross ventilation, passive solar shading, and super insulation. Other features have been around for a long time, but are not that common on a confined city lot, such as geothermal heating and cooling. There are major elements that are reclaimed such as the exterior brick and structural timbers. Numerous locally sourced materials are incorporated. And some components are cutting edge technology, such as the bifacial solar panels tied into the Ontario government’s FIT [Feed-in Tariff] program. This house is a merging of old and new eco friendly architectural technologies. By Kyle England

The front elevation. The brick was sourced from a dismantled warehouse. The bifacial PV modules can just be seen on the roof [1]. ecohouse CANADA | winter | 2014/15

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PROJECT CREDITS Architect William Dewson Architects Mechanical engineer Hayward HVAC Design Structural engineer Cucco Engineering Construction South Park Design Build Landscape architect Lawrence Park Garden Centre LEED Provider Mindscape Innovations Photos William Dewson Architects materials - Exposed timber joists and decking are reclaimed Douglas fir, with insulated wood-frame walls - Renewable soy/vegetable oils and recycled polyethylene [plastic bottles] based foam insulation, and exterior rigid polyiso foam insulation to eliminate thermal bridging - Factory-finished wood siding and salvaged brick - Bifacial 190W photovoltaic roof modules generating 7kW, high-reflectance exposed roof membrane - VELUX programmable venting sktlights above the stairwell for natural daylight and ventilation - Heat pump, geothermal heating and cooling and heat recovery ventilator [HRV], boiler supplies in-floor radiant heating

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A bifacial photovoltaic solar panel array, which generates current from direct sunlight on the front side and from roof-reflected sunlight on the rear side, consisting of 25 modules generating a total of 7 kW, is connected to grid (no batteries). The high-reflectance exposed roof membrane directs sunlight to the rear face of the PV modules and also reduces the heat island effect. Wrapping the exterior of the insulated wood-frame walls with polyiso foil-faced insulation panels [with zero HCFCs] eliminates thermal bridging, and helps the walls to achieve R-35. As described earlier, natural ventilation in the summer reduces energy needs for cooling. We sourced some salvaged materials for the beauty they would bring to the project. The exterior brick comes from a dismantled Windsor, Ontario warehouse. Reclaimed Douglas Fir exposed floor joists, roof rafters, and 2x6 wood decking come from a deconstructed 1940s Ottawa-area air force hanger.

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Well insulated and air tight, the house has an Energuide rating of 90, and achieved the first LEED for Homes Platinum Rating in the Greater Toronto Area [8].

Salvaged materials are combined with new factory-finished wood siding, renewable soy/vegetable oils and recycled polyethylene [plastic bottles] based foam insulation, and high-performance windows. Interior materials were choosen based on regional availability but this was not always the deciding factor. We did choose regionally-made veneer-faced, no-added formaldehyde MDF panels, but also opted for Baltic Birch plywood whose superior strength and pricing outweighed locally-produced plywood. The project has a walkscore rating of 90, an Energuide rating of 90, and achieved the first LEED for Homes Platinum Rating in the Greater Toronto Area. It is currently a subject of post occupancy evaluation by Ryerson University Department of Architectural Science. v Kyle England is an architect with William Dewson Architects, www.dewson.com.


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Canada

From the publishers of:

THE HIGH-PERFORMANCE HOUSING MAGAZINE

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house

Canada

THE HIGH-PERFORMANCE HOUSING MAGAZINE FOR DESIGNERS, BUILDERS AND HOMEOWNERS

SPRING 2014

INNING

Homes -in-review ISSUE

PR

SUMMER 2014

OJEC

FOR

DENSITY

A model for improving existing housing stock

INTERGENERATIONAL

FAMILY HOME Novel living concept wrapped in a passive design

Essentials for a green home or reno

HRVs

NARROW PASSIVE HOUSE Compact house lets nature do the work

ECOHOUSE CANADA | SUMMER | 2014

A brief guide

GREAT GULF ACTIVE HOUSE

MAURER HOUSE

AND STUDIO

BUILDING BETTER

BASEMENTS

Function and choice

ECOHOUSE CANADA | SPRING | 2014

PB

CHOOSING WINDOWS

Big builder pushes the boundaries

AND ERVs

More comfort and healthier indoor air

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PB

ECOHOUSE CANADA | FALL | 2014

FALL 2014

What they are, how they work

RESIDENTIAL WINNER OF THE 2014 CANADIAN GREEN BUILDING AWARDS

MAKE ROOM

THE HIGH-PERFORMANCE HOUSING MAGAZINE

PUMPS

RENO

TIPS FROM THE FIELD

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HEAT

ONE PLANET

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SPECIAL

THE HIGH-PERFORMANCE HOUSING MAGAZINE FOR DESIGNERS, BUILDERS AND HOMEOWNERS T

LEED Canada

Canada

Case Study in achieving Net Zero energy ECOHOUSE CANADA | SUMMER | 2014

ECOHOUSE CANADA | FALL | 2014

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SUBSCRIBE! ecoHouse Canada is the most authoritative magazine on sustainable Canadian green home building. Published four times per year, ecoHouse Canada is a showcase of the best in Canadian residential design, new products and technologies.

