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CHBA names winners of 2020 National Awards for Housing Excellence

CHBA names winners of 2020 National Awards for Housing Excellence

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CHBA names winners of 2020 National Awards for Housing Excellence

The Canadian Home Builders’ Association (CHBA) has announced the winners of the 2020 CHBA National Awards for Housing Excellence, celebrating the best of the best from across Canada.

Rosehaven Homes' The Randall Residences in Oakville
Rosehaven Homes’ The Randall Residences in Oakville

Rosehaven Homes of Oakville, Ont. won the Marketing Excellence Award for overall success in marketing categories. Rosehaven also took home the marketing awards for Digital Media Campaign – Mid- to Highrise, and Print Ad, for The Randall Residences in Oakville. Rosehaven’s marketing was created with McOuat Partnership of Markham, Ont.

Minto Communities, another GTA builder, won the Net Zero Home Award, Mid- to Highrise Condo or Apartment Project (planned) for its Toronto development The Saint, Brochure/ Kit for 123 Portland, also in Toronto, and the Net Zero Home Award for the 2019 Minto Dream Home in support of the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario.

Located at Church and Adelaide, The Saint is designed to honour the preserved historic buildings of the neighbourhood, including the nearby St. James Cathedral. Inside, Japanese minimalism inspired design with biophilic elements combine to create a serene environment, and 10,000 sq. ft. of amenity space focused on health and wellness provides residents with a home where they can “find their centre.”

For a complete list of winners, visit chba.ca.


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Construction industry to lead post-COVID-19 economic recovery

Construction industry to lead post-COVID-19 economic recovery

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Construction industry to lead post-COVID-19 economic recovery

The new home construction industry is well-positioned to play a significant role in the post-COVID-19 recovery in the GTA, Ontario and Canada, according to the Building Industry and Land Development Association (BILD).

“Working with our colleagues at the Ontario and Canadian Home Builders’ Associations, we have put together a roadmap for simple changes that will have a great impact to the economy,” says David Wilkes, president and CEO of BILD.

The CHBA, OHBA and BILD submitted a 20-point plan to the Ontario Jobs and Recovery Committee to help kick-start the Canadian economy post pandemic.

COVID-19 has had a devastating impact on Canada, Ontario, and the GTA, the groups say. Millions of people lost their jobs and the economy has all but ground to a halt. As governments at all levels start to look at recovery, they will need to focus on the GTA, as the region is the engine of Canada’s economy, accounting for 20 per cent of Canada’s and 50 per cent of Ontario’s GDP.

The residential and commercial building and development industry, and the professional renovations industry, are major contributors to economic activity in the region. Collectively, they employ more than 360,000 people in the GTA, paying $22 billion in wages and generating $42 billion in investment value annually.

Unlock investments

“With all levels of government facing financial challenges and funding requests, we are providing ideas that will unlock consumer and industry construction investments that will kick-start the economy,” says Joe Vaccaro, CEO of the OHBA.

Proposed measures include transferring mortgage tenancy to the date of occupancy for new condominiums, eliminating security deposits for Ontario Land Transfer Tax on affiliated transfers and freezing municipal increases to Property Tax Reassessment and development charges.

Another proposed recommendation is to free up monies that would otherwise be stuck in such things as municipal agreements (refundable deposits paid by developers) and replace them with surety bonds, freeing up billions in potential investments that otherwise would have been parked.

Stimulate growth

“To help stimulate economic growth and keep Canadians properly housed, we will need to foster housing supply while also ensuring demand-side measures are adjusted to reflect the times,” says Kevin Lee, CEO, CHBA. “Accordingly, we recommend 30-year amortizations for insured mortgages, and adjusting the mortgage stress test for both insured and uninsured mortgages. Removing the GST on new homes purchased for 2020 and 2021 would also be a timely catalyst for new home construction.”

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GTA homebuilders upbeat about post-COVID-19 recovery

Municipalities and building industry working together now to ensure housing essential after COVID-19

 

 

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Building Codes

Proposed ‘Alterations to Existing Buildings’ will change the way building codes apply to renovations

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Proposed ‘Alterations to Existing Buildings’ will change the way building codes apply to renovations

In some parts of Canada, renovation work is required to follow the current building code that’s in effect. In other parts of the country, renovations only need to meet the “code of the day” – the requirements that were in effect when the house was originally built. This could all change with a new policy coming from the Canadian Commission on Building and Fire Codes on “Alterations to Existing Buildings,” which could spell new requirements for renovations to existing homes.

