The HPO is involved in a wide range of building science research projects. Browse through the list of projects that are completed or underway, and project summaries and reports.
- Guide for Designing Energy-Efficient Building Enclosures
- Review of Window Energy Rating Procedure in Canada
- Universal Design Housing Pilot Project
- Energy Consumption and Conservation in Mid- and High-Rise Residential Buildings in British Columbia
- Research and education projects recently completed and underway
- City of Vancouver Green Homes Program
- Wind-driven Rain Study in the Coastal Climate of British Columbia
- Field Investigations on the Application of ACQ Treated Wood and Use of Metal Fasteners and Connectors in Residential Construction
- Water Penetration Resistance of Windows
- Best Practice Guide for Windows
- Performance Monitoring of Rainscreen Wall Assemblies in Vancouver British Columbia
- Study of High-Rise Envelope Performance in the Coastal Climate of British Columbia
- Performance of Poured-In-Place Concrete Wall Assemblies
- Earthquake Testing of Rainscreen Stucco Systems for B.C. Residential Wood-Frame Construction
- Building Envelope Test Hut in Coastal British Columbia
- External Moisture Control: Defining Performance of Water Resistive Barriers
- Envelope Drying Rates Analysis
This new industry resource was developed by FPInnovations, in partnership with the Homeowner Protection Office, Canadian Wood Council and RDH Building Engineering. The Guide is intended to help architects, engineers, designers and builders improve the thermal performance of building enclosures of wood multi-unit residential buildings. It looks at design and construction best practices and material used to ensure durable performance. As a companion to the HPO’s Building Enclosure Design Guide, this Guide expands on the energy efficiency of building enclosures.
This study is a collaboration of industry and government representatives across Canada to determine if the Energy Rating (ER) in its current form is still appropriate for selecting energy efficient windows and doors for all areas within Canada. The ER, first introduced in 1989, is a Canadian energy efficiency metric defined in the CSA A440.2-09 Fenestration Energy Performance standard that evaluates energy performance. Since that time there have been a number of changes in the industry including house design and construction, advances in glass coating and window framing technology bringing to question the use of the Energy Rating.
Funded by the HPO in partnership with the SAFERhome Standards Society and industry, this research project will gather data on the costs and benefits of incorporating universal design features into residential buildings. The project encourages developers of low-rise, multi-storey housing units to adopt universal design standards to create homes that are safe, comfortable, convenient, and meet the changing lifestyle needs of homeowners.
The main objectives of this research were to review and assess the effects of building enclosure improvements on the space conditioning energy use in typical mid- and high-rise multi-unit residential buildings in the Lower Mainland of British Columbia and Victoria, and to develop better strategies that take into account enclosure repairs, energy conservation and greenhouse gas emissions. Contributing partners to this project include: CMHC, HPO,
BC Hydro, Fortis BC, City of Vancouver and RDH Building Engineering.
Evaluating the effectiveness of the Green Homes Program involved compiling and plotting data from HOT2000 files prepared for one and two-family homes built in the City of Vancouver under the Program. The study identified trends and recommended changes to improve EnerGuide rating and/or reduce heat loss. Research partners included the City of Vancouver, Canadian Home Builders’ Association of BC and the HPO.
The objectives of this study were to quantify the amount of rain impinged on typical building wall surfaces, establish the influence of overhang on wind-driven rain exposure, and verify the empirical method of quantifying wind-driven rain based on comparisons to new measurements at various locations in Metro Vancouver. Buildings with sloped and flat roofs, with and without roof overhangs were included for comparative purposes. Parameters monitored include local weather data (i.e. wind speed, wind direction and horizontal rainfall), and driving rain on the façade. This research was co-funded by the HPO, CMHC and BC Housing.
Field Investigations on the Application of ACQ Treated Wood and Use of Metal Fasteners and Connectors in Residential Construction
Chromated Copper Arsenate (CCA) treated lumber has been phased out for most exterior residential applications and is being replaced with Alkaline Copper Quaternary (ACQ). The copper levels in the ACQ treated wood are significantly greater than in the CCA treated wood, which increases the risk of galvanic corrosion on metal fasteners, connectors and anchors. Manufacturer guidelines and related literature suggest appropriate metal hardware be used with ACQ treated wood. A field survey was carried out at a sample of building sites in the Lower Mainland region to determine whether compatible metal components are specified and used, and whether there is an indication of premature corrosion of metal components. Research partners include HPO and the Technical Research Committee of the Canadian Home Builders Association of BC who assisted in identifying builders to participate in the field survey.
