Sustainable construction and energy efficiency have long been part of our culture at Empire Communities. Having aligned ourselves with EnergySTAR early on, we have been building energy efficient homes to above building code requirements since 2007 which means better built homes for you and the environment. A challenge that comes with this commitment is finding new ways to continuously raise the bar as building code changes and efficiency standards are elevated. We innovate by piloting our ideal energy-saving technologies and building solutions into experiments that can potentially be applied to all of our new homes in the future.
With this in mind we’re proud to introduce our Empire Discovery Home series – two homes in Breslau, Ontario that will be designed with some of the most energy-saving and environmentally conscious innovations being tested today. Their construction will not only be an exercise in sustainability, but also an experiment in research and development that will have a big impact on how we will build homes in the future.
Of the total five model homes being constructed and available to visit once complete, two are being built to current EnergySTAR Standards. Business as usual for us, and this ensures that Empire continues to remain one step ahead of the building code curve, as it evolves over time.
Two of our model homes are being built to meet what we believe will be requirements of the next generation EnergySTAR. This next generation EnergySTAR will likely be implemented when building code changes in 2017, ensuring the program maintains a higher standard of energy efficiency compared to building code. To remain EnergySTAR certified, Empire will have to build to this new standard in the near future, hence why we’re testing these new practices now. This will ensure a smooth transition from current to future standards.
And finally, the fifth model home is what we’re dubbing our Hybrid Home. This 42-foot model is a combination of the latest innovations, newest materials and experiments in energy efficiency. Built to possible future EnergySTAR standards with a number of exciting upgrades to energy efficiency, this experimental home is what we’re really excited about. Essential to the success of this experiment are our industry partners, Roxul and Dow who are providing the materials along with George Brown College students who are using this new home as a test program. They are closely monitoring humidity and temperature changes for a full heating and cooling cycle. New approaches to insulation, vapor barriers, air tightness, furnaces, air conditioners and even solar panels will all come together to get as close to a self-sustaining home as Empire has ever built.
We’ll be keeping you posted on the progress as we dive deeper into some of the efficiency innovations we’re exploring, so stay tuned for the next installment in our Discovery Home series.