Renovating for the Future

Canada has committed to significantly reducing its greenhouse gases (GHGs) by 2030. The target is to achieve levels 30% lower than what we had in 2005 – a substantial undertaking. Canada has 14 million residential residences, and approximately 49% of the current housing stock was built before 1980. Most of these older buildings are far behind new homes when it comes to energy efficiency. Even if all the new homes built from now until 2030 (about 180,000 per year, or 1.8 million total) were built to “net-zero” energy efficiency, we still wouldn’t hit our target.

The only way the goal can be achieved is if we renovate the existing housing stock to make it more energy efficient. Canada has 7 million homes that were built before 1980. That’s a lot of opportunity for renovators.

The New Plan: “Alterations to Existing Buildings”

All levels of government are serious about meeting the GHG targets by 2030. To get us there, they have only two methods: they can persuade, or they can regulate.

Persuasion comes in the form of grants, low-interest loans, or tax credits. It makes the offer too enticing for a building owner to refuse. Regulation, on the other hand, removes the element of choice. It mandates minimum levels of performance and enforces it through inspections. A combination of both persuasion and regulation is considered in the draft CCBFC policy paper “Alterations to Existing Buildings” to drive improvements in the energy efficiency, accessibility, seismic resistance, structural integrity, and fire safety of existing homes.

The Roll Out

The policy paper proposes that when new requirements for renovation are adopted, they will not immediately apply to all existing buildings. In other words, homeowners will not get a notice from government to renovate their residences for energy efficiency. Instead, it is proposed that new requirements will come into play only once they have been “triggered.” What will trigger the new code requirements? First, the change to the building must be a voluntary decision by the building owner. Then, depending on the scope of the work and the changes being made, the building code will specify if the changes being made “trigger” the new requirements. If they do, the code will also specify which aspects of that building will need to be upgraded. The extent to which the home needs to be upgraded will fall somewhere between its existing state and minimums of the current code.

For example: Let’s say an owner decides to alter, upgrade, or change the function of a building. This could trigger improvements to the energy efficiency, accessibility, seismic resistance, structural integrity, or fire safety to meet the current code. That scope will obviously mean more work than the owner had originally intended, so to fund this extra work there will need to be persuasive tools such as incentives, grants, and/or tax credits.

What are the Triggers?

At this stage everything about “Alterations to Existing Buildings” is “proposed”. Nothing has been approved or decided upon. The following content is intended to provide you with information, but please note that any of this can – and likely will – change before it is finalized.

Not a trigger:

  • Cost The recommendations at this time clearly indicate that the cost of the change should not be a trigger. Costs change over time and vary across the country.
  • Involuntary changes For example, if a home is damaged by something typically covered by home insurance (for example, a hurricane), alteration requirements would not apply, because the repair is not deemed to be voluntary. Building owners will be able to repair their properties after a natural disaster without triggering requirements.
  • Normal wear and tear If a building owner is doing maintenance or repairs due to normal wear and tear, or replacing a component with something similar, they will be exempt from alteration requirements. Examples of this could include re-roofing or replacing an old furnace with a new one.

What could be a trigger:

“Alterations to Existing Buildings” proposes that the following voluntarily changes may trigger requirements:

  • A system(s) upgrade
  • Space reconfiguration
  • Change of occupancy
  • Addition, and/or
  • Other change (yet to be defined)

In these cases, the significance of the change will drive the requirements of what needs to be done. If the work is deemed to be a “minor” change, requirements will be applicable only to the area being changed. However, if the work is deemed to be a “major” change, requirements will be applicable to all directly affected systems. The criteria to differentiate between minor and major changes will be important, as well as the consistent interpretation of this criteria by building officials across the country.

“Alterations to Existing Buildings” will have a significant impact on the renovation industry in Canada. The Canadian Home Builders’ Association (CHBA) is actively involved at all levels of the Association providing input to the discussions on behalf of the industry. Much of this work is being done by CHBA’s Technical Research Committee and the Canadian Renovators’ Council.

As a renovator, your expertise is both needed and welcome. If you’re not a member of CHBA, impending code requirements for alterations to existing buildings should be the “trigger” that gets you to join. If you want to be “in the know” and get involved, talk to your local home builders’ association (HBA). Find a local HBA near you by looking on our website at CHBA.ca.

