EkoBuilt passive house
EkoBuilt News & Happenings, EkoModel News, Passive House resources

Sat, Jan 26th next EkoModel Home Open House

One of the top questions we regularly receive is when our next Open House will be at the EkoModel Home, our passive house demonstration property (4 bedrooms, 2.5 bathrooms, 2500 sq ft) just west of Ottawa. Mark your calendars!

EkoModel Home Open House
Sat, January 26th, 2019
9am to 3pm
96 Libbys Road
McNab/Braeside, ON K7S 0E1

Please come to feel and see for yourself the incredible comfort of a beautifully built Passive House.

EkoBuilt’s demonstration PassiveHouse was built on a 10-acre property just west of Ottawa during 2016. This 2,506 square foot home includes 4 bedrooms, 2 1/2 bathrooms, and beautiful, sun-filled rooms.

Perth Ontario townhomes for sale by EkoBuilt
EkoBuilt News & Happenings, House Design, Passive House resources

Net Zero Perth Townhomes Selling – Don’t Delay!

We’ve been delighted with the interest in EkoBuilt’s development of five townhomes in the PerthWorks Community in historic Perth, Ontario. Two units have already been claimed, leaving only two middle and one end unit for prospective buyers.

Photo from Downtown Heritage Perth

These units represent exceptional value – $289k for an end unit, $279k for a middle unit – for homes that will be net zero in their energy consumption and built to the Passive House standard.

Situated centrally in charming Perth, homeowners will be able to enjoy all that the town has to offer as well as being within commuting distance of Ottawa.

click to enlarge

EkoBuilt is working with homeowners to fully customize their units’ plans to best suit their needs and lifestyle.

The sample floorplans we offer are a great starting point and make tremendous use of the nearly 2,000 square feet of living space on these two-storey towns.

December 2019 Occupancy

Purchase contracts to be finalized by late February 2019, groundbreaking in May 2019, occupancy December 2019.

Purchasing your new home in Perth can be a reality that quickly.

Get all the details from the Perth Town Homes for Sale section on our website, and then please do get in touch. We’re here to answer your questions!

 

Ottawa passive house model by EkoBuilt
EkoBuilt News & Happenings, Passive House resources

Come out to visit the EkoModel Home this Weekend

We’ll be throwing open our doors from 9am to 3pm this coming weekend as part of International Passive House Days 2018. We’ve heard from many of you about your plans to attend, and we can’t wait to meet you!

Remember we’re giving away another Cartier tabletop fire feature from Eco-Feu this weekend. Details here.

EkoModel Home

The EkoModel Home, which showcases our Passive House offering and one of 13 super energy efficient house plans, is located just west of Ottawa:

96 Libbys Road
McNab/Braeside, ON K7S 0E1

Perth Ontario townhomes for sale by EkoBuilt
EkoBuilt News & Happenings, House Design, Passive House resources

5 EkoBuilt Townhomes for Sale in Perth

EkoBuilt is undertaking a unique development of five townhomes in the PerthWorks Community in historic Perth, Ontario. These five super energy efficient town homes for sale will be freehold, and will be connected to net-metering, resulting in incredibly low monthly utility fees (approx $40/month). We’re aiming for Passive House certification on the units, and each will include EV plugs inside the integrated garage, drain water heat recovery, and much more.

Perth Works Community MapPositioned just four blocks from Perth’s downtown core, the units will be part of the revitalized PerthWorks development. This is a fantastic opportunity to be part of a community development that will have many appealing features.

All 5 units will be fully customizable – you decide on the floorplan that will best fit your lifestyle and needs. You can even decide to convert the planned integrated garage into more living space if that works better for you.

With nearly 2,000 sq ft of living space, these Perth town homes will be spacious and comfortable and have the quality associated with every EkoBuilt home build.

Purchase contracts to be finalized by late February 2019, groundbreaking in May 2019, occupancy December 2019.

Don’t miss out! Get all the details on the 5 EkoBuilt Townhomes.

