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  • Key Features

    n Highly insulated building envelope

    n Extensive use of local, recycled and

    renewable materials

    n Predicted net-zero energy

    consumption

    n Hydronic air-handling space-heating

    and ventilation system

    n 75 per cent waste diversion from

    landfill

    Project Profile:Inspiration: The Minto ecohomeOttawa, Ontario

    Figure 1Photo of Inspiration

    This Project Profile highlights InspirationThe Minto ecohome, one of the winning entries in the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) EQuilibriumTM Sustainable Housing DemonstrationInitiative a national initiative to design, build and demonstrate sustainable homes throughout Canada.1

    1 For more information on this initiative and the various EQuilibriumTM projects, visit the CMHC website (www.cmhc.ca) and type the search keyword EQuilibrium.

    Project Description InspirationThe Minto ecohome is anew, two-storey, 218.5 m2 (2,352 sq. ft.)detached home located in theManotick area of Ottawa. It is part ofa planned community that will includehousing, schools, small commercialestablishments, parks and a significant woodlot.

    The goal of the builderdeveloper,Minto Group Inc., is an affordable,sustainable house that, on an annualbasis, will produce as much energy asit consumesa net-zero energy home.The household energy requirementsare estimated to be only 26 per cent of the requirements for the averageCanadian home. On-site renewable

    energy production is from passive solardesign, active solar space and waterheating, and a photovoltaic (PV) array.

    The design is a simple, open conceptwith living and dining room areas,kitchen, laundry/mud room, powderroom and multiple-use room on themain level. There are three bedroomsand two bathrooms on the second

  • floor and the undeveloped attic areacould accommodate two additionalbedrooms or serve a variety of otherpurposes. Flex space in the basementallows for future development, such asan additional three rooms. The keyapproach to this sustainable design is astrong, durable structure that canadapt to meet the changing needs ofthe occupants throughout the life ofthe house.

    During the first year of occupancy, theenergy generation as well as energy andwater consumption will be monitoredto assess the buildings performance.

    Occupant Health andComfor tStarting at the construction stage,a number of strategies wereimplemented to improve indoor airquality and occupant health in thehome. Construction and finishingmaterials were carefully chosen toreduce indoor air contaminants. For example, mix-onsite drywallcompound was used as it has lowervolatile organic compounds (VOC)content than the typical pre-mixedcompound. Renewable bamboo andceramic tile flooring was installed to

    decrease potential off-gassing fromflooring products.

    Substantial south-facing windowssupply plenty of daylight to the activeliving areas (for example, kitchen,living room), reducing the need forartificial lighting. As a safety feature,operable transom windows on themain floor allow the occupants toventilate with fresh air while offeringthe security associated with having thelarger main level windows closed. Theenergy-efficient building envelope,which includes triple-pane, low-e,argon-filled windows ensures a

    2 Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation

    CMHC EQui l ibr iumTM Susta inable Hous ing Demonstr at ion In i t ia t ive : Pro ject Profi le Insp irat ion: The Minto ecohome

    Figure 2Energy profile: Comparison of Canadian National Average,1 R-2000 Home2 and predictedInspirationThe Minto ecohome (MEH)3 annual residential energy consumption and production

  • comfortable interior temperature andimproved noise control. A heatrecovery ventilator (HRV) system,which includes a solar air heating uniton the south facade of the house,provides the appropriate level ofventilation air exchange required in anairtight home and ensures that properhumidity levels are continuouslymaintained. A filtration system isinstalled on the incoming well water.

    Energy EfficiencyA variety of strategies are used toreduce energy requirements. Thehouse is positioned on a corner lot andoriented to ensure good southernexposure and solar gain. The buildingenvelope employs an airtight, highlyinsulated double-wall constructionthat includes rigid insulationsandwiched between two stud walls,each containing fibreglass battinsulation, as well as strategicallyplaced energy-efficient windows. Theconcrete basement floor andfoundation are insulated with rigidextruded polystyrene. The ceiling isinsulated with a combination of soy-based foam and blown-in cellulose.Energy-efficient ENERGY STAR

    appliances (for example the refrigeratorand clothes washer) and compactfluorescent lighting reduce electricalrequirements in the home.

    Renewable EnergyProduction To minimize purchased energy costs,Inspirationthe Minto ecohomeincorporates active solar hydronicspace and water heating and solarphotovoltaic (PV) power generation.Direct-gain, south-facing windowsprovide passive solar space heating.

