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Affordable Energy Efficiency

Affordable Energy Efficiency

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Affordable Energy Efficiency

Images courtesy of Butterwick Construction & Carpentry Ltd.

Newly built Canadian homes have been steadily increasing in energy efficiency over the years – a code-built home today is 47% more efficient than one from 1985. Still, the Canadian Home Builders’ Association (CHBA) and its members are hard at work pursuing still greater energy efficiency innovations for voluntary adoption, while at the same time advocating that regulation wait until next levels don’t reduce affordability. But to truly address climate change in the housing sector, it is the existing housing stock that needs to be upgraded. Enter CHBA and its leading members again, as the pursuit of innovation for affordable deep energy retrofits working all the way towards net zero renovations kicks into gear.

Increasing Energy Efficiency in New and Older Homes

In new housing, industry leaders are paving the way to greater energy efficiency through voluntary programs such as the CHBA Net Zero Home Labelling Program. Founded by CHBA’s Net Zero Energy Housing Council, which is now five years old, CHBA’s leading members are providing discerning homeowners with net zero and net zero ready homes today, while working to innovate for greater affordability and increasing market penetration with each year.

But improving new homes alone won’t achieve the national goal, and it won’t help the millions of Canadians who live in older homes and want improved energy efficiency. Canada has 14 million residential residences, and approximately half of the current housing stock was built before 1985. Many of these older buildings are far behind new homes when it comes to energy efficiency. Even if all the new homes built from now until 2030 (say 200,000 per year, or 2 million total) were built to zero emissions, we still wouldn’t hit our environmental target – not even close.

Why Retrofits Are the Future

Renovating the existing housing stock is the only way for Canada to reach its greenhouse gases target in the housing industry. And with the half of our housing consuming twice as much energy as everything built since, that’s a lot of opportunity for renovators.

Canadians want their homes to be energy efficient. Maybe it’s a sense of social responsibility, uncertainty around utilities, simply a desire to reduce increasing energy bills, or a bit of each, but today’s homeowners are looking for improved energy performance. In fact, according to CHBA’s Home Buyer Preference Survey, powered by Avid Ratings Canada, nearly 90% of recent homebuyers indicated that having an energy efficient home was important to them. The survey gathers opinions of thousands of recent new homebuyers each year, and their preferences can easily be applied to renovations as well.

As Canadians seek higher levels of performance and comfort, the industry continues to innovate to strive to meet those desires in the most cost-effective fashion. And that innovation is needed to begin retrofitting older homes, which come with their own unique challenges.

Older renovated homes like this extremely efficient retrofit by Butterwick Construction & Carpentry Ltd. in Edmonton, Alta., are voluntarily paving the way to Net Zero renovations.

Setting the Stage

Drastically improving the energy efficiency of an older home requires an in-depth technical understanding of building science. And the best examples we have of that are by looking at Net Zero Homes.

A Net Zero Energy (NZE) home is one that produces the same amount of energy it uses, on an annualized basis. These homes are extremely well-built: they have very airtight, well insulated building envelopes with high-performance windows and doors. They also use efficient, right-sized mechanical systems in order to reach higher levels of energy performance. In addition to being incredibly efficient, NZE homes have built-in renewable energy generation (mostly solar panels). In some cases, they incorporate energy storage systems which allow homeowners to bank energy for future use. A Net Zero Energy Ready home (NZEr) is built to the same level of performance, but installation of the renewable energy component is left to the occupant at a future date – a popular option among NZE builders and homebuyers.

In both cases, the result is a home that delivers unrivaled levels of occupant comfort, minimum environmental impacts, and utility bills with much lower energy consumption.

CHBA is leading efforts to bring NZE and NZEr homes to market as affordably as possible. As the industry voluntarily learns new efficiencies with the technology and building practices involved, building costs are decreasing. CHBA’s aim is to share efficiencies and innovation among industry-leading CHBA members so that eventually the cost of owning a NZEr home is comparable to one built to conventional standards.

The first step was a demonstration program in 2015, backed by Owens Corning Canada and the federal government, that saw the construction of 26 such homes across Canada by five leading residential builders. Based on this success, CHBA launched its Net Zero Home Labelling Program to ensure that each participating home is qualified by a third party to meet the specified technical requirements. The program also includes training requirements for participating builder members and energy advisors.

And now, that scope involves renovations.

Bringing Net Zero Solutions to Renovations

The move to bring NZE homes and renovations to the marketplace is being spearheaded by the residential construction industry itself, through the work of CHBA’s Net Zero Energy Housing Council.

A broad collaboration involving homebuilders, manufacturers, utilities, design experts, government agencies, and service providers, the Council’s primary focus is on how to support innovation in the industry with the goal of creating a market advantage for CHBA builder and renovator members voluntarily pursuing Net Zero Energy.

Currently, they’re working to extend the Net Zero Program to renovations, so that older homes that meet the program requirements can receive the Net Zero/Ready label. To date, more than 100 new homes in Canada have received the label, which includes third-party verification. The program is growing exponentially each year as demand grows for not only energy efficiency at an affordable price point, but the comfort and health benefits that come with NZE homes.

Learn more about the CHBA’s Net Zero Home Labelling Program at CHBA.ca/nze and NetZeroHome.com.

Sonja Winkelmann, CHBA’s Director, Net Zero Energy Housing


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Get ready for C-Caps

Get ready for C-Caps

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Get ready for C-Caps

The new Canadian aging-in-place specialist program is launching this fall.

by Elizabeth Malcolm, CHBA Communications and Social Media Officer

The oft-repeated phrase, “Demographics is Destiny” dates back to an obscure 19th century Frenchman, but it remains true today. The saying has taken on new meaning as Canada’s population goes through an unprecedented shift in age distribution.

