Posts Tagged ‘CaesarStone’

Nexterra’s New Eco-Friendly Partners

February 15th, 2011

Nexterra and LivingHomes have partnered to build 4 luxury eco-homes in a quiet setting on a ravine, close to the subway, restaurants and amenities. These homes are greener than your ordinary homes and if you’d like to read more, see an earlier post I wrote about the project.

Nexterra has been working tirelessly to find more suppliers for these wonderful homes. When I was at the Interior Design Show 2011, Nexterra invited a few of us on a tour of five new partners recently added to their list of suppliers. Nexterra has two requirements when selecting suppliers: that the products are designed with high style, and that they help preserve the environment whether that be by avoiding off-gassing of harmful chemicals into the built home, conserving water and/or energy, or choosing materials that have a lower impact on the environment than their traditional counterparts.

Be Collection -- Sink

WETSTYLE: A Montreal-based company, makes beautiful sinks and tubs by hand. Each tub takes about 6 hours to finish and almost all the work in manufacturing the products is done by hand. All work takes place in the factory in Montreal. In addition to the lower energy use, the factory boasts a waste and scrap rate of less than 1%. Bath furnishings come from the Cube Collection, Be Collection and M Collection. (Note: for a list of retailers for WetStyle, see their website.)

Hey Joe Faucet by Aquabrass

Aqua Brass: Italian-designed faucets and shower heads that anyone would be proud to put in their homes. These faucets are beautiful contemporary pieces that belie their functionality. The Bridge Collection of faucets will be used in the powder room and second floor main bathroom, while the Hey Joe Collection will be used for the master bathroom. The faucets use 1.6 gallons per minute versus a standard flow rate faucet of 2.2 to 3.8 gpm. To find a dealer near you, visit their website.

Natura Paint by Benjamin Moore. Zero VOC

Benjamin Moore: Natura is a line of zero VOC paints, even when colour tints are added. This last part is important because some paint retailers boast zero VOC paints — but only when the paints aren’t tinted. Natura 100% acrylic paints are water-based, fade resistant, have good coverage and come in finishes of flat, eggshell and semi-gloss. (To find a retailer near you, visit their website.)

Quartz Reflections by CaesarStone

CaesarStone: Quartz is the lowest maintenance, most durable of all the stone surfaces. The surface being used for the kitchen island, side gables and countertops also has recycled content which includes crushed quartz, post consumer mirror and windshield glass all of which is being diverted from landfill and reused in this product. Product is Quartz Reflections, #7141. To find a Caesarstone dealer near you visit their website.

AEG Steam Oven

Euroline Appliances: Euroline is providing all of the kitchen and laundry appliances for the homes.

  • AEG is supplying a cooking tower that includes: A 24″ oven, steam oven, microwave and warming drawer, induction cooktop (induction boils water in under a minute) and dishwasher. The washer and dryer (Lavamat and Lavatherm) are also AEG appliances.
  • Liebherr is supplying  24″ (each) refrigerator and freezer which stand side by side. Liebherr is one of the first companies to completely eliminate hazardous chemicals from its manufacturing process.
  • Franke: A Swiss company providing the sink and faucet.

Euroline is located at 2278 Speers Road in Oakville, ON.

For more information on the Nexterra/LivingHomes collaboration, visit their website.

Nexterra and LivingHomes Establish Eco-Enclave in Toronto

June 9th, 2010

LivingHomes (Photo courtesy of LivingHomes and Nexterra)

What happens when you put two conscientious real estate developers (no, it is not an oxymoron) together with a prefab homes builder? You get responsible development in an urban setting …but it feels like the country.

Nexterra Developments is a new project started by two real estate developers, Gary Lands and Barry Campbell. They are developing a ravine property in North York, just off Senlac Drive, close to Yonge and Sheppard. With all the development going on in this city — and with most of it being unenlightened —  it’s refreshing to see some forward thinkers for a change.

The homes being developed by Nexterra range in size between 2200 and 3000 square feet with full height (9′) basements. While these homes wouldn’t be considered gigantic, they are neither cramped nor overly cavernous. It’s all part of the “eco-enclave” philosophy. Smart design allows you to get more functional space while using less material. But that’s only the tip of the green iceberg.

LivingHomes Interior (photo courtesy of LivingHomes and Nexterra)

What’s also unique about this housing development is that the homes are prefabricated. They will be built in a factory in Manitoba by Conquest Manufacturing using the philosophy, designs and systems of LivingHomes, a green prefab manufacturer out of Santa Monica, California. LivingHomes is the brainchild of Steve Glenn, who started the company five years ago. Using himself as the first guinea pig customer, he lives in the first factory built home the company produced (the exterior and interior photos here are of his house — I admit I have house envy, sigh).

The advantage of prefab. Building a home in the factory before setting it up on site has several advantages.

