The Ontario Building Code went through several changes in January 2012 to ensure Ontario home builders are producing more energy efficient housing. Some of the new regulations included:
- more energy efficient windows and sliding doors.
- higher insulation regulations for ceilings, walls, foundation walls and basements.
- limitations on thermal bridging (i.e. the loss of heat through studs).
- high efficiency rated gas and propane fired furnaces (90%).
- higher standards for electrically heated homes.
The effect this had had on new home builders in Barrie and elsewhere as well as the benefits to new home buyers are dramatic. Homes built after 2011 will have a 35% increase in energy efficiency over homes built as recently as 2006.
Pratt Homes has been instituting the use of a number of new and innovate products to increase the energy efficiency of their new homes.
All Pratt new townhomes and detaches homes in Barrie come with a Drain Water Heat Recovery unit. Cold water coming into the house runs through a series of copper coils which are wrapped tightly around a drain stack. As hot drain water passes through the stack, cold fresh water passes up through the copper coils and heat is transferred, thereby pre-heating the cold water before it enters the hot water heater. Drain water never mixes with the fresh water; it simply pre-heats it to save energy use by the water heater.
Probably the biggest improvements in energy efficiency come in the area of insulation products. Pratt’s current townhome projects have seen exterior particle board replaced by an extruded polystyrene rigid insulation. Nearly all construction materials are exposed to water in the form of vapour, liquid or solid ice; however, this product has been manufactured with components which limit water absorption making it much more effective than other traditional insulation or sheeting products. This insulation, along with stringent new installation guidelines, provides an excellent Air Barrier System with much less air leakage and several benefits to the homeowner:
- the home is quieter as there are fewer paths for airborne noise penetration.
- the building is more durable because of the reduced potential for moisture damage from condensation due to air leakage.
- the home is more comfortable with reduced drafts allowing for better control over heating and cooling.
Today’s new home buyer can derive many benefits and cost savings, while helping to protect the environment by purchasing and living in an energy efficient home. Pratt Homes is doing its part to also help in the effort.