Stay tuned for more on this important issue in the future.

Gary Sharp
Gary Sharp

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Optional incentives - Want to keep your team? Offer employee share options

Optional incentives – Want to keep your team? Offer employee share options

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Optional incentives – Want to keep your team? Offer employee share options

As a businessowner, you know the value of having a solid team to help drive growth and continued success. How to retain valued employees in today’s evolving market is another matter. Offering a stake in the business is one option that is gaining popularity among construction company owners, particularly when planning for retirement.

In a recent webinar for CHBA members, CHBA CEO Kevin Lee and Eben Louw, Partner of Succession Services at national accounting firm MNP, discussed how to retain your best employees through bonuses, profit sharing, and employee ownership plans. (Visit chba.ca/webinars to watch the recorded webinar.)

In this article, MNP’s Louw delves into the critical first step of structuring such plans: being sure of your business and personal goals. With a challenging environment and a younger workforce that may be motivated in different ways than previous generations, exploring different employee incentive options is becoming critical to achieve company goals. Employee share ownership programs (ESOPs) or employee profit-sharing programs (EPSPs) increasingly are gaining popularity, for retaining or creating incentives for one or more employees, succession planning, or because it worked well for another company.

The right questions to ask, however, may be deeper ones about your goals that are not short-term but are intended for the next three years or longer. You need to be crystal clear on these goals before a plan for employee ownership or profit sharing can be created and executed successfully.

 

Begin with an end in mind

Unsuccessful bonus or ownership plans often have no criteria attached to them. They aren’t linked to the company’s goals and expected outcomes, and aren’t entirely effective in moving the company forward.

The higher the level of uncertainty regarding desired outcomes, the less the incentive to do better. It is therefore critical to start with goals. Effectively, you have to decide where you want your team to help take your company before you reward them for their hard work.

Goals are varied and unique to your company and your situation. They can be related to company growth, as in a particular product line, division, or geography, or can seek to improve areas of vulnerability such as dealing with increasing competition, employee retention, or high cost of operations, amongst others. You are looking for specific people to contribute to specific outcomes and goals.

A critical consideration while outlining goals is identifying the owner’s or leadership’s personal goals. Plans would be designed differently for owners or leaders looking to retire in three to five years, compared to those who will be operating the business longer term.

Once the objective is clearly articulated, the next step is to create a strategy to help you get to your desired outcome.

Build a strategic program

People often think an employee incentive program related to the company’s success is based on an ownership stake in the company. But there are two forms of rewards to encourage ownership behaviour in employees.

One option allows employees to share in profits, and the other enables them to share in ownership. Both work and can even be used together very effectively.

How you structure these rewards and which options you select – whether a distinct type or a combination of the two – are entirely dependent on your specific business situation and goals, and there is no one-size-fits-all program.

Certain benefits apply to all types of programs, including:

  • Creating an employee ownership mentality.
  • Boosting productivity.
  • Increasing alignment of personal and company goals.
  • Building a self-motivating company culture.

Employee Profit-Sharing Programs

EPSPs, as the name suggests, are formalized profit-sharing programs in which employee incentives are linked to sharing profits and not ownership of the company. Various approaches are possible and some structures even allow for tax benefits.

The benefits of profit-sharing plans are that they can provide immediate rewards and help build motivation, while simultaneously retaining key employees. They are also relatively easier to create and manage than ownership-sharing plans as there are less legal complexities and employee rights to manage.

Employee Share Ownership Programs

ESOPs often incorporate the profit-sharing features of EPSPs and offer an ownership stake to employees. These range from small minority stakes to a gradual transfer of controlling ownership during the management buyout of a business.

The benefits of ESOPs are often longer-term retention of key people, especially if change in ownership is being phased in due to retirement or the owner’s exit from the business. They are a good succession mechanism and can also be a selection ground for future owners.

Share-ownership plans are typically more complex to set up than profit-sharing plans due to additional valuation and legal complexities.

Select the right people

Once your goals are clearly outlined, it is a key time to identify and select the right people to help you get there through ownership or profit sharing.

It’s important to identify the people who are critical to achieving your objectives. The person, group of individuals, or teams that you select should be the ones who will stay with the company, be part of your company’s end goal, and fuel it. They should display the ability to truly believe in the objectives and be self-motivated to lead the company towards success, functioning as dynamos within the organization. The right people will make a large difference and drive growth and change.

