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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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ecohouse CANADA | winter | 2014/15


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:

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

www.janam.net

Subscription/address changes: ecohouse@sabmagazine.com, 800-520-6281, ext. 304 Subscription prices 1 year [4 issues] 2 years [8 issues] 3 years [12 issues]

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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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The house uses a simple, compact design and locally-available materials to keep costs down, and even the central kitchen has access to natural daylight and ventilation [3].

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To further explore passive design strategies 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].

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Living room Closet Deck

Shower drain water passes through a Drain Water Heat Recovery unit to prewarm the domestic hot water supply. Exterior blinds were installed rather than interior window coverings to help block out more of the heat before it enters the house during cooling periods, however, properly sized overhangs will provide most of the shading required. When lowered, the exterior blinds still allow natural lighting to enter the building during the day, however, the occupants can still see out while the view from outdoors is blocked. All-off switches and continuous thermal breaks throughout the building envelope were integral design attributes and, when combined with the above passive design strategies, greatly contribute to energy conservation by reducing the demand for active mechanical and electrical systems, and reduce pollution by lowering the burden on the electrical and natural gas production infrastructure.


Roof truss w/blown-in cellulose insulation NOTE: cathedral ceiling with 1/2lb. spray foam Insulation baffle

As a participant of Enbridge’s “Free Drain Water Heat Recovery Program” we were required to install a device that used natural gas. We decided to install a tankless water heater but with wiring provisions nearby to switch to an electric water heater in the event of a fossil fuel shortage and/or the installation of solar panels. The projected annual electricity consumption for the building is 201.24 mj/m2/yr. vs. the norm of 360.8 mj/m2/yr. Most materials were sourced locally or within an 800 km range including some materials that were sourced and partially processed on site such as the oak flooring, sills and basswood trim. Zero construction waste was a guiding vision throughout the build so routine waste elimination or deferral efforts included the composting of applicable items and recycling of scrap metal, paper, cardboard, drywall and electronic waste.

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Asphalt roof shingles Ice and water shield to 3’ up roof Roofing paper Galvanized metal drip edge 2’-0” heel

Approximately 35% of materials used in the building were recycled or reclaimed and it’s estimated that 75% of typical waste materials were recycled during the construction of the home.

Prefinished aluminum eavestrough Prefinished aluminum fascia cladding

1’-0”

7/16” OSB

Prefinished perforated soffit Anchor bolt @ 6’ o/c 2x3 strapping Self-adhering membrane

1/2” gypsum board

4” type 1 EPS rigid foam insulation Stucco cladding system ICF [insulated concrete form] wall at roof eave

PROJECT CREDITS Developer Global Sustainable Solutions Designer Passive House E-Design General contractor Global Sustainable Solutions Electrical Contractor Simcoe County Contracting Supervisor Gerry Asselin Contracting Photos Megh Pie Photography MATERIALS - Insulated concrete form [ICF] construction from the footings to the eaves, with an exterior layer of rigid foam insulatioin finsihed with stucco, cellulose insulation blown into attic. - Triple-glazed fibergtlass frame windows. - Heating and ventilation consists of a heat pump, heat recovery ventilator [HRV], a hot water boiler, and a ground loop connected to a Water-to-Air Coil exchanger that pre-conditions supply air for the HRV. - Recover grey water recycling system by Canplas for toilet flushing. - Red oak flooring and basswood trim milled from local site trees.

the dining room adjoins the living room and opens to the south-facing deck. Insulated concrete form 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, allowed scaling down of the heating and cooling equipment [4]. High-efficiency faucets reduce demand on the on-site well, while the Recover grey water recycling system by Canplas takes drain water from the shower for toilet flushing [5]. ecohouse CANADA | winter | 2014/15

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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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Recycle water from showers and baths Reuse it for flushing toliets

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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.

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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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In the existing house, windows were reconfigured and the house was clad in extruded polystyrene panels to improve insulation and air tightness [3].

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Floor plans

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Existing house Living room Porch Nook Kitchen Mudroom Pantry

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Cafe Mezzanine Bathrooms Wood stove Entry Bedrooms Linen

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Open to below Balcony Cafe/kitchen Pantry Storage

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ecohouse CANADA | winter | 2014/15

The curved walls of the cafĂŠ use ICFs [insulated concrete forms] for ease of installation, mass and continuous insulation [4].


Wall New interior layer: - 5/8’ type X gypsum - 1/2” plywood strapping @ 24” o.c. - 1-1/2” polyiso. insulation

Ground floor - 3/4” Maple flooring - 3/8” Plywood strapping @ 12” o.c. - 3/8” Radiant tubing - 1/2” Sub floor - 1” Medium density spray foam - Existing log joists 8” diam.

