2018 Ottawa Fall Home Show
EkoBuilt News & Happenings, Home Building trends, House Design

Ottawa Fall Home Show Ticket Winners

We have our winners! Congratulations to Lynda Larsen-Baldry, Sharon Irven, Renee Vanderkuip, G Bender, Renee Marcil, Rene Pouliot, Christine Hughes and Dennis Baril, all of whom have won tickets to attend the show next week.

We’re also delighted to announce that EkoBuilt will be the Official Coach Home Builder of the show and we look forward to speaking to homeowners exploring a coach home addition to their property. We’re also delighted to talk about the entire rang of our services and offerings.

Cartier table top fire featureCartier Tabletop Fire Giveaway

We’re also going to be giving away a Cartier tabletop fire feature from ethanol fireplace maker Eco-Feu of Montreal. The Cartier unit – paired with a 4 gallons of fuel – would normally total $308.80. Show attendees will be able to join our mailing list at the show, automatically entering the draw.

We will also have a complete Eco-Feu catalogue on hand so that attendees can see the other ethanol fire place/feature options. This is an important give away for us, as it helps with communicating the ease of heating a Passive House.

Get Tickets!

Finally, if you still need to buy tickets to the show, you can save $3 per ticket by purchasing online. CAA members are also eligible for a special discount.

Buy tickets to the 2018 Ottawa Fall Home Show.

2018 Ottawa Fall Home Show
EkoBuilt News & Happenings, Home Building trends, House Design

Win tickets to the 2018 Fall Home Show in Ottawa!

We have 20 tickets to give away to the 2018 edition of the Ottawa Fall Home Show! To enter the contest, just fill in our superfast questionnaire. We’ll pull the names this Thursday, 20 September (one week ahead of the event start).

2018 Ottawa Fall Home Show
27-30 September 2018
EY Centre, 4899 Uplands Drive
Ottawa, ON K1V 2N6

EkoModel News, Simply Sustainable, Solar Power

Save the Date: Green Energy Doors Open 2018

EkoBuilt will be taking part in Green Energy Doors Open ’18 this year (Sept 21-23), and we’ll be opening the doors of the EkoModel home as we do every year! It’s always a great weekend, we hope you’ll join us! This year they have secured Catherine McKenna to speak, and they are showcasing more EVs and Exhibitors than ever.

Did you know the event is free to attend? This year your ticket will also entitle you to a free ride on OC Transpo to and from Lansdowne Park on September 22nd (the Saturday), as well as 20% off a meal at The Table Vegetarian Restaurant and 10% off purchases at NuGrocery Zero Waste (both of the discounts apply all three days of the event).

This year the event will again include a one-day EV Exhibition, showcasing electric vehicles, in Aberdeen Square in Ottawa (Sept 22).

Green Energy Doors Open, is a province-wide, year-round communications campaign and showcase of individual, community, and commercial sustainable energy projects. It is organized and spearheaded by the Ontario Sustainable Energy Association. The initiative aims to showcase advancements in the sector, demonstrating that Ontario is already on the path to building a 100% clean, sustainable energy system.

Save the Date

EkoBuilt Demonstration Home
21 – 23 September 2018
9am to 5pm
Full details >

Quick Links

Green Doors Energy Open 2018 – List of Host Sites

See you there!

EkoBuilt is hiring!
EkoBuilt News & Happenings

EkoBuilt hiring construction & carpenter help

Our sustainable home building business continues to grow rapidly, and we need to add to our team. We’re looking for construction and carpenter help on projects in West Ottawa and the Ottawa Valley.

The ideal candidate will have a minimum two years of experience in a related field and come with a positive, self-motivated attitude, however anyone with a good work ethic is welcome to contact us. We look forward to hearing from interested individuals.

If you’re interested or know someone who might be, please get in touch or share our details:

Paul Kealey, EkoBuilt
Toll-Free: (855) 890-1222 | Local: (613) 227-4663
E-mail: info@ekobuilt.com

EkoBuilt logo on the Pamir Highway
EkoBuilt News & Happenings

EkoBuilt logo spotted on the famous Pamir Highway

Known as the “roof of the world”, the Pamir highway (M-41) is an adventure roadtripper’s dream. Team Shenlong arrived in Osh, Kyrgyzstan today after driving the Pamir highway, roughly following the route shown below. The picture of the team (highlighting EkoBuilt, thanks guys!) was taken near the highest stretch of the road in the northeast corner of Tajikistan (red box in the map pictured below).

