Gates Lake

Name: Gates Lake
Completed: 2020
Design: Birgitte Marthinsen of BM Design
Photography: Joern Rohde

Renovation goals and challenges:

  • Salvage a poorly maintained 1970’s cottage and rebuild it to an as new condition
  • Rebuild to meet the net-zero ready standard showing it could produce as much energy as it used.
  • Reduce greenhouse gas emissions by keeping waste material out of the landfill and reduce the carbon footprint in construction
  • Increase natural daylighting and generally improve the lighting throughout the home
  • Modernize kitchen and baths
  • Improve indoor air quality with an HRV
  • Improve the thermal comfort summer and winter and reduce the high energy cost
  • Increase storage throughout
  • One of the biggest challenges we faced was the home was framed with 2X4 walls with unconventional framing strategies making it challenging to achieve the insulation levels needed and ensure an airtightness that would comply with the net Zero label requirements
  • Project was in a remote location making access a challenge for trades and materials.

Functionality of floor plan and innovative use of space:

  • The new kitchen layout includes built-in dishwasher, stacking laundry and dining center
  • A new 3-piece bath replaced the original 2-piece for the master bedroom on the lower floor
  • New storage was added under roof eves in upper floor bedrooms, a storage drawer was added under the stairs and the access to the crawl space was concealed behind a full-length mirror in the master bedroom
  • The previously uninsulated entry room was insulated with added built-in storage
  • An outdoor shower was added by the wood fired hot tub

 Interior and exterior design strategy:

  • Modern white finishes were used to brighten the interior and support a waterfront cottage theme
  • The original red brick fireplace was whitewashed with a new timber mantle to complement the overall cottage design theme
  • New recessed lighting was installed throughout
  • White painted T&G ceilings replaced the dated texture coated drywall to enhance the cottage feel
  • New fire-smart fiber-cement board and batten siding was installed over the new exterior Neopor Graphite EPS insulation

Considerations in achieving the Net Zero standard, comfort & homeowner health, and general construction details

  • Renovation vs building new eliminated the need for any heavy equipment for excavation further reducing carbon footprint and preserving the natural environment.
    -This ensured that while the home was inside the riparian boundary the riparian area at the lake shore was not disturbed in any way.
  • All waste was recycled where possible. Currently RDC diverts 75% of its waste from construction from landfill
  • All plumbing and wiring were replaced and upgraded to a modern standard
  • New triple glazed Euroline 4700 Series Passive-House windows and doors were installed throughout
  • Air tightness was improved from over 10ach to 1.34ach using the Aerobarrier airtightness system supplied by Airtight Solutions
  • R10 Neopor graphite EPS exterior insulation was added to the 2x4 walls to achieve an average of R23 effective performance
  • Attic insulation was improved from less than code to an average of R50 effective performance
  • The crawlspace was sealed and insulated to an R14 effective performance
  • A 73% efficient HRV was added
  • LED lighting installed throughout
  • Radon testing was performed before and after the work. No significant radon levels were measured
  • The home meets standard for CHBA Net Zero renovation pilot and has qualified for CHBA Net Zero Renovation Label