Aim for Excellence

The next Builder/Developer of the Year... is you!

Nina Winham

Last October, three B.C. home builders gained recognition as finalists for the Residential Builder/Developer award at the annual Power Smart Excellence Awards sponsored by BC Hydro.

Of course, all three incorporated leading-edge energy efficiency practices into their developments. The Hill Group achieved a Power Smart Gold rating on every one of the 140 cottage-style homes in their Oceanside Village Resort development. Corfield Glades Development did the same at their 60 Creekside at Corfield homes. And the Excellence Award winner, Glacier Creek Pacific Contracting, achieved not only Power Smart Gold but also surpassed the local Whistler Green standards in their Glacier Duplexes at Rainbow project. Together these 280 units will save more than 600,000 kWh of energy per year – enough to fully power another 55 homes in B.C.

But achieving energy efficiency is not the only reason these builders stand out.

"These homes have a high Energuide score, but it's not just the score that matters when considering finalists for the Award," says Doug Overholt, BC Hydro's Power Smart New Home Program Representative. "It's how they're doing it – what they're providing in terms of value to the customer or innovation. These are things we can all learn from."

The value of recognition

Winning a Power Smart Excellence Award brings a valuable marketing boost to the company recognized. Award recipients are recognized in advertising produced and widely distributed by BC Hydro, as well as in a variety of news releases. BC Hydro also helps winners get the word out themselves, with an online toolkit so recipients can self-promote to their community and their employees.

So how do you take aim at an award?

"I think the general message is it's not just about adding a piece of high efficiency equipment to your homes," says Overholt. "It's looking beyond that in innovative ways to make the home more appealing while using less energy." Examples include extensive daylighting at Oceanside Village Resort, or Glacier Creek's inclusion of solar-ready conduits, so that homeowners can easily install solar thermal hot water systems in the future.

Start with a Certified Energy Advisor

"If you've got an upcoming project, it's a great time to think about innovations that could improve energy efficiency and add value and appeal for your buyers," says Overholt. "The best way to take aim at being a finalist is by getting energy evaluations done on your designs, and working with a qualified Certified Energy Advisor to help you explore options.

"Talk to them about what you're doing. They can model your choices, and then discuss with you what options you have to meet qualifying energy efficiency levels. You can do a lot to improve efficiency before you start to build. It will pay off as buyers are increasingly seeking good energy performance. And you might wind up with an award as well."

Find a Certified Energy Advisor in your area. For more information about the Power Smart New Homes Program and how BC Hydro can support your energy-efficiency work, contact Doug Overholt.