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Balancing Sustainability and Budget — Making Every Dollar Count. Presenter: Einar Halbig, CEA CEO, E3 Eco Group Inc. “Building blocks of sustainability”. Balancing Sustainability and Budget Making every dollar count. Introduction: Define our topic

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balancing sustainability and budget making every dollar count

Balancing Sustainability and Budget — Making Every Dollar Count

Presenter:Einar Halbig, CEA

CEO, E3 Eco Group Inc.

“Building blocks of sustainability”

slide2

Balancing Sustainability and Budget

Making every dollar count

  • Introduction:
  • Define our topic
  • Should homebuyers pay extra for “sustainability”? Will they?
  • How to do it; the right tools for the job.
slide4

Can we build in a “truly sustainable” manner?

  • We need houses which offer:
  • Appropriate size
  • Safety
  • Thermal comfort
  • Control.

Are we really willing to?

slide5

“Sustainable” has other implications:

  • Profit
  • Business sustainability.
slide6

How to build “more sustainably”:

Focus on embodied energy or operational energy?

303 MWhr = 10 years of operational energy

What happens from year 10 to year 50, 60, 70?

303 MWhr

151 MWhr

Focus on making the finished house use less energy for heating, hot water, lighting and appliances.

slide7

How to build “more sustainably”:

Our focus will be on operational energy:

Focus on making the finished house use less energy for heating, hot water, lighting and appliances.

slide8

Benefits of reduced operational energy consumption:

  • Reduced energy bills
  • Reduced GHG emissions
  • Reduced carbon footprint
  • Reduced water consumption
  • Reduced environmental impact
  • Increased energy security
  • Improved thermal comfort
  • Improved indoor air quality
  • Increased future re-sale value
  • Increased durability/longevity
  • Improved noise attenuation

We’ll talk more about these benefits tomorrow

slide9

Who benefits?

Builder?

Homeowner?

slide11

Today’s reality:

Most homeowners say they will pay more but are not actually willing to pay more for a more sustainable house...

Builders are not recovering their added costs to build more sustainably.

slide12

Irony:

Why don’t homeowners recognize the value of a more energy-efficient, higher-performance, more sustainable house?

What is the payback on these?

slide13

What’s a Builder to do?

$

Sell improved value

$

Reduce build costs

(tomorrow we’ll look at selling improved value)

slide14

How to build better, for less money:

  • Reduce house size
  • Simplify house design
  • Build with an optimized plan for energy efficiency
  • Incorporate appropriate construction techniques and technologies.
slide15

Reduce house size:

  • Challenge: flies in the face of “bigger is better”
  • Consider options to have rooms share functions
  • Reduce house size by 500 sq. ft = $50,000 savings
  • Smaller house uses less material and requires less energy for heating; improves sustainability.
slide20

Simplify house design:

-thermal bridging?

-off cuts/construction waste?

-ease of construction?

-labour savings?

-material savings?

slide22

Build with a plan for energy efficiency:

Typical house plans don’t optimize the construction of the house; certainly they don’t optimize ways to make the house more energy efficient.

Also, building to the minimum standard of the BC Building Code does not guarantee efficiency.

slide23

What to target:

The “low hanging fruit”…

…which varies from house to house.

slide24

Your best tool:

Use your Certified Energy Advisor to evaluate your specific house with HOT2000 (Energuide Rating- Built Green- BC Hydro Powersmart rebates)

CHBABC has list of CEAs.

slide25

Build with a plan for energy efficiency:

There is no “top 10” list that applies to every house. What makes sense for your house?

Your CEA helps you optimize your path to energy efficiency.

CEA can determine the benefit of upgrades; the Builder figures out the cost.

slide27

Some concepts which can improve the efficiency and performance of most local homes:

  • Increasing air tightness
  • Ventilation heat recover
  • Drain water heat recovery
  • Heat pump technology.
slide28

Increasing air tightness:

  • Typical local houses: 4-6 ACH@50Pa
  • R2000: 1.5 ACH@50Pa
  • Passiv Haus: 0.6 ACH@50Pa
  • Local “sweet spot”: 2 ACH@50Pa.

