Sunday, December 6, 2009

Okanagan Custom Homes Kelowna BC

Our primary focus at Okanagan Custom Homes is to ensure that each and every customer has the most pleasant home building experience possible.

At Okanagan Custom Homes we are committed to working with you every step of the way to ensure that we build you the custom home of your dreams.

We specialize in Custom Homes, Built GreenTM, Custom Finishing’s, Design and Renovations.

Personal attention to detail is the trademark of this company. The highest standards are achieved by the team members and pride is taken to present the client with outstanding results.

As a General Contractor, and a Licensed Residential Green Builder it’s our belief that every client has a unique set of goals and expectations for their project. We provide the necessary attention, in order to achieve those goals.

Joe Wackerbauer
Okanagan Custom Homes

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Helpful hints for insulation in Kelowna


Insulation is the biggest way to reduce the energy use and environmental impact of your home. As an added bonus, improving the insulation of your home will lower the energy bills! So stop throwing your money away, and follow these tips for green insulation.

Quick tips to insulate your home:

Wrap your boiler

Wrap your water boiler in an insulating blanket. The better the insulating material, the more energy you’ll save. Cork and wool are good natural materials that can be used as insulators.

Seal leaks

The tighter the seals in your home, the less energy you’ll need to keep it warm. Identify and seal air links around chimneys, window frames, and openings for plumbing and electrics.

Close the curtains

Keep the curtains closed at night and make sure you don't just heat the space between the curtains and the window. You can install a radiator shelf to deflect heat past the curtains into the room. Bigger projects to insulate your home

Attic Insulation

Attics should have approximately 150mm of insulation, but older homes usually don’t. For example, in the home we just purchased built in 1955, we found only 25mm of insulation, which means heat (and money) have been pouring out of our roof for decades! In many houses over 15 years old, you will find that the depth of existing insulation is quite small as old insulation settles over time and becomes much less effective. If your home is older, adding additional insulation is one of the best Green projects you can do! Insulating your attic is a relatively easy project, especially if you use a natural insulation product that doesn’t require as much protective clothing.

Wall Insulation

The best time to add insulation to walls is when you’re making other renovations.

for the full article click here

Terry Laurin
“Helping you become Energy Efficient”

For a review of your green custom home build call:

Joe Wackerbauer
Okanagan Custom Homes
250- 809-9519

Ways to heat your water

Ways to heat your water by John Thomson

Water heating options

Where you live, as well as the life style you lead, the number of people in your household, and where you'll put the water heating system, you'll need to factor these realities in if you're going to purchase a new hot water system, or getting a back up system.

Having this basic information at hand, will ensure you'll get hot water every day of the year, when you want and however much you need - at the best cost possible. This will also help you decide, if you should stick to the traditional water heating system you've used or if you'll step out of the box and try an alternate water heating system.

Here's a short list of the different water heating systems, available today

Electric hot water tank

This system uses heating elements that are located at the topmost and bottom parts of your tank. Because they don't need vents, you can install or put them wherever you feel is the best location. For example in Canada many R-2000 energy saving homes have this water heating system. Induced draft gas hot water tanks

This heating system has a fan that's found at the top of the tank itself. What the fan does is to induce movement of the combustion gases to go through a sealed plastic pipe and then out the sidewall of the house. You'll find that a lot of these units use combustion and dilution air found inside the house. However, due to the combustion gas exhaust fan pressure; you won't have to worry about the backdrafting combustion gas spillage. You'll need to buy a condensing furnace that works well with this kind of heating system. Natural draft gas hot water tanks

These are inexpensive units, which come with a naturally aspirating burner and draft hood, which is connected to a vertical chimney vent. However, this particular equipment more prone is more subject to combustion gas spillage compared to the other models mentioned, here, so you'll need to make sure you have a furnace that works well with this equipment. Another factor you'll need to think about is, if you live in an highly energy efficient home. These homes experience a higher degree of air tightness, so it's not advisable to install a unit of this kind.

