When deep winter stalks Saskatchewan and the rest of the prairie in central Canada, it’s a mild day if the temperature tops 20 degrees Fahrenheit. Which means October 26 probably was a pretty good time for VerEco Homes, designer of energy efficient “ready to move” houses, to install a demonstration home at the Western Development Museum in Saskatoon, a showcase for regional history and economic development.
The three-bedroom, two-bath demo, with 1,220-sq.-ft. of interior space, features a well-insulated shell (R-60 walls and an R-110 attic), metal roof, triple-glazed windows, a low-wattage heat-recovery ventilator, solar hot water, and a 4.4 kW solar power system – all of which, during the cold weather, are expected to demonstrate how the VerEco construction system can bring the home to net-zero-energy performance even amid a hostile chill.
Compact, in four configurations
In an email to GBA, VerEco Home’s president, Ronn Lepage, noted that the house has almost no hallways. Its great room is a flex space that will be used as a dining room and a family/living room. The utility room was removed and a utility closet was placed over the stairwell (it encloses the HRV and a water heater, but the house has no furnace or air conditioner). The house also shows off a variety of floor finishes and materials, from bamboo to linoleum to concrete tile.
The VerEco website, which is still under construction, lists four basic house designs: the VerEco Home (the version now on display in Saskatoon), which measures 1,440 sq. ft. to the exterior and is priced at $124 U.S. per square foot (about $178,200); the three-bedroom Executive, with 1,872 sq. ft.; the Cottage, with 1,024 sq. ft.; and a 1,732-sq.-ft. two-story home suitable for urban settings. Solar hot water and solar power systems are available at extra cost.
VerEco has contracted with NuFab Building Products, a regional specialist in ready-to-move homes and prefabricated building components, to construct its houses. The display home is expected to remain on the museum grounds until August, when it is scheduled to be moved to Sarilia Country Estates, about 30 minutes from Saskatoon in the North Saskatchewan River Valley. Lepage points out that the home’s foundation will feature a walkout basement, adding a bit to the foundation costs, which are expected to be about $30 per square foot.