In 2015 Boychuk House was built in Esquimalt, BC just off the Gorge Waterway; this house was built as a demonstration project, to show the kind of energy savings that can be achieved utilizing double wall construction technology. The house has R-32 insulation in the walls, an insulated concrete foundation R-20, R-20 rigid Styrofoam insulation under the basement slab, triple glazed windows and R-50 insulation in the ceilings.
One of the keys to the high-energy efficiency of the double wall system is an integral air vapour barrier. The independent interior wall, inside the R-32 insulation and the sealed vapour barrier, provides a conduit for all the electrical, plumbing and mechanical systems to all be inside the vapour barrier, with limited protrusions through the vapour barrier. This principle of construction is true throughout the construction of the house – from the insulated concrete foundation, the exterior walls to the ceilings and roof system. It is this integral air vapour barrier and the increased insulation values that create the high level of energy efficiency.
The house has a high volume air-to-air heat exchanger, which provides pre-heated fresh air from outside into the house while exhausting inside air. The air-to-air heat exchanger is 75% efficient so the heat loss in providing a complete exchange of the air in the house daily ensures excellent air quality with minimum energy loss.
Freshwater ecosystems are among the most vulnerable when it comes to the effects of climate change. Under current projections, most freshwater ecosystems globally will face ecologically significant impacts by the middle of this century. North America and in particular Canada uses fresh drinking water to flush toilets, in most of Europe and many developing countries this waste of freshwater would be intolerable
The house has a 1000 gallons of rainwater collection and a 1000 gallons of grey water collection, the showers and tubs are plumbed to drain into the grey water collection tank, The two tanks are combined through an independent pressure and filtration system and provide the water for flushing all the toilets and outside water usage.
The BC Hydro Power Smart program wrote an article on the construction of the house for their newsletter; click here to read the article.
To date 38 people have toured the house and benefited from an introduction to a technology and building methodology that can help them to reduce energy consumption and save money.
The average monthly electricity consumption for Boychuk House over the past year has been 548 kWh per month.
The average electricity consumption for a household in BC is 900 kWh per month according to BC Hydro, however this number can be misleading as in the colder winter months an electrically heated house can consume 5 to 6 times the average of 900 kWh and the increased consumption will be at the Step 2 of the Residential Conservation rate.
Boychuk House is wired as a Smart House, which allows for programmable keypads at locations where conventional switches would be placed. Lights can to grouped into logical sequences and programmed to come on together and at a determined level of brightness. All the light bulbs are low wattage LED with a 10 to 20 year lifetime. The lighting in the house is controlled by a Lutron wireless system which can be programmed and controlled using a Smart phone, I pad or similar devise.
The monthly natural gas consumption for Boychuk House over the past year has been 3.8 GJ
The average consumption of natural gas per household in BC is 8 GJ per month, as with electricity the level of gas consumption during the cold winter months can be 5 to 6 times as great as the monthly average of 8 GJ.
Natural gas consumption is the major utility cost of Boychuk House. The heating system is a Navicom boiler, which provides the heat for the in floor heating system on all three floors, and also provide on demand domestic hot water. The heating system has 10 different zones to provide the ability to regulate differing heating levels in different areas of the house. The domestic hot water component of the system has a recirculating pump, which has a memory capacity which over a 2 week period learns the DHW usage in the house and activates the system to provide hot water anywhere in the house within a couple of seconds, again insuring ease and comfort of use with energy conservation at the forefront of the system. Natural Gas is also used for cooking and an exterior BBQ.
The yearly consumption of water for Boychuk House is 4050 cubic feet of water.
Water consumption per household in the Capital Regional District is 234 cubic meters or 8,298 cubic feet per household. Water consumption is based on a single tiered system, the more used the more you pay; there is no additional cost for greater consumption as there is for both electricity and gas. Sewer charge is directly linked to water consumption and is slightly less than a one to one ratio. Again the more water used the greater the sewer charge. Water and sewer charges raise significantly during the summer months with increased water consumption.
Over half of the water consumption in the average household is directly attributed to flushing of toilets and this percentage increases with an increase in the number of people living in the house. The water collection and recycling system in Boychuk House is the first of its kind in the Capital Regional District of Greater Victoria, BC.
Boychuk house has 3003 square feet of living space, 9 foot ceiling on the main floor and a 19-foot cathedral ceiling over the kitchen and dining area, which increased the volume of air to be heated in the house. There is a self-contained one-bedroom suite in the basement with its own air-to-air heat exchanger, separate from the main house air system. The combined utility costs, electric, gas, water, sewer, at current rates average out to less than $100 per month, with 4 adults living in the house.