Direct vent gas hot water tanks

As stated a direct vent or sealed combustion water carries combustion air in from the outside, while venting the combustion gases out through a single concentric pipe. As there is no interconnection between the burner and house air, they are spillage resistant and work very well in the more closely sealed Homes.

Tankless water heater

You could purchase an instantaneous water heater or tankless water heater, which as its name indicates provides hot water, without the aid of storage tank. You can choose either a gas or electricity driven unit. In tankless water heaters, temperate water runs through a pipe into the unit, and then either a gas burner or an electric element heats the water.

Solar Units

Or you could try a solar powered heating water system. Solar heaters derive their power from the sun's energy, and channel the heat to water.

You can purchase a reliable solar heater and use this as your main source for heating water. Or you can decide to use this unit as the back up system. If so, then select a solar heater, which allows you to be the back up for either electric or gas water heater.

Take your time to do research on this system - find out the differences between the different water heating systems - so you can save on money, your time and resource. Not only that but the right water heater for your home will mean a lot of difference on whether you'll have hot water when you need it, in the amount, you want to use the water heater to produce.

About the Author
John Thomson is webmaster at where heating related information is a click away. Easily find patio heater and tankless water heater resources at

For a review of your ustom home build call:

Joe Wackerbauer
Okanagan Custom Homes
250- 809-9519

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Custom Finishing’s Kelowna

Custom Finishing’s – At Okanagan Custom Homes we can be hired to put the final high quality finishing’s for your custom homes: We specialize in the following areas of service:

Window liners and Trim
Interior and exterior custom door installations
Crown moulding
Custom Stair cases and railings and ....
so much more..... a picture is worth a thousand words!!!

Book your appointment today: Call Joe Wackerbauer@ 250-809-9519

Joe Wackerbauer
Okanagan Custom Homes

Friday, July 10, 2009

Introduction to Structural Insulated Panels and Green Homes

Introduction to Structural Insulated Panels and Green Homes

Structural Insulated Panel or SIP is the new buzz-word in building construction industry as 21st century "green" building material. SIPs can be used in the construction of exterior walls, floors and roofs of residential and commercial buildings offering advantages of low cost and energy conservation over traditional wooden frame construction. SIP addresses two major concerns while building "green" home - energy efficiency and diminishing natural resources.

The general characteristics of all SIPs are two exterior skins sandwiching a rigid foam plastic core made up of low cost expanded polystyrene material. The skins most generally used are oriented strand boards (OSB), plywood or gypsum board. The resulting sandwich panel is exceptionally solid, cost effective and energy conserving which can be used as load bearing walls, partitions and roof insulation.

When used as a load-bearing wall or roof insulation, the two skins act as lean columns constantly supported by the rigid core to resist buckling and compression. When bending is applied to the panel due to a live or a wind load, the skins take most of the compressive and tensile forces and the core offers resistance to shear. Skins and rigid core acts internally to provide exceptional strength to the structure.

The most important characteristic of Structural Insulated Panel which has led to rapid growth in its demand is excellent energy efficiency and improved thermal performance. Today, one of the major challenges for any home owner is to control increasing energy costs. SIPs are practically airtight panels due to the nature of material used and fabrication process. This results in less cooling during winters and less hitting in summer! Hence buildings made with SIP panels require less expensive cooling and heating systems than a normal building saving more energy and costs. A building constructed with SIPs takes less time than the one with wooden frame. This saves you labor and wastage at the job-site. Overall building a home with SIPs can save you energy, costs, time and labor too!

Design of Structural Insulated Panel requires good amount of structural drafting & design services.

About the Author

Richard Bose is certified structural engineer at OSD - a leading Structural Drafting firm based in India providing quality Structural Insulated Panels (SIPs) design services to its offshore clients based in US, UK, Canada and Australia.

For a review of your green custom home build call:

Joe Wackerbauer
Okanagan Custom Homes
250- 809-9519

Friday, June 5, 2009

Greywater is Greenwater

This is a great article I found on the Flywheel Building Solutions site by Ken Kunka,


Joe Wackerbauer

Grey water, also spelled graywater, is wastewater generated from processes such as showering, bathing and laundry. Greywater gets its name from its cloudy appearance and from its status as being neither fresh (white water from groundwater or potable water), nor heavily polluted (blackwater). Greywater can be used for internal use for toilets and or for irrigation use. There are also programs for rainwater recycling.