Study of Manufacturing, Building Design, Installation and Maintenance Factors
- Study 1, Appendix A - Window Terminology
- Study 1, Appendix B - Sample Assessment Sheet
- Study 1, Appendix C - Industry Sector Follow-up
- Study 1, Final Manuscript
Study of Codes, Standards, Testing and Certification
- Study 2, Appendix A - Sample Test Data Sheet
- Study 2, Appendix B - Sample M&R Plan
- Study 2, Final Manuscript
This research project investigates the nature and causes of moisture penetration problems associated with windows in residential wood frame and high-rise buildings. Contributing partners to this project include the HPO, CMHC and BC Housing. The study is comprised of two companion reports:
- Study of Manufacturing, Building Design, Installation and Maintenance Factors - addresses causal factors leading to water penetration and the impact that various industry sectors have in influencing window performance.
- Study of Codes, Standards, Testing and Certification - involves a review and analysis of the building code, the CSA A440 series of standards and publications as well as existing window certification processes.
A graphics package is also available as part of this study. Please contact the HPO to receive a CD containing the reports and graphics package.
This project develops a practical, advisory document related to the selection, specification, interface design, installation, maintenance and renewals and durable performance of window systems and their interface within building applications. This guide will be applicable to all types of residential buildings including: wood-frame buildings as well as non-combustible construction, low-rise and high-rise buildings, and single-family and multi-family dwellings. Partners for this project include the HPO, CMHC, and Natural Resources Canada.
This project involves measuring and monitoring the performance of rainscreen wall assemblies within new and rehabilitated low, mid and high-rise residential buildings. A total of five buildings in Vancouver, British Columbia were studied. Related measurements (e.g., temperature, wood moisture content, relative humidity, local weather conditions including rainfall, driving rainfall and pressure differences across the walls) were collected and analyzed to assess the effectiveness of rainscreen wall assemblies. This research was co-funded by the HPO, CMHC and BC Housing.
This research project identifies factors contributing to envelope performance problems and successes in non-combustible high-rise residential buildings. The study correlates building envelope performance with sources of moisture, such as design features, construction of assemblies, and details. Key factors for successful design and construction of the building envelope assemblies and details are identified in this report. The HPO and CMHC are the primary sponsors for this research project.
Rainscreen wall and window assemblies are now being used in coastal British Columbia multi-unit residential construction because they provide improved water penetration control properties and acceptable long-term performance. Builders and the design community have been increasingly utilizing poured-in-place concrete wall assemblies in combination with rainscreen windows to provide acceptable long-term envelope performance. In order to continue building confidently with this form of construction, Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) and the Homeowner Protection Office commissioned a study to analyze and document potential performance questions associated with poured in-place concrete wall assemblies, as well as to develop a guideline for appropriate design and construction practices.
Contact the HPO to receive a copy of this report on CD.
This project looks at the performance of stucco wall assemblies in an earthquake situation. The research compares the earthquake performance of rainscreen and non-rainscreen stucco systems, through which refinements to the design of rainscreen stucco systems have been developed to improve earthquake performance. The research was conducted at the University of British Columbia seismic research facility using test wall panels as well as dynamic tests of a two-storey house with stucco cladding. Partners for this project include HPO, CMHC and BC Housing.
Videos demonstrating the seismic tests are available as part of this study. Contact the HPO to receive a CD containing the reports and videos.
This report involved the feasibility study, design and construction of a full-scale facility for building envelope performance testing in the climatic region of the Lower Mainland in British Columbia. This unique research, development and demonstration facility, built on the British Columbia Institute of Technology's Burnaby campus, is the first of its kind located in the coastal climatic zone. The research conducted at the 44' x 28' test facility will be used to advance building technology and to improve building performance.
This project examines various aspects of sheathing membrane performance including measuring drainage and moisture retention capability, permeance of weathered materials, and long term performance in context of chemical leaching from stucco or wood-based products. For this project the HPO is part of a research consortium involving CMHC, Concordia University and product manufacturers.
Contact the HPO to receive a CD containing the full reports for this study prepared at the Department of Building, Civil and Environmental Engineering at Concordia University.
A Building Envelope Research Consortium (BERC) study of drying rates of various wall assemblies under controlled laboratory conditions.
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