The Yukon's first LEED certified home was born of new city policies designed to develop people-friendly neighbourhoods. Unused city land between large lots was re-zoned to allow for new housing that promoted community engagement.
New zoning regulations for these more modestly sized lots included maximum setbacks to keep homes closer to the street, garages set back rather than being prominent features on the front of the house, and homes needed to have front porches.
These simple measures go a long way to encouraging engagement with your neighbours and creating vibrant interactive communities.
This traditional looking house is modest in size, each side of this duplex is 960 square feet with two bedrooms and an unfinished basement. Like all semi-detached duplexes, a shared wall significantly reduces heat loss and on top of that this home has walls insulated to R-60 and the ceiling to R-100.
Hyper-insulating a home will add cost of course, up until a certain point. With such extreme insulation, builder Forest Pearson was able to avoid the cost of installing a furnace and ductwork, instead opting for a modest amount of baseboard heaters - not our favorite as baseboard heaters can be noisy, but if fixed they can be a reasonable choice for zone heating. So the cost to build this home actually came in under market rates for a comparable sized home.
After a year of occupancy, what's really impressive is that this home ended up using 30% less energy than modelling predicted. With an average annual heating bill of about $500 in one of the coldest parts of our country, heating costs are approximately 75% less than the average Yukon home.
More statistics and features included in this home:
- Double stud walls with no thermal bridging
- Greywater heat recovery system
- Electric baseboard heaters (98% of Yukon electricity is renewable)
- Heating costs are 50% lower than an R2000 home
Results like we are seeing here go a long way to dispelling the myth that building green homes costs more. And as news spreads of how little it cost to build and how little it costs to operate, we may soon hear of more LEED homes in the Yukon.
© Forest Pearson