Wow! Topping out at something like 4,655m, the road is considered to be the second highest international highway in the world. EkoBuilt has truly gone to new heights!

EkoBuilt logo on the Pamir Highway

The team will continue on through Krygyzstan, Kazakhstan, Russia and Mongolia in the coming days and weeks, and expect to be at the finish line in Ulan, Ude by early September. Go Team Shenlong!

map from samarkand to osh via the pamir highway

You can read more about Team Shenlong and EkoBuilt’s sponsorship of the team in A Cool Sponsorship for a Cool Cause.

A coach house makes a splendid home office
Coach / Tiny Homes

Coach House: Expand Your Living Space, Right Where You Are

Heading into September we continue to be bowled over by the interest in coach houses and tiny houses. They are so obviously striking a chord with so many of you!

The options for creating income generation, expanding home living space, establishing a studio/home office, or providing an in-law suite right within the grounds of your existing home all appeal.

In-law suite or extended family living

An inlaw suite is a great use for a coach houseCreating an in-law suite for a parent or parents who can enjoy their own space but also be more readily supported is very appealing. The same is true for an adult child or family member who may need the benefit of close proximity to supporting family members.

Everyone gets their own space, but access couldn’t be easier and the cost has a lot to recommend it.

Did you know that some of our coach house models come with an extra bedroom or den? These bonus rooms truly make these coach houses worth considering.

Home office

A coach house makes a splendid home officeTaking advantage of the coach house regulations in Ottawa to build a small, dedicated space for a home office has so much to recommend it.

An art or music studio/recording space are additional related uses. Our two-storey model with a three-car garage would make a fabulous workshop for any auto enthusiast.

With a separate entrance and dedicated space, you’ll increase your ability to concentrate, avoid interruption, and – of course – the professional impression for any visitors.

You’ll also retain the flexibility to use the space in other ways in future.

Airbnb or other income generating unit

AirbnbIf your primary residence isn’t suited to an income generating unit, but your lot meets the City of Ottawa’s coach house requirements, you could consider a low-cost coach house.

A dedicated unit with a completely separate entrance will also allow you to continue to enjoy full privacy within your main residence.

 

Find out more

Eager to learn more? Make sure you check out these essential resources:

And of course, give us a shout, we’d love to help you figure out how a coach house could be the solution you’re seeking!

EkoBuilt News & Happenings, Simply Sustainable

Midsummer Pause

We hope this part of the summer finds you enjoying a break, just back from one or perhaps just getting ready to go. Maybe you’re sprinkling mini breaks through these warm months when we can get outside more easily.

At EkoBuilt, we’re very excited about the engagement we continue to enjoy with so many of you, so many folks interested in sustainable living, coach homes and tiny homes, comfortable high performance homes of many different shapes and descriptions.

We hear from some of you every week, and we’re bursting with news on our latest projects and an update on the first Eko Community that we’re hoping to see move to the design phase shortly. We hear from folks interested in forming an Eko Community regularly, and we encourage you to get your name on our list if you’re keen in participating in one.

Feast by Firelight cookbook coverFor now, we hope you’re getting to enjoy time doing what you enjoy most.

If you’ve got any camping or outdoor cooking with a campfire on the horizon, you might enjoy Feast by Firelight by Emma Frisch, a book we recently came across.

Happy midsummer.

 

Photo by Filip Mroz on Unsplash
Landscaping & Gardening, Simply Sustainable

Tree Planting for Homeowners in Eastern Ontario

Nearly two years ago we first wrote a post here about the Trees for Tomorrow and Green Acres programs that help homeowners wishing to reforest a part of their own land. It’s such a great idea, that we’re writing here about it again. This spring they planted the six millionth tree.

