New Green Home Construction

Image: ©2017 The Green Energy

Here we are in the beautiful Okanagan Valley of British Columbia, Canada.

Over the coming months we are going to showcase a New Home Build using some of the latest “Green” Technologies and Ideas.

The home is going to be an Owner/Build to show that the latest “Green” Technologies are within reach of anybody considering building a new home and are not only cost wise, but user friendly as well. The home will include an ICF(Insulated concrete form) foundation, SIP(structural Insulated Panel) walls, solar hot water heating that not only heats the home, but also the domestic hot water, solar panels and environmentally friendly building materials wherever possible.

Design, style and tastes all have an effect on the final product and while each of these can be taken to extremes, we will be using a balanced approach to maximize efficiency within the specific tastes of the Owners and site requirements of the location.

As the project progresses, we will update the status of the build with information and reasons behind material uses and construction procedures.


Image: ©2017 The Green Energy

Once the build site was prepped, it was time to build the foundation. We chose to use ICF(insulated concrete forms) supplied by Pacific ICF, for our project. The forms we used have an 8″ core with an R value greater than R22. Even though our design is for a slab on grade, the local building code required us to insulate the foundation. By using ICF, we not only achieved a great R value, but saved the costs of renting, shipping, installing and stripping concrete forms.  We also eliminated the labour of adding insulation after the foundation was completed.

The concrete used was supplied by one of the closest ready mix plant, approximately 11 kilometres away, to help minimize our overall carbon footprint. The concrete mix comprised of a product called flyash. Flyash is a by-product of coal-powered power generation plants. Once a waste product, it has found a second life in concrete as SCC (supplementary cementitious content). Cement producers have been substituting flyash in ready mix concrete as a partial replacement for cement powder, which helps reduce the demand for cement production, helping to reduce carbon emissions of the cement plant.

Depending on the concrete mix design, up to 50 percent of the cement portion of concrete could be replaced with flyash, although 15-20 percent is typical. Flyash also improves some of the performance aspects of concrete, such as improved sulphate resistance and better long term strength gain. In our foundation mix design, 20 percent of the cement content was replaced with flyash.

Main Floors

Once back filling inside the foundation commenced, structural fill, compacted at 10″ layers with a 1000 lb plate compactor, was used to bring up the grade in preparation of the slab on grade pours. Once the desired grade was reached, the plumbing rough in, under slab insulation and radiant hot water heating was installed. Four inches of insulation was installed under the slabs to provide a R15 insulation value.

Image: ©2017 The Green Energy

Exterior Walls

The exterior walls are made of Structural Insulated Panels (SIPs) provided by Insulspan. They are some of the first version of their Insulspan R-Plus SIP System. The Insulspan® R-Plus SIP System is an energy efficient building system consisting of an EnerSpan® insulation core with oriented strand board (OSB) structurally laminated to the interior and exterior faces. These panels, in the 6 1/2 inch thickness, provide an insulation value of R28. Not only are these panels more energy efficient compared to traditional stick framing, they are manufactured in a controlled environment and arrive ready to be erected, eliminating construction waste on site and accelerating the construction of the home.

Image: ©2017 The Green Energy

Not only do they make the home more energy efficient, they also give the home a more comfortable felling with a design that eliminates drafts. As each panel is installed, a mastic sealant is applied on both the inside and outside edge of each adjoining panel, as well as on the top and bottom plates, ensuring a tightly sealed fit. Significantly lower air leakage rates are achievable for energy efficient buildings constructed using the Insulspan SIP System.

Image: ©2017 The Green Energy


3 Comments to “New Green Home Construction”

  1. By Chris, November 7, 2017 @ 9:36 AM

    Looks great so far. I’ve always wanted to build with the ICF materials.

    Just curios to how thick your slab on grade is?

    • By Allan, November 8, 2017 @ 6:33 AM

      The house slab is 4 inches thick, the garage is 5 inches thick.

  2. By Radiant Energy, August 17, 2017 @ 5:37 AM

    Going Green with new construction is the way to go!

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