We are all aware of the aging of Canada’s population, but both the extent of this trend, and the opportunities it opens for CHBA’s renovator members, are more significant than most of us realize.

CHBA is about to change that by launching the new Canadian Aging-in-Place Specialist program (C-CAPS) this fall. This member-service Get ready for initiative has been a high priority for CHBA’s Home Modification Council, as well as the Canadian Renovators’ Council, both of which have collaborated in its development.

Drawing on the well-established CAPS program developed in the U.S. by the National Association of Home Builders, C-CAPS is a truly Canadian version, designed and developed specifically for CHBA renovators.

The C-CAPS training and certification program aims to get out in front of a huge demographic wave on the way, and help renovators to get themselves set up to service – and capitalize on – this growing market.

The “grey wave”

According to Statistics Canada, in 2014 there were more than 6 million Canadians who were aged 65 or older, representing 15.6 percent of Canada’s population.

By 2030 – less than 11 years from now – seniors will number more than 9.5 million and make up 23 percent of Canadians.

As the chart, “Demographics are Destiny,” shows, this is the culmination of a long-term trend that has seen the number of seniors in Canada overtake the number of children, reversing a demographic relationship that had been in place since before Canada became a country.

Improved healthcare and longevity mean that someone aged 65 today can expect to live another 20 years or so. As a result, new parents today will likely have to care for their elder relatives longer than for their own children.

Between 1921 and 2005, average life expectancy at birth rose substantially in Canada, from 58.8 to 78 years for men and from 60.6 to 82.7 years for women. In all likelihood, the trend to increasing longevity will continue to swell the ranks of Canada’s senior population even further in the years ahead.

The home modification market

With so many more seniors, the key question for our industry becomes, “Where are they all going to live?”

Contrary to what many demographers forecast in the past, the overwhelming majority of Canadian seniors want to stay right where they are. They much prefer to age-in-place in a home and neighbourhood they know than to downsize into a condo or seniors-only community.

And this is where the C-CAPS program comes into the picture.

An aging population will have more complex housing needs, particularly if most seniors intend to stay put in their current home. Simply put, as we age we will inevitably encounter a range of mobility and other health-related challenges. Challenges our homes were not designed to accommodate easily.

So aging-in-place will require modifications to our homes that respond to our specific needs and challenges – mobility and otherwise. And everyone’s needs will be somewhat unique.

Delivering these modifications will require an industry that has the knowledge and the professional connections to do the job right.

That’s what C-CAPS will provide to Association renovators: technical and design training, product and material knowledge, and a solid understanding of who they need to have on their team to deliver high-quality results.

CHBA is also developing a consumer website to provide information to the public about aging-in-place, available home modification grants and assistance, and to promote C-CAPS renovators.

How big is this market? If we include mobility assistance devices and other products designed to support aging-in-place, estimates range up to $30 billion per year. And growing.

Not just another renovation

While many seniors needing home modifications may well have had previous renovation work done on their home, they will need an expert with specialized knowledge and experience to help them age-in-place. And until now, finding such professionals has been extremely difficult.

Home modifications involve a very specialized range of skills. Obviously, the renovator must know about how the physical space needs to be designed, and how to integrate and install mobility assistance and other devices and products.

But home modification also involves other professionals, like occupational therapists (OTs), who are critical in developing a modification plan that addresses homeowners’ specific needs, both today and in the future. Collaborating with OTs, designers, architects, and building officials requires a different approach than is typical in general renovations. In many cases, health authorities and insurers may also need be part of the team.

The C-CAPS approach

Earning a C-CAPS designation will require training. The CHBA program involves a prerequisite online course with subsequent in-class sessions, both of which will include testing.

Successful completion of both parts of the course will earn you your C-CAPS certificate. An additional online training module focusing on marketing and sales for business owners will also be available.

As the course rolls out, CHBA expects to introduce continuing education requirements for C-CAPS renovators to keep everyone up-to-date as many things in this area are changing fast in terms of technology improvements, especially in the area of electronics and networked medical devices.

Why being ahead of the curve matters

Clearly, C-CAPS will position CHBA renovators as the go-to professionals for those needing aging-in-place home modifications. In fact, it opens up a new upselling opportunity for anyone doing a renovation project for homeowners who expect to age-in-place, but currently have no mobility issues. And it will create significant business opportunities for C-CAPS renovators to work with other healthcare professionals, such as OTs.

Perhaps most importantly, it will provide consumers with a reliable way to identify competent home modification professionals. Seniors have long been targetted by unscrupulous contractors, and C-CAPS will help reduce this problem.

Finally, by helping to make aging-in-place a more practical option for older Canadians, Canada’s healthcare system will benefit tremendously. Too often, seniors end up in an assisted living facility long before necessary, simply because they can no longer cope in their homes. The public cost of such unnecessary institutionalization is immense, and likely not sustainable.

Creating a national group of professional C-CAPS renovators is a major step in addressing this problem.

For updates, email C-CAPS@chba.ca

Elizabeth Malcolm, CHBA Communications and Social Media Officer


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Lucchetta Homes

Lucchetta Homes the only builder with five nominations and three wins at CHBA National Awards

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Lucchetta Homes the only builder with five nominations and three wins at CHBA National Awards

Davis Heights is one of Niagara’s finest new addresses. This luxury development, features a limited selection of bungalow/bungaloft luxury custom towns, backing onto the Niagara escarpment.

