This past February marked the start of a very exciting new project for Sifton Properties Limited. It was the commencing of construction on the first Net Zero home located in Warbler Woods, a new neighbourhood in west London. This is not only a first for Sifton; it is also a first for the City of London!
A Net Zero home is a home with net-zero energy consumption, which means the total amount of energy used by the building and its occupants on an annual basis is roughly equal to the amount of renewable energy created by the solar technology on the roof. The Ontario Building Code is moving towards the goal of having all new homes built to Net Zero standards by 2030, with Sifton leading the way.
When it’s completed, this home will look very similar to any of the other beautiful Sifton model homes. The Net 0 Home will be built as the Dogwood model (pictured) which is a 1,913 square foot bungalow. Looks will be deceiving, however, as this home will be jam packed with cutting edge green and energy-efficient technologies and it will be built with innovative construction techniques. Many of these products and techniques will be incorporated into the buildings across the road in Sifton’s new SMART community, West 5.
The first task faced in designing this home was to make it as energy efficient as possible and a number of changes had to be made to the standard framing and insulation details of the home. All the exterior walls of the main floor will be constructed with 2″ x 6″ wood studs, insulated with fiberglass batt insulation and 3″ of exterior foam sheathing giving it an R-value of 39, opposed to the standard 2″ x 4″ (R22). The attic will be insulated to R70, whereas current code calls for R50, and the basement walls will be insulated to R27 as compared to R20. Additional, the home will have R10 foam insulation below the basement floor.
In addition to enhanced insulation levels Sifton will also be utilizing an exterior air barrier system and extensive air sealing detailing to minimize any air leakage. As homes are made more “air-tight” it is also critical to accommodate efficient air exchange between stale inside air and fresh outdoor air. This will be achieved through the installation of a high efficiency energy recovery ventilator which will also balance humidity levels. Heating and cooling will be provided by an ultra-efficient air source heat pump and the domestic hot water system will include a high efficiency tankless water heater combined with a 72″ copper drain water heat recovery pipe, which uses the hot water from a running shower to preheat the water going into the water heater. All of the lighting in the home will be LED and any appliance will be Energy Star rated.
Once the home is made as energy efficient as possible, in order to make it Net Zero, there needs to be a balance in what energy requirements there are by generating renewable “free” energy. In the case of this home, the “free” energy will be solar provided by integrated solar shingles. Solar shingles generate power in a similar fashion to solar panels, but they are much more attractive in appearance. By installing these shingles on both sides of the roof, a 10 kW solar array is created which will be tied into the grid allowing electricity generated to be sold back to London Hydro.
While Net Zero focuses on the energy efficiency of the home, Sifton also plans to incorporate a number of green products including; a rainwater harvesting system that uses rainwater for irrigation and to flush the toilets in the home; ultra-conserving plumbing fixtures; environmentally friendly finishes such as flooring and cabinetry that are manufactured from recycled materials and are low in harmful VOC’s. These products along with the Net Zero features will make this a truly “SMART” house!
Plans for the Grand Opening are set for Summer of 2015!
This exciting new Sifton home was featured in the May 23rd issue of New Home and Condo Guide.