Eight homes designed and built to meet global standards of energy efficiency
KELOWNA, BC, April 8, 2013 /CNW/ - Eight single-family residences which have been designed with some of the most advanced standards of energy efficiency ever achieved in the Okanagan Valley are near completion on the Penticton Indian Band reserve as part of the Super Efficient New Construction (SENC) program, a $1 million initiative of the Ministry of Energy, Mines and Natural Gas and co-managed by FortisBC. The program supports the construction of homes that are super-efficient, and make use of passive solar design, superior envelope construction, and the use of high-efficiency appliances.
"We are proud to fund projects like this one," said Bill Barisoff, MLA for Penticton. "Our investment will use new energy efficient building design and construction techniques so these homes will use less energy, save money for the Penticton Indian Band and demonstrate what can be achieved by other B.C. communities."
The SENC program provided $225,000 towards the capital costs of construction for eight residences to achieve the energy efficiency requirements required by the program. Six of the homes are built to EnerGuide 88 efficiency standards and one home is LEED (Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design) certified. A final home, when complete, will be built to the European Passivhaus certification standard.
The houses have been designed to maximize the use of natural passive energy: facing south to absorb passive solar heat and using cross ventilation and shading to provide cooling. Increased insulation and air sealing will also help these homes use minimal energy. Other technologies include air source heat pumps, heat recovery ventilators, and LED lighting. The Passivhaus includes roof top active solar systems sponsored by SolarBC.
FortisBC, a leading energy provider of electricity, natural gas, and thermal energy solutions, is managing the SENC program on behalf of the Ministry of Energy and Mines and Natural Gas. FortisBC reviewed and recommended projects for SENC funding, established contracts with the successful proponents, and participated in technical reviews of submissions. The company has a long-standing energy efficiency commitment through its PowerSense program in the southern interior and Kootenays as well as an Energy Efficiency and Conservation program in its natural gas service area. Both programs provide a range of incentives and monetary rebates to customers to help them reduce energy use and save costs.
"FortisBC's involvement in the Super Efficient New Construction program is an extension of our experience with energy efficiency building," said Doug Stout, vice president energy solutions and external relations for FortisBC. "Homes that are using the most advanced techniques in sustainable design and construction, such as the homes being built under SENC, show us that a mix of natural gas and electricity can be part of an energy efficient home."
When complete, members of the Penticton Indian Band will make these residences their new home.
"These new homes are going to be a great benefit," said Tabitha Eneas, housing manager with the Penticton Indian Band. "With our growing need for housing and desire to get involved with more sustainable and efficient building, this project was a natural fit for the Penticton Indian Band."
Five other residential building projects are underway as part of the SENC program in communities across the province including Dawson Creek, Nelson, Vancouver, and Victoria. These homes are also being built with similar energy efficient standards and features.
High resolution images of the structures are available on request.
FortisBC is a regulated utility focused on providing safe and reliable energy, including natural gas, electricity, propane and thermal energy solutions. FortisBC employs more than 2,300 British Columbians and serves approximately 1.1 million customers in more than 135 B.C. communities. FortisBC is indirectly wholly owned by Fortis Inc., the largest investor-owned distribution utility in Canada. FortisBC owns and operates four regulated hydroelectric generating plants, approximately 7,000 kilometres of transmission and distribution power lines, and approximately 47,000 kilometres of natural gas transmission and distribution pipelines. FortisBC Inc., FortisBC Energy Inc., FortisBC Energy (Vancouver Island) Inc., and FortisBC Energy (Whistler) Inc. do business as FortisBC. Fortis Inc. shares are listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange and trade under the symbol FTS. Additional information can be accessed at www.fortisinc.com or www.sedar.com.
Super Efficient New Construction
Q: What is the Super Efficient New Construction program?
A:This is an initiative funded by the Ministry of Energy, Mines and Natural Gas, and administered by FortisBC, which supports the construction of super-efficient buildings that use much less energy than conventional structures. The program requires that the buildings must:
- achieve an EnerGuide rating of 88 or more out of 100 or passive house certification (for homes less than 600 square meters)
- super efficient water heaters that have an Energy Factor of 0.85 or greater for natural gas (condensing tank or tank less) or a coefficient of performance of 2.0 or greater for electricity (heat pump water heaters)
- solar thermal pre heating of domestic hot water or at least be built solar-ready
- measures to address electricity waste
A Request for Proposals was issued in 2009 inviting proposals from proponents who met the program's criteria. In order to qualify for funding, the proponents had to secure a commitment from a local government or educational institution that included a supportive housing policy requirement for a First Nation and development incentives from local governments or First Nations.
Q; Where are the other Super Efficient New Construction projects being built?
A: Five additional residential projects are being constructed in Dawson Creek, Nelson, Vancouver, and Victoria.
Q: What is a Passivhaus?
A: The international Passivhaus standard is the most stringent energy efficiency standard in the world. It requires a building to use 80 to 90 percent less energy than standard construction that result in buildings that consume very little energy for space heating or cooling. It is a process that is integrated with architectural design and can be used for new buildings or refurbishing existing structures.
Q: What is LEED?
A: Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design is a suite of ratings systems for the design, construction and operation of high performace green buildings, homes and neighbourhoods. For a building to be LEED certified, it must achieve a minimum number of points across various categories such as sustainable sites, water efficiency, energy and atmosphere, materials and resources, indoor environmental quality, and innovation and design.
Q: What is EnerGuide?
A: EnerGuide was developed by the federal Office of Energy Efficiency, part of Natural Resources Canada. It is an official rating system, based on a scale of 0 to 100, to denote the energy consumption or energy efficiency of appliances, heating and cooling equipment, homes, and vehicles. A home with an EnerGuide rating of 0 would have indicate it has major leakages and no insulation, whereas a home with a rating of 100 would be producing as much energy as it consumes indicating it is operating at the most optimum energy efficiency possible.
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