EkoModel News, Energy Efficiency, Passive House resources

Passive House Days 2018 and another Eco-Feu giveaway!

With International Passive House Days 2018 on the horizon, we’re getting excited about connecting with Ottawa area residents who want to know more about EkoBuilt’s passive house and sustainable home building options. Sadly, a tornado blighted the lives of some local residents on the same weekend as Green Energy Doors Open and we just didn’t get the turnout that we normally would.

There is another chance to chat with us in the EkoModel Home, from November 9-11, 2018. We hope you’ll come out with your questions and to experience the comfort of this super energy efficient home, a great example of what we can do.

You could win!

Cartier table top fire featureAnyone visiting us that weekend will have the chance to join our mailing list and go into the draw for a Cartier tabletop fire feature from Eco-Feu of Montreal!

Already on the mailing list? You can still enter the draw by sharing with us what topics you’d like to see us delve into on the EkoBuilt blog and on social media.

The Cartier unit when paired with a 4 gallons of fuel retails for $308.80.

We will also have a complete Eco-Feu catalogue on hand so that you can see the other ethanol fire place/feature options.

We’re delighted to continue our focus on this giveaway; it really helps with communicating the ease of heating a Passive House.

Please let us know if you’re planning to visit on the Nov 9-11 weekend, we’d love to see you!

 

EkoModel News, Simply Sustainable, Solar Power

Save the Date: Green Energy Doors Open 2018

EkoBuilt will be taking part in Green Energy Doors Open ’18 this year (Sept 21-23), and we’ll be opening the doors of the EkoModel home as we do every year! It’s always a great weekend, we hope you’ll join us! This year they have secured Catherine McKenna to speak, and they are showcasing more EVs and Exhibitors than ever.

Did you know the event is free to attend? This year your ticket will also entitle you to a free ride on OC Transpo to and from Lansdowne Park on September 22nd (the Saturday), as well as 20% off a meal at The Table Vegetarian Restaurant and 10% off purchases at NuGrocery Zero Waste (both of the discounts apply all three days of the event).

This year the event will again include a one-day EV Exhibition, showcasing electric vehicles, in Aberdeen Square in Ottawa (Sept 22).

Green Energy Doors Open, is a province-wide, year-round communications campaign and showcase of individual, community, and commercial sustainable energy projects. It is organized and spearheaded by the Ontario Sustainable Energy Association. The initiative aims to showcase advancements in the sector, demonstrating that Ontario is already on the path to building a 100% clean, sustainable energy system.

Save the Date

EkoBuilt Demonstration Home
21 – 23 September 2018
9am to 5pm
Full details >

Quick Links

Green Doors Energy Open 2018 – List of Host Sites

See you there!

EkoModel News, Passive House resources

Come on out to Passive House Days this weekend

International Passive House Days opens tomorrow, and the EkoBuilt Model Home will throw open its doors on all three days. Please join us and consider visiting other Passive Homes in the area!

What? International Passive House Days

When? Nov 10th – 12th, 2017

Find Homes Near You

northern elevation of the ottawa passive house

To search on participating homes in Ottawa, Eastern Ontario, or wherever you live, use the Passive House Database.

The listing for the EkoModel Home, including its passive house credentials, can be found at listing 5081 on the Passive House Database.

Please come out and visit our four-bedroom, 2,509 sq ft passive house on any of the following days:

Fri, 10 Nov: 9-3pm
Sat, 11 Nov: 9-3pm
Sun, 12 Nov: 9-3pm

See complete house plans for the EkoBuilt Trillium passive house right here.

See all 13 of our Passive House plans here – we can modify any of these plans to best suit your needs!

EkoModel News

Save the Date: Green Energy Doors Open 2017

EkoBuilt will be taking part in Green Energy Doors Open ’17 this year (Sept 30/Oct 1), and we’ll be opening the doors of the EkoModel home.

This year the event will also include a one-day EV Exhibition on Aberdeen Square in Ottawa. They will showcase several electric vehicles, including a racing car.

Green Energy Doors Open 2017Green Energy Doors Open, is a province-wide, year-round communications campaign and showcase of individual, community, and commercial sustainable energy projects. It is organized and spearheaded by the Ontario Sustainable Energy Association. The initiative aims to showcase advancements in the sector, demonstrating that Ontario is already on the path to building a 100% clean, sustainable energy system.

Save the Date

EkoBuilt Demonstration Home
30 Sept – 1 Oct 2017
9am to 5pm
Full details >

Quick Links

Green Doors Energy Open 2017 – List of Host Sites

See you there!

EkoBuilt's passive house solar engine
EkoModel News, Energy & Household Trends, Energy Efficiency, Passive House facts

Reflecting on a warm winter in the EkoModel Home

The sub-title for this post really should be “how comfortable is a passive house in winter?” And the answer is: very!

