Rodney and Irina Penner are recent Greenstone Ice Panel homeowners. They have 3 young boys and built their custom home in Souris, Manitoba. Rod is a sales manager in Brandon and Irina runs a home-based day care.
In 2017, the Penners were struggling with their rented home. The home had structural and mechanical problems, as well as mould issues that were affecting the their quality of life. Some additional issues they were dealing with daily were:
- poor mechanical design leaving the house too hot at night and too cold during the day,
- drafty, cold/hot spots throughout the home on top of poor humidity control,
- regular water heater failures and noisy radiant heaters,
- poor insulation causing water heating pipes near exterior walls to freeze,
- toxic mould infestation in the basement, and
- fluctuating energy (Hydro) bills making family budgeting difficult.
Mould was the most pressing concern to the Penners. Toxic mold exposure has been linked to serious, long-term health effects like memory loss, insomnia, anxiety, depression and trouble concentrating. Irina was diagnosed with anxiety and prescribed medication. The Penners felt this health issue was directly related to the mould in their rental home, and decided it was time to make a change.
Rod and Irina wanted to build an energy efficient home that was also budget friendly. The couple wanted to create a safe, comfortable, healthy forever home for their 3 young boys to grow up in. Health, comfort and affordability were given top priority throughout the planning process.
“The house is 30% larger than any of our previous homes and yet the utility bill is lower than it’s ever been.”
Rod and Irina started by connecting with an energy adviser. An energy adviser helps their clients asses the value of different building products from an energy efficiency perspective. The Penners wanted to choose products that would put them in a cash flow positive position. This means they would only pay a premium for an energy efficient product if it lowered their monthly energy cost enough to justify the premium. Products that contributed to a positive cash flow budget were used, while items that cost more than the value they added were skipped.
Greenstone ICE Panels were given the green-light because they met the Penner’s budge criteria and directly contributed to checking off the boxes on the Penner’s home wish list such as
- Airtight construction: no drafts throughout the home.
- High thermal performance: no hot or cold spots in the home, lowering utility costs.
- No off-gassing or VOC’s: healthy air quality in the home.
- Inert materials: no toxic mould.
- Easy to manage environment: easy to heat up, cool down and maintain proper humidity levels throughout the home.
In terms of other building products used, the Rod and Irina stuck to efficient versions of the basics. Not only did this keep the design and installation inexpensive, but allowed for products with a low maintenance point. The Penners used:
- Rheem Marathon electric hot water heater,
- Dettson Chinook furnace, and
- Intex High efficiency windows.
Energy efficient appliances and lighting were also affordable ways for the Penners to keep their budget cash flow positive.
In working with an energy advisor, Rod and Irina were able to ensure that their new build would qualify for the New Homes [Rebate] Program offered by Efficiency Manitoba. After the initial energy modeling process and the complete construction of the home, an air tightness test was performed. The home was found to have an EnerGuide rating of 87 Gigajoules per year – this is the estimated amount of energy the house will use over the year. The average rating/energy use for a standard wood-framed home is approximately 146 GJ per year.
The Penner family home was found to be 40.41% more efficient than a wood-framed home of comparable size. This entitled them a total rebate of $4,300 for using energy efficient products like Greenstone’s ICE Panels.
Building with Greenstone ICE Panels also contributed to a shortened construction timeline, allowing the Penner’s to move in to their custom home after only 5 months – several months sooner than a home built using traditional materials.
Rod and Irina are so impressed by their new, Greenstone home. “The house is 30% larger than any of our previous homes and yet the utility bill is lower than it’s ever been”, exclaimed Rod. “Irina’s health is restored and she is off the medication. Choosing to build with the ICE Panels was one of the best decisions we ever made.”