Navigate Up
Sign In

MYTH: building an efficient home costs more

Structural insulated panes and insulated concrete forms save time and money

When it comes to building energy efficient homes, there’s a perception that they cost too much money to build. But one Kelowna builder has debunked that myth.

Motivated by passion for the environment, builder/developer Chris Freer and his partner Jon Jenion of Mountain Woodworks took a risk on the construction of an energy efficient spec home and it paid off.  “We knew that in this competitive housing market we had to be a little bit different, and we proved that you don’t have to break your budget to build a healthy, comfortable, energy efficient home,” says Freer.

Looking at the house as a system along with careful planning was key to Freer’s success. Instead of a traditional foundation with stick framing, he used structural insulated panels (SIP) on top of insulated concrete forms (ICF). “Using this method the house went up three times faster and that saved on financing interest costs, as well as labour costs down the road,” says Freer.

Using an air source heat pump as the primary space heating system and a high-efficiency natural gas furnace for back-up, the house achieved an EnerGuide® rating of 83 and Freer was eligible for $2,000 in incentives through FortisBC’s New Home Program.  For Freer, it’s about making an effort to be a bit kinder to the planet in your own neighbourhood.

Using the old adage, if you build it they will come, Freer knew that a buyer for his home was out there. “I think the public is coming around to energy efficiency. You can see where people are educating themselves about it and with the cost of energy; it’s one of the first things people ask about now as opposed to the last.” 

Freer sold the house on the third offer and the homeowners are thrilled with having a beautiful new home that’s energy efficient, comfortable and more affordable to operate than similar new homes.

Talk to the experts at FortisBC before you break ground on your next project.  They’ll help you create new homes that take less energy to operate and are more comfortable places to live.

* EnerGuide is the labeling system of Natural Resources Canada that rates the efficiency of products such as appliances, heating and cooling systems and buildings. For new homes a rating of between 80 and 90 for is considered excellent in terms of energy efficiency.