Ultra-green homes come to market

EcoLogic homes to be constructed to LEED Platinum status

June 7, 2008
Tracy Hanes

     Canada's first subdivision houses built to the highest green home rating in North America came to market today.
     For the grand opening, a community barbecue will be held starting at 10 a.m. today at the sales office at 896 Mulock Dr. in Newmarket. Builders, technical representatives and town officials will be on hand from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. to discuss the project's technical elements and environmental features.      The homes will be constructed to LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Platinum status, which requires builders to meet an extensive list of criteria and for the houses to undergo third-party testing. The EcoLogic project strives to reduce household water draw by 25 per cent and reduce water discharge, solid waste, greenhouse gas production and energy consumption by 60 per cent over conventionally built homes.
     The site was part of the 36-hectare Stickwood-Walker farm, purchased by the Town of Newmarket in 2003. The Magna Centre sits on part of the land and another piece was divided into residential lots. The 34 lots purchased by Rodeo Fine Homes were in response to a call for proposals from the town for a builder willing to meet stringent water use, waste reduction and energy goals for those lots.
Vince Naccarato, partners with Frank Mauro in Rodeo Fine Homes, which is a small custom builder, says response at a preview event laid to rest any concerns about how the public would react to the ultra-green homes. Fourteen were sold during the preview.
      "We wondered at times, `If you build it, will they come?' but they did," says Naccarato, who says one buyer told him she had waited three years for the homes to come to market. "People were very knowledgeable and educated about LEED, though they were scratching their heads about a few of the products we're offering. But none of the products is experimental; they have all been available on the market for years, just not mainstream."
     The EcoLogic houses, which are being built to U.S. LEED housing standards, as none yet exist here, will become part of the pilot project for Canada LEED for Houses, which is being rolled out this summer.
     The homes, on 40-, 45- and 60-foot lots designed by architect Vincent Santamaura, will have brick, stone and stucco exteriors with three-foot roof overhangs to shade the houses in summer and let sun in during winter. They will have superior insulation and draft sealing techniques, and the low-E argon gas dual pane windows will have two low-emissivity coatings. A dual purpose, high-efficiency boiler will provide space heating, domestic hot water and radiant heat needs.
     An integrated heat recovery ventilation (HRV) unit and air handler will use one low-energy fan to provide air delivery, air conditioning and ventilation.
     It will transfer 70 per cent of the heat from exhaust air into the incoming cold air.
     Energy Star appliances, energy-efficient lighting, programmable thermostats and a real-time energy monitor will also help save money on heating and electricity bills. On 60-foot models, solar thermal hot water and solar thermal air preheat technology are included as standard, and optional on 40 and 45-foot lots.
     Other green features include dual-flush, low-flow toilets, low-flow faucets, permeable concrete interlock driveway and a kitchen recycling centre.
     Locally sourced and natural materials will be used to build the houses, and low VOC paints, hard surface flooring and formaldehyde-free cabinet materials will help maintain indoor air quality.
     Prices start in the low $500,000s for 40-foot designs, from the mid $500,00s for 45-foot lots and in the high $600,00s for 60-foot designs. Home size ranges from about 2,2000 square feet to 3,500 square feet. Two model homes will open on site this fall.
     The sales office at 896 Mulock Dr. is open Monday to Thursday 1 p.m. to 8 p.m.; Saturday, Sunday and olidays, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Closed Fridays. Call 905-953-1435 or go to rodeofinehomes.com.

Source: Toronto Star