Existing wall: - 1/2” gypsum - 5mil Poly vapour barrier - 1” Sheathing - 2”x4” @ 16” o.c. with blown cellulose - 1” wood siding

Basement floor - 3” Poured concrete - 1-1/2” XTPS insulation - 4” Granular fill

New exterior layers: - 4” XTPS insulation - 1”x3” Strapping - Cement board siding

Foundation - 2” XTPS insulation - Existing stone foundation - 3” medium density spray foam

Roof - Pre finished steel roof - 1”x3” Strapping - Spun bounded ployolifint air barrier - 10” EPS insulation - 2”x10” Stabilizing boards - 3/4” Cedar planks

Wall - Clay on stucco base - 1” EPS insulation - Quad-lock ICP R-40 - 4-1/2” EPS insuation - 6” Concrete - 4-1/2” EPS insuation - Diamond lath masonry mesh - 4” Muskoka granite stone cladding

The site includes a year-round greenhouse insulated with soap bubbles. A drawing of this insulation method is found at http://www.sabmagazine.com/green-community-sabhomes.html [5]. The separate building for the home office is made of straw bales [6].

Low-flow fixtures reduce water consumption within the house [dual-flush toilets use 4.9 LPF, lavatory faucets 5.6 LPM and showers 6.6 LPM.] The home is also equipped with a high-efficiency clothes washer and condensing dryer. The home utilizes only on-site water sourced from a well, and all water consumed is recycled back to the same aquifer, after purification to drinking-water quality through a peat-based septic system.

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Energy savings The house has been designed and built with passive heating and cooling design strategies with a well-insulated and air-sealed enclosure, and uses no fossil fuels for heating. The high-performance triple-glazed fiberglass frame windows take advantage of available solar gains, which are limited due to the orientation of the existing structure and the surrounding trees. The high-mass ICF and stone walls, concrete floors and 5/8” drywall throughout help stabilize temperatures. The result is a house which needs very little energy for space heating or cooling. A high-efficiency wood boiler with geothermal backup in the adjacent strawbale outbuilding provides heat to a thermal 850-gallon storage tank, which is then distributed throughout both buildings via radiant floor and wall panels. The wood boiler contributes 48% of the home’s projected total annual energy consumption of 23.7 MJ/m2.

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7

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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ecohouse CANADA | winter | 2014/15

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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Basement floor plan

First floor plan

Second floor p

First steps

The new house

Using an integrated design process where all consultants and the contractor meet at the very start and regularly thereafter saved time and money in the long run, and permitted a broad range of solutions such as integration of active and passive solar strategies, daylighting or incorporation of reclaimed / reused materials.

Providing natural light and air was behind the idea of using the three-storey stairwell as a vertical ventilation ‘chimney’ topped with programmable venting skylights. Open concept and/or dynamic partitions allow complete cross ventilation at each level which feeds into the vertical stairwell shaft creating a stackhouse effect. Natural daylight from the skylights can now penetrate the core of house. The energy savings from natural daylight phases well with energyefficient LED and CFL lighting as day passes into night.

All existing millwork, plumbing and electrical fixtures, doors and windows from the existing house were recycled through ‘Habitat for Humanity’. Trees/shrubs were transplanted to neighbours during demolition and construction. Over 80% of demolition building waste, such as masonry, lumber, metalwork, and gypsum plaster, was recycled. The site also needed careful attention to prevent erosion during construction, and plans were made early on the finished site for permeable parking pads to control run-off, use of high reflecting landscaping materials, and placing of vegetable gardens.

Water conservation, such as on-site rainwater drainage collection to a drywell, which will be eventually be upgraded to a cistern for efficient rainwater re-use, water-conserving fixtures, and use of drought-tolerant native plants, are measures on almost any house. We used a geothermal system for heating through water-to-water heat pumps and bottom up radiant floor slabs, and geothermal cooling through water-to-air heat pumps, fan coil unit, top down supply air ducts. We also used steam humidification though the air duct system to adjust interior humidity during the dry, cold winter months.

3

4

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ecohouse CANADA | winter | 2014/15


plan

Third floor plan

Roof floor plan

5

Operable skylights Photovoltaic panels Cross ventilation windows

Reclaimed brick

Reclaimed decking on reclaimed Douglas Fir floor joists

6 Lightwell

Stackhouse effect

7 Reclaimed Douglas Fir exposed floor joists, roof rafters, and 2x6 wood decking come from a deconstructed 1940s Ottawa-area air force hanger [2]. Sliding doors and windows provide cross-ventilation which feeds into the stairwell where the skylights at the top allow for a healthy, natural ventilation of the entire house. [3 and 4]. The high-reflectance exposed roof membrane directs sunlight to the rear face of the bifacial photovoltaic solar panel array, and also reduces the heat island effect. Note the VELUX venting skylights [in closed position] in the foreground [5]. White solvent-based lacquer was used on no added formaldehyde MDF board because of its higher durability compared to water-based lacquer [6]. Looking down the stairwell which, with operable skylights at the top, acts as a ventilation chimney [7].

