The Fiddlehead in its original form is quite a departure from the Sunflower, which we recently profiled. Coming in at a modest 1,330 square feet, it includes 2 + 1 bedrooms and 3 baths over two floors.
The ground floor has a nice open plan, while the bedrooms have their own space on the upper floor. This appeals to anyone attached to two-storey living or concerned about the home’s footprint and its size. A two-storey home is typically less costly to build.
The Sunflower in its original form is a pretty sweet houseplan. Running at 1,852 square feet, it encompasses 4 + 1 bedrooms in a really neat layout that places the bedrooms/bonus rooms off to the sides of the central living area, like wings or petals. It’s a houseplan that creates some really interesting corners and sightlines for indoor/outdoor living.
When we talk about ‘smart homes’, there is a general bias towards technology. Consider this definition:
Standard smart home definition: noun “a home equipped with lighting, heating, and electronic devices that can be controlled remotely by phone or computer.”
At EkoBuilt, we see the smartness in homes very differently, using a sustainability lens.
EkoBuilt smart home definition: noun “a home designed to be autonomous without the use of electronic devices for heating or ventilation control.”
We also think the smartest homes can be affordably net-zero, taking their energy from renewable energy sources. Truly there is much confusion over what a smart home really is. Conventional thinking holds that a ‘smart home’ is one that uses more technology for control. But is that really very smart?
Shouldn’t a truly smart home need less technology?
We feel that a smart home is one that uses the least technology possible. It’s possible to design homes that don’t require all kinds of devices for control.
For example, a home should not need to be heated when the occupants are not there, and blinds should not be required because unwanted heat needs to be kept out. In a true passive house excess technology is not required because the space requires little heating or air-conditioning to be comfortable.
Using energy from the sun as a heat source, the home can be heated naturally even in extremely cold conditions. To reduce the need for air conditioning in hot summers, windows are strategically located to naturally shade themselves so unwanted heat is not coming into the home. This is a smart home!
It is more sustainable, and much smarter to use less technology, both environmentally and physically. There is simply no need to have a wi-fi thermostat. Why spend money to operate a furnace in an occupied or unoccupied home when you don’t have to? It is smart to spend as little money and to acquire as few devices for your home as possible.
Why passive homes are the smartest homes
Our point is of course, to communicate the intelligence of building to the passive house standard. It is, after all, the only truly resilient home known to man.
It is a home that uses so little fuel to heat and cool the space that the electric bills are approximately the same amount every month of the year, whether the home is being heated or not.
Not to be coy, every house, even a passive house, requires a heating system – especially in this part of Canada – but the passive house leaks so little heat (even during extreme cold conditions) that it costs very little to keep the space heated. Less energy, in fact, than a refrigerator uses in a year. Now, that’s a smart home.
Ever compared your home to a thermos?
A passive house is as close as you can get to living in a thermos! The key difference is the passive space has constant access to fresh air, while a thermos does not.
Seriously though – a good thermos can keep keep tea extremely hot for 24 hours, which is really quite unbelievable when you think about it. Well, a passive house is basically the same thing in a home. And that really is a smart home.
From a health perspective, it’s much safer to live in an environment virtually free of interior toxins or exterior pollution (propane or gas emissions), full of ample fresh air, and designed to last generations. Again, that’s a smart home.
Another vital feature of a truly smart home is that it be electrically operated. We’ve come to the point where a home designed to operate by propane and/or gas, is a home designed for the past. Fossil fuels are not the way forward. Homes for today and tomorrow need to be 100% electrically operated — it’s simply the only fuel source for sustainability. It’s also the best for our health and for our pocketbooks.
A home that helps to create a healthier environment is a home that is healthier for us, and energy savings translate into lower operating costs, and that means more money in our pockets.
In conclusion, a truly smart home designed for today should be one that is built to passive house standards. Realistically, every home in the near future will be required to be built this way, but why wait when you can start now!
Contact us if you’d like to learn more about building your passive home.
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 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.
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.
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).
A new development on Bob’s Lake, just 20 minutes from Perth, Ontario presents a great opportunity for anyone wanting their own bit of waterfront in the region. Nordlaw Cottages has been redeveloped on a site that was home to the former Nordlaw Lodge.
