Building Our Own Net Zero HIGH PERFORMANCE HOME

When It All Began

When we started Sonbuilt Custom Homes back in 1995, our goal was to build to the best quality and standards possible.  We had already built several homes on our own and enjoyed the home building experience.  Those early days of being self employed were full of challenges and growth opportunities.  We learned the “ins and outs” of running a business, hiring employees, and balancing work and play.  It wasn’t easy.  Being self employed is never really easy.

The Dream Begins at Lot 4

Fast forward a number of years and we started dreaming of building our own home.  A net zero High Performance Home that would “showcase” all of the features we can offer to our customers.  Our dream took shape in 2010 when we found our dream property we affectionately call “Lot 4”.

Sonbuilt Great Wall

The slope of the land meant before we could even begin construction of our home, we had to build several retaining walls to keep the slope from sliding into our foundation.  We called it the season of building the “Sonbuilt Great Wall”.  It was a lot of hard work and there were definitely times when we wondered what we had gotten ourselves into!

Insulated Concrete Forms

We were finally ready to start the foundation and, of course, we built our foundation and walls using Insulated Concrete Forms (ICF) so that our home would be comfortable from basement to top floor throughout the year.

Geo Exchange

As we started the foundation, we brought in the rig to drill for the geo exchange system.  Geo exchange uses the temperature in the earth to heat and cool our net zero home.

Walls of Foam

We decided to build both our foundation and walls of our High Performance Home with ICF to ensure a quiet, durable, energy efficient home.  This was a new concept for some of our neighbours and we frequently had to explain the benefit of building with insulated concrete forms.

A Home With Braces

For the main floor of our High Performance Home we used Quad Deck.  Quad-Deck combines the strength, security, and reliability of reinforced concrete with the energy efficiency, fast construction, and comfort of insulating concrete forms.  The lower level needed extensive bracing for the concrete pour and concrete curing process.

A Growth Spurt of … FOAM!

With the main floor poured, we were ready to grow higher.  We continued to install the insulated concrete forms for the main floor walls and within a few weeks, we poured the top floor.  Every time we poured concrete, we wished the rain away.  We were pretty fortunate (most of the time)!

Rainwater Harvesting System

As a resident of Abbotsford, we pay for city supplied water.  Every drop.  We decided to install 9 GRAF rainwater harvesting tanks below the ground for water storage.  The water we harvest will be used for laundry, car washing, toilets, and irrigation.  The day of the installation was exciting!   Our rainwater harvesting system is the largest GRAF residential system in Canada.  Both University Sprinklers and Barr Plastics were on the jobsite and a marketing video promoting the system was taped.

Installing the Timber

By now the trusses and roofing were installed and we were heading into winter.  Despite the moist, cool weather, we decided to install the timber accents.  This required that we cover the front of the house with plastic and work in the dry space.  The house was covered for several months.  We were pretty excited when we encountered a few dry days of sunshine when we could finally reveal the timber!

A Retaining Wall.  Again.

Summer was now upon us and it was time to tackle the slope behind the house.  Using Redi-rock we built the retaining wall behind the house.  It took a lot of time, resources, and creative thought. We are pretty happy with how it turned out!

Drywall

Prior to drywall we took numerous photos of the interior of the home so we would know the locations of important pipes and wiring.  We do that on every net zero home we build.  During drywall we rented a lift to assist in drywalling the high ceilings and walls.  It was dusty and heavy work but overall, fun!

Finishing Details

With the majority of the drywall done we started painting and installing doors and trim.  We have an oval ceiling in the suite upstairs.  Mark, one of our team, was the inspiration behind this ceiling.  We call it Mark’s Ceiling.

Tying it All Together

A big step towards completion was hooking up the plumbing, heating, and electrical systems.  In a net zero home like this, there are many, many components that need to work together seamlessly.

Solar Power!

Installing a solar panel system is a big decision that more and more people are choosing to make.  There are a number of reasons why we chose to invest in solar for our net zero home.  Since the day we installed the solar panels, we have regularly checked our account with BC Hydro to compare our cost of electricity from day to day.  We noticed an immediate drop in our daily cost of power!

Wrapping up Construction

Is the home of a builder every really done?  Yes, the finish line is nearly here.  Some minor aspects still need completion and the builder’s wife will be very happy when the lower part of the property is landscaped.  But I digress.

Fulfilling any dream isn’t easy and our net zero High Performance Home journey has had many interesting moments.  Are you interested in knowing more about building your own net zero home?  Contact us today!

Thanks for reading!

Built Better and Feels Better

Feel Better About Your Future in a High Performance Home

Imagine living in a home that’s built better, feels better, and allows you to live better.  And it just happens to make as much energy as it uses.  A Sonbuilt High Performance Home will provide you with comfort that saves on energy.  A comfortable home is warm in the winter, cool in the summer, and free from drafts.  For many homeowners, comfort is a high priority.

“I wanted a better living experience for my family.”

~  High Performance Home Owner

We use materials in our homes that respect the environment and ensure lower energy bills, improved comfort, and clean indoor air quality.  Some of these materials include insulation upgrades, higher-performance, Low-E Argon windows, more efficient heating with a complete HRV system and sealed ducts for better air distribution.

We combine comfort, energy savings, and environmentally caring products into each of our homes while respecting your wallet and your budget.