But remember ventilation!

HRV after 2 ACH@50Pa- particularly important in cold climates (can improve ERS by 2 points)

slide30

Improving the air barrier system for minimal cost:

  • Consider an exterior air barrier
  • Fewer penetrations- less labour, better performance
slide33

Housewrap as an exterior air barrier:

This builder achieving 1.0-1.2 ACH@50Pa

slide34

Installing the vapour barrier:

  • Poly does not need to be fully sealed or cover 100% if used for only the vapour barrier
  • Vapour-barrier primer
slide35

Ventilation:

  • So now you’ve built a tight house- what about ventilation?
  • Around 2 ACH@50Pa, NRCan recommends using an HRV
  • There is no benefit to using an HRV unless the house is tight; the air-tightness is the benefit as much as the heat recovery (in cold climates).
slide36

Heat loss through ventilation?

  • Exhaust fan @50cfm = 3000 cu ft/hour
  • Leaky house @ 5ACH@50Pa = 6250 cu ft/hour

“Built it tight; ventilate right”

slide37

Drain water heat recovery:

  • Recovers heat energy from shower drain water
slide38

Drain water heat recovery:

  • NRCan permits up to 2300kWhr/year energy credit
slide39

Heat pump technology

Air-source heat pump

  • High efficiency or high CoP?
  • Air source heat pumps can have a CoP of up to 3.5
  • Significantly less energy is used to heat the house compared to heating with gas
  • Can supply heat for the house down to zero Celsius and lower
  • Fraction of install cost of ground source heat pump.
slide40

Heat pump technology

Harmony House (net zero energy house) uses “cold climate” air source heat pumps for space heating and DHW heating.

These heat pumps can supply heat for the house down to -30 Celsius (claimed).

slide41

But…

Proper sizing, installation and homeowner education is critical to performance

Note- fuel switching will reduce dollar savings.

slide42

Combine these ideas:

  • Simplify house design (keep size the same):
  • Some material savings, some disposal cost savings, mainly labour savings and shorter build time (-$5000)
  • Air-tight construction using exterior air barrier:
  • Improved air tightness with no net cost increase ($zero)
  • Improved ventilation:
  • Required to offset air-tightness, adds cost but improves IAQ and saves energy (+$3000)
slide43

Combine these ideas, con’t:

  • Air source heat pump for space heating:
  • Adds build cost (+$7000 for cold climate model)
  • Drain water heat recovery:
  • Adds build cost (+$800)

Total build cost increase: $10,800

Total build cost savings: $5000

House is $5800 (plus markup) more expensive.

(BC Hydro PowerSmart rebate: $2000)

slide44

What does the homeowner get?

Pays $6300 (includes markup) more.

Gets a house that is 30%-50% more energy efficient.

And…

slide45

…all these benefits as well:

  • Reduced energy bills
  • Increased energy security
  • Improved thermal comfort
  • Improved indoor air quality
  • Increased future re-sale value
  • Increased durability/longevity
  • Improved noise attenuation

$50 monthly savings on energy affords another $10,000 on the mortgage.

What will that $50 monthly savings become in 5, 10, 20 years?

slide46

Want more?

  • Simplify house design further
  • Decrease house size (slightly)
  • Learn from the past:
  • 40’ x 24’ footprint
  • Slab on grade foundation
  • Trusses span full depth
  • One bearing wall through center of ground level.
slide47

Pick your battle- do buyers want lower price or better energy performance?

Would people buy a simple house if it cost $10,000 less?

Would people buy a simple house if it cost the same but were 30% more energy efficient?

slide48

Summary

What do home buyers want?

Low price? Sustainability? Fancy features? Everything?

What are they willing to pay for?

Not much.

We can apply intelligent design to provide what they want at little to no additional cost, but they may need to give something up.

slide49

Summary

  • Want low price?
  • Simplify design
  • Yes the house will be more “boring”
  • Want sustainability?
  • Leverage simplicity to fund energy upgrades
  • Want fancy features?
  • Choose them carefully to keep costs in check.