Mark Bernhardt of Bernhardt Contracting hands Rose and Richard Gutierrez their passive home certification. The Saanich-based president of the Vancouver Island chapter of the Canadian Homebuilders’ Association believes demands for homes with high-energy efficiency will increase in the coming years.                                 Photo submitted

Mark Bernhardt of Bernhardt Contracting hands Rose and Richard Gutierrez their passive home certification. The Saanich-based president of the Vancouver Island chapter of the Canadian Homebuilders’ Association believes demands for homes with high-energy efficiency will increase in the coming years. Photo submitted

Pearkes opens doors to home renovation and decor expo

Plenty of ideas for homeowners at Victoria Early Spring Home Expo running Friday through Sunday

As Saanich gets ready to host the fourth annual Victoria Early Spring Home Expo at Pearkes Recreation Centre starting Friday, a new survey shows some of the trends that will shape home renovation and decor.

The 2017 Canadian Home Buyer Preference National Study shows home buyers consider energy-efficiency to be essential. In fact, four of the top 10 “Must Have” items in homes according to the survey revolve around energy efficiency.

“The definite trend we are seeing is energy efficiency,” said Mark Bernhardt, president of the Vancouver Island chapter of the Canadian Homebuilders’ Association, who also build passive homes. “There is a recognition that energy costs money. There is a recognition of how our homes impact climate change.”

Not unlike Teslas, homes with high energy-efficiency have become status symbols, said Bernhardt.

This analogy invites the charge that homes with a high energy-efficiency are homes for the well-off. But Bernhardt does not buy this argument. The additional percentage cost of building a certified passive house as compared to a traditional house often amounts to low single digits, and homes with high energy-efficiency offer long-term savings down the line.

“High-performance buildings are cheaper to run and cheaper to own,” said Bernhardt. “It is easy [to convince the public about high-energy efficiency] if you are looking for more than two years down the road.”

Bernhardt acknowledges that high energy-efficiency building has not yet gone mainstream. But he predicts that it will take off faster than many might anticipate. Once consumers start demanding high energy-efficiency, builders will start to compete for business, leading to more energy-efficient homes, he said.

Other findings of the survey show that home buyers value storage space and consider kitchens to be key.

The show itself is free and runs over three days, starting Friday from at 1 to 9 p.m. Saturday doors open at 9:30 a.m. and close at 5:30 p.m. while on Sunday doors open at 10 a.m. and close at 4 p.m.

Produced by Evergreen Exhibitions of Parksville, the show will feature a wide range of displays that will allow interested parties get up close and personal with experts in home improvements, renovations, décor and design among others areas. In fact, some of the displays will be in-show only.

“We are confident that the show will be the ultimate one-stop shop for Victoria area homeowners, offering the newest decorating, designing, renovation, building and home improvement experts,” said show manager Glenda Gall, adding there will be many unique ‘show-only’ displays as well, with plenty of fun and new gadgets.

Organizers estimate that the three day-show will generate close to $2 million for Saanich and area businesses.