New home buyers have been looking for energy efficiency in their new home builds for quite some time, especially since the 1980s and the R2000 home program.  As knowledge and technology have improved since then, residential builds across Canada have continued the path of using less energy.  Energy efficiency in new housing has been written about extensively, but what about its side benefit?  That’s right, I’m talking about comfort.

Anyone with an older (or maybe some not-so-old) home knows what I’m talking about – drafts, breezes, hot rooms, cold rooms, and no consistent temperatures.  When you build a home with energy efficiency as a goal, you should also be thinking of occupant comfort.  That is certainly on our minds when we build, and that is why a system like the BASF XR series wall system delivers not only lower bills but a really comfortable home.  Miller Contracting was first introduced to BASF’s system due to our relationship with Mike Holmes as a Holmes Approved Homes builder.

There is definitely a science behind your comfort level – warm air moves to cold, so if your wall is transferring heat to the outside on a -30 degree day, the heat from your body is going to the wall, so you feel chilled.  The BASF XR wall stops that with a system consisting of:

  1. NEOPOR™ graphite-enhanced exterior rigid insulation;
  2. WALLTITE™ spray foam that also increases the structural rigidity of the wall, and;
  3. MASTERSEAL™ NP1, a superior sealant to keep moisture out of the wall cavities and seal up the wall.

With the XR wall system, the heat stays where you want – inside.  Walls stay warm, and you don’t feel the heat from your body transferring to the wall.  Building this wall system is a bit of a departure from the standard building practices we’ve seen over the past few decades, but it’s worth it.  There is another component to comfort though, and that is your home’s heating system.

As we build better homes, the HVAC system we choose has to keep up to match the house.  One of the pitfalls today is that with an energy-efficient home, HVAC systems can be oversized quite easily.  The same size house that’s 30 years old but has a lot of air leakage and less insulation is going to need a bigger furnace.  You don’t want or need that in a new house because you will quickly become uncomfortable due to too much heating or cooling from the bigger furnace.  So, with the XR wall system, we look for a furnace to match the performance, such as the Dettson Chinook low-velocity furnace.  These furnaces are fully modulating and smart, meaning they adjust both flame and fan speed to match exactly what you need to keep your home at the set point on the thermostat.  No more dropping a degree, the furnace kicks in, raises it a degree, shuts off, and 20 minutes later the process is repeated.  Temperature goes up, temperature goes down, and you aren’t as comfortable as you could be.  With a Dettson modulating furnace, it keeps the temperature exactly where you set it.  And, they use less energy to run so you save on your gas bill.

This all goes back to our philosophy of looking at the whole home as a system – everything has to work together.  And that is related to our overall goal – building you a home that is cheaper to operate, lasts longer, and is more comfortable to live in for you and your family.  As Mike Holmes always says, it’s what’s inside your walls that counts!

Dan Yungwirth
General Manager
Miller Contracting Ltd.