It is worth mentioning the people you select should already be displaying ownership thinking capabilities, even before being offered the incentives. Then, when you add incentives to make key parts of the business self-motivated and pointed in the same direction, the collective effort is greater.

Often people are selected for ownership or profit sharing for reasons such as tenure or a sense more is owed to them. While these may be good reasons, they should not be the primary decision-making criteria. A forward-thinking and strategic mindset is critical while making decisions on employee ownership or profit sharing, so the program magnifies the company’s results.

Throughout the processes, two owner behaviours will drive your program’s success: engagement and education. Both the company and the employees benefit from consistent dialogue on the program. The company understands its employees’ motivations and employees understand the company’s desired outcomes and their role in achieving the outcomes. Combined, this mutual support will greatly enhance the success of your company and its people, and how they share in the results they are working for.

To wrap up, employee ownership programs meet more success when you clearly define your end goals and build a program that empowers your people. Once complete, see how they move your company forward in a significant way.

For more information, contact by Eben Louw, CPA, CA, Partner, Business Consulting and Assurance, at 604-853-9471 or eben.louw@mnp.ca.

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This column first appeared in the Spring 2020 issue of Building Excellence, the official members’ magazine of the Canadian Home Builders’ Association. For more information on the benefits of being a member of the CHBA, visit CHBA.ca. To view more content from Building Excellence magazine, visit BuildingExcellence.ca.


 

 

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Coping with Coronavirus

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Coping with Coronavirus

As we roll into April, there’s one story dominating all the headlines – Coronavirus. At the time of writing this, construction workers and tradespeople have been deemed “essential” employees so most of us are still on the job.

A number of industry associations have put out valuable information on how to operate a construction business during these unprecedented times. The CHBA, for example, posted a list of tips on their website on how to maintain social distancing on the jobsite, including staggering shifts and lunch breaks so there are less people congregating together, and ensuring that everyone uses gloves when they can and is not sharing tools.

Others are taking a proactive approach to customer service. Several plumbing service companies have posted free online tutorials to help their customers tackle minor repairs on their own. If you don’t already do it, provide your clients with routine maintenance schedules for DIYable tasks they can tackle in their homes, such as changing furnace filters, cleaning the eaves, and testing their smoke and CO detectors. People laid off or working from home are going to need things to do, and will appreciate any advice that you can provide.

As we collectively work out how to deal with this unprecedented healthcare crisis, there’s also the looming economic impact of millions of Canadians being laid off. Unfortunately, the slowdown will mean many small businesses will need to start shutting down. Don’t wait until the last minute to let your employees know. If your orders and supply chains are starting to dry up, let people know in advance. And, if you do need to lay people off, help them apply for the government assistance available to them.

When we do get back to work, expect to see demand surge for hands-free and voice-activated products, and non-porous materials that inhibit the transfer of bacteria. Technology will also play a huge part. Virtual showrooms will be used to show off everything from the latest home products to selling actual homes.

Obviously, with a print publication it’s hard to stay on top of the latest developments. Please consider signing up for our monthly e-newsletter and visit our website for the latest news and links to valuable information.

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PEER Review - Introducing the Prefabricated Exterior Energy Retrofit Methodology

PEER Review – Introducing the Prefabricated Exterior Energy Retrofit Methodology

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PEER Review – Introducing the Prefabricated Exterior Energy Retrofit Methodology

As Canada’s existing housing stock ages, more and more homes will need to be renovated – not only to update their looks and adapt to how people use their homes today, but for increased energy efficiency. Our country has 14 million residences, and approximately half of that stock was built before 1985. Given that a home built to code today is 47% more efficient than one from 1985, if Canadians truly want to address climate change within the housing sector, we’re going to have to get innovative.

CHBA and its leading members have been working hard to pursue energy efficiency innovations for voluntary adoption, staying ahead of the curve while advocating that regulation wait until next levels don’t reduce affordability, both for new homebuyers and Canadians who already own a home. When possible, CHBA works with government to find solutions and offer industry assistance for research and development.

One promising approach that is currently being explored is using modular construction technology in renovations. The Prefabricated Exterior Energy Retrofit (PEER) methodology is being championed by Natural Resources Canada (NRCan) and was recently presented during a meeting of CHBA’s Canadian Renovators Council.