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

8

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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ecohouse CANADA | winter | 2014/15

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

SPRING 2014

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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

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GREAT GULF ACTIVE HOUSE

MAURER HOUSE

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RESIDENTIAL WINNER OF THE 2014 CANADIAN GREEN BUILDING AWARDS

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25


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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ecohouse CANADA | winter | 2014/15

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.

ecohouse CANADA | winter | 2014/15

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top and bottom: THE PASSIVE NARROW HOUSE. a combination of cedar siding and composite panels, both of which can be applied on strapping. Architect: One SEED Architecture + Interiors Inc. Photo: Allison Holden-Pope.

Moisture evaporation caused by natural air convection

Rainscreen ventilation can be incorporated into soffit/roof ventilation

Continuous drainage when water has infiltrated

Can you keep humidity out of walls? No, you really can’t. Some of the things we do that were originally intended to keep walls dry - installing polyethylene vapour barriers for example - will in some cases do more harm than good, particularly with greater levels of insulation, as they can prevent walls from drying. Since the direction in which moisture is travelling changes with the seasons, focusing your efforts on stopping all moisture from getting into your walls will more likely ensure that they will stay wet rather than stay dry. The walls that will last the longest are the ones that have been designed to manage the inevitable infiltration of moisture and then dry out, not those designed to achieve the unachievable. With a few material exceptions, of course, for the most part it is okay for walls to get a little wet as long as they can sufficiently dry out. An amusing analogy on this topic credited to Professor John Straube of the University of Waterloo may help you accept this defeat graciously: a Trident ballistic nuclear missile submarine is one of the most sophisticated and expensive machines ever made. With unlimited funds and access to the most advanced technologies, in the end they still assume water will leak in and they install a pump. Conclusion: you can’t build something that doesn’t leak, so focus on making sure it can dry when it does. v Mike Reynolds is a former home builder, a LEED for Homes Green Rater and the editor of Ecohome.net.

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ecohouse CANADA | winter | 2014/15


FLEXIBLE HOUSE DESIGN

A well constructed home will stand long enough to see many families come and go in its lifetime, and they won’t all have the same needs. When drawing floor plans, flexible design can make future changes easier.

BY emmanuel cosgrove

Design basics for flexible housing Depending on the stage you are at in your life, you might have kids, they might be gone or you might want to have some in the future. Design floor plans that work for you right now, but that can be easily adapted to accommodate different family dynamics in the future. Flexible housing starts with a basic layout that allows for functional expansion in the future. Lay out your interior floor plan so that if you need to expand out or up, space is already allotted for access.

A note of caution; do not actually hook up water and electrical lines, simply have them ready. The same thing applies to water; run lines towards a main water feed ready for future installation ,and allow enough slack for them to be easily connected. Pre-framing rooms for future changes can also save materials, money and headaches. You can prepare for future changes by framing door openings inside interior walls at sensible locations, or including a header to easily convert two small rooms into one larger room.

For example, this can be easily accomplished by: • Designing a bedroom so part of it can serve as a hallway for a future expansion while maintaining a reasonable size room. • Expanding into attics - keep this is mind when designing your roof, consider rafters or a truss design that allows for head room, as well as a logical access that doesn’t interrupt the flow of the lower floor. • Finishing basements is quite common for adding space to a home, but be sure your walls are well-constructed to prevent moisture damage. If you are pouring a basement floor but don’t intend to finish it right away, consider installing radiant floor tubing as a future heat source.

Plumbing and wiring Some of the biggest challenges in changing the layout of a home include plumbing and electricity. Imagine how much easier it would be to convert a bedroom into a granny suite if you planned ahead for a separate entrance and ran wires and pipes for a kitchenette and bathroom. If you anticipate different uses for a room, you might only have to make a cut in the drywall to find a stove plug, water lines and a drain. Compare this to ripping out walls and running new electrical and water feeds throughout your house.

floor plans should be adaptable to accommodate different family dynamics in the future. one planet reno, architect: Carolyn Jones, Tobias Fellows, Daniel Pearl and Simon Jones. photo: Christian Lalonde [1].

1

ecohouse CANADA | winter | 2014/15

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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

ecohouse CANADA | winter | 2014/15

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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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