Celebrating Builder Excellence in Alberta: Sustainable Building without Compromise
Edmonton-based Effect Home Builders takes home Green Home Award
The residential building industry recently gathered at Canadian Home Builders’ Association - Alberta BUILD 2015 annual conference to focus on the past, present, and future—and to acknowledge volunteers, builders, and renovators. Nestled in Jasper National Park, the conference includes the Awards of Excellence, where successes within the industry are celebrated and those who made it happen are recognized.
While this recognition is important within the industry, it is equally important to recognize both the builder—who goes above and beyond—and those who will enjoy the benefits of these quality homes: in particular, homebuyers who want to make informed purchasing decisions. This year, CHBA received over 400 entries for 25 housing awards—finalists and winners alike, from across the province, were commended. Award categories range from safety to customer satisfaction, from single family to multi-family, from estate homes to builder of the year awards, and finally, for those who are building sustainably.
While many of the finalists are BUILT GREEN® members, those in the Green Home Award category included Effect Home Builders, Greener Homes, and Habitat Studio. The former, Effect Home Builders, won this category for a private residence project. Their commitment to sustainability is commendable and sets a standard for others to aspire: to build an ultra-efficient, aesthetically pleasing retirement home within budget restraints—Effect Homes managed this and then some.
Effect Home Builders put significant focus on designing an extremely well insulated, air tight building envelope. Their concentrated efforts resulted in some key features. The foundation construction and wall systems employed resulted in an insulation value of net R42, about 2.5 times the insulation value of a standard wall. For the homeowner, this means added comfort and a reduction in heat loss. Windows selected based on the location on the house, leveraging south facing windows that allow for maximum solar heat gain and provide maximum heat retention. Plus, windows installed were triple glazed. The home achieved a remarkable .53 Air Changes per Hour.
With this level of airtightness—and to ensure healthy, fresh air—a high efficiency heat recovery ventilation system was installed, contributing to the comfort and health of the home environment. Between airtight rooms, triple-paned windows, and better ventilation, a BUILT GREEN® home has less temperature variation from room to room, reduced drafts, superior energy efficiency, fewer lingering odors, and substantial sound reduction from exterior sources.
Plus, a solar photovoltaics system silently converts solar energy into electricity, and future plans for the home include adding to the expandable solar array to achieve net zero energy. There are no natural gas lines on the property, and all appliances and heating use electricity to allow alternative energy to fulfill all the space heating and energy needs. In fact, the cornerstone of this home is the passive solar element.
On affordability, the heating system installed is an air source heat pump chosen based on efficiency and affordability, which produces heat energy up to 400 percent efficiency with a year-round average of 200 percent return! And, the products in this custom home needed to be aesthetically pleasing, durable, and sustainable, while meeting client budgetary restrictions.
Effect Home Builders’ approach to the design of this home was strategic and all-inclusive—design elements were purposeful and no decision was made without intention. Design factors including shape, orientation, insulation and sealing, walls, windows, floors, and space usage were all considered in building a home built for living in North Central Alberta. From integrating the sustainable features, to delivering on budget, to ensuring a strong curb appeal—of which the photos can only begin to do it justice—this builder took all aspects of the home into consideration: a holistic approach intended to facilitate a sustainable lifestyle, while capturing the rural theme requested by the homeowners.
This home received BUILT GREEN® Platinum certification and an outstanding EnerGuide 93 rating, and has been included as part of the Eco-Solar Home Tour.
Huge kudos to Effect Home Builders on their win of the coveted Green Home Award.