Tag Archives: Canada Green Building Council (CaGBC)

Terra View Homes set to launch energy efficient community in Guelph

Terra View Homes set to launch energy efficient community in Guelph

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Terra View Homes set to launch energy efficient community in Guelph

Terra View Homes is gearing up for the fall launch of residential home sales in its highly anticipated NiMa Trails project in Guelph.

NiMa Trails will include 360 units of multi-block and single-detached homes all built to the Net Zero Ready standard and offered in a variety of layouts, ranging from 1,700 to 3,600 sq. ft. The multi-phase community infrastructure for Phase 1A and 1B is nearing completion.

With upwards of 180 multi units planned for the development, residential space will make up the majority of the 34 acres that the project spans in the city’s north end. NiMa Trails will also include proposed commercial and office space, a community trail, three wetland areas, and a large community park.

“It is incredibly exciting to finally be launching this project and all it has to offer to those looking to purchase a new home in this vibrant community,” says David Brix, president of Terra View Homes. “We’re looking forward to bringing this unique addition to the Guelph residential market.”

Set to be Guelph’s most energy efficient community, NiMa Trails will include the notable Terra Condos project, which is scheduled to break ground in the coming months. Selected as one of the 16 projects chosen to be a part of the Canada Green Building Council’s (CaGBC) Zero Carbon Building Standard pilot program in 2017, the construction of Terra will help create and inform the CaGBC’s Zero Carbon Building Standard for energy efficient buildings and future building stock across the country.

Terra Condos is set to be one of the first of its kind in Canada – a modern, socially responsible boutique condo building that leaves zero carbon footprint by drawing on green power from solar and geothermal energy sources.



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5 Landscaping ideas to steal from Canada

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5 Landscaping ideas to steal from Canada

Canada is a country filled with breathtaking scenery. From sweeping plains to mountains covered in snow, its diverse landscapes are a joy to behold. Homes across Canada are just as complex as the landscape. Dwellings look different from each other, depending on where you go. In Nova Scotia, you’re likely to come across timber-framed houses, while in British Columbia you’ll likely see newly-built homes. Interestingly, residential landscaping is booming right now. People just can’t wait to get outdoors and make their piece of heaven more attractive. In case you were searching for landscaping ideas for your home, you’re in luck.

Here are five landscaping ideas to steal from Canada.

1. Hardscape your yard

Chances are that you’re not familiar with the concept of hardscaping. What you need to know is that it involves the use of man-made features in the surrounding environment. Examples include, but aren’t limited to, brick patios, stone walls and wood arbors. Basically, you use hard elements to add style and functionality to the outdoor space. Even if hardscaping may sound difficult, it couldn’t be simpler. You have the same landscaping principles you’ve been accustomed to. Most importantly, you’ll get the yard that you want while maximizing space and adding modern elements.

In Toronto, it’s not uncommon to see gardens featuring brick paths, various paving materials and wooden arbors. Research pays off when it comes to adding a completely new element to the environment. Take into account the entire area before making a decision. You can’t install just about any design element. When tackling the outdoor space, it’s a good idea to get the help of professionals. They will analyze every parcel of land to understand the ins and outs of the design. Moreover, a professional landscape designer will help you transform your ideas into actionable plans.

2. Landscape with lush greenery

Take advantage of nature. Why not, after all? Plants purify the air around the home, not to mention that they have an astounding visual impact. There is something about green plants that makes them so beautiful. There’s the symmetry and the color. Consider introducing greenery to your landscape. They’re perfectly suited for Canadian homes. Make sure your house boasts views of trees and lush greenery. When decorating with greenery keep in mind the following:

  • Combine green plants that have something in common: To achieve the perfect look, add greenery that shares something in common. You can use Japanese yew, boxwood hedges, English hedges, Hosta, and, of course, perennials.
  • Mount a wire grid: Wire mesh will make your project a lot easier to handle. You can create a mini greenhouse. Some wire grids come with mountable shelves that offer many opportunities for customization.
  • Buy natives locally: Needless to say, you shouldn’t purchase just any greenery. Florists deliver hand-picked fresh flowers. Get help from a local business. Be cautious about generic plants. Maybe what you’ll be planting isn’t really indigenous. Be very picky when it comes to your purchases.

3. Opt for pretty vignettes

Garden vignettes aren’t just plants – they’re small collections of things that touch the visual senses, including pots and metal panels. Let’s not forget about glass. You can use glass anywhere in the environment. Don’t waste your time thinking of whether to vignette. Just do it. vignettes are incredibly powerful landscape elements that look so good it’s impossible not to include them in your photos. Try to create a sort of escape. This way, you’ll enjoy the outdoor space even more.

4. Install artificial grass

Have you thought about landscaping with artificial grass? If not, there’s no better time than now to try. In Toronto, for instance, more and more homeowners are turning to artificial grass. Why? Because they are sick and tired of mud and weeds. Faux grass doesn’t require any kind of maintenance. All you have to do to make it look brand new is to remove the dust, dirt and leaves. In this sense, you can use a broom or a brush. Many companies install artificial grass in Toronto. They handle the project from start to finish, so you have a guarantee that the outdoor space will look great.

Since artificial grass doesn’t require special maintenance, it reduces greenhouse gas emissions. If you didn’t know what more you could to reduce your carbon footprint, now you have the answer. Have artificial grass installed. There’s nothing better than having a true outdoor carpet. While it can be a little expensive, faux grass has a long lifespan. It doesn’t last a lifetime, but it will certainly keep you company for 25 years. Working artificial grass into your landscape isn’t hard. Since it’s so versatile, it can be placed virtually everywhere.