Before
Before

After
After

Using PEER technology in renovations

Applying the PEER technology involves four key steps:

  1. The building is accurately measured.
  2. Large exterior, airtight, super-insulated cladding panels are designed.
  3. The panels are manufactured offsite.
  4. The panels are delivered to the site and installed.

Utilizing PEER methodology will bring Canadian-manufactured housing companies together with renovators to create a market for prefabricated, energy efficient façades which can be retrofitted onto existing buildings.

The pictures (on the facing page) illustrate the potential of the process on a simple construction trailer which NRCan presented as a PEER “Proof of Concept” pilot. This gave the researchers a first-hand opportunity to study the construction retrofit process, assess the opportunities for energy performance potential, and determine the practical implications for construction.

This approach to renovation has several advantages:

  • Speed. Once the industry has experience, PEER has the potential to significantly reduce the time it takes to renovate homes and buildings to an improved level of energy performance.
  • Enhanced Performance. The PEER panels can be designed to add significant levels of insulation and improve the overall airtightness of a building. This improves occupant comfort, reduces utility costs, and protects the owner from future escalation of energy fuel costs.
  • Occupant Convenience. Since the renovation is completed largely from the outside, disruption to occupants is minimized. In many cases the occupants are not displaced by the renovation work.
  • Improved Curb Appeal. The renovation provides a complete facelift for the building. With appropriate material selection, the exterior will remain beautiful and maintenance-free for years.
  • No Loss of Floor Area. Many of Canada’s older homes have limited floor space. Occupants will appreciate the fact that the renovation is exterior and does not affect the useable interior floor space.

A Brief Overview of the Process

Measuring the Building

All seasoned renovators understand the importance of accurate measuring. So how close do the measurements need to be? For the position of windows, the window openings (height and width), and the overall building width, each has to be within ¼” (6 mm). Building height from the top of the foundation to the soffit, the average grade to the top of the foundation, and the centerline of building penetrations (including utility meters and service entrances) need to be within 1″ (25 mm).

The options for taking the measurements include:

  • Measuring by hand – This is the lowest cost, but least accurate.
  • Total Station Theodolite – While many of us have never employed this technology, equipment and operators are widely available. It is extremely accurate but does not capture as many points and as much detail as laser scanning. The data is easily imported into CAD drawings.
  • 3D Laser Scanning – This produces detailed datasets but they may be so large they are hard to work with. This approach has a high degree of accuracy. Special software is required to use the data. The scanner has difficulty capturing data from very dark or reflective surfaces.
  • 3D Photogrammetry – This technology uses a high-resolution camera to take pictures of the building, then uses software to calculate the measurements. The accuracy is lower than the theodolite and the laser. This technology is commonly used today for estimating roofing projects using aerial photos taken from planes or drones.

Designing the Panels

The panels include a “squishy” layer for plumbing the panel where it meets the existing building. Panels need to address the insulation requirements as well as airtightness.

PEER Panel Manufacturing

Panels can be constructed up to 24′ (7.4 m) in length. Ideally, panels will be manufactured offsite in a climate-controlled facility.

PEER Panel Delivery and Installation

Completed panels are transported to the site where they are moved into position with a crane. The panel’s weight is supported on brackets attached to the foundation. The panel is then secured to the framing of the existing walls. Panels are supplied as completed insulated wall assemblies including claddings, with windows and doors installed. The old windows and doors in the existing building wall will be removed prior to the PEER panel being installed.

Pilot Projects

The Butterwick Group, a CHBA member company based in Edmonton, is leading a 59-unit pilot project using wood-framed PEER panels to achieve Net Zero Ready. Ottawa Community Housing will also undertake a pilot to retrofit four townhomes to Net Zero Energy using structural insulated panels (SIP) in 2020.

The Time is Right

To address climate change, future renovations will need to involve deep energy retrofits. CHBA members get a leading advantage on new technologies and ways of doing business. And the Association advocates for factors that will hopefully contribute to homeowners’ interest in renovating for energy efficiency, including home renovation tax credits. With the help of government research and development, methodologies like PEER should allow projects to be completed faster, allowing renovators to help more Canadians each year improve their home’s efficiency. It can also help renovators take on larger residential projects that they might otherwise not consider, since PEER is equally applicable to large homes and buildings. All in all, the future looks bright (and energy efficient) for Canadian renovators.