At Davis Heights, the Luxe Collection is custom curated by the renowned interior design firm Raphael Gomes Interiors. The Versailles model home features a vertical glass wine-cellar embedded in the staircase filled with local wines, an elegant paneled library, convenient and practical double, main floor masters with ensuites, each meticulously designed with individual masculine and feminine forward touches.

Relax in the sumptuous living room with 15-ft. vaulted ceiling, gourmet chef’s kitchen with two-tone cabinets, and oversized island perfect for entertaining. Lower level features a spacious guest suite, games room, wet-bar, Great Room with home theatre and your own personal gym. Homes are priced from the $700,000s with floorplans ranging from 1,530 to 2600 sq. ft. Occupancy is scheduled for fall of 2019 or early 2020. Stop in to see the award-winning models. Hurry in to own your luxurious piece of tranquility with private terraces overlooking a ravine.

Riverside

As part of Riverside‘s Grand Opening Special at Hunter’s Pointe, new-home buyers will receive $20,000 in designer upgrades upon the purchase of a single-detached home! Riverside features perfectly aligned bungalow homes with waterfront lots, single-detached lots and award-winning bungalow towns. Towns are available from $499,900, with occupancy in May 2020. Move-in-ready homes are available with 30-, 60- and 90-day closings.

The contemporary Lancaster, now open, is an award-winning NZR model home designed by Wendi Pelfrey. Everything is perfectly designed to address homeowners’ needs, and is conveniently within reach of natural elements in a serene, lush landscape.

The Lancaster was recently nominated for Best Production Home and Best Kitchen in Ontario and Canadian homebuilder association awards, and was recently named Best Kitchen by Niagara Home Builder’s Association. This is a premier, resort-style, Energy-Star certified adult community, with world-class amenities and convenient services right at your fingertips.

“Buying a home here is a fraction of the cost of comparable homes in the GTA,” says Kim Kopyl, director of sales and marketing for Lucchetta Homes. “And the quality of life is far superior.”

Well recognized

Ugo Lucchetta started Lucchetta Homes more than 60 years ago. Today, it is well-known for quality construction, craftsmanship and unparalleled customer service. Sons Robert and Ed carry on the traditions started by their father. Their hard work has paid off with ongoing appreciation, in addition to the loyalty and word-of mouth praise expressed by their customers.

Last year alone, Lucchetta Homes won or was nominated for more than 30 awards by all levels of builders’ associations – local, provincial and national. The company most recently won for Community of the Year in the CHBA Awards, and EnerQuality’s Energy Star Builder of the Year.

Lucchetta Homes was also the only builder in Ontario this year to have been selected as a finalist for the CHBA National Awards for Housing Excellence in five categories. From more than 700 entries, each entry was judged by more than 180 CHBA members from across Canada. On May 10th, 2019 in Niagara Falls, Lucchetta Homes achieved being one of the biggest winners of the evening, taking home three CHBA Awards!

  • Best Attached Home – Under 1,500 sq. ft.: Riverside, Hunters Pointe
  • Best Print Ad: Riverside Hunters Pointe
  • Best Brochure: Davis Heights

Lucchetta was also nominated in the coveted CHBA categories of Marketing Excellence and Design Excellence.

“Simply to be nominated amongst the very best in the industry in Canada is a tremendous achievement, and testament to our entire team,” says Kopyl. “Winning these coveted awards truly validates the caliber of excellence that Lucchetta Homes is consistently providing to the real estate industry on a national level.”

“Being a boutique builder, we are proud to have been considered as finalists and honoured to have won such prestigious national awards,” says Robert and Ed Lucchetta, principals of Lucchetta Homes. “We build every home as if we would live in it ourselves, and these achievements further authenticate our focus on homeowner satisfaction.”

Such recognition has inspired the company to keep raising the bar. “Legendary luxury is something everyone at Lucchetta Homes strives to provide – where we not only build homes, but foundations to live your best life.”

Niagara at its finest

There are many perks and benefits to living in this area, which include lower living costs, award-winning restaurants, world-class wineries, organic farmers’ markets, beaches, designer outlet shopping, casinos, the Shaw Festival and a plethora of other attractions and amenities. GO Transit rail service is well on its way to Niagara. And, for those who love to travel, you can easily access the Buffalo and Niagara airports. With an abundance of greenspace, outdoor activities include hiking, canoeing, kayaking, swimming, boating, fishing, paddle boarding, cycling, horseback riding, golfing and tennis.

LUCCHETTA HOMES
Niagara

  • Ryans Grove and Davis Heights, Fonthill
  • Hunters Pointe, Welland
  • Lusso, St. Catharines

905.732.2658

lucchettahomes.com

sales@lucchettahomes.com


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NHS_demo_fi

Let’s solve Canada’s housing challenges together

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Let’s solve Canada’s housing challenges together

Funding now available to create and showcase innovations

In Canada, we learn, adapt and create like no other nation. Innovation and research are key to building the next generation of affordable housing across the country — and the federal government has a plan to help accelerate them.

If you have affordable housing expertise or a new idea or technology you are ready to share with the industry, you could benefit from two funding initiatives that are now accepting applications for 2019.

As part of the ambitious 10-year, $55-billion National Housing Strategy, the NHS Demonstrations Initiative and Solution Labs aim to bring together leading experts, technology, tools and resources to showcase innovative ideas and solve complex affordable housing issues.

It’s an important investment in our shared future.

The NHS is designed to ensure more Canadians have access to affordable housing that meets their needs. Affordable housing is a cornerstone of sustainable, inclusive communities and a Canadian economy where we can prosper and thrive.

The NHS Demonstrations Initiative

NHS Demonstrations provides funding to showcase new technologies and strategies that can advance the performance and impact of affordable housing.

