Build­ing bet­ter mini-homes

Tyne Val­ley com­pany con­struct­ing en­ergy ef­fi­cient houses

Journal Pioneer - - PRINCE COUNTY - BY ALYSHA CAMP­BELL news­room@jour­nal­pi­oneer.com

Matt Dar­rach de­cided this was the year to build mini­homes that would be eas­ier on home­own­ers’ wal­lets when it comes to util­ity costs. He launched P.E.I. Low En­ergy Homes in April and so far has built eight houses. He has no plans of slow­ing down.

His mini-homes houses have no ther­mal bridges; this means there are no ar­eas with higher heat or cold trans­fer than oth­ers. Not hav­ing a ther­mal bridge in­creases en­ergy ef­fi­ciency and re­duces con­den­sa­tion.

His houses also use twice as much in­su­la­tion as a stan­dard home, in place of the bridge. The ad­di­tional in­su­la­tion is a trend through­out the home: in the walls, floor and roof. Dar­rach also en­sures the homes are air­tight, six times more air­tight than a tra­di­tional house, he said.

An air ex­change sys­tem cir­cu­lates the air of­ten, which helps to re­duce hu­mid­ity.

“The houses we build get eight full air changes of fresh air per day,” said Dar­rach. “That’s one ev­ery three hours.”

The homes are en­tirely cus­tom­iz­a­ble, he added. “What­ever the cus­tomer wants, they’ll get it.”

Ei­ther built on site or de­liv­ered to a lot, an av­er­age 1,088-sq.ft. mini-home, three-bed­room, two-bath costs roughly $95,000. Main­te­nance for these homes are lower than a stan­dard home, prom­ises Dar­rach.

The steel roof will last up­wards of 40 years, and the win­dows have a life­time war­ranty.

Next year, he hopes to build a home that will have no util­ity bill at all. Long-term, Dar­rach plans ex­pand his com­pany to sell self­suf­fi­cient, net-zero homes for $100,000, with ap­pli­ances.

“I just want to build houses bet­ter.”

Dar­rach’s com­pany, P.E.I. Low En­ergy Homes, is lo­cated in Tyne Val­ley and can be con­tacted through Face­book.

ALYSHA CAMP­BELL/JOUR­NAL PI­O­NEER

Matt Dar­rach and his crew have built eight en­ergy ef­fi­cient mini-homes since April of this year, and have plans to build net-zero, self-suf­fi­cient homes next year.

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