EEBA's High Performance Home Blog

Energy Efficiency Affordability in Cold Climates

A Canadian design-build team proves that energy efficiency is attainable, even in cold climates.

Energy Efficiency Affordability in Cold Climates

When Emmanuel Cosgrove and Mike Reynolds, co-founders of Ecohome, designed and built The Edelweiss House, they were simply trying to exhibit that affordable, energy efficient homes are achievable. “We undertook this project to show builders and homeowners that it isn’t that hard or expensive to build better-performing homes and that your true monthly overhead can actually be lower, right from the moment you move in.”

Building a hyper-efficient cold-climate house 40 minutes outside of Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, in Gatineau Hills, had its own challenges because of the climate and the nature of the location. Add in the standards required for Canada Green Building Council’s LEED v4 certification, and the challenge is amplified.

The resulting 1,552 sq. ft. passive solar home, where a visitor to Gatineau can rent a room and stay in, costs less than $250,000 to build, and energy bills were estimated to be less than $1.40/day, compared to a new home of comparable size that uses around 10 times more energy. To meet the stringent demands of LEED v4, Cosgrove and Reynolds used an array of DELTA® brand products from Dörken, together creating an airtight building envelope.

Fully adhered DELTA®-VENT SA, a vapor-permeable, self-adhesive, water-resistive air barrier for commercial and residential use, was used as the primary air and water-resistive barrier and helped the home pass difficult blower door test standards.

DELTA®-FLORAXX was used as the water retention and drainage component of the green roof and helped reduce the need for irrigation, while also helping to cool the building in the summer through transpiration.

DELTA®-VENT S served as the secondary moisture barrier and was installed to the exterior of the continuous stone wool insulation, providing additional airtightness, protection from moisture ingress, as well as insulation protection from wind-driven rain.

DELTA®-MULTI-BAND tape helped ensure that every lap and detail was sealed tight. It also played a critical role in maintaining an airtight building, along with a vapor-tight one because it was used to seal the interior vapor barrier.

The Edelweiss House was completed in 2015, and was only the second in the world to reach the rigorous Platinum level for LEED v4. The project really proved that affordable, cold-climate, energy efficient homes are possible.

Photo courtesy Ecohome

 

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