This initiative supports sharing of real-world housing data and information with those who can use it to make better decisions, improve the performance and viability of affordable housing solutions, and foster a culture of innovation across Canada to meet current and future affordable housing needs.

Successful demonstration projects will showcase new ways of doing things, new technologies, innovative programs, cutting edge policies and unique strategies. They can be in many formats, from real and virtual tours to websites and videos to case studies, fact sheets and best practices guides.

The initiative has an annual budget of up to $1.5 million. Funding will range from $25,000 to a maximum of $250,000 per selected project, based on factors such as relevance, cost, complexity and readiness. Applications are being accepted now through June 12, 2019.

The $24.5 million Solutions Labs

Solutions Labs are like incubators for new solutions. They are designed to be a catalyst for action and innovation in the affordable housing sector. They provide housing stakeholders with funding and expert innovation lab consultants to help solve complex housing problems using innovative methods and tools.

The idea: Provide a safe space to look at ways to solve a problem, develop solutions, prototype, test and refine those solutions. This leads to a roadmap on how to scale up and adopt a solution. The goal: Use the solutions developed in the lab to strengthen Canada’s affordable housing sector.

Putting stakeholders and experts in innovation together allows them to draw on each other’s strengths, creativity and knowledge. It empowers them to explore new ways of making progress on the problem they want to solve.

The initiative has an annual budget of up to $3 million. Each lab will receive funding in the range of $25,000 to $250,000 to develop solutions to complex and persistent housing challenges, delivering a roadmap for full-scale implementation and uptake.

Solutions Labs will be funded through a competitive annual open-call process. Applications for 2019 are open now.

Let’s work together

Innovation is critical to overcoming Canada’s housing challenges — working together we can make a meaningful difference in the lives of many Canadians.

You can learn more about the NHS Demonstrations Initiative and Solutions Labs, including eligibility requirements and how to apply online at cmhc-nhs.ca.

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Bob Finnigan

CHBA names Bob Finnigan Member of the Year

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CHBA names Bob Finnigan Member of the Year

Bob Finnigan
Bob Finnigan

The Canadian Home Builders’ Association (CHBA) has named Bob Finnigan, partner at Herity (Heathwood Homes), CHBA Past President, member of BILD GTA and long-time building industry executive, as its Member of the Year.

CHBA presented the award, one of its annual Association Leadership Awards, during its 76th National Conference in Niagara Falls on May 10. The prestigious awards showcase the contributions, qualities and accomplishments of leaders within the association.

Association Leadership Awards

  • Member of the Year, Bob Finnigan, recognized for his many years of dedication and leadership at the national level of CHBA.
  • Home Builders’ Association of the Year, Saskatoon & Region HBA for its record of membership development and services, internal leadership and governance, and the effectiveness of its government advocacy and communication activities.
  • Executive Officer of the Year, Guy Huntingford from BILD Calgary Region, for exemplary leadership during his time at the association.
  • Community Service Award, CHBA Edmonton Region, for new and ongoing charitable activities and positive impact on the community.

 

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CHBA Connects - Book Smarts

Book smarts – An exclusive sneak peek inside the CHBA’s new renovators’ manual – Apr/May2019

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Book smarts – An exclusive sneak peek inside the CHBA’s new renovators’ manual – Apr/May2019

As you know from previous columns, CHBA has a Renovators’ Manual in the works. Similar to CHBA’s best-selling Builders’ Manual, the Renovators’ version applies building science to renovations. Existing buildings are going to be important as Canada takes steps to limit climate change. This month we offer a small sample of what readers can expect from the new book, when it is released to the public.

Canada has more than 14 million existing houses. Over half of these were built before 1980. That’s important because these older homes were not built to be anywhere near as energy efficient as houses being constructed today. In fact, a house built today is 47% better in terms of energy efficiency than a house built in 1985.

Building Codes are addressing the energy efficiency of new houses. Current plans are for new houses to reach Net Zero Ready levels of energy efficiency by about 2030. Currently, builders are constructing approximately 200,000 housing units per year. This number has been quite consistent in recent years, although it is expected to slowly drop in the face of an aging population. Some simple math shows us that over the next 10 years, building at the anticipated rate, we can expect between 1.8 and 2 million more houses to be created. While these will be far more efficient than the houses we have now, there is no scenario for reducing the total amount of energy used by homes without addressing the existing housing stock.

The Renovators’ Manual will help with those renovations as renovators are asked to significantly improve the energy efficiency of existing houses. Looking a little deeper, this means that renovators will be asked to “apply” the building science they know to existing houses. This is not as easy as it might seem, since applying building science to the materials and systems that are already installed is quite different than starting with a clean slate when designing a new build. The process also involves combining new materials with the existing structure they are renovating.

Net Zero Ready houses are typically being constructed with R-65 ceilings, R-40 walls, triple-glazed windows, R-35 basement walls, and R-10 under the basement floor slab. They will also have air tightness of less than 1.0 air change per hour at 50 Pa of depressurization (ACH50). Even the most ambitious renovation of an older home would find these performance characteristics difficult to match, but renovators will want to know how close they can come, and how to avoid technical problems in doing so.

The challenge will come from the correct “application” of the building science. The houses that need the most work are expected to be the older ones. Many of these have little to no insulation. Even if these houses have been renovated previously, it is unlikely that the renovation will have added a significant amount of insulation. It will be useful to review the most likely starting condition of the house, for example;

  • 2×4 wood frame or masonry structural exterior walls
  • Little or no insulation in the walls
  • Little insulation in the ceiling
  • Little or no insulation on basement walls or under the basement floor
  • Poor airtightness characteristics (i.e. drafty)
  • Large humidity swings – low in winter and high in summer
  • Large furnace and/or air conditioner
  • No heat recovery ventilator – bathroom fans or windows for ventilation
  • May have a wood-burning fireplace
  • Poor drainage around foundation
  • Double-glazed windows

Other important considerations are the climate where the house is located, and the characteristics of the occupants of the house. A maritime climate has different characteristics than a prairie climate. A house with two seniors has different operational characteristics than a house with young children. As renovators, we can’t change the occupants, so we need to provide a home that suits their specific lifestyle and needs.