Let’s Chat About Your New Home

We’d love the opportunity to chat about your new home.  Contact us today!

ICF Foundation

ICF – Starting with a Better Foundation

This week we started the foundation on the “Woodside” home at the Vine at Pepin Brook.  If you drive be the site, you will notice we are building the foundation out of Quadlock ICF, also known as “Insulated Concrete Forms”.   These large foam panels are easy to assemble, almost like building with lego, and contribute to our High Performance Wall system.  Once the concrete for the foundation has been poured, the icf panels remain in place, not stripped away like form panels of a conventional foundation.

Why Do We Use Insulated Concrete Forms?

We believe achieving the best living environment starts with a solid foundation.  We use ICF (insulated concrete forms) to produce a more comfortable, quiet, and energy-efficient home than those built with traditional construction methods. Homes built with ICF foundations retain heat more effectively.  Basements feel warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer.  Homes have a more even temperature, fewer drafts, and fewer hot and cold spots.

Building for Comfort

As a builder, we keep comfort in mind when we build a home.  Both thermal comfort and sound-wise comfort.  We find ICFs are ideal for both.   A comfortable environment offers a better quality of home life for families and their guests.

Saving on Energy

An ICF foundation provides greater insulation performance ratings, resulting in better energy efficiency.   These high-performing foundations contribute to lower energy bills and less wear and tear on the home mechanicals.

Good Air Quality

Indoor air quality is something we often don’t think about until it becomes a concern.  Maintaining a healthy environment is important in any indoor space, especially your home.  An ICF foundation, combined with the Sonbuilt High Performance Wall system and a heat recovery ventilator, will keep humidity levels in a healthy range and provide filtered, unpolluted air for everyone in the home.  The risk of mold is greatly reduced and indoor air is filtered and fresh.

Are you interested in owning this rancher, the “Woodside” and benefiting from living in a better built home?  Contact us today!  Let’s talk!

Barrow Family

The Barrow Home, Two Years Later

A few days ago we stopped in to visit Wil and Sara and their twin daughters, Marlee and Paige.  We first met this family back in 2014.  At that time they were excited to build their dream home in Ryder Lake near Chilliwack, BC.   They really wanted to build a High Performance Home.  Clean, fresh indoor air was a high priority for them as allergies were a concern in their family.

Building a Family’s Dream Home

We designed and built a two story home with a basement.  The large open kitchen and great room are ideal for sharing meals together and family time.  A spacious laundry room contains a wide bench with plenty of hooks for hanging sports gear, jackets, and back packs.  The girls were thrilled to have their own bedrooms and were allowed to choose the paint colours.  The open space in the basement has space for indoor sports and lots of storage.

Energy Efficient and Low Cost to Operate

Their home is very energy efficient!  It is built to the R-2000 Standard making it 50% more efficient than homes built to the standard BC Building Code.  In the winter, the warm air stays in the home and in the summer, the home is cool and comfortable.  Wil and Sara shared a story about a power outage that took place a few months after they moved into the home.  It was below freezing outdoors and after several days of no power, the home dropped one degree!  They are very pleased with how cost effective the home is to heat and cool.

We completed their home in 2016 and it was fun to catch up with them at their home to see how they are doing.

ICF Foundation

Abbotsford Custom Home

Welcome Spring!

Spring is here and we are happy and excited to be busy working on this Abbotsford custom home!

This Abbotsford home is currently in the foundation stage and like all of our custom projects, this home has an ICF foundation.  ICF, or insulated concrete forms, makes a home more energy efficient, durable, and comfortable.  Damp basements and random cold rooms are eliminated when living in a home with an ICF foundation.

A High Performance Home

In each high performance home we build we use materials that respect the environment and ensure lower energy bills, improved comfort, and clean indoor air quality.  Some of these materials include insulation upgrades, higher-performance, Low-E Argon windows, more efficient heating with a complete HRV system and sealed ducts for better air distribution.

This home will have considerably lower monthly energy bills compared to a conventionally built home.  While building a high performance home will cost a little more upfront, our client will save monthly on energy bills and maintenance.

Happy Client, Happy Builder!

Our client is thrilled and so are we!  Contact us today if you are interested in talking to us about your future dream home!

Fraser Valley Home and Garden Expo

Fraser Valley Home and Garden Expo

Fraser Valley Home and Garden Expo 2017

We are very excited to be in the Fraser Valley Home and Garden Expo in Abbotsford at Tradex next weekend!  Come visit us at booths 212, 213, and 214.

This Fraser Valley based home and garden show has a vast array of both interior and exterior products for your home and features a number of landscaping, remodeling, interior design, and home construction companies from areas throughout Greater Vancouver.

Main Stage Speakers!

As well, both Jonathan and Carmen Zerkee of Sonbuilt Custom Homes are very pleased to be guest speakers on the Main Stage at the show.  We are speaking Friday at 5:15pm, Saturday at 1:30, and Sunday at 1:30pm.  Come hear our presentation “Live Better:  The High Performance Home”.

Show Details

Show Location:  Tradex, 1190 Cornell Street, Abbotsford, BC

Show Times:

Friday:  1pm – 9pm

Saturday:  10am – 6pm

Sunday:  10am – 4pm

Visit the following link for show admission and additional information.  Fraser-Valley-Full-Page-Ad

See you at the show!