  • Minimal waste of materials. In a typical wood-framed single house build, between 30-40% of construction materials end up as waste. In prefab homes 2-8% becomes construction waste. Leftover materials can be used on the next job.
  • Covered Storage. All building materials are covered and protected from the elements so they are not subjected to weather which again leads to less waste.
  • Precision. For building code reasons, prefab homes must be built to higher standards. They need to withstand transport from factory to building site.
  • Shorter time frame. Homes can be built in 46-54 weeks depending on if it’s standard or custom. They can be built in the factory while the footings are being built on site.

LivingHomes are modular. That is, they are built in modules within the factory, and they are assembled on site. If you have a look at their website you can see the crane putting homes into place. All interior finishes can be installed in the factory — including the kitchen cabinets, flooring, windows, etc., and then the modules can be put together on site (think Lego for grown ups).

LivingHomes: Elevation (courtesy of LivingHomes and Nexterra)

LivingHomes: Floor Plan (courtesy of LivingHomes and Nexterra)

Design Excellence.  The homes are designed by well-known American architect, Ray Kappe who is known for his “warm modern” designs.  The importance of a well-designed home cannot be ovestated. A home can be made of 100% renewable, recycleable materials, but if it’s not functional and not nice to look at then well, it won’t last very long either. Good design is at the core of any environmentally influenced home, and these homes are oozing with style and functionality.

Green Building: LivingHomes has a strict environmental philosophy that they apply to all of their homes. In fact most of their homes receive LEED for Homes Gold or Platinum certification. The Nexterra Homes will be more more “Canadianized” than their California counterparts, with walls having insulation value of R38, the roof at R50. Windows will be triple-glazed, low-e with argon gas. Further, the homes will be heated and cooled using a geothermal system, and outfitted with tankless hotwater system. The homes will also have green roofs (which not only absorb excess rainwater, but also act as an insulator).

The materials chosen for the interior continue LivingHomes’ philosophy of mixing high design with environmental practicality. Kitchen cabinets will contain no added urea formaldehyde, are highly durable, and have superior moisture resistance than standard MDF cabinets. Countertops will be the recycled line of CaesarStone quartz, all wood products are FSC certified, all paints used are from Benjamin Moore’s Natura line (zero VOC), bathroom fixtures are made by  WetStyle, a Montreal company that produces bathroom fixtures from either “eco-friendly natural stone composite” material, or FSC-certified wood.

Cost per square foot: The price of a home varies depending on many factors from where it is built to whether it is a custom or standardized home. Here is a link to LivingHomes’ page with various models and pricing options. Note prices are in US dollars and do not include the cost of land, taxes, foundation and many other incidentals.

When and Where? The first home will break ground in August 2010 and is anticipated to be ready by early November, 2010. Visit the Nexterra site for more information or to keep up on progress. Homes are expected to be priced for around $1.5 million.

Are stone countertops eco-friendly?

May 17th, 2010

CaesarStone collection

The “greeness” of  stone counter tops is a conumdrum I have been wrestling with over the years. You can get LEED points for using stone countertops because of their benefits to indoor air quality. But generally speaking, in the true sense of the word, stone countertops are not green. Stone is a massively energy and water intensive product to produce. Producers tout its “natural qualities.” Stone may be natural, but that doesn’t mean that all natural things are safe or responsible to use. If that were the case you could argue that petroleum is a natural product too.

But let’s be realistic: A lot of us love stone countertops. They’re nice to look at, they’re sleek, they’re fairly easy to clean and they can last and last without fading and can, to a certain extent, be revived or refurbished when they get too rough looking. So, whether we like it or not, stone countertops are going to be around for awhile.

Cambria quartz countertop

That being said, if you could choose a more “eco-friendly” stone, assuming there is such a thing, you would look for stone manufacturers that are conscientious about how they produce their stone, and you would look for stone that stands up to the test of time. Some stones are more durable than others and will last for 100s of years if looked after properly. Others, like the prima dona marble counter tops in my kitchen, will be worn out within a few years unless they’re taken extra, really good care of.

If I were to choose a stone countertop I would choose a quartz-based product. Quartz is the fourth hardest natural substance and is one of the most common substances on earth. Quartz countertops have many advantages over granite, marble, soapstone and limestone countertops. Quartz countertops are:

  • low maintenance and never need to be sealed,
  • non-porous so they are stain and bacteria-resistant,
  • available in a wide variety of colours and edging finishes,
  • generally come with a 10 year warranty (check your manufacturer for specific warranty)
  • Greenguard approved — which is given to products with high indoor air quality value. These products don’t off-gas any harmful chemicals.

Quartz manufacturers:

Two quartz manufacturers stand out when it comes to their environmental commitments.

CaesarStone not only offers a line of products which includes up to 42% post-consumer recycled material, its manufacturing and transportation practices are central to its environmental commitment.

Cambria: According to its website, its quartz is mostly mined and manufactured in the USA. The company recycles 100% of water used in the manufacturing process and even recycles storm water captured on the property. Environmental best practices are used throughout the manufacturing and packaging of Cambria products and even within its head office. See here for more details.

To find a CaesarStone dealer near you, click here.

To find a Cambria dealer near you, click here.

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