In the case of the house described above, lets look at what has been happening over the years since it was built.

  • The house has had little insulation so large amounts of energy has been flowing though the building envelope.
  • The house has numerous holes and air leaks that result in large heat losses, however the benefit of such high air exchange rate is better, if uncontrolled, indoor air quality. If there is a wood-burning fireplace, these typically allow large amounts of house air to exhaust through the open chimney. Even with “tight-fitting doors or flue dampers, the fireplace chimney is generally a huge energy (and air) loss source for the building.
  • Relative humidity in the house is expected to have been low in the winter, due to the high air exchange rate and high in the summer, for the same reason. This would lead to the house being hard to heat and cool, but also uncomfortable.
  • Windows, in particular in the “wet” rooms such as the bathrooms and the kitchen, were likely subject to condensation on the glass in the winter and the shoulder seasons.

When looking at such a typical existing house the first step is to examine the decisions that need to be made. In this case, let’s pick a traditional war-time, Victory Home which are common in many cities across the country.

Blown opportunity: most older homes have little to no insulation in the wall cavities, an obvious first step to improving energy efficiency.
Blown opportunity: most older homes have little to no insulation in the wall cavities, an obvious first step to improving energy efficiency.

General

The renovator will need to decide on the building science features which need to be addressed.

  • If the drainage is poor, this needs to be fixed, regardless of what the house is made of.
  • The basement floor is uninsulated. This will not be a comfortable floor without insulation. It is unlikely that removing the basement floor, adding insulation, and then re-installing a concrete floor makes sense unless the existing floor is in poor condition. Therefore, insulation can only be added to the top of the floor. This will be limited by the basement ceiling height.
  • New triple-glazed windows will be needed to improve the envelope.
  • The wall thickness will need to be increased to accommodate the increased insulation.
  • The key building science features needed:
    • Weather barrier
    • Rain screen
    • Thermal barrier
    • Air barrier
    • Vapour barrier
Historic victory: across the country, many WWII-era victory homes, originally built as temporary housing for industrial workers, are still standing as permanent but inefficient homes.
Historic victory: across the country, many WWII-era victory homes, originally built as temporary housing for industrial workers, are still standing as permanent but inefficient homes.

Victory Home

This house will be wood-frame. It is unlikely that the exterior of the house is historically significant, and therefore the renovator has options. The insulation can be added to the interior or the exterior of the building. While working on the inside of the home is easier, the Victory Home is a modest size and the owners may be reluctant to reduce their floor area. To accommodate this, the decision may be made to add thickness to the exterior. The method of increasing the thickness of the wall studs will be the most problematic decision. This can be done in a number of ways and an architect should be consulted for a suitable solution. Typically, the frame of the existing house is structurally sufficient enough to allow the extensions to be “hung” from the existing walls. If that decision is made, then several items fall into place.

The weather barrier is the exterior cladding. Unless an air space is incorporated into the cladding by the nature of the cladding itself, it needs to be installed on strapping to provide an air space.

The rain screen is the air space between the cladding and the house wrap or the insulation installed over top of the studs.

The thermal barrier could be selected to do “double-duty” by selecting foam insulation which also has air barrier properties.

The selection of the vapour barrier is required. Keep in mind that vapour diffusion is a relatively weak process for moving moisture and is dependent on the surface area covered. If 90% of the surface is covered, then 90% of the vapour diffusion is prevented. Moving air is the primary transport mechanism for moving moisture. If the air barrier feature is being handled by another material, the vapour barrier can be a vapour retardant paint (if the interior drywall was not removed, the vapour barrier may already be in place with the existing, multiple coats of paint). If the walls were opened, there is an opportunity to install a sheet-type vapour barrier. This can be polyethylene, or it can be one of the materials where the vapour permeance changes with humidity. This will allow any moisture which happens to get into the wall due to poor flashing details or poor window installation to dry.

The ceiling can be sealed by removing the existing ceiling insulation and applying two or three inches of spray foam insulation to provide the air barrier properties. The desired amount of insulation can then be blown in on top of this to provide the thermal barrier function.

The basement walls and rim joist space decisions will generally be based on the type of foundation present. The most likely options are concrete block or poured concrete. Poured concrete is considered an air barrier, while concrete block is not. If poured concrete, spray foam insulation may be the best solution for connecting the air barrier in the walls, the rim joists, and the basement wall. If concrete block was used, an alternative such as airtight drywall, a vapour permeable, air barrier sheet material or spray foam insulation against the concrete block wall. Typically, drainage is poor in these older houses so a mechanism to allow these walls to dry to the inside is preferred. A provision must be made to ensure that the air barrier is connected to the concrete floor as well. How to do this detail will depend on the method chosen to provide the air barrier for the basement wall.

Now, with the house better insulated, with better windows and more airtight, the air conditioning and heating systems will be over-sized. If left as-is, oversizing will lead to short cycling and this may lead to inadequate distribution of heat and cooling in the house. Also be aware that with the improved air tightness, mechanical ventilation will be required to eliminate cooking odours and to control humidity levels. Therefore, the renovation should include an upgrade to the heating and cooling equipment as well as adding a heat recovery ventilator.

