It’s heartening to see a growing number of builders and homeowners taking significant steps towards reducing greenhouse gas emissions in their buildings. This year Ontario GreenSpec had several different categories in order to distinguish between large tract home builders, smaller builders and renovations. Winners in each category are below.
Affordable Green Home of the Year: Built on behalf of Habitat for Humanity in Peterborough by students from Fleming College, this house not only has all the “green” features you could imagine, it was built for $210,000. Some of the features are:
- R35 structurally insulated straw bale home
- water conservation: low flow faucets/shower heads throughout the house
- Solar hot water panels
- HRV and condensing furnace
- many building products sourced from Ontario
Custom Home of the Year: The GreenBilt House in Oakville, Ontario was built to blend in with the neighbourhood, and built in the style of the old farmhouses from the area. What’s different about this house, however, is that it is built with “green features” taken into account. The house is:
- a “pre-fabricated” home — ie., built in a factory which minimizes waste
- 20% smaller than its neighbours
- designed for passive solar and thermal mass absorption
- heated and cooled using a ground source heat pump (geo-thermal system)
- on a fully permeable lot (including the grassy driveway) minimizing water run-off to the street
- located close to public transit
Production Home of the Year: Eaton Production Home. The purpose of this category is to show that one “green” success can be replicated on a larger scale. The most unique feature of this home was the installation of a “whole house fan” — installed in the ceiling of the upper-most floor, this fan is powerful enough to suck all of the hot air in a home out within 30 minutes, reducing the need for air conditioning. Other features include:
- Foundation consists of insulated concrete forms reducing the amount of cement used while including insulation in one material,
- Water-saving features such as a rainwater cistern to feed toilets and landscaping, low flow faucets and showerheads, 3L toilets,
- Permeable landscaping and drought resistant sod promote lower outdoor water use and less rainwater run-off to street,
- Close to public transit.
Renovated Home of the Year: The Rosedale House — a complete gut and remodel of a 90 year old home within the original footings of the building. The project’s primary focus was on sealing the home and increasing insulation levels, however there were other initiatives taken as well:
- Significant energy reduction by 85% compared with pre-renovation energy consumption numbers.
- Repurposing of many of the home’s materials. Kitchen cabinets were reused, windows were not replaced.
- Significant HVAC upgrades were made including installation of an ERV (energy recovery ventilator), efficient boiler and hotwater tank.
- New, energy efficient appliances replaced old, energy consuming ones.
- Low flow water fixtures and toilets
- Near public transit.