From the ground up, this project is on its way to meet the requirements of Step Code 5 of the new building code. Every step is important to building a high-performance home where the homeowners can be comfortable and the building is exceedingly energy efficient!
It takes a team to plan a Zero Emission House
This customer came to us with their dream home concept which included high standards of energy efficiency. After consultation, we referred them to our close partner, Sarah Gallop Design. The Gallop team worked closely with the client through the architecture and interior design phases. Once approved, these plans came back to us, where we consulted with an energy advisor. Here the plans were dialed in to the degree of energy efficiency the home was expected to perform. This determined the final plan for the building.
- Solar power ready – wiring for solar meets the requirement of current building code
- EV chargers – for 2 vehicles
- Zero emission home – the building standard for all homes in the near future
- 20' wall/vaulted ceiling in great room
- Full basement legal suite
- Home theatre
- Wine Room
- 7 bathrooms
approx. 12 months
4 1/2 months
Demolition, Excavation and Foundation
A Built Green home doesn’t just mean creating a house that is energy efficient, it means addressing sustainability in every step of the process. In this example, the excavation team recycled 85% of the old home.
Building a high-performance home begins with the foundation. We started with geofoam insulation, poured the footings and then built the Insulated Concrete Forms (ICF) from Pacific ICF. ICF’s are the builder’s choice for energy efficiency. They are assembled on-site and don’t need to be removed like traditional wood forms, so there is reduced on-site waste. Insulated Concrete Forms also form an insulate layer around the concrete, contributing to a warmer but less humid home.
Around the exterior of the ICF foundation and inside the traditionally framed garage foundation are the black sheets of ‘dimple board’. The ‘dimples’ make the plastic stand out from the wall, leaving a free-draining air space protecting the ICF foundation. If any water reaches this air space, it easily flows to the bottom of the dimple mat.
In the videos below, Steve Kemp explains Insulated Concrete Walls (ICF) in detail.
Framing with BASF Wall Systems
This project is being built using the BASF Patented Wall system, which is constructed indoors before being transported to the site to be raised. The manufacturing of the wall frames took 1-2 weeks and the installation was done in another week or so. This is the only certified wall system available for building to high-performance standards and one of the many reasons we build with them, as we know we can trust the research, testing and rigour put into the designs and materials. Working with fellow industry experts means we can take the guesswork out of meeting the rigorous standards of the new BC Step Code!
High performance wall system shortens construction timeline
The first floor walls were up on our Burnaby custom home - and all within a day! The second storey walls of this home were installed in another full day. With the main floor and second floor in place, the roof trusses were delivered to the site and installed over the remainder of the week. A 30 degree angle at the middle of the home, meant that the trusses and floor system were more complex than that of a standard home.
Using this high performance wall system installed in such a short timeline gives us an incredible jump on getting to rough-ins and keeping the interior of the home dry.
This phase is definitely the non-sexy stuff but of the utmost importance to keep the home warm or cool, keep the lights on and water flowing in the home. Wiring for smart home technology also happens during this part of the project and prior to the drywall being installed.
Heating and Ducting Installation
One photo below shows part of the freshly “ducted” cold air return system in the Net Zero Ready custom home. The metal ducts prevent build-up of dust and dirt, which means the homeowner and her family will be breathing clean, healthy air for a long time to come!
Over the summer months, we offered behind the scenes tours of this exciting project. Tours took a dive into the construction methods and technologies we’ve used to make this home Net Zero ready, including how we went from foundation and backfill to roof sheathing and waterproofing being complete in just under a month. Many people came to visit and see the progress - from industry colleagues, architects, engineers, energy advisors, designers, potential customers, even the Mayor of Burnaby, Mike Hurley! This project is going to be the first Step Code 5 home in Burnaby, which is an exciting milestone for us and the city.
This part of the work is when it all comes together starting with drywall, trim, painting, installing indoor fixtures for lighting and plumbing.
The electrical panel shows photo below the complexity of the house. Drywall has required six highly experienced drywall taping guys on site. And the painters are in close pursuit. The tilers are set to go after priming and touch up. The mechanicals are installed and we are sourcing specialized sound dampening materials to eliminate harmonic vibration in the building structure.
Blower Door Test
Recently we conducted a blower door test on the home. This test is done before drywalling, and helps us ensure the home is airtight and reaches our intended energy efficiency goals! The minimum for Step Code 5 is 1 (the lower the score the better) and we are very proud to say this project met and exceeded this requirement with a final score of 0.670! Learn more about the benefits of performing a Blower Door Test here.
The exterior siding and trims are progressing very nicely. Extra care has been taken to ensure close attention to detail.
Each phase of this project takes it one step closer to being Net Zero ready.
Above: From window seats in the guest rooms to molding in the great room - and this little heater manages to heat the entire home quite nicely!
Below: The control panel for their home automation, walk-in closets coming together and a kitchen island that really anchors things.