Hopefully this example highlights some of the challenges that renovators might expect and demonstrates the role the new CHBA Renovators’ Manual will play in helping renovators with the decisions they will be making to improve the energy efficiency of housing across the country.

Gary Sharp, CHBA

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Lowrise Feature: Lucchetta Homes

Lucchetta Homes is Niagara’s award-winning builder

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Lucchetta Homes is Niagara’s award-winning builder

Davis Heights is one of Niagara’s finest new addresses by Lucchetta Homes, featuring a limited selection of bungalow/bungaloft custom towns, backing onto a lush ravine and the Niagara escarpment.

The LUXE Collection is custom-curated by the renowned interior design firm – Raphael Gomes Interiors. The Versailles model home is now open for viewing, and features a vertical glass wine-cellar embedded in the staircase and filled with local wines.

Occupancies are scheduled for late 2019, and into 2020. Interiors include double masters with ensuites, a panelled library, 15-foot vaulted ceilings in the living room, gourmet kitchens with two-tone cabinets, and an oversized island. The lower-level features a spacious guest suite, a games room, a wet-bar, a great room with a home theatre, and a personal gym. Every detail has been considered on these homes that range from 1,530 to 2,600 square feet, priced from the $744,900s.

Join Lucchetta Homes on May 25th for their Sip and Savour charity event. Lucchetta will be matching all donations and presenting the proceeds to Wellspring Niagara. At the event, guests will be treated to an oyster bar, hor d’oeuvres, local wine, craft beer, and live entertainment, while viewing the new releases. Davis Heights is currently 60 per cent sold.

Riverside

As part of Riverside‘s grand opening special at Hunter’s Pointe, new home buyers will receive $10,000 in upgrades with the purchase of a luxury, single-detached bungalow. Walkout, waterfront lots, single detached lots, and award-winning bungalow towns, are priced from $499,900, with occupancy scheduled for April 2020. Move-in-ready homes are available with 30-, 60- or 90-day closings.

Now open, and designed by Wendi Pelfrey, is the award-winning, Net Zero Ready Lancaster model. Addressing the needs of those new home purchasers who are downsizing, everything is meticulously designed and accessible. The Lancaster was recently nominated as the Best Home in Ontario and in Canada by both OHBA and CHBA. It also won Best Kitchen and Best Sales Team by the NHBA in 2019.

This resort-style, adult community includes world-class amenities and services. “Buying a home here is a fraction of the cost of comparable homes in the GTA,” says Kim Kopyl, director of sales and marketing for Lucchetta Homes. “And the quality of life is far superior.”

Celebrated builder

Ugo Lucchetta started the company more than 60 years ago. Sons, Robert and Ed, carry on the traditions started by their father. Their hard work has paid off with ongoing appreciation and word-of mouth praise from their loyal customers.

In 2018, alone, Lucchetta Homes won, or were nominated for, more than 30 awards by all levels of builders’ associations – local, provincial and national. Most recently, they won Community of The Year by CHBA and EQ’s Energy Star Builder of The Year. In addition, they received the Excellence in Green, and Community of The Year, by the NHBA (2019).

Lucchetta Homes was the only builder in Ontario this year to have been selected as a finalist by the CHBA National Awards in five categories, including Best Detached Home (one-storey bungalow); Best Attached Home (under 1,500 sq. ft.); Best Print Ad (Riverside); Best Attached Home (1,500+ sq. ft.); and Best Brochure (Davis Heights). “Just to be nominated amongst the very best in the industry in Canada is a tremendous achievement, and a testament to our entire team,” says Kopyl.

Robert and Ed Lucchetta commented on the fact that it’s very prestigious to be considered for national awards as a boutique builder. They build every home as if they would live in it themselves, and constantly reinforce their mantra – legendary luxury. They not only build homes, but sustainable foundations to live your best life.

lucchettahomes.com


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Lucchetta Homes

Lucchetta Homes has the finest new home locations in the Niagara region

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Lucchetta Homes has the finest new home locations in the Niagara region

If you’re looking for a new lowrise home in the Niagara Region, Lucchetta Homes has something for you. Be it a bungalow townhome or a single-detached home, this award-winning builder has offerings at some of the finest locations in the Niagara region.

Davis Heights

Davis Heights is one of Niagara’s finest new addresses. This luxury development by Lucchetta Homes will feature a limited selection of bungalow/bungaloft towns, backing onto a Carolinian forest and the Niagara escarpment.

Out of respect for some rare chestnut trees in the area, Lucchetta will be building around the trees to preserve them. This type of care is also evident in the attention to detail that the company invests in each and every home.

At Davis Heights, the Luxe Collection is custom-curated by the renowned interior design firm, Raphael Gomes Interiors. The Versailles model home features a vertical glass wine cellar embedded in the staircase, filled with local wines.

Double masters with ensuite, paneled elegant library, sumptuous living room with 15-ft. vaulted ceiling, gourmet chef’s kitchen with two-tone cabinets, and an oversized island perfect for entertaining are just some of the highlights. The lower level features a spacious guest suite, games room, wet bar, Great Room with home theatre, and your own personal gym. Every detail has been meticulously thought out. Homes are priced from the $699,900s for floorplans that range from 1,600 to 3,000 sq. ft. Occupancy is fall 2019-20. Stop in to see the award-winning models available for viewing Saturday and Sunday from noon to 5 p.m. Davis Heights is currently 60 per cent sold. Hurry in to own your luxurious piece of tranquility.

Riverside, Hunters Pointe

As part of Riverside‘s Grand Opening Special at Hunters Pointe, new-home buyers will receive $25,000 off the purchase of luxury, single-detached, custom bungalow homes. Premium, walkout waterfront lots, single-detached lots and award-winning bungalow towns are available from $499,900, with occupancy in April 2020.

