New home built for the future

Mike Legge owns the house of the future.

Mike Legge and his dog Chester will soon be moving into their BuiltGreen Platinum house in mid-June. The house

Mike Legge and his dog Chester will soon be moving into their BuiltGreen Platinum house in mid-June. The house

Mike Legge owns the house of the future.

It will adjust itself to ensure airflow is even throughout the 2,200-square-foot floor plan. It will alter the flow of warm water to ensure the heated floor is completely homogenous for temperature. Its passive solar design will keep the hot summer sun out and take in the more welcome winter rays.

The living space – that is, floor level to six feet or so where human beings travel – will be immaculately comfortable with no fluctuations in humidity or temperature.

The house will record the outside weather and advise the 36 built-in sensors inside how to compensate.

Through an iDus Controls water system, grey water from the shower, bath, laundry and kitchen are directed to the toilets before being flushed away, saving at least 40 per cent in water use, while the rest of the house will see an annual energy savings of at least 80 per cent.

Incredibly, it’s all run through two Google Androids, allowing Legge more time to cultivate his beautiful and lush property situated by the Millstone River, or throw a ball for his dog Chester.

“It’s exactly what I envisioned when we drew up the plans,” said Legge, who approached B. Gallant Homes more than 18 months ago to build a house that met BuiltGreen platinum standards.

His home rates an 83 on the EnergyGuide scale, one of the most efficient homes anywhere, and was built in a leisurely 12 months.

“It’s an investment. My thinking was, if we have the ability to do this and it isn’t that much more expensive, if at all, then why wouldn’t we do it and save money in the long run,” said Legge, a retired physician.

Despite the high-tech systems, the build cost was only slightly more on average per square foot than a normal build, coming in at around $171 per square foot ($154 per square foot not including the basement, which won’t be finished). An average build per square foot is about $130 to $140, according to Steve Strenja of B. Gallant Homes.

“We build all of our homes to a gold standard minimum,” said Strenja. “And we have built three other homes to a platinum standard. To reach 83 points on this house we focused on water, energy use and indoor air quality and we learned a few things on this project that we now have a template for.”

Part of the learning process was to use Structural Insulated Panels for the walls instead of Insulated Concrete Forms, which the building team found worked better for below grade walls.

SIP technology, which was used in the roof for Legge’s house, offers plenty of benefits over traditional stick-framed and batt insulation construction, including time savings (about 50 per cent faster), superior energy efficiency and a tighter envelope with a stronger build result.

Mat Hallam-Eames of Qmata Technologies Inc.,which installed the house’s energy systems, said the SIP panels and energy systems all work together to maximize the structure’s efficiency.

“From the construction to the interior systems and the passive solar features, they all work together to make the house as energy efficient as possible while making the habitable space as comfortable as possible. This house is the future of home building,” said Hallam-Eames.

Darrin Boyko of SIPerior Panelworks echoed that statement, saying that as soon as next year, building codes will start making strides toward requiring smarter, stronger and more efficient builds.

“It’s hard for people to wrap their heads around it right now because to make a house more efficient, a homeowner has to pay $10,000 or whatever the amount to add a feature that will improve efficiency. But the payback only comes back in small amounts over a long period of time so it’s not attractive,” he said. “What this house is doing is integrating all of these features into the build right from the start at a reasonable price and the repayment comes in the form of significantly reduced energy bills.”

Boyko added that for most people owning a home, they look at the most significant cost – the mortgage. With energy prices set to soar, how efficient a home is will soon dictate if it’s affordable as much mortgage rates, which are relatively stable.

For Legge, he takes comfort knowing that his dream home will use less energy, leaving more in the future for his four children and five grandchildren, and that the systems he has installed will actually pay him back over time instead of stealing money from his wallet.

“The proof is in the pudding,” he said. “We’ll know just how efficient it is once I’ve been here a year or so.”

Legge plans to move in mid-June, but has agreed to allow the public to take a look before that. The house is on the Regional District of Nanaimo’s Sustainable Buildings Tour, which takes place June 12 from 2-4 p.m. (register at www.rdn.bc.ca).