    An active solar heating system is theprimary source for both space andwater heating in the house. The eight-collector, 3.0 m2 (32.3 sq. ft.) roof-mounted solar array is on the south-facing roof at the optimal angle of 45 degrees. Heat from the array isstored in a 454 L (100 U.K. gal.)storage tank in the basement. Asecondary storage tank, also 454 L,will assist in handling winter eveningheating loads. Backup capacity forspace and water heating is provided bya Buderus gas boiler with an AFUErating of 98 per cent.2 The solar-heatedwater is circulated through a hydronicair handler with a high-efficiency,electronically commutated motor(ECM). The hydronic air handlertransfers heat from this hot water toair, which in turn is distributedthroughout the home via ductwork.The HRV is integrated with thehydronic air handler, utilizing thesame ductwork.

    The roof also supports a 30-module, 6.2 kW grid-connected PV system thatis predicted to generate 8,166 kWh ofelectricity per year. This is thepredicted equivalent of all of theelectricity requirements of the house onan annual basis. All of the electricitygenerated by the PV system will be feddirectly to the grid, for which the ownerwill receive a credit of $0.42/kWh fromthe utility. This credit will be appliedto electricity purchased from the grid foruse in the home. At this time, the costof electricity for the residential consumeris much lower than $0.42/kWh.

    The clustered kitchen, laundry andbathrooms enabled the installation of a Power-PipeTM, a device that capturesheat which would otherwise escapedown the drain and directs thecaptured heat into the hot waterheating system.

    Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation 3

    CMHC EQui l ibr iumTM Susta inable Hous ing Demonstr at ion In i t ia t ive : Pro ject Profi le Insp irat ion: The Minto ecohome

    2 The AFUE (Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency), developed by the U.S. Department of Energy, measures the amount of heat actually delivered to a house by the deviceas a percentage of the total energy consumed by the device. For example, a furnace that has an 80% AFUE rating converts 80% of its fuel supplied to heattheother 20% is lost.

  • 4 Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation

    CMHC EQui l ibr iumTM Susta inable Hous ing Demonstr at ion In i t ia t ive : Pro ject Profi le Insp irat ion: The Minto ecohome

    Figure 3Main floor plan of InspirationThe Minto ecohome

    DECK

    10 985mm [36]

    EATINGSLATE TILE KITCHEN

    SLATE TILE

    LAUNDRY/MUD ROOM

    LINOLEUM TILE

    13 7

    25m

    m

    [45]

    GARAGECONCRETE

    FLEX ROOMBAMBOO 1

    1 7

    45m

    m

    [38-6 1

    /2]

    DOWN

    UP

    SLATE

    TILE

    SLATETILE

    DE

    CK

    GREAT ROOMSLATE TILE

    ENTRYOPEN TO ABOVE

    OPEN TO ABOVE

    LOW WALL

    HARDWOOD

    RAILING

    DESK

    PANTRY

    MW

    W D

    PORCH

    DW

  • Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation 5

    CMHC EQui l ibr iumTM Susta inable Hous ing Demonstr at ion In i t ia t ive : Pro ject Profi le Insp irat ion: The Minto ecohome

    DOWN

    OPEN TO BELOW

    SLOPEDCEILING

    WIC

    MASTERBEDROOM

    BAMBOO

    HALLBAMBOO

    RAILING

    BEDROOM 3BAMBOO OPEN TO

    BELOW

    LOW WALL

    DESK

    SLOPEDCEILING

    BEDROOM 2BAMBOO

    OPEN TO

    BELOW

    RA

    ILIN

    G

    10 985mm [36]

    11 6

    15m

    m

    [3

    8-1

    ]

    ENSUITESLATE TILE

    BATHROOMSLATE TILE

    Figure 4Second floor plan of InspirationThe Minto ecohome

    MECHANICAL

    ROOM

    UNEXCAVATED

    FUTURE

    BEDROOM

    UNEXCAVATED

    FUTURE

    BEDROOM

    STORAGE

    FUTURE

    BEDROOM

    UP

    LINOLEUM TILE

    WELLEXPANSION

    TANK

    HRV(Ceiling

    Mounted)

    SUMPPIT WALL

    HUNGBOILER

    RAINWATERTANKDRAIN WATER

    HEATRECOVERY

    HWT2HWT2FURNACE

    Figure 5Basement floor plan of InspirationThe Minto ecohome

  • Resource ConservationEffective conservation of naturalresources is an important focus of theInspiration project. Drywall and metalproducts with high recycled contentminimized the amount of new materialused. Rapidly growing bamboo wasused in place of traditional hardwoodflooring, and finger-jointed studs wereused for both non-load bearing andload bearing walls, reducing the impactof wood-frame construction on forests.Local sources for renewable materialswere given preference in construction.

    Pre-engineered floor and roof trusseswere used to reduce the amount ofmaterial needed for construction.Strategically located load-bearing wallsallow the home to efficiently adapt as the needs of the occupants changeover time. For example,

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