There are also move-in ready homes available with 30-, 60- and 90-day closings. The contemporary Lancaster NZR model home, designed by Wendi Pelfrey, is now open. Everything is conveniently within reach, and perfectly designed, addressing residents’ every need, and the home is surrounded by natural elements in a serene and lush landscape. The Lancaster was recently nominated as Best Home in Ontario by the Ontario Home Builders’ Association (OHBA), and Best Home in Canada by the Canadian Home Builders’ Association (CHBA).

“This is a premier, resort-style, adult community, with world-class amenities and convenient services right at your fingertips,” says Kim Kopyl, director of sales and marketing for Lucchetta Homes. “Buying a home here is a fraction of the cost of comparable homes in the GTA. And the quality of life is far superior.”

Lucchetta Homes

Ugo Lucchetta started the company more than 60 years ago. Today it is well known for its quality construction, craftsmanship and unparalleled customer service.

Sons Robert and Ed carry on the traditions started by their father. Their hard work has paid off with ongoing appreciation, in addition to the loyalty and word-of-mouth praise from their customers.

In 2018 alone, Lucchetta Homes won or was nominated for more than 30 awards by all levels of builders’ associations – local, provincial and national. Most recently it won Community of the Year by CHBA, and the EQ Energy Star Builder of the Year, by EnerQuality. Lucchetta Homes was the only builder in Ontario this year to have been selected as a finalist for the Canadian Home Builders Association (CHBA) National Awards for Housing Excellence in five categories:

  • Best Detached Home – One-Story Bungalow: Riverside, Hunters Pointe
  • Best Attached Home – Under 1,500 sq. ft.: Riverside, Hunters Pointe
  • Best Print Ad – Riverside, Hunters Pointe
  • Best Attached Home – 1,500-plus sq. ft.: Davis Heights

“Simply to be nominated amongst the very best in the industry in Canada is a tremendous achievement, and a testament to our entire team,” says Kopyl.

“Being a boutique builder, we are proud to have been considered for such prestigious national awards,” says Robert and Ed Lucchetta. “We build every home as if we would live in it ourselves, and this achievement further validates our focus on homeowner satisfaction.”

LUCCHETTA HOMES

Go online for more information on any of Lucchetta Homes’ communities.


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GTA waterfront homes

Budget 2019 comes up short

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Budget 2019 comes up short

GTA waterfront homes

The federal government released the much-anticipated Budget 2019 this week, with homebuyers, builders and others awaiting measures to address housing issues.

And in short, it comes up, well… a little short.

First-time homebuyer help

Much of the housing focus in Budget 2019 was on addressing the needs of first-timers, namely with a new First-Time Home Buyer Incentive.

  • The Incentive would allow eligible first-time homebuyers who have the minimum down payment for an insured mortgage to apply to finance a portion of their home purchase through a shared equity mortgage with Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. (CMHC).
  • About 100,000 first-time buyers would benefit from the Incentive over the next three years.
  • Since no ongoing payments would be required with the Incentive, Canadian families would have lower monthly mortgage payments. For example, if a borrower purchases a new $400,000 home with a five-per-cent down payment and a 10-per-cent CMHC shared equity mortgage ($40,000), the borrower’s total mortgage size would be reduced from $380,000 to $340,000, reducing the borrower’s monthly mortgage costs by as much as $228 per month.
  • CMHC to offer qualified first-time homebuyers a 10-per-cent shared equity mortgage for a newly constructed home or a five-per-cent shared equity mortgage for an existing home. This larger shared equity mortgage for newly constructed homes could help encourage the home construction needed to address some of the housing supply shortages in Canada, particularly in the largest cities.
  • The First-Time Home Buyer Incentive would include eligibility criteria to ensure that the program helps those with legitimate needs, while ensuring that participants are able to afford the homes they purchase. The Incentive would be available to first-time buyers with household incomes of less than $120,000 per year.
  • Budget 2019 also proposes to increase the Home Buyers’ Plan withdrawal limit from $25,000 to $35,000, providing first-time buyers with greater access to their Registered Retirement Savings Plan savings to buy a home.

Noticeably absent from the housing measures was any adjustment to the stress test, which a number of experts say is necessary.

Industry reaction

“The Building Industry and Land Development Association (BILD) agrees with (Federal Finance Minister Bill Morneau’s) comments that there aren’t enough homes for people to buy or apartments for people to rent,” says Dave Wilkes, president and CEO.

“BILD feels the policies presented in (the) budget are a step in the right direction to help first-time homebuyers. We will continue to advocate for a review of the stress test so that first-time homebuyers can realize the dream of homeownership. Supply challenges still exist and are at the centre of the current unbalanced market, and we call for action on these by the provincial and municipal government.”

Supply challenges in the Greater Golden Horseshoe are serious, and Budget 19 fails to address them.

“This was a re-election budget that didn’t move the dial for new-home buyers in the GTA,” Richard Lyall, president of the Residential Construction Council of Ontario (RESCON) told HOMES Publishing. “While increasing RRSP borrowing for first-time homebuyers is helpful, creating The First-Time Homebuyer Incentive at a maximum of $500,000 doesn’t help many Torontonians or GTA residents.”

The Canadian Home Builders’ Association (CHBA) had been recommending a shared appreciation mortgage approach for some time, as a tool to help those who can’t get into homeownership but have the means to pay rent.

The modification to the RRSP Home Buyers’ Plan will help get Canadians into their first home, but will also act as a burden because the loan has to be repaid within 15 years, including a minimum of 1/15th per year.

