PNE Prize Home gives builders insights into energy efficient design

Image of PNE Prize Home exterior
ENERGY STAR® rated windows and appliances, along with a combination of LED and CFL lighting - plus a high-efficiency heat pump and an Energy Recovery Ventilator - helped this year's PNE Prize Home a lofty EnerGuide rating of 80.

With Power Smart's help, Prize Home achieves an EnerGuide 80 rating

This year the PNE celebrated the 80th anniversary of its popular prize home lottery. And with the help of BC Hydro and the collaboration of several partners, this year's home was the most energy efficient ever.

The Power Smart New Home Program worked with Ecolighten Energy Solutions and Britco Building Innovation to ensure the home passed an EnerGuide 80 rating with an air tightness rating of less than 2.5 ACH (air changes per hour).

At a special workshop session, builders who toured the home learned the following about its design and construction:

  • Windows are ENERGY STAR® rated with vinyl framing, argon-gas filled with low-E coating, with an overall U-value of 0.29 (better than code-built windows at 0.34).
  • The home includes ENERGY STAR appliances and a combination of compact fluorescent and LED lighting.
  • A Mitsubishi heat pump with variable refrigerant flow allows higher operating efficiency than a conventional heat pump. The unit also offers better design flexibility.
  • The home uses a Renewaire Energy Recovery Ventilator (ERV). An ERV recovers heat like an HRV (heat recovery ventilator), and it also recovers the energy trapped in humidity, improving the overall energy recovery efficiency.

Close collaboration from design through building integrates efficiency with style

Most importantly, the development of the prize home took a step towards integrated design — a process where functional and aesthetic elements are planned in the design to ensure the home delivers as much comfort, durability and efficiency as it does style.

The process included a discovery phase, where goals such as comfort, health, budget, and fuel source were mapped out. A room-by-room heating/cooling load calculation and energy modeling then informed the appropriate mechanical system sizing and assured comfort from the mechanical systems chosen. A mechanical design that would optimize the technology was developed and post construction testing ensured that the home performed to the quality levels expected.

New incentives and offers coming for Power Smart New Home Program 2015

"We engaged with the PNE Prize Home project as part of our program's support for the community, and to use it as a showcase for great energy efficient design," says Cynthia Curll, manager of the Power Smart New Home Program.

"We're now planning the next generation of the program, and the PNE Prize Home allowed us to show builders some of what we plan to include. For example, involving an energy advisor from the start, and performing a pre-drywall blower test — these will likely be required in order to qualify for a Power Smart designation in the future.

"The benefit is that homes like the PNE Prize Home will continue to perform and delight their owners for the long term, not just in terms of style, but also comfort, health, and operating costs. We hope to help builders continue to improve as we shift to the next generation of the Power Smart New Home Program."