Sep 25, 2023

StreetSide Developments BC Makes Progress on Net Zero Ready Townhomes and Hosts Onsite Educational Workshop at Cascadia Project

Langley, BC – Langley’s Willoughby neighbourhood is getting closer to having the first-ever net zero ready townhomes in the Fraser Valley. StreetSide Developments BC has been working on its Cascadia community there – which will have a mix of net zero ready and standard townhomes – since the official groundbreaking in January.

A net zero home is one that generates as much energy as it consumes over the course of a year. A net zero ready home (which is what you will find at Cascadia) is built to the same energy efficiency standards as a net zero home, but without the renewable energy systems installed (i.e. solar panels).

StreetSide Developments BC’s Cascadia development will include four townhome buildings that will have air tightness and mechanical system considerations to bring the buildings above and beyond net zero ready requirements. Net zero ready is equivalent to Step 4 of the Energy Code (1.5 air changes per hour), while these homes will meet Step 5 requirements (1.0 air changes per hour).

Compared to the traditional townhome product, the net zero ready townhomes have more efficient roof insulation, exterior insulation, sealed garage and party walls, a heat recovery ventilator, a heat pump water heater, an air source mini-split heat pump, and an induction cooktop.

These efficiently designed homes will feature two to four bedrooms, plus additional spaces to suit all walks of life, including dens and live/work spaces. The community will offer many amenities, such as family-friendly outdoor spaces, walking trails, and a large clubhouse. Residents will also have easy access to nearby schools, shopping, and dining options. Construction of the community is set to be completed in Q2 of 2026.

While the original intent was to build just one net zero ready display home in the community, Jonathan Meads, Vice-President, StreetSide Developments BC, said the team made the bold decision to build 18 homes to address the fact that there would be strong demand for the product as utility costs soar. According to Jonathan, this makes StreetSide Developments BC a market leader in the multi-family sector.

“I am exceptionally proud of the team that is working on this project,” he said. “It has not been without its challenges and everyone on the team has persevered. Cascadia’s net zero ready townhomes help showcase our commitment to building quality homes with standards that go above and beyond the norm in terms of energy-efficiency.”

The efficiency efforts StreetSide Developments BC has made with these homes has also helped the business unit meet the highest level (Step 4) of BC’s new Carbon Code, which is an emissions-based scale.

Michelle Bastin, Development Manager, StreetSide Developments BC, said working to meet Step Code 5 instead of Step Code 4 will help put the builder ahead of the game in the near future.

“Due to federal regulations, we know Step Code 5 is not a matter of if, it is a matter of when,” she said. “By getting ahead of the inevitable, it will give us the opportunity to be part of the trial and error process of what works and what doesn’t, so that once Step Code 5 is the industry standard, we will have (in theory) already figured it out.”

Building these net zero ready townhomes comes with a set of unique challenges. One is related to the fact that townhomes have a shared wall between units rather than exterior walls only.

“The challenge lies with trying to ‘isolate’ each unit from the other so each unit hits its individual energy modelling requirements,” explained Michelle. “This is less of a concern in Step Code 2 to 4 homes, but it becomes pivotal at Step Code 5.”

The other challenge is the issue of how to make a net zero ready home both efficient and affordable, while also considering an attractive design.

“Most people associate highly energy-efficient homes with the ultra-modern look and feel you see in high-end Vancouver neighbourhoods, making the price point and proximity out of reach of those in the Valley,” said Michelle. “Constructing a building that has the charm of a townhome in the Valley and that is highly energy-efficient for the homeowner attracts an untapped segment of the market.”

How StreetSide Developments BC's Cascadia net zero townhome stands out

Standard Townhome, Energy Step Code - Step 2

Cascadia Net Zero Townhome, Energy Step Code - Step 5 

R40 roof insulation

R60 roof insulation

No exterior insulation

3” exterior insulation

Standard garage and party walls

Sealed garage and party walls (refer to point 3.a)

Air tightness target 3.0 ACH

Air tightness target 1.0ACH

No Heat Recovery Ventilator required

Heat Recovery Ventilator required

Natural Gas instantaneous water heater

Heat Pump (air to water) water heater

Natural Gas condensing furnace

Air Conditioning central split system

Air source mini-split heat pump (air to air)

Natural Gas oven and range

Induction cooktop and range

(Click on the photo to zoom in and see more) 

This summer, the net zero ready townhomes at Cascadia also served as an excellent opportunity for StreetSide Developments BC to host an onsite educational workshop and tours for construction industry professionals, such as builders, developers, contractors, municipal officials, architects/designers, envelope consultants, and energy consultants.

The three-day workshop was a partnership between StreetSide Developments BC, the Township of Langley, and the British Columbia Institute of Technology (BCIT) and provided a convergence of perspectives:

  • the Township of Langley with policies and mandates,
  • BCIT with testing and research, and
  • StreetSide Developments BC with real-life application.

Melissa Hamer, Project Manager, ZEB Learning Centre, BCIT, said the Institute was eager to partner with the Township and StreetSide Developments for the training event.

StreetSide Developments BC hosts educational workshop in partnership with BCIT and the Township of Langley

“As an educator committed to applied education integrated with industry, who has also been providing training on these concepts for over five years, this partnership presented an exciting opportunity to collaborate directly with industry and apply these concepts in a real-life project,” she said.

Each workshop ran twice (one afternoon and one evening session on different days), and the sold-out event was well-received by the 300 attendees. Workshops included Air Tightness and Building Science, High Performance Mechanicals, and Permitting and Inspecting Step 5 Projects.

According to Kevin Ramlu, Building Energy Manager, Township of Langley, builders throughout the province have highlighted a demand for education and the onsite workshops and tours provided a rare chance for industry professionals to gain first-hand knowledge about what techniques work and what needs to change.

“Through provincial regulations or municipal bylaws that intend to support climate targets, all builders will be required to build high-performance, zero carbon homes by or before 2032,” he said. “Events like these help our homebuilding communities better prepare, innovate, and develop building methods that work for them.”

Check out Jonathan Meads, Vice-President of StreetSide Developments BC sharing the lessons him, and his team learned when building Cascadia in the video here!






Let us help you direct your questions to the right team at Qualico.

Contact Us