“This means that, in the years following their home purchase, a homeowner has the additional financial responsibility of repaying their RRSP,” says James Laird, co-founder of Ratehub Inc. and president of CanWise Financial.

Important details of the First-Time Home Buyer Incentive program have yet to be released. For example, says Laird, it remains unclear whether the government would take an equity position in homes, or whether the assistance would act as an interest-free loan.

“This is an important distinction because if the government is taking an equity stake in a home, the amount the homeowner would have to pay back would grow as the value of the home increases,” he says.

The very launch of the program is surprising, Laird says, given that the BC Government implemented a similar measure a couple years ago, with unsuccessful results, and it was terminated in 2018. First-time home buyers found it difficult to understand and unappealing to have the government co-own their home.

Let’s do the math

Under existing qualifying criteria, including the stress test, homebuyers can qualify for a house that is 4.5 to 4.7 times their household income.

Under the new First-Time Home Buyer Incentive, however, the government has set a purchase limit of four times household income for the mortgage, plus the amount provided by the government, according to Ratehub.

By participating in this program, first-time homebuyers effectively reduce the amount they can qualify for by about 15 per cent, and their monthly mortgage payment naturally decreases in lockstep.

A household with $100,000 of income, putting a minimum down payment of five per cent, can currently qualify for a home valued at $479,888 with a $2,265.75 monthly mortgage payment.

Affordability calculations

The maximum purchase price for the same household, if they participate in the first-time homebuyer incentive, drops to $404,858.29 with a five-per-cent minimum down payment. The total mortgage amount would then be $400,000 (or four times their household income).

Mortgage payment calculations

If the household took a five-per-cent incentive from the government (for resales), their mortgage amount goes to $378,947.37, and monthly payment is now $1,810.90.

If the household took a 10-per-cent incentive, (for new homes) their mortgage amount goes to $357,894.73, and  monthly payment is now $1,710.29.

Stress test modifications

The CHBA is among the industry groups that is pushing for modifications to the existing mortgage stress test, which has served to lock out too many well-qualified Canadians due to the market and interest rate changes of the past year.

“The First-Time Home Buyer Incentive, if coupled with immediate adjustments to the stress test, has the potential for getting the housing continuum functioning again,” says CHBA CEO Kevin Lee. “It is essential that these changes come quickly, though. Current restrictions on mortgage access mean that many millennials and new Canadians are seeing homeownership slipping away, and in many markets the economic impacts are substantial.”

Looking ahead to the 2019 federal election, CHBA will be encouraging all federal parties to address housing affordability in very meaningful ways in their respective platform documents.

Budget 2019 housing measures

Budget 2019

 

 

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EDITOR'S CHOICE: Georgian International

EDITOR’S CHOICE: Georgian International

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EDITOR’S CHOICE: Georgian International

Live Remarkably by choosing a home in a pastoral setting with vacation-like amenities close at hand

Developed by the multifaceted company Georgian International and recognized as the Best New Home Community in Canada (2016) by the Canadian Home Builders’ Association (CHBA), as well as its award-winning sales centre, Braestone Estates continues to gain recognition for the down-home, up-country lifestyle community that it promotes.

Located in Oro-Medonte, within the beautiful Horseshoe Valley, the 229 homes at Braestone are situated on 566 acres of aesthetically appealing landscape. Braestone is well-known for its distinctive architecture, which is a modern interpretation of the country-style dwellings of the Oro-Medonte region.

Born of the land, Braestone’s Remarkables feature timeless designs that are a natural reflection of the magnificent landscape surrounding the community. Remarkable experiences that all homeowners can enjoy include horseback riding and Nordic skiing, as well as picking seasonal fruit, tapping maple sugar trees, playing baseball and hiking on the private trail system.

WINDFALL

In addition to the award-winning community of Braestone, Georgian International is building a lifestyle community at the base of Blue Mountain. The Windfall at Blue Mountain encompasses 148 acres, one-third of which will be dedicated to parks, ponds and trails, as well as wildlife and nature preservation areas.

Winner of Simcoe County Home Builders’ Association’s Project of the Year (2017), the community of Windfall includes a wonderful selection of mountain-chalet-inspired detached and semi-detached designs.

MOUNTAIN HOUSE

The newest project by Georgian International is Mountain House at Windfall. Released in January, this project has been well-received. Construction has begun on the 230-unit Mountain House lowrise development, which is positioned in an idyllic setting.

Two-, three-, and four-storey buildings feature chalet-style terrace suites, complemented by a community building and a bike repair station, in addition to a sauna, relaxation room, as well as hot and cold pools.

Collingwood, Blue Mountain and Wasaga Beach are all easily accessible from Windfall and Mountain House. There’s no shortage of things to do. Nearby activities include boating and fishing on Georgian Bay, as well as skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing, water parks, golfing and hiking.

CREATING DIVERSITY

In addition to their residential real estate projects, Georgian International acquired the former Orillia Golf & Country Club in 2017. Since then, the course has been renamed Braestone Club and is a stone’s throw away from the development that shares its name. The company has begun to revitalize the course, and has plans to include a multipurpose club house and events venue.

Real estate prices continue to rise in Toronto, and Hamilton is experiencing major growth, making home ownership out of reach for many. New home purchasers are now looking to make their full-time home in a more pastoral setting with vacation-like amenities close at hand. Georgian Bay and Oro-Medonte are wonderful lifestyle alternatives. Georgian International’s tagline is “Live Remarkably.” At any one of its three new developments, you can do just that.

GEORGIAN INTERNATIONAL

Go online for more about Braestone, Windfall and Mountain House.

GeorgianInternational.com


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