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install cladding so your walls can dry

How to

The walls of your home are an environmental separator. Their job is to keep the inside in and the outside out. Exterior cladding is your first line of defense against weather elements, and its job is to allow the control layers - like your vapour barrier, air barriers and insulation to do their jobs without being assaulted by wind, precipitation and UV rays. By Mike Reynolds

Moisture will always flow from areas of high concentration to low, and the side of the wall those different conditions are on will reverse between seasons due to insulation and/or air conditioning. In the winter it’s cold and dry outside, in summer it’s hot and humid outside, so walls should be designed to dry in either direction as needed. In order for something to dry, an exchange of energy needs to take place. When we heat a house, it dries outwards, when we cool a house, it dries inwards, or at least it should. A well-ventilated air space behind exterior cladding is an important part of the strategy needed to allow walls to dry, particularly in the warmer months. Drainage planes [building paper, weather barrier, etc.] allow any moisture that does accumulate behind cladding a chance to drain away harmlessly, and the air space allows humid air to escape. In order for both of these actions to take place, there must be a continuous space behind cladding where water can drain and air can flow. Siding being applied over strapping as a rain screen. © ecohome.net

Sheathing

Furring

Air space

Sheathing

Furring

Air space

Cladding Corner unable to dry or drain any water that leeks in Corner trim CORNER AIR SPACE

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NO CORNER AIR SPACE


Mike Reynolds

Common practices that are best avoided: • Sealing the top cladding board to trim boards with caulking: this creates a dead end that traps humidity in walls. • Cutting boards short and relying on caulking to fill the gaps at the ends: Caulking will eventually fail, letting water in - but also potentially keeping it in. Boards are best installed tight; a certain amount of shrinking will occur but any water that gets in will be able to dry. Be sure to seal all cut ends with paint. • Installing horizontal furring to attach siding: If your siding requires horizontal furring [such as board and batten], first install a layer of vertical furring to allow a drainage cavity, then the horizontal as a second layer. Horizontal furring strips used alone can stop air flow and prevent water from draining out. Diagonally installed furring is an option that can also work without needing a second layer. • Double furring at the corners: corners are often needlessly fortified with furring strips [or strapping], where they should ideally be left open and able to dry. If water is going to leak into walls it will be at joints and junctions like corners.

Examples of reclaimed weathered oak siding on the Zen barn House in Ottawa [above], and composite siding on the Net-Zero Home in Calgary [below]. zen barn house Architect: Christopher Simmonds Architect Inc. Photo: Doublespace Photography. net-zero home architect: SAIT Green Building Technologies.

How much of an air space is needed behind cladding? The air space between cladding and sheathing doesn’t need to be great but it needs to allow for continuous drainage without creating pockets where water can be trapped inside wall assemblies [referred to as perched water]. It should also allow air to flow through from bottom to top, taking advantage of natural convection to remove moisture. Although 1x4 and 1x3 furring strips are the most commonly used as they are easily available and affordable, that doesn’t mean you can’t find even cheaper alternatives that could save some wood and some money if you enjoy a salvage project. If you have enough material to meet your needs, you could use old flooring, or even old plywood ripped into narrow strips on a table saw. What you use as furring is really only a spacer and isn’t too important as long as your siding can grab it, or be able to grab the sheathing behind it. Just be sure the material is consistent in size to avoid walls looking warped.

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2

3

Document your work The golden years For those who plan to stick it out long term in one house, age will catch up with you eventually so prepare for that now. A main floor master bedroom, full bathroom and laundry facilities can save you from having to negotiate stairs as part of your daily routine. If you do plan to keep all bedrooms on the second floor, consider reinforcing stairways to allow for lifts, or vertically aligned closets framed for future vertical lifts. Other features to think about: • Wiring upper floors with separate plumbing, phone lines and a stove plug for future apartments. • 3/4-inch plywood backing behind the drywall in bathrooms to facilitate safety handles. • Universal access doors [36”] and spacious bathrooms. • Under counter openings for wheelchairs. There is no question that incorporating flexible design features into new home construction will add some cost. But it will almost certainly save someone a lot of money at some point whether that’s you, your kids or a future occupant, and it can be a selling feature.

Keep a detailed diagram of any flexible design features that you include in a building project, so you don’t end up cutting ten holes in your drywall looking for that elusive stove plug. Documentation is essential for hidden infrastructure like flexible design, but don’t stop there. Modern homes can have a lot more features and gadgets than in years past, so it can be really helpful to have a trouble shooting manual and maintenance schedule for the systems of your home. It can come in handy for yourself, but also it’s a great feature if you sell your home. Even if you go on vacation for a week it can help you and your house sitter if there is a detailed list of solutions to potential problems. That can even be just basic actions to take if a simple alert goes off like smoke alarms, dehumidifiers, water softeners, heat exchangers etc.

Some features are cheaper to add than others, so if you are on a tight budget, do what you can. At the very least put some thought into flexible design and if possible lay out your home in a way that makes it a bit easier to modify in the future.

Knowing how something was built will be really helpful to the person that comes along one day and has to take it apart or make repairs. Anyone who has ever done renovations can tell you stories about surprises they found in walls. Being able to present a contractor ahead of time with details of what they will encounter can possibly save you some money. v

Part of the house can be adapted as a granny suite or for young adults as the need arises. intergenerational family home, architect: dsk architecture [2]. Even part of the roof can be used for flexible living. one planet reno [3].

Emmanuel Cosgrove LEED® AP Homes, is one of Canada’s most sought after voices in the field of green building. He is a co-founder of Écohabitation and Ecohome, and directs multiple initiatives that contribute to reducing the environmental footprint of Canadian homes.

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MORE THAN A ROCK, IT’S FIRE PROTECTION.

ROXUL® insulation is stone wool, which makes it fire resistant. Made of basalt lava rock and recycled steel slag, ROXUL can take heat other insulations can’t and will withstand temperatures up to 2150ºF. ROXUL insulation not only helps you save on energy, it makes your home more safe. roxul.com

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Why settle for less than the best?

velux.ca 1 800 888-3589 32

ecohouse CANADA | winter | 2014/15

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