Today, March 22, is World Water Day. A day designated by the United Nations to remember to conserve water. Here in Canada we are some of the biggest water users on the planet and so we tend to take water for granted. But as our communities grow and stress our resources, we need to think more about conserving a precious resource. There are many fairly easy ways to conserve water around the house including installing aerators in your faucets, low-flow shower heads and when it comes time to buy new toilets, washing machines or dishwashers, make sure you look for water saving features.

Ontario Green Spec held its second annual Home Sweet Home contest and people who’d built or renovated homes with green features were encouraged to apply. To mark the UN World Water Day, Ontario Green Spec selected three “Water Champions” to highlight projects that focused on increasing water efficiency.

A ‘Green’ Victorian – 153 Huron Street, Toronto: This 120 year old house is the home of MP Jack Layton, National NDP Leader and MP Olivia Chow in downtown Toronto. The renovation project, carried out by the Green Catalyst Group and InLine Design.Build, earned the highest water conservation score within the Renovated Home of the Year category. This is the most difficult category in which to achieve gains because it’s more practical to include efficient technologies during the construction phase, rather than re-building later. However the existing housing market is also the most significant sector in terms of total water conservation opportunities, and we applaud this project for showing leadership within that sector. The water saving features included the installation of two 1000 litre rainwater harvesting tanks, replacing old toilets with efficient dual-flush models, and installing a water-saving showerhead.


Stickwood-Walker “EcoLogic” Homes – 1096 Quaker Trail, Newmarket. This new home is part of Canada’s first neighbourhood of LEED Platinum homes. The Town of Newmarket set very high environmental standards for the Stickwood-Walker housing development, including a 50% reduction in water use and 35% reduction in discharge. The team at Rodeo Fine Homes met the challenge.  This project achieved its water targets by including a 2300 litre rainwater harvesting system, grey-water recycling, efficient appliances, low-flow faucets and showerheads and dual flush toilets.  More info: Newmarket Ecologic Homes or http://www.rodeofinehomes.com


Cambridgeshire LEED Home – 6 Tremaine Drive, Kitchener. This model home was built by Terra View Homes as part of their Edgewater Estates neighbourhood. It achieved exceptional water conservation through the inclusion of a 5000 litre rainwater harvesting system. Rain from the entire roof surface is channelled into an in-ground cistern, which is then used to supply clean water to all toilets, and to irrigate outdoor plants.  A landscape architect “xeriscaped” the grounds, including drought-tolerant sod and permeable paving that allows rain to soak through into the soil. The project also employed efficient appliances, low-flow faucets and showerheads and low-flow toilets to further the water savings.  For more information, see http://www.terra-view.com/?page_id=119.

The Home Sweet Home Contest celebrates green residential building. The winners will be announced on April 12th, 2011 at the awards gala. For more information about the contest or to buy tickets for the gala, visit the website: http://www.hsh-competition.ca/

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