The art of modern home construction increasingly values energy efficiency that simultaneously meets building code and serves customer needs.
Essentially, the purpose of a building code is to protect public welfare with a minimum standard for construction.
It’s a high mark, expanded upon every five years or so, that every home must hit.
While all homes follow a particular building code, builders seek to offer competitive possibilities for homes that energy efficiency and sustainably designed.
It is perfectly acceptable to build right to code, however, some companies, such as TroiWest Builders, are committed to reaching higher, particularly in relation to their EnerGuide rating.
A building code is designed to provide a baseline construction standard as well as protect the general welfare of the public. It’s essentially a regulation that every home must reach; a code that is then expanded or improved upon roughly every five years.
The specific part of the code that we would like to highlight is the EnerGuide rating energy requirements outlined in section 9.36 and TroiWest’s approach to this requirement.
“All of our homes are EnerGuide-rated,” states Jesse Wielemaker, TroiWest’s general manager.
The EnerGuide rating determines the energy use on an annual basis. It is a standardized rating that assures the home’s performance from the perspective of a third-party consultant.
It provides an assessment of the home in comparison to a standard home built according to the most recent building code.
Most of TroiWest’s homes are at least 15-20 per cent better than the code requirement for an average home.
With ideal homes optimizing towards zero gigajoules, this means that TroiWest homes uses less gigajoules (GJ) than the average home.
The benefit in this is that the homeowner will save on energy bills and usage over the lifetime of the home.
Wielemaker says that the company’s commitment to lower energy consumption is a value they established a number of years ago.
“At the end of the day, it puts more money back in our customers’ pockets,” he adds. “It will save our homeowners money on utilities which is basically a direct result of our intense quality control process and attention to detail, which we have been adamant about from day one.”
“Our quality control process is very thorough,” Wielemaker says. “Every step of the build is inspected before moving to the next, and nothing goes unchecked.
There are eyes on everything. We have our site superintendent go through every step of the way. It’s a big deal to make sure a customer is getting a home that is going to last them a lifetime.”
TroiWest values their ongoing trade relationships and strives to maintain them as they develop and refine their processes to meet their EnerGuide rating goals.
Trades that work with the builder continuously are aware of this expectation and are like-minded in pursuing that goal. Wielemaker specifies, “Anyone new that we start working with, we would work closely alongside to make sure they know what the expectations are out of the gate and can align themselves accordingly.”
Another focus for TroiWest is the ways in which it can be efficient, including in its home designs.
While TroiWest has a host of well-designed floor plans ranging from 1,200 to 2,500 square feet, the builder welcomes customer revisions.
“We will take any of our plans and rework them, but if you come in with fresh ideas and a blank slate, we can do something with that, as well,” says Wielemaker.
The builder also keeps up on market and industry changes and trends through its membership in associations such as Canadian Home Builders’ Association (CHBA) – Edmonton Region and the Alberta New Home Warranty Program.
“We are quick, nimble and change to meet market needs,” says Wielemaker. “We are a smaller team but make sure that we are meeting what the market demands and adapting as needed.” Wielemaker explains that a desire to create a unique product has helped fuel company growth as they have strived to differentiate.
“We consistently roll out new models, update existing ones, and remove ones we feel are out of date,” he adds.
Another one of TroiWest’s strengths is the post-possession experience it offers customers.
“Customers are just important to us after they moved in as they were before or during the purchase process,” Wielemaker says. “We pride ourselves on that.
“It’s important that customers know and experience continued support,” he adds. “They can contact anyone from our company, you don’t have to dial an extension and talk to a robot or anything like that”.
“Home ownership can be a big leap for some people and there are a lot of things they need to know. We want to make sure that we are available for them with whatever they need.”
TroiWest’s emphasis on a positive customer experience extends to its membership with the Alberta New Home Warranty Program.
“For buyers, it provides assurance that there’s a third party involved protecting them — not that it’s ever gone that route, but it is certainly there for them,” Wielemaker says.
“We looked at several warranty providers and after our assessment of each, we decided to go with the Alberta New Home Warranty Program”, he adds. “It was quite obvious that this was the superior program.”
With TroiWest’s vote of confidence, Alberta New Home Warranty equally values the company’s commitment to having a high standard EnerGuide rating, the company’s flexibility, their desire to keep up to speed with market trends, and their post-possession experience.
Alberta New Home Warranty Program account manager Lisa Tyhy calls TroiWest Builders a welcomed and valued member of The Program.
“Their entire team provides excellent value and by focusing on the customer’s needs, it’s no surprise to see what great success they have, and will continue to have, in the Edmonton market,” she says. “Their focus on EnerGuide and ensuring all their homes meet their qualifying standards ensures each homeowner is purchasing a quality-built-home. We look forward to providing support and partnership for years to come.”