Friday, October 5, 2012

Money Sense Magazine taking a Tour of a Passive House in Toronto

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Interview with Reiner Hoyer about his Passive House in Money Sense Magazine

The home energy makeover

Want to slash your monthly bills in half? These simple improvements will save you thousands on electricity, gas and water.
By Mark Brown | From MoneySense MagazineSeptember/October 2012
Tags:  Passive House
Thumbnail Image
This article was first published in theSeptember/October 2012 issue of MoneySense.
Current issue:

We Recommend

Two years ago Reiner Hoyer lived in a squat 1950s-style bungalow in the north end of Toronto. Like most houses of that era, it was drafty, poorly insulated and cost a fortune to heat and cool each year. Today the bungalow has been transformed into a two-storey home, complete with three large bedrooms, hardwood floors and a basement apartment. But despite more than tripling the size of his home, Hoyer’s utility bills are about $1,200 for the year, a third of what he spent on his old bungalow, and less than half the national average.
Hoyer, a renovation consultant, took advantage of the latest energy-saving technology to dramatically lower the cost of living in his home. He doesn’t even have a furnace: triple-paned windows, super-insulated walls and solar panels are some of the features that keep his house comfortable year round. Hoyer also cut his water bill by installing a rainwater cistern in his backyard to supply his toilets. Not only is his home one of a kind, it’s one of the most energy-efficient homes in the country.
The average homeowner spends $2,234 a year on water, gas and electricity, costs that are likely to rise as we run out of cheap energy and our power grid starts showing its age. While Hoyer may have gone to extremes, there are many cheap and easy upgrades regular homeowners can do to reduce monthly expenses. In the pages that follow, you’ll visit our energy-efficient house, where we cost out exactly how much you’ll save for each home improvement. We hope you’ll get some ideas you can put into practice. Not only will you start seeing a payback almost immediately, you’ll also add to the long-term value of your home.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Bathroom Design

Wood Bathtubs are a luxury all on their own and can give any home, hotel or spa a very special talked about feature. The home spa is coming more and more into style as the baby boomer generation begins to retire. Affluent couples are looking towards luxury goods that they can have in their own home and use on a day to day basis. Wooden tubs can be a stunning feature. Numerous specialty companies are begining to make wood and/or solid stone tubs that embody the curves of the human form or the organic lines of nature making the spa experience more relaxing, gentler and bringing the user closer to nature in the comfort of a controlled environment.

Bagno Sasso Leaf shaped Bathtub
Bagno Sasso Leaf shaped Bathtub
Laguna Spa Bathtub
Laguna Spa Bathtub
WS Collections classic wood bathtub
WS Collections classic wood bathtub
Bagno Sasso Bathroom
Bagno Sasso Bathroom

Great Landscaping finishes the House

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Today our rainwater system went live for first time

After a lots of hard work our 5000 liter Rainwater sister is connected to the garden and Toilet water in the house on the hottest day of the year.
With the weekend rain storm half the tank is full of Free Rain water.
Only the man hole cover is visible above ground rest of                                                             5000 liter tank is under ground as much as 8'

5000 liter tank before under ground installation

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Marketplace catching the crocked repair contractors

You need to Watch this it wall turn your stomach inside out
the shocking truth about repair contractors.
Your morning Coffee will never be the same

Friday, January 13, 2012

Passive house heats itself by Steve Maxwell

It’s -5ºC outside and Reiner Hoyer’s new house is 26ºC inside. That’s too hot, but it’s not because the heat is cranked up too high. In fact, the heat isn’t on at all. The only thing overheating the place are the tools and lights used by tradespeople working on the final construction details before Hoyer and his wife, Melanie, move in.
Reiner has 30 years experience as a contractor; he’s won awards for his work. But this house is something he’s built for himself. It’s one of Canada’s first ‘passive houses’ and it shows just how far we can get towards the ideal of comfort and efficiency. The fact that red tape almost prevented this building from going up also proves that technology isn’t the main limiting factor to creating truly green homes, though fancy technology is certainly part of the equation.
The term Passive House ( means something specific. It uses efficient building shape, solar exposure, superinsulation, advanced windows, leading-edge ventilation and other technical features to create structures that require little or no energy inputs from conventional heating or cooling systems. There are 25,000 Passive Houses in Europe, though the idea is so new in Canada that it sometimes makes the approval process slow and frustrating. Hoyer’s project came within a hair’s breadth of being called off because of the difficulty of satisfying municipal building officials.
While government definitely needs to be a watchdog over how homes are built, given the challenges we face, many municipalities also need a streamlined technical assessment process that allows new and worthy building materials and methods to be used with minimal hassles.
So what’s the technical wizardry behind the fact that the Hoyer’s home gets so warm from only incidental heat production? First of all, wall insulation is foam-based, not batt-style. Foam insulation delivers better real-world efficiencies, as well as retaining superior performance over the long haul. Hoyer’s north-facing walls are R70 structural insulated panels (SIPs), and all other walls R60. The roof boasts R90 worth of blown-in cellulose insulation from recycled, post-consumer feedstock.
Perhaps the single biggest efficiency feature is how tight this house is. Blower door testing confirmed 0.27 air changes per hour (ACH), which is about 11 times tighter than even the upgraded building code requirements beginning to emerge across Canada. Part of this is because of SIPs construction, as well as the unique spray foam system used in the basement. All basement walls, and even the floors, are surrounded by a layer of site-sprayed foam, applied in a way that allows finished floor and wall surfaces to be applied on top.
With a structure this tight, mechanical ventilation is essential for healthy living. Unable to find a domestic ventilation system that meets the requirements for a Passive House, Hoyer imported a European heat recovery ventilator (HRV) that extracts 99 per cent of the heat from stale exhaust air, transferring it to the incoming fresh air stream as it comes in the house.
Once all the work is done, and tools and lights aren’t operating as often, a solar heat collection array provides much of the heat. It’s a vacuum tube system that’s able to extract and deliver useful warmth down to -20C. Additional heat can be provided by a ductless heat pump that delivers three units of heat energy for every one unit of electrical energy used to power it. Hoyer’s fibreglass windows deliver a whopping R9.5 of insulation and his LED lights use about 90 per cent less energy that incandescent equivalents.
If all this sounds expensive, you might be surprised. In the market where Hoyer has built, custom homes cost about $200/sq.ft. According to Hoyer’s figures, any contractor could build a house like his for $210 to $220/sq. ft.
In the end, success was really about Hoyer’s ability to see the possibilities and make innovations happen, even if they went beyond the way homes are supposed to be built. Check out a blog of this good news construction adventure at