Better than Code demonstration homes yield water, energy and cost savings

Clarington March 15, 2016/- Clarington’s Green Demonstration Project has shown that green building practices can yield water, energy and cost savings. Six homes were built for this project equipped with water and energy conservation measures that surpass minimum requirements outlined in the 2012 Ontario Building Code. These so-called ‘better than code homes’ were monitored for performance and potential savings over the course of a year. Results of the monitoring were presented to Council during a Planning and Development Committee Meeting.

Results show the demonstration homes, on average, were 14 per cent more water efficient. The average daily indoor water consumption for these ‘better than code homes’ was 131 litres per capita. While average daily indoor water consumption in equivalent homes built to code 153 litres per capita. Three of the six demonstration homes were also equipped with a greywater recycling system that treats and recycles shower water for toilet flushing. These homes, on average, were 19 per cent more water efficient. The greywater recycling systems saved, on average, 13 litres of water per person per day, or the equivalent of 10 per cent of a person’s daily water use.

The demonstration homes also showed a 10 per cent reduction in energy intensity. Energy intensity compares the energy use of buildings relative to their size. A lower value signifies a home is more energy efficient. This reduction in energy intensity can be attributed in part to improved insulation, improved air tightness and duct sealing.

The ‘better than code homes’ also had some projected annual cost savings totalling, on average, around $386 based on 2015 utility costs. Almost three quarters of the average cost savings came from improved home energy efficiency.

Finally, the ‘better than code homes’ showed greenhouse gas emissions average reductions of 954 kilograms of carbon dioxide equivalent. Those emissions savings are roughly comparable to the greenhouse gas emissions left by a car travelling from Bowmanville to Kenora, Ontario, a roundtrip of 3,800 kilometres. In comparison to equivalent homes built to code, these homes reduced the electricity-based greenhouse gas emissions by 6 per cent; natural gas consumption-based emissions by 13 per cent; and water consumption based emissions by 16 per cent.

“The results of the home monitoring for the Green Demonstration Project are positive.

They show the potential environmental and economic value of building ‘better than code homes.’ This project shows the potential benefits that can be realized by encouraging green development,” said David Crome, Director of Planning Services.

The Green Demonstration Project is part of the Priority Green Clarington initiative adopted by Council and officially launched in October 2013. Priority Green Clarington aims to set a new environmentally friendly standard for residential development. It promotes sustainability, innovation and the continued goal to improve the community’s quality of life.

The Green Demonstration Project was undertaken as part of the larger Priority Green initiative to pilot and integrate green building practices into the planning and development process. The Municipality worked with the Region of Durham and three local builders constructing these six homes. The homes were monitored for total water, electricity, and natural gas usage under actual living conditions. Using modelling, the results were compared to equivalent homes built to code with no additional conservation enhancements. Before the monitoring period began, the Green Demonstration Homes were tested for air tightness and a home energy rating provided.

The Municipality of Clarington would like to extend its thanks to all agencies who partnered on this project including: The Region of Durham, Brookfield Residential, Halminen Homes, Jeffery Homes, and the six families who lived in the homes during the monitoring period.

Visit the Resources page to view Staff Report PSD-024-16 or the complete final report.

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