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Your 'Home of Tomorrow' is available today

February 3, 2017


In the market for a new home? There’s a lot to consider, so it’s little wonder energy-efficiency can fall behind the more tangible finishing features like flooring and kitchen design. And while these are important, a project in Kelowna set out to show just how much of a difference energy-efficient features can make—and the early results are impressive.

In a unique, three-year research project called the Wilden Living Lab, local industry and post-secondary institutions worked together to build two identical homes side-by-side. One is built to today's building codes and standards. The second, called Home of Tomorrow, incorporates energy-efficiency features that go beyond today's codes, in particular, with the building envelope or ‘shell’.

According to the initial EnerGuide® test, the national standard for testing a home’s energy efficiency, the Home of Tomorrow is 53 per cent more efficient than a home built to today’s building code. That means it’s expected to use only 47 gigajoules of energy per year compared to a typical new Canadian home of today which uses, on average, 99 gigajoules per year:


Many of the energy-efficient components in the Home of Tomorrow are readily available, but having them all in one place is rare. And having the opportunity to compare the energy performance side-by-side with an identical house, is even more unique. This will allow researchers to analyse the energy performance of both homes over three years under normal living conditions using data made possible by FortisBC’s advanced meter infrastructure, a project completed last year.

For future new home buyers, this information may help them make more informed decisions about energy-saving components.

But what about people who are buying a new home today? Well, with the introduction of the ENERGY STAR® for New Homes standard from Natural Resources Canada, it’s become easier than ever to identify energy-efficient homes.

An ENERGY STAR new home is a minimum of 20 per cent more efficient than code. All Wilden show homes will be built to this standard. FortisBC also supports this program by providing builders and developers with a $2,000 rebate through our New Home Program.

Here’s a look at some of the energy-efficiency features in the Home of Tomorrow and available to savvy new home buyers of today:

Feature Energy saving compenent
  • ENERGY STAR®  triple-glazed windows with Low E coating
  • reflects the interior temperatures back inside, keeping the room warm or cold
  • Insulated Concrete Forms (ICFs)
  • modular forms made from expanded polystyrene and assembled on site
  • continuous insulation form a more complete seal with no insulation
  • Connect Insulation Panels (CIPs)
  • stops air leaks, moisture and mould
  • attaches directly to framing members, no exterior sheathing required
  • higher truss height
  • improved ceiling insulation
Heating system
  • geothermal heating
  • uses the ground’s heating and cooling properties
  • an electric heat pump and compressor moves heated or cooled air throughout the home
  • Heat Recovery Ventilation (HRV)
  • introduces fresh air without losing conditioned air to reduce heating and cooling requirements
Water heating
  • ENERGY STAR heat pump water heater
  • captures warmth from a home’s ambient air and uses it to heat the domestic water
  • up to 200 per cent efficient, a family could save about $142* a year over a standard electric storage tank.
  • eligible models qualify for a $1,000 rebate
  • ENERGY STAR light bulbs and fixtures
  • ENERGY STAR certified LED bulbs use up to 80 per cent less power and last about 15 times longer** than incandescent bulbs
  • EnerChoice® natural gas fireplace
  • the most efficient natural gas hearth product available in BC
  • heats just the room you’re in — instead of the whole house
  • has no standing pilot
  • eligible models qualify for a $300 rebate
Cooking appliances
  • induction range and convection oven
  • stovetop relies on an electromagnet to heat iron or steel cookware
  • heats up and cooks faster, stays cool with no wasted heat
  • ENERGY STAR certified dishwashers are 12 per cent more efficient than models that meet the federal minimum standard**
Clothes dryer
  • ENERGY STAR heat pump dryer uses 20 to 60 per cent less energy than conventional models**
  • removes moisture through condensation, rather than venting it and losing heat
  • eligible models qualify for a $100 rebate
Clothes washer
  • ENERGY STAR certified clothes washers are 25 per cent more efficient than standard models**
  • greater tub capacity for larger, fewer loads
  • eligible models qualify for a $50 or $100 rebate
  • ENERGY STAR certified refrigerators are 10 to 20 per cent more efficient than standard models**
  • interior LED lighting is cooler than an incandescent bulb
  • eligible models qualify for a $50 or $100 rebate
Taps and nozzles
  • water-efficient faucets and showerheads
  • reduces water waste and water heating requirements
Power generation
  • solar voltaic panels
  • expected to generate about 10 gigajoules of energy per year which will  offset about 18 per cent of the Home of Tomorrow’s expected annual energy use***

*Savings of 1,100 KWh per year as calculated from FortisBC Regional Technical Forum HPWH Worksheet. Savings are based on a four person household in the Southern Interior using a blended January 2017 FortisBC electricity rate of $0.12955 per KWh.
*** Source: EnerGuide Homeowner Information Sheet, November 14, 2016 Total Home Solutions, Kelowna, BC. Note: For a new home built to today’s building code, this would be equivalent to approximately 10 per cent of a home’s energy use.
This pioneering initiative is collaboration by Wilden developer Blenk Development Corp, AuthenTech Homes, UBC Okanagan, Okanagan College and FortisBC.

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