RETROFITTING SUBURBIA

Sustainable Suburban Archetypes

West Vancouver, BC

House size: 200 m2 (2150 sf )

Year of construction: 1945-1960

cee-thumbnail by Daniel Case

Yannick and Yaz live with their two teenage children. Yan is in grade eight and active in gymnastics, choir, and dance, escorted by Yannick or Yaz in car and sometimes transit. Yale is in grade twelve and plays on multiple school and community teams. While Yan is driven around by mom and dad, Yale uses one of their cars, transit or bike. Yannick and Yaz commute in separate cars to different parts of Vancouver. Within a few years, Yannick and Yaz will be sending their kids to university and beginning a new stage of life as empty-nesters. They hope their children will have the opportunity to stay in West Vancouver as adults. Their home is 65 years old, has high utility bills, and is in need of renovations.

The District of West Vancvouer wanted to get a better understanding of how to reduce energy demand and increase renewable supply for residential homes within the District. This scenario examines and visualizes alternative approaches for suburban homes.

EXISTING CONDITION:

cee-thumbnail

Researchers:

Nicole Miller, PhD

Stefan Storey, PhD

Energy potential calculation of a particular site

cee-thumbnail

Small lot character home energy retrofit

cee-thumbnail By U.S. Navy photo by Greg Vojtko [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Thinking of the future, Yannick and Yaz undertake a major renovation of their family home. Updating the home increases the value of their asset and also provides a significant opportunity to complete a home energy retrofit. By upgrading the home’s insulation, windows, heating and hot water systems and appliances, Yannick and Yaz reduce their home’s energy consumption by over 60%. Although the home upgrades cost more upfront, Yannick and Yaz find they provide improved comfort, reduced exposure to increasing energy prices and a higher real estate value. In addition, reduced energy consumption and the switch from natural gas to electric heating reduces their home’s greenhouse gas emissions by over 90%. Yannick and Yaz are happy to have an updated family home for now and for when their children eventually come to visit with families of their own. However, they remain concerned that their kids won’t be able to afford to live in the community.

cee-thumbnail

Retrofit with Coach house

House size: 200 m2 (2150 sf )

Year of construction: 1945-1960

cee-thumbnail by Daniel Case

When their kids leave for University, Yannick and Yaz sell their family home and downsize to a condo. The family home is torn down, and a new larger home is built in its place by the new owners. To them, the new home seems too large and out-of scale for the neighbourhood. Yannick and Yaz are able to save some of the money they make on their home’s sale to assist their children and for their eventual retirement. They enjoy the low-maintenance lifestyle the condominium affords, but have less space for when their children’s growing families visit. They are disappointed that Yale and Yan can’t afford to live nearby.

cee-thumbnail

Retrofit with coach house and suite

House size: 200 m2 (2150 sf )

Year of construction: 1945-1960

cee-thumbnail By Michael Geller

Thinking of the future, Yannick and Yaz undertake a major renovation of their family home. During the renovation, they also decide add a garden suite in their basement and rebuild their detached garage to include an energy-efficient coach house. Rental income from the added units helps Yannick and Yaz to save for the children’s university expenses. Later, they make the coach house available to Yale’s young and growing family. Eventually, Yannick and Yaz downsize to the coach house while Yale’s family uses the main house. Yan rents the garden suite while saving for a down payment for a condo. During renovations, Yannick and Yaz upgrade the home’s insulation, windows, heating and hot water systems and appliances, reducing their home’s energy consumption by 60%. Although the home upgrades cost more upfront, Yannick and Yaz find they provide improved comfort, reduced exposure to increasing energy prices and a higher real estate value. In addition, reduced energy consumption and the switch from natural gas to electric heating reduces their home’s greenhouse gas emissions by over 90%.

cee-thumbnail

Tear down with new construction

House size: 260 m2 (2850 sf )

Year of construction: 2015

cee-thumbnail By Fraseropolis

When their kids leave for University, Yannick and Yaz sell their family home and downsize to a condo. The family home is torn down, and a new larger home is built in its place by the new owners. To them, the new home seems too large and out-of scale for the neighbourhood. Yannick and Yaz are able to save some of the money they make on their home’s sale to assist their children and for their eventual retirement. They enjoy the low-maintenance lifestyle the condominium affords, but have less space for when their children’s growing families visit. They are disappointed that Yale and Yan can’t afford to live nearby.

cee-thumbnail