Visit the EkoModel Home during Passive House Days

We’re delighted to hear that so many of you plan to come out for a visit during Passive House Days 2018. If you’re interested in the Perth development, this is an excellent chance to see and experience an EkoBuilt passive home in person.

Passive House Days, 9 – 11 November 2018
9am to 4pm all 3 days

Visit the EkoModel Home
96 Libbys Road
McNab-Braeside (just west of Ottawa)

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, 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!

House Design, Passive House resources

Why a low slope roof makes sense

Southern elevation of Ottawa passive house by EkoBuilt

EkoModel Home – southern elevation

The EkoModel Home was designed with a low slope roof, a smart feature shared by all 13 of EkoBuilt’s passive house plans.

This style of roof greatly reduces construction costs, and also introduces great strength and stability, which is a tremendous benefit in our part of Canada where snow loads in the winter can be incredibly deep and heavy.

While a standard cathedral ceiling roof rafter is required by current code to be 12 inches deep to carry snow loads, our passive house rafters are 30 inches deep. The depth originally designed for increased insulation (typically three times that for a conventional build) lends amazing strength for those snow loads.

As Europeans – who have lived with high utility costs for many years – understand innately, a low slope roof offers tremendous cost savings in the long run. North Americans are only just starting to come around to the wisdom of this roof-style, as they realize how important reducing energy costs will be the further we move into the 21st century.

A number of key factors go into an effective low slope roof, including the following:

Roofing underlayment

As part of our standard PassiveHouse package, we include the installation of a high temperature ice/water membrane which completely waterproofs the roof and is guaranteed for 50 years. It is specifically designed for low slope roofs as low as 0.5 inch (2 1/2°), and is able to withstand temperatures of up to 121°C!

The membrane that we use is WinterGuard HT Advanced Waterproofing Underlayment by CertainTeed. For more detail:

See product details on CertainTeed’s website.
Review the WinterGuard HT brochure [pdf]

Roof cover

Another important factor is to reduce the heat island effect by making use of cool roof technology. The term “heat island”describes built areas that are hotter than nearby rural areas. The annual mean temperature of a city with 1 million people can be 1 – 3°C warmer than its surroundings. By the evening this difference can rise to around 12°C.

Heat islands can affect communities by increasing summertime peak energy demand, air conditioning costs, air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions, heat related illness and mortality, as well as water quality.

High solar reflectivity [albedo] is the most important characteristic of a cool roof as it helps to reflect sunlight and heat away from a building. Cool roof technology can reduce a roof’s temperature by 28 to 33°C during summer weather.

More information

Information on Heat Islands (US Environmental Protection Agency)
Using Cool Roofs to Reduce Heat Islands (EPA)

Wakefield Bridge steel shingles

Click to enlarge image

We chose to use Ideal Steel’s Wakefield Bridge Steel Shingles because they have the most advanced cool metal roof technology we could find. The special resin paint system used results in a high albedo factor; there are a range of colours available.

Added benefits of Wakefield Bridge Steel Shingle roofing:

  • Manufactured from recycled and new steel
  • 50 year warranty
  • Cost-effective at approximately $2 per square foot

More information

Product brochure for Wakefield Bridge Steel Shingles [pdf]

Soffit and fascia

passive-house-roof-soffit

Click to enlarge image

Finally, additional roof finishes include aluminum soffit and fascia, chosen for being inexpensive, clean lines and excellent ventilation properties for a steel roof.

Together, all of these elements work together to make for a high performance, low cost roof that will help to keep more money in your pocket now, and in the future.

EkoBuilt is here to help those who are thinking a little ahead of the curve to maximize their home’s beauty while making the most of its energy efficiency and comfort. Get in touch to find out more.

SIGA Majvest building wrap on the EkoModel Home
Passive House resources

Building wrap for the passive house

As recent pictures of the EkoModel Home show, we’re using SIGA Majvest for building wrap. This wind and waterproof membrane ensures excellent performance for our building envelope, one of the core features of the passive house standard.

For an overview of this product, SIGA provides an excellent video summary.

Two weeks ago we were already well advanced on installing roofing soffit, as seen in the picture below. Watch for more updates on the build as the summer progresses.