As Greywater recycling is soon becoming a necessity and a mandatory requirement in many countries (see links below). Canada has been slow in developing and adopting a grey water standard. With the changes to the 2006 BC Building Code, local jurisdictions can make rulings to allow for grey water systems as an alternative solution. Kelowna is one municipality who has allowed the use of Brac Systems - Grey Water Recycling

When recently speaking with local BRAC representative Blair Gautschi, he stated that more people are becoming aware of the growing water problems facing us in the Okanagan (The Okanagan could double in population by the year 2020). However there has been much resistance in establishing a valley wide grey water program because of a lack of urgency due to our seemingly abundant fresh water supply, a resistance to change and the risk of liability if something goes wrong. The Canadian government has recently prepared a draft grey water recycling standard and hopefully more jurisdictions will take the initiative to introduce recycling programs in their areas.

For more information on BRAC or Grey Water recycling contact:

Blair Gautschi, Master Plumber
Excel Ventures, BRAC Systems Inc.
250 212 9750

Suggested Links to review

Australia -

Video on Middle East water crisis -

Grey water info -

Grey water codes -

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Joe Wackerbauer - Benifits of Built Green™ homes

I ran across this great article on green built custom homes and the benefits of building green and I have posted for your convenience.
Joe Wackerbauer
Built Green™ is moving the home building industry forward in producing quality homes and enhancing healthy living. These benefits extend beyond the walls of your new home. Built Green™ is helping to ensure that these benefits are available to all homebuyers who purchase a home that meets Built Green™ standards. By choosing energy efficient options you'll be making a choice to help protect our environment for the future as well as make a difference to your bank account today.

Energy Efficiency. As energy costs take a noticeable chunk out of homeowner budgets, using energy wisely is being widely promoted. We also need to be aware of the source of our electricity. (For example, in Alberta, Saskatchewan and Nova Scotia, non-renewable resources such as coal is predominately used in the generation of electricity.) Next to a mortgage, energy costs are the most significant household expenditure. An energy efficient home offers lower energy costs.

Comfort. A less drafty home with improved ventilation increases the homeowners control of humidity and temperature. Appropriate design and orientation can take advantage of the sun's warmth in the winter and reduce the sun’s impact in the summer.

Water Efficiency. Given past drought conditions experienced almost everywhere in Canada, water is becoming a precious resource. Installing water efficient appliances such as low-flow fixtures or dual-flush toilets, Energy Star washing machines and dishwashers along with water aerators on the faucets and showers can significantly reduce the amount of water a household consumes. Planting a water-wise landscape also reduces the water demand and requires less maintenance while still adding beauty to your home.

Healthier Indoor Air. Tightening a home to make it more energy efficient without adequately addressing the ventilation can create health problems. Built Green™ encourages well-sealed duct systems, combustion appliances that are sealed and/or direct vented, controlled fresh air and uses interior building materials that reduce indoor air pollution.

Durability and Less Maintenance. Built Green™ encourages the use of building materials that are more durable both inside and outside the home. This reduces maintenance and replacement costs.

Global Benefits. Building a Built Green™ home results in some direct benefits to the owners but there are also benefits to the community and the environment in general. For example, the use of local materials is encouraged, thereby reducing transportation costs and stimulating the local economy. Also, focusing on choosing materials and products made from recycled content reduces the need and energy to extract new materials. They are resource efficient and produce less waste than typical products and usually have a long life-cycle, requiring less maintenance.

Built Green™ homes just make sense. For the building industry to sustain itself, increasingly more efficient and creative ways to build homes without sacrificing the environment and quality of life must be achieved.

To read full articlew click here

For a review of your green custom home build call:

Joe Wackerbauer
Okanagan Custom Homes
250- 809-9519

Built Green General Contractor