Step Coe

Step Code 3 and Indoor Air Quality

Effective May 1, 2023, all new residential buildings in British Columbia must meet Energy Step Code 3.  This province wide objective aims to improve energy efficiency in new construction by 20%.  Builders are now required to hire a certified energy advisor and homes will need to be carefully sealed to achieve the desired air tightness requirements.

Homes Need to Breathe

As homes become more airtight, it’s critical that the issue of healthy indoor air is addressed.  It’s a common practice during the summer months to open windows and doors resulting in airflow.  However, as outdoor temperatures cool and families spend more time indoors with their windows closed, an airtight home will not breathe, resulting in stale indoor air that does not escape.  This now becomes a breeding ground for mold and respiratory illnesses.

Heat Recovery Ventilator

When a home is sealed as tightly as Step Code requires, addressing year round air flow is crucial to the health of the home and the families in the home.  A well designed high performance, Step Code compliant home uses a Heat or Energy Recovery Ventilator (H/ERV) system to maintain a balanced level of air flow day and night all year round.

An HRV (or ERV) allows fresh air to be distributed throughout a home.  A properly installed system sends indoor air pollutants and excess humidity to the outdoors while distributing fresh air throughout the house.  It’s important the filters in the HRV are cleaned every 3 months to keep it running well.  As the temperature outdoors falls, the HRV captures heat from the outgoing air and uses it to preheat the incoming filtered fresh air.  In the summer, the process is reversed.  The outgoing air cools the air coming into the home.

Common Pollutants

An HRV can go long way in removing common pollutants that can stay trapped in a home when there is poor airflow.  Some of these include:

  • Excess moisture and mold:  caused by cooking, showering, laundry, etc.
  • Urea formaldehyde:  found in various cabinetry finishes, flooring, furniture, etc.
  • Radon gas:  the number 1 cause of lung cancer in non-smokers.  Found in groundwater, soil, granite, gravel etc.
  • Chemicals:  found in cleaning products, paint, solvents, sprays etc.
  • Combustion by-products:  caused by gas appliances including furnaces, gas ranges and dryers, fireplaces etc.

Step Code is a “step” in the right direction to improving the overall performance of new homes in terms of energy efficiency.  Let’s take it another “step” further by ensuring our indoor air is improved and healthy as well. Contact us today for more information.

How to Reduce Your Water Heating Costs

It’s no secret that heating water is one of the biggest energy wasters in your home.  Whenever you shower, you mix water and energy together, use it for a few seconds, then send that warm water, and all the energy you’ve just paid for, down the drain.  Did you know that somewhere between 80% and 90% of the energy used to heat water ends up going down the drain?

What is a Drain Water Heat Recovery System?

With a drain water heat recovery system (DWHR), you can recapture some of the energy as the hot water drains away and use it to pre-heat incoming cold water using a simple, passive device.  A DWHR system consists of a length of drain pipe that is generally 3 to 5 feet long and 4 inches in diameter with a metal water pipe tightly coiled around it. 

Drain Water Heat Recovery System

When you shower, as the water you just paid to heat washes down the drain, it travels down through the drain pipe.  Fresh cold water enters the coil water pipe it picks up the heat from the metal wall of the drain pipe, then flows to the water heater.  As the water travels through the coil pipe, it is heated by the hot water in the drain pipe. 

The heated water in the coil is directed to your water heater and because the incoming water is already pre-heated, your water heater will use significantly less energy to heat and maintain the temperature of your water. 

Benefits of a Drain Water Heat Recovery System

Lower Energy Bills – The already warm water will cost less to heat, thus lowering your energy bills and resulting into a relatively quick payback time.  It’s a sustainable investment.

Prolong the Life of Your Hot Water Heater – Lowering your heating demand can reduce the workload of your hot water heater.

A Simple and Reliable System –A DWHR system has no moving parts and once installed, requires practically zero maintenance.  And it has a lifespan of over 30 years

Consider a Drain Water Heat Recovery System in your home.  It’s a great and uncomplicated way to save money every time you use hot water.

If you are interested in learning more about building High Performance Home, contact us today!

Framing at Taylor Landing

Project Update “Taylor Landing”

Framing at Taylor Landing!

Over the past few weeks we’ve begun framing at our Fraser Valley project we call “Taylor Landing”.  It’s been exciting to see this home take shape and we are pretty happy to be finished the often wet and muddy foundation work.  Soon the main floor walls will be going up and trusses will follow shortly!

A Step Code 5 High Performance Home

This High Performance Home is Step Code 5.  Step Code refers to the steps of performance targets in new construction making homes more energy efficient.  Step Code 5 is the highest level of energy efficiency in Step Code and means that the home is Net Zero Ready.  The goal of Step Code in British Columbia is to have all new buildings Net Zero energy ready by 2032.

Features in this High Performance Home

Taylor Landing will feature many High Performance Home items:

    • Heat Recovery Ventilator: We call it a Fresh Air machine.  It provides 24/7 fresh air and regular climate control
    • Insulated Concrete Forms: Also known as ICF, this foundation will keep the home more quiet, comfortable and energy efficient a home built with a traditional foundation
    • Exterior Continuous Insulation: We will wrap the exterior of the home in a special exterior insulation before we apply the exterior cladding.  By doing this we block any gaps that result in mold and air leakage.
    • Rainwater Harvesting: Rainwater harvesting can be used for sprinkling lawns and irrigation, flushing toilets, washing cars, and laundry.  There are four 1,700 gallon tanks in this home.
    • Solar Panels: These panels will  take energy from the sun and convert it into clean power for the home.
    • Geo Exchange: The geo exchange system uses the energy of the sun, stored in the earth, to keep the home comfortable all year long.
    • Radiant Floor Heating: Radiant heating has a number of advantages. It is more efficient than baseboard heating and        usually more efficient than forced-air heating because it eliminates duct losses. People with allergies often prefer radiant heat because it doesn’t distribute allergens like forced air systems can.

Contact Us for Information!

If you are looking for more information on building a High Performance Home, please don’t hesitate to contact us!  We believe you will “Live Better in a High Performance Home”.

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!