Okay, so the sun has been shining and we’re feeling the summer’s warmth, but cast your mind back to the long, grey winter we had here in the Ottawa Valley. Not for long, just long enough to picture the environment in which the EkoModel passive house spent its first winter.

Although the average temperature for the area was roughly -5.5C from December through March, December and January both saw some supremely cold days: -28C the low in December, -25C the low in January. Throughout the period we kept the house at steady 21C for daytime and evening; overnight, with no heating, the temperature would make a gentle fall to 18 or 19C by morning.

Having lived in homes in the past where keeping the temperature at 21C would have been too costly, this round the clock comfort was the revelation we hoped it would be. Both floors of the home, including the upstairs bedrooms, maintained these temperatures – no ‘cool spots’ as in many older homes.

The Eko Solar Engine - passive house infographic

Click to learn about the EkoBuilt solar engine that heats (and cools) this passive house

All of this was achieved using an average of just 31.75 kWh per day – which may not seem that low, until you remember that this passive house has NO FURNACE. That hydro-electricity usage simply represents the operation of the ‘solar engine’ components (including a fresh air exchanger, and an air-to-air heating and cooling pump) of the house, and daily living (lights, cooking, heating water*, PC and television usage) of a family of five.

So, our total energy bills for the four deep winter months was $801.48 (or $200/month).

*We heat our water to 120C.

An interesting note on Sunny Days

If it was a sunny day and we had approximately six hours of sun or more pouring through the south facing windows, we did not need to use the heating system at all.

The sun had no problem raising the temperature of the house from 19°C in the morning to about 24°C in the afternoon, in which case the temperature would drop to about 22°C in the evening and hover at about 20°C in the morning. Amazing!

 

What we’ll do differently next year

Overall, the house performed as expected, and the very low energy usage (seen here) and bills, even in a cold, grey winter, are great practical evidence. Less easy to share, but no less significant, is the supreme comfort that we enjoyed all winter long.

Hydry usage for the EkoBuilt passive house in winter 2017

Looking ahead to next year, we’re considering installing an ethanol (biofuel) fireplace. These units are a very simple and clean alternative to wood burning fireplaces and woodstoves, and their benefits are amplified in a passive house, where much less heat input is required to warm the home, and a fresh oxygen supply with good airflow is continually available.

There is a great overview of ethanol fireplaces on Houzz, and again we’d underscore the greater benefit to a passive house over a conventional build. In brief, this heating method has a very small environmental footprint, is low maintenance and attractive. We see this heat source as a great alternative when sunshine is severely limited, as it was this past winter in the Ottawa Valley. Any successful system has a built-in backup, and this looks like a great way to round out the solar engine that is driving our passive house.

Questions about the passive house performance?

If you have questions or thoughts about our passive home’s winter performance, please do feel free to comment here or contact us. We’re keen to share this information as clearly as possible in order to help homeowners to understand the huge benefits of building a passive house.

Wood engineered siding on the EkoModel Home
EkoModel News, House Design

Engineered Wood Siding: Beautiful & Sustainable

In spring 2017 we installed siding on the EkoModel Home. If you’ve followed the build of this passive house that we’re using as a showroom for what we can build, you’ll be familiar with its two-storey, flat-roofed visage.

This 2,506 square foot home includes 4 bedrooms, 2 1/2 bathrooms, and beautiful, sun-filled rooms from its south-facing rear orientation. When it came time to clad the exterior, we wanted to choose a product with a high degree of renewable or recycled content that would also be:

  • affordable
  • a natural material
  • extremely low maintenance, and – most important of all –
  • look great!

We choose an engineered wood siding product, GOODStyle by Goodfellow (a Canadian company), that comes with a 40-year guarantee and has 100% recycled content.

Offered in planks, shingles or panels, GOODStyle siding is available in a vast array of colours. We opted for a mix of grey and mustard tones, giving the house depth and interest. You can realize your own perfect exterior with the many options and colourways available from Goodfellow.

For more detail, view the GOODStyle by Goodfellow brochure.

Before and After Photos

The rear, south-facing aspect of the house is where the common living areas are focused.

The front of the home, which is north-facing, has smaller windows.

Goodfellow Engineered Siding Photo Gallery

Find out more about the EkoModel Home passive house, and Goodfellow siding. Contact us today!

Ottawa home builder EkoBuilt at the Ottawa Home & Garden Show 2017
EkoModel News, Home Building trends

Your questions answered!

The Ottawa Home & Garden Show last weekend was a tremendous experience. As ever, we enjoyed many rich conversations and answered a lot of questions. We thought we’d share some background here for our newest readers.

Who we are and how we are different?

EkoBuilt is a company committed to building homes design for the 21st-century. This means strikingly designed and deeply comfortable homes that are easily and cheaply heated and cooled with electricity.

Why do we do what we do?

