Today’s homebuyers don’t just want houses that are comfortable and stylish — energy efficiency is also a big factor when choosing a place to live.
Not only is an energy-efficient home more environmentally friendly, but with today’s energy costs, more and more of us are looking to do whatever we can to keep utility bills down. Ryan Brothers Custom Homes, a family-owned and operated company that is building primarily in the Riverwood Estates subdivision in Black Diamond, is making energy efficiency a priority with all of its new homes.
Ryan Brothers employs an insulation system at Riverwood Estates that goes over and above what you would find in many homes. First they wrap the entire exterior of each house in a layer of 1.5-inch Styrofoam. Then a layer of spray form is added on the inside. It adheres to the exterior insulation and creates a tightly sealed home.
This method even insulates the wall studs, giving the home a rated R value (the metric by which an insulation’s effectiveness is measured) of R24 and an effective rating of R22. Terry Ryan with Ryan Brothers says the effective R value of batt insulation in walls is often quite a bit lower than its official rating — as an example, a home insulated with R20 batt insulation would probably have an effective rating of closer to R13 or R14.
“We’ve got almost a perfect seal on our homes,” says Ryan. “In addition to the efficiency benefits, we do it to prevent water penetration. Even if you took all of the siding off our houses no water would get into the house because you have that perfect seal.”
Other builders that use this insulation method usually only offer it as an upgrade on higher end homes, he says, but it comes standard with the Ryan Brothers’ houses. Other green features include energy-efficient furnaces and hot water heaters, plus double-glazed argon gas windows.
To illustrate how low most buyers’ utility costs will be, Ryan Brothers offers to pay customers’ heating bills for a full two years after they move in.
“It’s a noticeable energy savings for the clients,” Ryan says. “Once you put drywall and siding on our houses, they look like any other house — it’s part of the structure of your home. Most people don’t know what’s in their walls, so when we offer a promotion like this it creates conversation and helps us to explain why our houses are so energy efficient.”
On top of the efficiency piece, Riverwood Estates gives homeowners the benefit of an affordable and modern home, with the added charm of small-town living within a short commute to Calgary. Since the community can offer larger lots than buyers would find in bigger markets, Ryan Brothers is able to build spacious modified bungalows with three-car garages — a layout that simply doesn’t work in many larger centres.
“The modified bungalows work well for someone who doesn’t want a lot of stairs,” says Cody Ryan, Terry’s son and business partner. “Younger couples and older buyers all like them — they really fit a lot of needs. It’s a unique build, there are not any other builders around here that are specifically building this type of house.”
Riverwood Estates is located in the town of Black Diamond, about half an hour south of Calgary. For more information, visit ryanbros.ca.
This story was created by Content Works, Postmedia’s commercial content division, on behalf of Ryan Brothers Custom Homes.