Young Fraser fir treeFor many of us building a custom home, we’ve chosen to build on a patch of land outside of the city. That often means we have some extra space that can be considered for various uses. Sometimes there are obvious uses that come to mind for ourselves, whether gardening, small scale farming, recreation, etc.

Have you considered planting trees in volume? Planting seedlings for future trees will improve a property and its value, provide wildlife with new habitat, help to cut down on land erosion, create shade and livable spaces, and even offset carbon emissions.

For any landowner with property sitting idle, the Rideau Valley Conservation Authority offers technical and financial assistance to reforest that space.

Applicants for 2019 Tree Planting Season

The RCVA is now looking for new planting areas for the 2019 tree planting season. Could it be you? Or someone you know? Anyone with a large area of one acre or more for planting is welcome to contact the RCVA for a site visit:

Scott Danford
Forestry Program Manager
Rideau Valley Conservation Authority
613-692-3571 ext. 1175

Imagine your property filled with more than an acre of trees for a small fraction of the real investment required, where all of the hard work is done by others, including site assessment, clearing and planting. The program includes survival assessments in the early years.

The only commitment on the part of landowners is to cover the heavily subsidized planting effort (this really is a good deal), order a minimum of 500 trees, and to make reasonable efforts to protect the trees from damage.

There is also a Butternut Recovery Program for the endangered butternut species.

EkoBuilt News, EkoBuilt News & Happenings

A Cool Sponsorship for a Cool Cause

EkoBuilt is really pleased to be sponsoring one of the 200+ teams taking part in this year’s Mongol Rally. This 25,000km odyssey takes the teams, in their super under-powered vehicles, across 25,000 km from western Europe to Ulan Ude, Russia over the summer. Teams raise money and awareness for Cool Earth, and also for charities of their own choosing.

Team Shenlong is made up of four great guys: Markus (German) and Oliver, Grayson and Seth (all Canadian). They’ve identified three additional charities that their fundraising goal will support:

  • Streetkids International e.V.
  • Taiwan Fund for Children and Families
  • British Columbia Schizophrenia Society

EkoBuilt’s donation is being split between Cool Earth and supporting the team. They’ve got a great line up of sponsors and welcome donations from the public too.

Cool Earth is a UK-based international organization that works alongside rainforest communities to halt deforestation and reduce the impacts of climate change.

Cool Links

Follow Team Shenlong on Facebook

Support Team Shenlong on GoFundMe

 

How to plan your coach house in Ottawa
Coach / Tiny Homes, House Design

How to plan your Coach House in Ottawa

Intrigued by the possibility but uncertain about the details?

Interest in building a Coach House continues to come from many Ottawa residents, but along with that interest comes a lot of questions and a little confusion. We invariably have to point folks to the City for specific details pertaining to their property, but there is a lot of good information now available that can help residents to do their own research and feel comfortable in understanding their options in the early phases of planning.

The new Coach House legislation is a great boon for many. The potential in particular for an income-generating property right where you live is really appealing to many and it’s a seriously smart investment. But where to start if you have a property and you need to figure out what you can obtain permission to build?

In the fall of 2017, the City of Ottawa published a 32-page document on How to plan your Coach House in Ottawa, and here we break it down into small, easily understood parts. You may still end up reading that 32-page document, but starting here will give you the key information more quickly. We’re also able to clarify some information that is not currently available in that document.

What is a coach house?

Meant to be a gentle form of intensification, coach house are smaller dwellings – usually up to 40% the size of the principal dwelling – on residential properties with detached, semi-detached, duplex or some rowhouse dwellings (the latter must be on a corner lot or have access to a travelled lane).

In fact, any primary residence under 125 m² can accommodate a 50 m² house. For example a 90 m² house would still be allowed to have the coach house of 50 m² just like the 125 m² home. This is welcome news for homeowners of small, post-war homes in Ottawa.

The initial requirements list below is important – if your property doesn’t meet these basic guidelines, you can’t build.