Passive house roof soffit

Passive House facts, Passive House resources

Insulation in a Passive House

Blown cellulose insulation around doorsOne of the keys to the super low energy footprint of a Passive House is abundant insulation. But not just any insulation will do.

For the EkoBuilt Model Home, we chose Thermocell’s ProCell Blue, a blown cellulose insulation that makes use of wood fibre.

ProCell Blue uses 100% post-consumer recycled content. It also contains naturally occurring, non-toxic borate (familiar to many in Borax, the natural detergent) which makes the insulation completely fire retardant, eliminates the risk of mold/mildew, and repels insects. A perfect choice for a healthy home.

The method of installation insures that the insulation is very densely packed, eliminating any possibility of the insulation settling and creating air pockets.

Interested to learn more? Find out more about what makes a PassiveHouse so efficient and comfortable on our Ottawa Passive House Design & Construction page.

Passive House facts, Passive House resources

HRV Units and the Passive House

Wondering how a PassiveHouse achieves such exceptional air quality and efficiency? It’s a good time to explain the HRV.

Heat recovery unit for the EkoBuilt Model Home

Zehnder Novus 300 – used in the EkoBuilt Model Home

A passive house is able to perform so effectively on very little energy in large part due to its exceptional air-tightness.  This very air-tightness, however, makes the need to introduce fresh air into the home all the more critical. This is achieved through an HRV Unit (heat and energy recovery ventilation unit) which draws fresh air into the home, filtering for pollen and other irritants and contaminants, and then exhausting used air while recovering the heat from that air.

With building standards generally improving year on year, HRV Units are now more common in conventional homes than ever. Most new homes in Ontario and elsewhere in Canada are now required to include an HRV. The difference between these units and the ones employed in a PassiveHouse build is the rated efficiency.

EkoBuilt’s Model Home is using a Zehnder Novus 300 HRV, which operates at 92% efficiency. This is extremely favourable in comparison to the 65% efficient units installed in most conventional homes. For a quick overview of how a home uses an HRV (in this case another model from Zehnder), this is a good video to check out:

 

A key indicator to be aware of is ACH or Air Changes per Hour. This is the number of times in an hour that a home refreshes its entire volume of air. Conventionally built homes tend to average a rate of 4-10, while Energy Star homes have an ACH of 2.5, R2000 homes average 1.5 ACH, and a PassiveHouse just 0.6 ACH.

Air Changes Per Hour by House Construction Standard

Conventional Homes: 4-10 ACH
Energy Star: 2.5 ACH
R2000: 1.5 ACH
PassiveHouse: 0.6 ACH

Keeping ACH at or under 0.6 is important, as it means that no condensation will form within wall or roof cavities. It’s very important for builders to be aware that insulation only performs to rating if ACH is kept to this low level.

Can a building be too air-tight?

All of this might leave you wondering whether the degree of air-tightness in a PassiveHome is healthy. The short answer is a resounding YES.

A home built to the PassiveHouse standard makes sure that both the home and its inhabitants are ‎healthy. As noted above, the reduced risk for condensation keeps air quality strong, while an ample amount of fresh air keeps the home’s residents healthy and feeling good. PassiveHouse is designed to provide each person with 30 cubic meters of fresh air per hour through a 92% efficient HRV.

How does the EkoBuilt Model Home Perform?

Blower door test results 0.53 ACH

Blower door results for the EkoBuilt Model Home

Just over a week ago we conducted the first tests on air pressure for the EkoBuilt Model Home that we’re building. Preliminary results were 0.53 ACH (air changes per hour), which is under the 0.6 benchmark for PassiveHouse construction.

After insulation and drywall, we hope that we’ll be able to improve further on this number. Stay tuned!

If you’d like to find out more about this or any other aspect of PassiveHouse construction and performance, please contact us.

EkoBuilt partners with CoolHeat Comfort Systems for the provision of the HRV units. CoolHeat Comfort Systems is a local family run HVAC Company in Ottawa providing HVAC services such as installations, maintenance, repairs and upgrades.