FortisBC and Tyee Homes Achieve Net-Zero ready with Passive Solar and High-Efficiency Gas Equipment

December 12, 2022

An award-winning home builder, Tyee Homes, has set a new bar for energy efficiency in residential construction, completing a new development with a home that reached the highest level of the B.C. Energy Step Code. The home, located within a seven-unit duplex development in Kimberley, B.C., achieved Step 5, of the Energy Step Code by incorporating passive solar design, a high level of airtightness and high-efficiency natural gas combination space and water heating system. Information from a case study of this home, as well as similar case studies from across the province, will help inform how new homes can reach the higher step codes and help advance climate action goals.

“The Kimberley project will really help move us forward in understanding the best approaches for energy-efficient residential construction, especially given its location in one of B.C.’s colder regions,” said Tanya Rumak, program manager, conservation and energy management at FortisBC. “Continuing to improve the energy efficiency of new construction, along with the work we are doing to decarbonize the gas system, means that our customers have more options available in how to achieve climate reduction goals.”

Traditionally a custom home builder, this was one of Tyee Homes’ first builder development projects. With 18 years of experience building in the Kootenays, they’re interested in finding the most practical and cost-effective ways to meet the highest level of the Step Code. They got involved in the study by working closely with an energy advisor to incorporate passive solar design and a high-level of airtightness.

“We’re extremely passionate about providing quality energy-efficient homes for our customers,” said Carl Lauren, owner of Tyee Homes. “Many of our customers are looking for homes that are more environmentally friendly and less expensive to operate. They enjoy the comfort of natural gas for space and water heating, and like that the equipment can be used with renewable energy sources to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions.”

Tyee Homes focused on the building envelope first, using off-the-shelf products such as SIGA building wrap and tape to ensure high-levels of airtightness. To maximize results, they thoroughly inspect the air sealing before it is covered with rigid insulation and cladding. By using this approach, they achieved air tightness levels of approximately 0.7 air changes per hour, with the equivalent leakage area of approximately 5.2 inches by 5.2 inches, which is approximately the size of a half sheet of letter-sized paper. The leakage area can be compared to a window that is left open at all times–the smaller the area, the less heat will escape from the home. For comparison, the equivalent leakage area in a typical Step 3 home is approximately 12.5 inches by 12.5 inches.

In addition to incorporating combination boilers for space and water heating, the home features in-floor radiant heating on both levels – a standard for all Tyee Homes due to its high energy efficiency, ease of use and improved comfort. Moving forward, Tyee Homes plan to continue to work with an energy advisor to see what design modifications can be made to meet Step 5 in all of their units.

Through the combined efforts of passive solar design, improved building envelope and high-efficiency mechanical systems, the completed home was found to be 37 per cent more efficient than a typical new home. The home also achieved significant energy savings, using roughly a third of the gas of the average B.C. home annually. For homeowners looking to further decarbonize their home, Renewable Natural Gas1 is a low-carbon option that can be used with existing natural gas equipment.

FortisBC has long supported builders through financial incentives, mainly through its New Home Program. It’s continued to evolve the program to prepare builders to meet and exceed the B.C. Building Code requirements.

In addition to working with Tyee Homes, FortisBC completed six additional studies with builders in Campbell River, Quesnel, Maple Ridge and North Vancouver. Working together with builders has helped create a better understanding of the tactics needed to reduce the total energy requirements of new homes across different regions of the province.

The provincial government is targeting that by 2032, all new Part 9 residential buildings will achieve Step 5 and meet net-zero energy ready requirements. Read the full case studies to see how FortisBC is helping home builders achieve Step 5.

Source

Related Articles


Latest Articles

  • Regulations Amending the Products Containing Mercury Regulations – A Call to Consultation

    Regulations Amending the Products Containing Mercury Regulations – A Call to Consultation

    January 29, 2023 By Line Goyette Under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999, the Canadian government is proposing the Regulations amending the products containing mercury. Consultation is open until March 9, 2023. The Products Containing Mercury Regulations (the Regulations), which were published on November 19, 2014, and came into force on November 8, 2015, prohibit the manufacture and import of products containing mercury… Read More…

  • A Career with Purpose – Apprentices Building Canada’s Reduced Carbon Future

    A Career with Purpose – Apprentices Building Canada’s Reduced Carbon Future

    January 27, 2023 By Yoana Turnin, Project Manager, EHRC In 2021, Canada joined 120+ other countries in committing to achieving net-zero emissions by year 2050 in an effort to “avert the worst impacts of climate change.” In a few words, that means either reducing or offsetting the economy’s greenhouse gas emissions through electrification, energy efficiency… Read More…

  • Challenges, Opportunity, and Labour Demand in the Construction Industry

    Challenges, Opportunity, and Labour Demand in the Construction Industry

    January 27, 2023 By Blake Marchand There is some uncertainty in the overall market right now, relating to inflation, interest rates, even global events like the war in Ukraine has an impact. These factors will have an impact on the construction industry, which may have an impact on broader opportunities for electrical contractors. Although, anecdotally… Read More…

  • First Retrofit Financed by the Canada Infrastructure Bank Receives IREE Certification

    First Retrofit Financed by the Canada Infrastructure Bank Receives IREE Certification

    January 27, 2023 The Canada Green Building Council (CAGBC) and the Canada Infrastructure Bank (CIB) have announced Dream’s 366 Bay St. redevelopment in Toronto is the first retrofit project financed by the CIB to achieve Investor Ready Energy Efficiency (IREE) certification. IREE certification is part of the CIB’s Building Retrofits Initiative and is administered through… Read More…


Changing Scene

  • Rexel Canada Aquires Lineman’s Testing Labratories of Canada

    Rexel Canada Aquires Lineman’s Testing Labratories of Canada

    Janaury 29, 2023 Rexel Canada aquires Lineman’s Testing Laboratories of Canada Ltd (LTL), a leading provider of high-voltage electrical services and products to the utility and industrial markets based in Toronto, ON and Edmonton, AB. The acquisition, which closed today, will provide Rexel Canada with enhanced opportunities in an attractive and value-added market. The acquisition… Read More…

  • Bartle & Gibson Announces Milwaukee Tool Zones at Three Locations

    Bartle & Gibson Announces Milwaukee Tool Zones at Three Locations

    Janaury 29, 2023 Bartle & Gibson Co. Ltd. announced the addition of three Milwaukee Tool Zones. The Zones include two Milwaukee Tool Red Zones, one at their Calgary North location and one at their Port Coquitlam location, and one Milwaukee Tool Lighting Zone at their Edmonton North location. These Milwaukee Tool Zones are a one-stop… Read More…

  • Electricity Canada and Smart Grid Innovation Network Canada Enter Collaborative Agreement

    Electricity Canada and Smart Grid Innovation Network Canada Enter Collaborative Agreement

    January 27, 2023 Electricity Canada and Smart Grid Innovation Network Canada have entered into a collaborative agreement to share knowledge and create a climate of cooperation that initiates a new direction for both organizations to better serve the professional needs of the members, industry, and community. This agreement will increase collaboration to benefit industry in… Read More…

  • Government of Canada Launches New Intake Model for Zero-Emission Vehicles Infrastructure Funding

    Government of Canada Launches New Intake Model for Zero-Emission Vehicles Infrastructure Funding

    January 27, 2023 The Government of Canada is now accepting applications from not-for-profit organizations, public institutions and governments to locally deliver federal funding from the Zero Emission Vehicle Infrastructure Program (ZEVIP). Applications will be accepted throughout 2023 and 2024. This is yet another step the government is taking to make electric vehicle (EV) charging more accessible for… Read More…