It is our goal to get anyone and everyone in a quality passive house as affordably as possible. Our minimalist approach to design and investment in finding the right products/materials/systems have made this abundantly possible.

What exactly do we do?

First and foremost, we design and build low-energy homes that need no furnace or boiler.

How is this possible?

Super insulated, airtight and vapour tight construction.

What do we use for heat and air conditioning?

Even in a low energy home, heating and cooling systems are needed, but in a passive house, we just need a simple air to air source heat pump which is cheap to install and cheap to operate. These systems are not viable in conventional homes because the heating and cooling demands are too high.

On average, a passive house in winter with no sun and -30°C needs approximately 6 kWh of energy per day to keep house comfortably at 21 degrees. That’s amazing!

What about fresh air?

Even homes built to standard code require an HRV [heat recovery fresh air ventilator]. The difference is that conventional HRV units are 65% efficient, whereas passive house HRVs are 95% efficient.

The passive house unit also removes humidity which is important because these homes are vapour tight.

Find out more

If you’re new to EkoBuilt and our site, you can check out the Passive House and Coach House sections. The blog is also a deep source of detailed content on all of the above.

Reclaimed birch flooring from Log's End
EkoModel News

The beauty of reclaimed wooden flooring

Logs End Flooring of OttawaWhile the main floor of the new EkoModel Home has concrete flooring, for the upper level we opted for something different. Reclaimed birchwood from Log’s End in Ottawa makes a beautiful and natural statement for the second storey where our children’s rooms and an open loft area can be found.

Logs End in Ottawa is Canada’s leading supplier of river-reclaimed, wide plank hardwood flooring. The company takes perfectly preserved timbers that have been underwater for generations and fashions them into beautiful flooring and millwork. As shared on the Logs End website:

Every Logs End Heritage wide plank floor starts with the recovery of a log that may have been felled 200 years ago – and which was hundreds of years old when it was cut. And before it becomes a character-filled Logs End Heritage floor, it will be at least another year older.

Recovered logs are cut quickly and then air-dried for many months before then being kiln-dried to industry standards. From start to finish the process lasts a year.

Logs End also makes new-growth hardwood flooring from green certified managed forests, threading their care for the environment throughout their operations.

Pine, oak, birch, hickory and walnut, as well as engineered flooring, feature in the Logs End collections. You can visit the Logs End wide plank showroom in Ottawa:

Logs End
1520 Triole Street
Ottawa, Ontario K1B 3S9

International Passive House Days poster
EkoModel News, House Design

International Passive House Days come to Ottawa

Passive House residents around the world open their doors Nov 11th – 13th, 2016. Get first hand experience of the many advantages Passive Houses offer. The EkoModel Home near Ottawa is nearly complete, so this is a great time to visit our project and check out others in the area.

Find Homes in Your Area

Ottawa Passive House with double car garage

Wondering what your passive house might look like with a garage or carport? So did we! Our next blog post will focus on design options for these practical elements.

To search on participating homes in Ottawa, Eastern Ontario, or wherever you live, use the Passive House Database.

The listing for the EkoModel Home, including its passive house credentials, can be found at listing 5081 on the Passive House Database.

Please come out and visit our four-bedroom, 2,509 sq ft passive house on any of the following days:

Fri, 11 Nov: 9-5pm
Sat, 12 Nov: 9-5pm
Sun, 13 Nov: 9-5pm

See complete house plans for the EkoBuilt Trillium passive house right here.

EkoModel News

Planting trees for tomorrow

Young Fraser fir treeFor many of us building a custom home, we’ve chosen to build on a patch of land outside of the city. That often means we have one or more acres under own ownership that can be considered for various uses.

Space for gardening, recreation, pure enjoyment, and even aspects of self-sufficiency or cost offsetting (e.g. solar panels) come into consideration.

Why not consider planting trees in volume? Tree planting is a great way to improve a property and its value, provide wildlife habitat, reduce land erosion, create shade and livable spaces, and offset carbon emissions.

For anyone in the Rideau Valley and City of Ottawa, the Rideau Valley Conservation Authority offers a tremendous opportunity through its Trees for Tomorrow and Green Acres programs. For any landowner with property sitting idle, RCVA offers technical and financial assistance to reforest that space.

Imagine your property filled with more than an acre of trees for a fraction of the real investment required, where all of the hard work is done by others, including site assessment, clearing and planting. The program includes survival assessments in the early years.

The only commitment on the part of landowners is to cover the heavily subsidized planting effort (this really is a good deal), order a minimum of 500 trees, and to make reasonable efforts to protect the trees from damage.

The program receives significant funding from the 50 Million Tree Program of Forests Ontario.

Do you have land sitting idle? Wondering about how to reforest your property without breaking the bank? Thinking about leaving a bit of a legacy?

Consider planting trees for tomorrow.