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First new homes in B.C.’s Super Efficient New Construction program near completion

April 12, 2013 - Eight single-family residences on the Penticton Indian Band reserve—boasting some of the most advanced standards of energy efficiency ever achieved in B.C.’s Okanagan Valley—are near completion, as part of the Super Efficient New Construction (SENC) program.


April 12, 2013
By Alyssa Dalton

The $1-million initiative, led by the Ministry of Energy, Mines and Natural Gas and co-managed by FortisBC, promotes the construction of homes that are super-efficient, and make use of passive solar design, superior envelope construction, and the use of high-efficiency appliances.

The SENC program provided $225,000 towards the capital costs of construction for eight residences to achieve the energy efficiency requirements required by the program. Six of the homes are built to EnerGuide 88 efficiency standards and one home is LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certified. A final home, when complete, will be built to the European Passivhaus certification standard.

“We are proud to fund projects like this one,” said Bill Barisoff, MLA for Penticton. “Our investment will use new energy efficient building design and construction techniques so these homes will use less energy, save money for the Penticton Indian Band and demonstrate what can be achieved by other B.C. communities.”

According to FortisBC, the houses have been designed to maximize the use of natural passive energy; for example, facing south to absorb passive solar heat and using cross ventilation and shading to provide cooling. Increased insulation and air sealing will also help these homes use minimal energy. The homes also feature air source heat pumps, heat recovery ventilators, and LED lighting. The Passivhaus includes roof top active solar systems sponsored by SolarBC.

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When complete, members of the Penticton Indian Band will make these residences their new home.

“These new homes are going to be a great benefit,” said Tabitha Eneas, housing manager with the Penticton Indian Band. “With our growing need for housing and desire to get involved with more sustainable and efficient building, this project was a natural fit for the Penticton Indian Band.”

Boasting a long-standing energy-efficiency commitment, FortisBC reviewed and recommended projects for SENC funding, established contracts with the successful proponents, and participated in technical reviews of submissions.

“FortisBC’s involvement in the Super Efficient New Construction program is an extension of our experience with energy efficiency building,” said Doug Stout, VP energy solutions and external relations for FortisBC. “Homes that are using the most advanced techniques in sustainable design and construction, such as the homes being built under SENC, show us that a mix of natural gas and electricity can be part of an energy efficient home.”

Five other residential building projects are underway as part of the SENC program in communities across the province including Dawson Creek, Nelson, Vancouver, and Victoria. These homes are also being built with similar energy efficient standards and features.