Mark Carver is a Project Leader with the Housing Team at CanmetENERGY, Natural Resources Canada.
Gary Sharp is the Director of Renovator Services at CHBA.

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Certified-Aging-in-Place Specialist program

Get certified – The CHBA’s Canadian Certified-Aging-in-Place Specialist program is launching soon

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Get certified – The CHBA’s Canadian Certified-Aging-in-Place Specialist program is launching soon

Numbers don’t lie, and the story that the figures from Statistics Canada tell us is that we have a rapidly aging population. Of course, individual Canadians aren’t getting older any faster. But, as the huge cohort of Baby Boomers ages, the number of us considered to be seniors is growing at an unprecedented rate. In fact, there are now more Canadians aged 65 and older than there are who are 14 or younger (see chart).

There are many healthcare and social issues related to an aging population, and one of the biggest is how to safely shelter elderly people who may have mobility, vision, and cognitive impairments. Yet, when surveyed, most older Canadians want to stay in their current homes in familiar surroundings for as long as possible.

That’s why the Canadian Home Builders’ Association (CHBA) has been busy getting a Canadian version of the Certified-Aging-in-Place Specialist (CAPS) program off the ground. Originally developed by the U.S. National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), CHBA has modified the U.S. program to meet Canadian requirements, calling it C-CAPS.

To qualify as a C-CAPS expert, participating renovators and homebuilders will start with a self-guided online course that takes about six hours to complete. At the end, there’s a test. That’s to be followed by a two-day in-class program, that also includes a test.

A large part of the program is understanding the various stakeholders involved in properly modifying a home to meet the owner’s current and potential needs. Key among those are the occupational therapists (OTs) that work directly with homeowners to understand their current and future needs. Others may include architects, designers, and municipal building and healthcare officials. To be done properly, aging-in-place modifications require collaboration among all parties, and contractors will have to be able to manage the various needs and requests, while providing homeowners with viable and cost-effective options.

The program will include information on the various grants and loan programs offered by product manufacturers and the various levels of government that can help make these renovations affordable for people on fixed incomes.

Once completed, C-CAPS certification can be used as a marketing tool to set renovators apart from their jack-of-all-trades competitors. To support that, CHBA will launch both a training and marketing site for renovators, and a separate site for consumers so they understand the value of hiring a certified C-CAPS specialist.

The “Canadianization” of the programs content has primarily included replacing U.S. housing and demographic stats and government contacts with Canadian ones. The home modifications needed for specific health conditions are the based on the client and the home, which means the same modifications would be done in both countries. CHBA is running three pilot sessions to test and modify the course material as needed. The association expects to have the program fully operational by spring 2020.

Freelance writer ALLAN BRITNELL is the managing editor of Renovation Contractor, and the editor of the Canadian Home Builders’ Association’s members’ magazine, Building Excellence, both produced by the Homes Publishing Group.


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Braestone Horseshoe Valley offers a new vision of elegant country living

Braestone Horseshoe Valley offers a new vision of elegant country living

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Braestone Horseshoe Valley offers a new vision of elegant country living

Imagine an idyllic community nestled between gently rolling hills and valleys. A place where you can reconnect with your roots. Where stately pines tower over winding trails and clear water ponds shelter turtles, frogs and migratory birds. A community that offers a casual yet refined style of living, that is down home, yet up country. Welcome to Braestone, a picture-perfect community located in the scenic Oro-Medonte region of southern Ontario, just minutes from the urban centres of Barrie and Orillia.

Braestone’s 275-acre nature preserve is crisscrossed by a comprehensive trail system that walkers, cyclists, cross country skiers and snowshoers can enjoy. This unspoiled countryside, while providing privacy, also offers a meaningful sense of community. Within the Braestone nature preserve, you’ll find century-old forests, wetlands, aquifer ponds and cold-water streams.

Phase 4 now open

These rolling hills, expansive vistas and winding streetscapes form the backdrop for the 100 families who have moved in over the last four years or so. Over the years, Braestone has expanded with more facilities and more families, and today, it’s into its successful fourth phase. Comprised of 20 homesites on a selection of valley and ridge lots ranging from approximately half an acre to more than one acre in size, this new phase offers families an escape from the hustle and bustle of city live with all of the conveniences they need close by.