A public tour is also available on June 12 from noon to 2 p.m., with builders on-hand to answer questions and point out features. Interested members of the public can also stop by June 11 from noon to 4 p.m. for a tour by B. Gallant Homes representatives.

Just Posted

Robin Dutton, left, and Peter Sinclair are taking their mountain bikes and travelling down trails in the Mount Benson area June 19 as part of a 24-hour fundraiser benefiting Loaves and Fishes Community Food Bank. (Karl Yu/News Bulletin)
Full-day mountain bike fundraiser gives financial support for Nanaimo food bank

Event part of Loaves and Fishes Community Food Bank’s Food 4 Summer campaign

According to a staff report, Regional District of Nanaimo has seen some $13.6 million in grant applications approved between Jan. 1 and May 15. (News Bulletin file)
Close to $14 million in money granted to RDN in first half of year

Successful grants include more than $4 million for transit service in Regional District of Nanaimo

A section of the rail corridor on Vancouver Island. (Black Press file photo)
LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Put rail trail right overtop of the tracks

Removing tracks would be a horrendous expense, says letter writer

District of Lantzville Mayor Mark Swain, left, and Snaw-Naw-As Chief Gordon Edwards sign a memorandum of understanding outside Snaw-Naw-As Market on Friday, June 18. (Greg Sakaki/News Bulletin)
Lantzville and Snaw-Naw-As sign memorandum of understanding

District and First Nation create joint working group

Things are looking up for Vancouver Island as zero COVID-19 cases have been reported for the first time since October. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Island records zero new COVID-19 cases for the first time since October

For the first time since October, the province is reporting zero new… Continue reading

Marco Mendicino, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship during a press conference in Ottawa on Thursday, May 13, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Canada to welcome 45,000 refugees this year, says immigration minister

Canada plans to increase persons admitted from 23,500 to 45,000 and expedite permanent residency applications

Emily Steele holds up a collage of her son, 16-year-old Elijah-Iain Beauregard who was stabbed and killed in June 2019, outside of Kelowna Law Courts on June 18. (Aaron Hemens/Capital News)
Kelowna woman who fatally stabbed teen facing up to 1.5 years of jail time

Her jail sentence would be followed by an additional one to 1.5 years of supervision

Cpl. Scott MacLeod and Police Service Dog Jago. Jago was killed in the line of duty on Thursday, June 17. (RCMP)
Abbotsford police, RCMP grieve 4-year-old service dog killed in line of duty

Jago killed by armed suspect during ‘high-risk’ incident in Alberta

The George Road wildfire near Lytton, B.C., has grown to 250 hectares. (BC Wildfire Service)
B.C. drone sighting halts helicopters fighting 250 hectares of wildfire

‘If a drone collides with firefighting aircraft the consequences could be deadly,’ says BC Wildfire Service

A dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is pictured at a vaccination site in Vancouver Thursday, March 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
NACI advice to mix vaccines gets varied reaction from AstraZeneca double-dosers

NACI recommends an mRNA vaccine for all Canadians receiving a second dose of a COVID-19 vaccine

A aerial view shows the debris going into Quesnel Lake caused by a tailings pond breach near the town of Likely, B.C., Tuesday, Aug. 5, 2014. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Updated tailings code after Mount Polley an improvement: B.C. mines auditor

British Columbia’s chief auditor of mines has found changes to the province’s requirements for tailings storage facilities

A North Vancouver man was arrested Friday and three police officers were injured after a 10-person broke out at English Bay on June 19, 2021. (Youtube/Screen grab)
Man arrested, 3 police injured during 10-person brawl at Vancouver beach

The arrest was captured on video by bystanders, many of whom heckled the officers as they struggled with the handcuffed man

Bruce Springsteen performs at the 13th annual Stand Up For Heroes benefit concert in support of the Bob Woodruff Foundation in New York on Nov. 4, 2019. (Greg Allen/Invision/AP)
Canadians who got AstraZeneca shot can now see ‘Springsteen on Broadway’

B.C. mayor David Screech who received his second AstraZeneca dose last week can now attend the show

Most Read