5. Plan for a grand entrance

An impressive entrance will welcome visitors into your abode and enhances visible parts of your property. The entrance should be designed to be easily reachable and reflect the informal nature of the home. And soften the lines of the raised foundation. Here’s an idea you should keep in mind: A groundwork of evergreen trees and shrubs. Time and space will be in contrast with the unchanging backdrop of the yard. If you head on over to Vermont, you’ll no doubt see this entry way design. The arrival experience is one of a kind.

Make sure that the evergreens are tall enough. Create a sense of harmony by using several shrubs and plants. Plant three or five on each side of the entrance. Owing to the fact that the environment depends on openness, you need to add a more enclosed space. The perfect choice would be an arbor or a gate. What you want is an entrance that offers a neat contrast with the plant color. Using planting pots can really make a difference.


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7 Steps Toward Energy Efficiency

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7 Steps Toward Energy Efficiency

Can the way we design or retrofit our buildings help the climate crisis? This is a question that lingers in my mind daily. Cutting greenhouse gas emissions and trying to reverse climate change has never been more important. Investing in our buildings, new or old, can make a difference. Old buildings in particular present a great opportunity to make improvements.

It has always been a challenge to get people to invest in new sustainable buildings, largely because of the idea of higher upfront costs. Thankfully, because of successful projects like evolv1 in Waterloo — a net-positive, multi-tenant building that recently won the first-ever Zero Carbon award from the Canada Green Building Council (CaGBC) — more people understand that there’s a great business case for green buildings. Not just for the environment but for the bottom line.

While our understanding about the value of green design in our new buildings is taking hold, people are still overlooking all the old building stock out there. For every innovative evolv1 project in development, there are dozens of inefficient existing buildings around us. Most of these old buildings will stand for decades, so what can we do about them today? What strategies can we adopt to improve the energy efficiency of existing buildings?

Here are some ideas. Let’s focus on low-cost/no-cost measures. If you follow these suggestions, it’ll make a difference―both for the environment, and for your energy bill.

Don’t leave the lights on

Do you really need to be lighting every floor of your office building all the time? Aside from emergency lights, it makes sense to use control strategies like daylight dimming and occupancy sensors to reduce your energy usage during evenings and weekends. Daylight dimming detectors adjust lighting according to the amount of sunlight available, and occupancy sensors work like indoor motion lights to detect if a person is present.

Program that thermostat

Here’s another easy one. To maximize energy savings, it’s wise to use a variable temperature strategy. In office buildings, set your thermostat to a comfortable room temperature for the mornings and afternoons, when the building is occupied. In the evenings, reduce it. For example, during full occupancy times, set your temperature to 21C (70F). Lower it to 15C or 16C (59F-60F) during off-hours. At home, make sure to use a smart thermostat or a programmable thermostat. Why heat a room that much if no one’s in it?

Close down your fresh air damper

Here’s a related point to the last one. Some building operators keep central fans running for too long, which supply fresh air to spaces when it’s not necessary. If there’s no one in your building during nights or on weekends, it doesn’t make sense to provide continuous fresh air. At night, revert to the minimum airflow required for conditioning the space.

Shut off your equipment

Instruct staff members to power down their laptops and desktop computers at night. Reduce the receptacle power use during unoccupied times. I realize that businesses need to update their systems occasionally, so perhaps you can schedule patch/maintenance updates on weekends for a couple of hours. But don’t leave those computers on every night.

Fix those old windows

Windows in older buildings are often leaky. This leads to more heat escaping from your comfortably conditioned spaces, which means that you need to supply even more heat — and you lose more energy this way. Look into fixing or replacing those drafty windows as soon as you can.

Upgrade your equipment

People often don’t upgrade their equipment when they should. All pieces of equipment have a useful service life. For example, if your furnace has a service life of 20 years, don’t let it run for 30. If you are planning on doing a mid-life retrofit to your building, do not replace your equipment on a like-for-like basis, but upgrade and improve on the equipment’s efficiency. Technology improves every day, so the efficiency of appliances and devices also improves constantly. If your furnace is running at a low efficiency, you’re going to be dealing with some big bills.

Design for tomorrow, not for today

Apart from the cost, look ahead to the future. The temperature will be warmer, so if you’re designing/and or upgrading a cooling system, you need to account for extra cooling load in the future. Design for tomorrow, not today.

A few final thoughts

For both existing building retrofits, as well as for new developments, clients are typically focused on upfront costs. Most stakeholders will prioritize upfront cost — how much is this going to be at the outset? But we need to start considering life-cycle cost and think of how much it’s going to cost to operate the building on a day-to-day basis. Can you save $10,000 down the road by spending $500 extra today?

High-performance and low-carbon buildings will produce lower operating costs than more conventional strategies. Like I mentioned earlier, success stories like evolv1 are helping to change this mentality — evolv1 is a living example of net-zero carbon emissions balanced with a financially viable solution.

These are steps that we can take to help address the current climate crisis, while also designing, building, and retrofitting buildings to be energy- and cost-efficient and more comfortable for users.

Afaf Azzouz is a buildings energy specialist with Stantec’s Energy and mechanical engineering group in Ottawa. She recently won the 2018 Emerging Green Leader Award from the CaGBC of Ontario. https://www.stantec.com/en


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