Braestone’s homes are inspired by the quaint farmhouses and barns that dot the Oro-Medonte countryside and have an architectural style that is sophisticated, timeless and simple in detail. Traditional pitched rooflines and extra deep soffits, integrated with generous porches and lit by authentic gas-burning lanterns create truly charming elevations and inviting streetscapes.

Inspiring models and finishes

Six inspiring main models are available with various elevations – The Cumberland, The Clydesdale, The Morgan, The Belgian, The Thoroughbred and The Oldenburg – ranging in size up to 3,263 sq. ft. These bungalows and two-storey homes come with two-, three- and four-bedroom plans and offer optional lofts and optional finished coach houses.

The homes have been designed using a “continuation architecture” approach, with principal rooms at the home’s core, resulting in more majestic homes with wider, more expandable and more interesting layouts that better complement Braestone’s large acreage lots. Strict architectural guidelines for exteriors ensure a consistent look with the high level of quality that defines Braestone.

Premium interior finishes include vaulted ceilings in Great Rooms, stained treads and stair railing, modern farmhouse cabinetry with granite kitchen countertops, luxurious deep soaker tub in master bathroom, full glass showers, premium engineered hardwood on main floor, high-efficiency furnace, and lots more.

The Remarkables – extraordinary amenities

Braestone’s Remarkables are simple and timeless amenities that have grown naturally out of the community’s own unique and magnificent landscape. These amenities include horse paddocks, future Starfall park for star gazing, Nordic skiing, a maple sugar shack, orchard and berry picking and more. There are literally dozens of Remarkables that differentiate and define Braestone as a special community.

One of Braestone’s most popular Remarkables is the Sugaring Week, which happens every spring. The event draws Braestone residents out to the woods and to the charming Sugar Shack to enjoy the age-old practice of tapping maple trees and boiling the sap to make syrup. This sweet tradition takes place year after year – many tree farms across Ontario have been tapping the same sugar maple for more than 100 years.

Another extraordinary initiative is the neighbouring Braestone Farm, where on 108 acres of fertile land, pumpkins, berries, apples and more are grown. In this peaceful pastoral setting, families have an opportunity to access and experience first-hand a vanishing way of life in Ontario.

Though Braestone lies in the heart of the countryside, it’s just minutes from a wealth of urban amenities. The neighbouring historic community of Orillia is just 10 minutes away and offers small-town charm with modern day conveniences. Within a 10-minute drive from Braestone you’ll discover fabulous dining, hiking, boating, skiing, golfing, shopping and more to suit each and every lifestyle.

Nearby amenities include Horseshoe Valley Resort, Moonstone Ski Resort, Blue Mountain Village, Braestone Club, Settlers Ghost Golf Club, Copeland Forest, Hardwood Cross Country Ski and Bike. Ontario’s famed Muskoka and cottage country is less than an hour away. Lake Simcoe Regional Airport is just 15 minutes away and Toronto Pearson International Airport is just slightly more than an hour from Braestone.

Winner of the Best New Home Community Award by Canadian Home Builders’ Association, Braestone offers families a refined upcountry lifestyle in harmony with nature. Phase 4 is now open, with homes from the mid $700,000s to low $1 millions.

GEORGIAN COMMUNITIES
Braestone

Visit the Discovery Centre, located at 3288 Line 9 North in Oro-Medonte. For further information visit the website.


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Affordable Energy Efficiency

Affordable Energy Efficiency

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Affordable Energy Efficiency

Images courtesy of Butterwick Construction & Carpentry Ltd.

Newly built Canadian homes have been steadily increasing in energy efficiency over the years – a code-built home today is 47% more efficient than one from 1985. Still, the Canadian Home Builders’ Association (CHBA) and its members are hard at work pursuing still greater energy efficiency innovations for voluntary adoption, while at the same time advocating that regulation wait until next levels don’t reduce affordability. But to truly address climate change in the housing sector, it is the existing housing stock that needs to be upgraded. Enter CHBA and its leading members again, as the pursuit of innovation for affordable deep energy retrofits working all the way towards net zero renovations kicks into gear.

Increasing Energy Efficiency in New and Older Homes

In new housing, industry leaders are paving the way to greater energy efficiency through voluntary programs such as the CHBA Net Zero Home Labelling Program. Founded by CHBA’s Net Zero Energy Housing Council, which is now five years old, CHBA’s leading members are providing discerning homeowners with net zero and net zero ready homes today, while working to innovate for greater affordability and increasing market penetration with each year.

