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EcoSage project

​Taking sustainable building practices to new heights

Project details 

​Location: ​Penticton Indian Band reserve
​Building type: ​8 new single family houses
​Floor space: ​1,500 sq. ft.
​Target energy rating: ​EnerGuide® 88 (7 houses)
Passive House certification (1 house)

Project team

Developer​: Penticton Indian Band
​Architect: Allen + Maurer Architects
​Contractor: Ritchie Contracting & Design

Through the EcoSage project, eight super-efficient homes were built on the Penticton Indian Band reserve. These homes were constructed to optimize the use of space and minimize maintenance. They also form the blueprint for a sustainable building standard to be used in all future residential and commercial retrofits and new construction on the reserve.

The houses are designed to maximize the use of natural passive energy. For instance, the south facing orientation absorbs passive solar heat while cross ventilation and shading provide natural cooling. As well, increased insulation and air sealing helps these homes use minimal energy.

Building relationships brings success

At the beginning stages of this project, the biggest challenge faced by the Penticton Indian Band was budget. But with financial assistance through SENC and PowerSense programs for the incremental cost of the energy efficiency upgrades, they were able to break ground and build the units. “Without the funding we wouldn’t have been able to proceed,” says Tabitha Eneas, housing manager with the Penticton Indian Band. Another challenge was overcoming the perception that a home has to have a basement, master bedroom and master bathroom. But with the clear long term benefits of the simple, efficient design of these homes far outweighing the cosmetic issue, the community quickly embraced this new way of thinking. “The Penticton Indian Band community was extremely excited about taking the building envelope and mechanical components to a new level,” states Eneas. “The support received from the Chief and Council, administration and community as a whole was unanimous.”

An abundance of super-efficient features

Of the eight new houses, seven are built to an EnerGuide 88 efficiency standard and one is built to Passive House certification standard. One of the EnerGuide 88 homes is also LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certified.

Energy-efficient features of the EnerGuide 88 homes include:

  • southern orientation to take advantage of solar heat gain
  • SIP walls and roof
  • heat recovery ventilation
  • triple pane windows
  • air to water and air to air heat pumps (inverter) to provide space heating and domestic hot water
  • cool roof
  • shading screens
  • ENERGY STAR® appliances
  • ENERGY STAR lamps (LED and CFL)
  • switchable electrical receptacles

Energy-efficient features of the Passive House certified home:

  • southern orientation to take advantage of solar heat gain
  • double wall 2x4
  • heat recovery ventilation (HRV) – PH certified
  • triple pane windows – PH certified
  • auxiliary heating element added to HRV, domestic hot water supplied by air to air heat pump
  • cool roof
  • shading screens
  • ENERGY STAR appliances
  • ENERGY STAR lamps (LED and CFL)
  • switchable electrical receptacles

“These new homes are going to be a great benefit,” says Eneas. “With our growing need for housing and desire to get involved with more sustainable and efficient building, this project was a natural fit for the Penticton Indian Band.”

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