Building Materials


The walls of the Efficiency Nova Scotia Demonstration Homes are constructed with a unique design that maximizes space for insulation and heat retention. The top and bottom plates of each wall are 10 inches thick which allows optimal space for insulation. Wall studs are 2 x 4” boards spaced 12 inches apart and staggered to the inside and outside edges of the plates. The studs lining the inside of the wall are spaced 24 inches apart which allows for proper drywall installation. The only parts of the walls that are exposed to the exterior of the home are the top and bottom plates.

The wall plates on the floor are sealed down with 2 beads of acoustical sealant in order to diminish any space for air to come through. All electrical boxes installed into the walls are airtight.
All interior load bearing walls are built out of 2” x 6” boards and all non bearing walls are built out of 2” x 4” boards.


Most of the windows installed on the Efficiency Nova Scotia Demonstration Homes are triple glazed windows. They are installed on the east, west and north sides of the homes in order to retain heat inside the home. These sides of the home receive the least amount of exposure to the sun therefore diminishing the amount of solar heat generated. Triple glazed windows contain heat generated inside the home thus raising the homes R value.

Double glazed windows installed on the south side of the home contain heat produced inside the home while taking advantage of solar heat entering through them. They are installed on the south side because it receives the most exposure to the sun throughout the day.
All windows installed on the homes are tilt and turn windows for their superior air seal and dual-function. Each window has the ability to open slightly or fully.


The foundation and slab of the Efficiency Nova Scotia Demonstration Homes are insulated with 6” rigid Styrofoam installed below the foundation. A foam barrier was placed along all outside walls of the foundation and slab to ensure that heat cannot escape through the floor.
The walls of the Efficiency Nova Scotia Demonstration Homes will be insulated using wet sprayed cellulose insulation made of recycled newsprint. Cellulose insulation is fibrous and versatile which allows for it to fill every crevice created using the staggered stud system. The 10” wall cavity allows for the cellulose insulation to insulate to a projected value of R-42. Each interior wall will be lined with a foil faced foam sheathing to act as a vapour barrier to further increase the R-value.


Both roofs on the Efficiency Nova Scotia Demonstration Homes will be constructed using engineered raised- heal trusses that maximize the height between the top and bottom cord at the outside wall. The outside of the roof will be lined with 5/8” plywood and 40 year fibreglass shingles. Approximately 16 inches of blown in cellulose insulation will be used to insulate the roof.

Each roof will be fitted with 16 photovoltaic panels that collect solar energy and distribute it to the residential power grid in the community. Eight panels will be installed on the east and west sides of the sloped roof to take full advantage of solar energy collection throughout the day. These panels will greatly reduce the energy costs for the home and at times they produce more energy than is required to run the home, at these times the owners will receive credit from Nova Scotia Power.


All building materials used to construct the Efficiency Nova Scotia Demonstration Homes are relatively affordable and for the most part available at all hardware retailers in the metro area. Some materials do incur high initial costs but the monthly savings in energy costs ensure that each component is worth the money spent to purchase and install them.


Demonstration Homes Magazine

The Future of Housing in Nova Scotia! When it comes to advanced building practices, Nova Scotia leads the way for innovation. This makes the Efficiency Nova Scotia Demonstration Homes project all the more exciting! Featuring some of the highest energy-efficient options currently available in residential construction, the Efficiency Nova Scotia Demonstration Homes will provide Nova ... Read More
Efficiency Nova ScotiaNova Scotia Home Builders' Association