But improving new homes alone won’t achieve the national goal, and it won’t help the millions of Canadians who live in older homes and want improved energy efficiency. Canada has 14 million residential residences, and approximately half of the current housing stock was built before 1985. Many of these older buildings are far behind new homes when it comes to energy efficiency. Even if all the new homes built from now until 2030 (say 200,000 per year, or 2 million total) were built to zero emissions, we still wouldn’t hit our environmental target – not even close.

Why Retrofits Are the Future

Renovating the existing housing stock is the only way for Canada to reach its greenhouse gases target in the housing industry. And with the half of our housing consuming twice as much energy as everything built since, that’s a lot of opportunity for renovators.

Canadians want their homes to be energy efficient. Maybe it’s a sense of social responsibility, uncertainty around utilities, simply a desire to reduce increasing energy bills, or a bit of each, but today’s homeowners are looking for improved energy performance. In fact, according to CHBA’s Home Buyer Preference Survey, powered by Avid Ratings Canada, nearly 90% of recent homebuyers indicated that having an energy efficient home was important to them. The survey gathers opinions of thousands of recent new homebuyers each year, and their preferences can easily be applied to renovations as well.

As Canadians seek higher levels of performance and comfort, the industry continues to innovate to strive to meet those desires in the most cost-effective fashion. And that innovation is needed to begin retrofitting older homes, which come with their own unique challenges.

Older renovated homes like this extremely efficient retrofit by Butterwick Construction & Carpentry Ltd. in Edmonton, Alta., are voluntarily paving the way to Net Zero renovations.

Setting the Stage

Drastically improving the energy efficiency of an older home requires an in-depth technical understanding of building science. And the best examples we have of that are by looking at Net Zero Homes.

A Net Zero Energy (NZE) home is one that produces the same amount of energy it uses, on an annualized basis. These homes are extremely well-built: they have very airtight, well insulated building envelopes with high-performance windows and doors. They also use efficient, right-sized mechanical systems in order to reach higher levels of energy performance. In addition to being incredibly efficient, NZE homes have built-in renewable energy generation (mostly solar panels). In some cases, they incorporate energy storage systems which allow homeowners to bank energy for future use. A Net Zero Energy Ready home (NZEr) is built to the same level of performance, but installation of the renewable energy component is left to the occupant at a future date – a popular option among NZE builders and homebuyers.

In both cases, the result is a home that delivers unrivaled levels of occupant comfort, minimum environmental impacts, and utility bills with much lower energy consumption.

CHBA is leading efforts to bring NZE and NZEr homes to market as affordably as possible. As the industry voluntarily learns new efficiencies with the technology and building practices involved, building costs are decreasing. CHBA’s aim is to share efficiencies and innovation among industry-leading CHBA members so that eventually the cost of owning a NZEr home is comparable to one built to conventional standards.

The first step was a demonstration program in 2015, backed by Owens Corning Canada and the federal government, that saw the construction of 26 such homes across Canada by five leading residential builders. Based on this success, CHBA launched its Net Zero Home Labelling Program to ensure that each participating home is qualified by a third party to meet the specified technical requirements. The program also includes training requirements for participating builder members and energy advisors.

And now, that scope involves renovations.

Bringing Net Zero Solutions to Renovations

The move to bring NZE homes and renovations to the marketplace is being spearheaded by the residential construction industry itself, through the work of CHBA’s Net Zero Energy Housing Council.

A broad collaboration involving homebuilders, manufacturers, utilities, design experts, government agencies, and service providers, the Council’s primary focus is on how to support innovation in the industry with the goal of creating a market advantage for CHBA builder and renovator members voluntarily pursuing Net Zero Energy.

Currently, they’re working to extend the Net Zero Program to renovations, so that older homes that meet the program requirements can receive the Net Zero/Ready label. To date, more than 100 new homes in Canada have received the label, which includes third-party verification. The program is growing exponentially each year as demand grows for not only energy efficiency at an affordable price point, but the comfort and health benefits that come with NZE homes.

Learn more about the CHBA’s Net Zero Home Labelling Program at CHBA.ca/nze and NetZeroHome.com.

Sonja Winkelmann, CHBA’s Director, Net Zero Energy Housing


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