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Glacier Creek duplexes exceed Whistler Green standards

"Greening" a housing project and making it sustainable can be a challenge for homebuilders. And knowing which features to include and where to focus your dollars means an investment in time, money and sometimes experimental building techniques – not something builders typically want to gamble with in a tight economic market.

In the world-class resort of Whistler, the Whistler Green standards checklist [PDF] helps builders incorporate energy, water, materials and site elements into an efficient build profile that simplifies the process and creates healthy, comfortable living environments for years to come.

Whistler Green is a voluntary standard that, when followed, produces a minimum EnerGuide rating of 78 for homes. But in the case of 44 duplexes built at Rainbow, a new 350-housing unit community north of Whistler Village, that standard has been exceeded.

Glacier Creek, Power Smart & DW Energy

Glacier Creek Contracting Limited, townhome builders at Rainbow, worked closely with BC Hydro Power Smart to incorporate sound building practices and green construction techniques. The duplexes will achieve significant electricity savings per year, with each home meeting or exceeding EnerGuide 80, the Power Smart Gold standard of energy efficiency in new home construction.

The inclusion of heat recovery ventilators (HRV) ensures adequate ventilation and fresh filtered air is delivered to each suite.

Glacier Creek worked with certified energy advisors DW Energy to identify energy-efficient air sealing opportunities and practices. Using blower door testing augmented by thermographic imaging, the builders quickly identified where they could improve their build techniques to lower air leakage in construction. 

Many buyers are choosing a solar thermal option, which is available for the units, to further improve hot water efficiency.

They also installed triple-glazed windows with low-e to increase insulation levels and used high-efficiency spray foam insulation and mineral fibre board to reduce noise and air infiltration in common walls between suites.

Glacier Creek remains committed to integrating design and building techniques that minimize environmental impact. The builders have developed a continuing working relationship with Power Smart over the last four years, including the Whistler Athletes Village at Cheakamus Crossing for which they achieved the Power Smart Gold standard for the townhomes they built.

Learn more about the Power Smart New Home Program.