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Free guide gives builders clear guidelines for building high performance housing

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'Guide demonstrates that we don't have to settle for current construction techniques'

Building code energy efficiency requirements are getting stricter. New building technologies arise frequently. And increasingly, knowledgeable buyers want to know about energy performance.

The shift to building better, more energy efficient homes is being driven by change from multiple directions. But figuring out the best practices and technologies to use while ensuring they work together in a "house as a system" approach, can be confusing.

Now, a new guide for builders offers clear guidelines for building energy efficient, environmentally friendly homes. Pathways to High Performance Housing in British Columbia was produced through a collaboration of BC Hydro, FortisBC, the Homeowner Protection Office branch of BC Housing, FPInnovations, and the City of Vancouver.

"It's been rigorously reviewed, critiqued and refined, so we're pretty confident it can be a valuable tool for a builder who wants to build high-performance homes," says Gary Hamer, specialist engineer with Power Smart. The guide was written by architect Chris Mattock, based on his experience building the net zero Harmony House in Burnaby.

Download the free Pathways to High Performance Housing in British Columbia Guide. Note that you'll first need to set up an account on the FPInnovations site.

Free, comprehensive resource for single-family and small multi-family building

The guide's seven chapters offer clear definitions of high-performance building strategies, a step-by-step approach to integrated design, a business case for high-performance housing, and a thorough technical discussion covering major building components.

Fourteen appendices provide supporting information such as detailed calculations for home energy consumption, ways to reduce water consumption, and effective R-values for a wide range of wall, roof, and foundation assemblies. All content is geared to single-family and small multi-family buildings.

"The guide demonstrates that we don't have to settle for current construction techniques; we can build better to save energy and improve the durability of a home," says Hamer. "It sets out to answer that question: what do we need to do in order to build a high performance, or net zero-ready home?"

Pathways guide helps builders prepare for change

With energy prices expected to rise over time, Hamer says savvy home buyers will look for energy efficiency as a way to future-proof their operating costs. He recommends all home builders review the guide to understand what they can do improve their building practices and prepare for the future.

"Over time building codes are going to get more stringent in their energy savings requirements," he says. "The Pathways guide helps builders reduce their risk by presenting them with best practices on how to build better homes.

"The experience and knowledge of leading industry experts has been compiled for motivated builders to use to differentiate themselves by offering a superior product in a highly competitive market. And by staying ahead of others they can stay well ahead of advancing code requirements too. If you want to be a leading builder here's something that can help you do it."

Download the free Pathways to High Performance Housing in British Columbia Guide. Note that you'll first need to set up an account on the FPInnovations site.