Coach houses must be:

City of Ottawa coach house zoning example

Zoning / building footprint: click to enlarge

  • secondary to the principal dwelling
  • remain as an accessory use to the main dwelling (and cannot be severed)
  • designed and located to be in harmony with the neighourhood and immediate neighbours
  • serviced by the principal dwelling’s water/sanitation connections, or by a direct connection when the main dwelling is on a private well/septic
  • designed and located to preserve mature trees

Additionally:

  • development is not allowed on the floodplain
  • for urban lots, the coach house must be in the rear yard (in rural lots larger than 0.4 hectares exceptions are permitted)
  • in the urban area, the main dwelling and the coach house must share the same parking area and yards
  • the coach house must not exceed lot coverage of 40% of the yard
  • max. height not to exceed the height of the primary dwelling (up to 3.6m, or a flat roof of 3.2m in urban areas; 4.5m or up to 6.1m when a garage is included in village/rural areas)
  • it’s not possible to have a secondary dwelling unit inside the principal dwelling and a coach house; you may only have one of these
  • existing accessory structures may be permitted to convert in part or whole (e.g. garages, sheds or stables) up to a max. footprint of 80m2 (urban area) or 95m2 (rural area)
Capital Coach house plan

EkoBuilt’s Capital Coach House with garage (988 sq.ft. ) 1 of 8 designs

2 Storey Coach Houses

“An application to allow the height of up to a two storey coach house in the urban area through a minor variance may be considered where the conditions for minor variances have been considered and the coach house is proposed to contain a garage on the main level.”

From How to Plan Your Coach House in Ottawa, City of Ottawa

Pre-planning considerations

All coach houses require a Building Permit, and any to be sited with private septic/well will also require a Site Plan Control Approval application.

Make sure your planned investment will be viable first by understanding these key factors:

Servicing feasibility: water/sanitation

Your coach house will need full water/sanitation service, just like the primary dwelling. For urban lots with municipal service, you will need to extend that service to the coach house, and this “may mean modifying or replacing the service at the point where it connects with the City’s water and sewermain”. For lots with private well/septic, the coach house will need to connect to these.

In either case, you will want to consult the appropriate professionals to help ensure that you have the best plan and infrastructure in place so that approval is given.

The City of Ottawa does also recommend that any new coach house also have an independent water heater; Ontario building code does not require this, but it’s strongly recommended.

Servicing feasibility: electrical

Naturally you will need to investigate the electrical service for your primary dwelling to see how it may be extended to your planned coach house. Additional capacity will almost always be needed, and you need to develop an electrical plan that will be approved.

Servicing feasibility: grading/drainage

EkoBuilt's Pinewood Paradise coach house designs

EkoBuilt’s Pinewood Paradise (659 sq.ft.), 1 of 8 coach house designs

A formal grading and drainage plan will be required by the City of Ottawa as part of your application for a Building Permit for any coach house “55 m2 or larger in size and/or for coach houses which are within 1.2 metres from a property line”. It makes good sense to consider grading and drainage as part of any coach house project.

All of these steps are a fundamental part of the planning process, and EkoBuilt can help ensure that you go about this properly. Our team of professionals can make this part of the process much easier, navigating key steps along the way.

Design and placement

Some commonsense factors come into play with the placement and design for your coach house:

  • setbacks from property lines will apply and must be adhered to
  • height permission will depend on location and lot size (see above)
  • privacy for neighbours will be important; entrances and windows will generally face towards the principal dwelling and not outwards toward neighbours
  • the Zoning By-law requires a walkway from the coach house to the street of 1.2m in width (for pedestrian access and emergency services), however the walkway may not be used to expand parking on the lot
  • the City’s 32-page guide provides excellent visual examples of different urban and rural coach house configurations

Additional costs

Tiny Canuck coach house plan

EkoBuilt’s Tiny Canuck (499 sq.ft.), 1 of 8 coach house designs

Finally, remember that your new coach house will require insurance coverage and it will also increase the property taxes that you pay.

For a coach house that will be used as an Airbnb rental or another form of income generation, the total cost of a coach house may be well worth it.

Looking for a great solution? The EkoBuilt team is ready to help make your coach house dream a reality, with our expertise, experience and 8 Coach House designs. We can also create a custom design just for you.

Give us a shout today: paul@ekobuilt.com or 613-227-4663.

Download the City of Ottawa’s 32-page document on How to plan your Coach House in Ottawa