Sitting on 6.5 acres, this new cottage community includes 1,350 feet of waterfront and includes 18 lots of varying sizes in the design plan.
Residents would share common elements including main driveway, boat launch, beaches, docks, parking, etc.
At this point, the offering is also being packaged with a range of simple cottage designs starting at $280k.
Interested to know more? See video, development map, site plan and contact info below.
The Saddlebrooke Estates offer a special opportunity to live surrounded by protected park land in the Carp Hills just a short hop from the bustle of Kanata. Although more than 70% sold, around ten lots are still for sale ranging in size from 2.1 to 3.6 acres. This is a pretty unique opportunity and a bit of a hidden gem within Ottawa.
The Estates run along two very quiet roads that are already home to many large, established homes with natural gardens and well established trees. Because the lots were sold in two phases, choosing a lot here means that you won’t feel like you’re in the middle of a housing development.
Enjoy protected rural living on secluded, affordable 2 to 3.5 acre lots just minutes from Kanata
Click to enlarge
In addition, you’ll enjoy:
the rolling hills and trees of 300 acres of protected park land that surround the Estates
a guarantee of a lifetime of privacy with no further development
being able to ski or hike right from your back door
rural living with the convenience of nearby city amenities
Priced from $160,000 to $200,000, the lots represent excellent value and interested buyers can discuss details with Burnford Realty, a family-run company in Ottawa which originally assembled and owns the lots.
After a month of intense activity at some great shows where we met a lot of great folks, it’s time to get back to the topics that you’ve asked to hear more about. Chief among those is coach homes and tiny homes, and there is definitely an intersection between our energy efficient coach house plans and anyone interested in living small.
Many of you have already familiarized yourselves with the essentials of our coach house offering, so in this post we’re enhancing that information for those of you who are clearly entertaining the notion of building to this scale. Here are the questions we get most frequently:
Are the plans customizable?
EkoBuilt’s Mooneys Pad tiny house plan
Indeed they are! While we currently offer 8 coach house plans, we can modify any of them or create new plans from scratch.
We are a complete design/build firm and love the challenge of finding the best design for each client’s particular needs and preferences.
What can I build on my property?
This is definitely a question for a City of Ottawa development officer, reachable at 613-580-2424. A call to the City will help to clarify any specific limitations or considerations for your property. We can also help with interpreting the information you receive from the City, as we deal with this regularly.
How do your costs compare?
EkoBuilt’s costs appear to be approximately 10 – 12% higher than some of our competition, which results in an additional $20,000 on average by project. But consider this:
Building codes are becoming stricter every year and adopting the most energy efficient build that you can afford now is well worth it. It’s wise to protect your coach house investment by building to the passive house standard in order to keep pace with changing codes (in fact, you’ll stay ahead of codes and recoup your costs and more over time).
EkoBuilt is quite unique in its approach and can work with you to build to the standard that best fits your current budget while protecting your investment for the long run.
Solar panels can be used for additional economic benefit, offsetting Hydro bills, but they are not required. In our design and construction we are mainly focused on saving money through a focus on super energy efficiency.
For those interested in solar panels, one of the greatest benefits of our coach homes is they are easily net zero (able to produce as much energy as they use) which results in a complete offset of your utility bills. An approximate $10,000 investment in solar panels is a good baseline.
Ottawa Coach House Essentials
Make sure you review everything in our Coach House section, and please reach out to us if you’re thinking about:
simply living small
a home office or home studio
a secondary dwelling
an in-law suite
a rental unit / Air B&B
We can help you to consider all of the angles and to come up with the smartest plan for you.
The Braeburn Estates offer a special opportunity to live on gorgeous waterfront just outside of Ottawa. Prime building lots along the shores of the Madawaska River offer classic Eastern Ontario landscapes. Picture your dream home with beautiful vistas of the Madawaska River, nestled in a forest of hardwood, pine and spruce. Hill-top vistas beg for homes to be set in the trees overlooking the river.
These beautiful building lots are designed to have prime views of the Madawaska River and lots of privacy.
The terrain is blanketed with a beautiful mature forest – wildlife is abundant
Enjoy shared community access to the Braeburn Estates dock and swimming area
Swim, paddle, kayak, row and fish on the beautiful Madawaska River!
Enjoy one of Ontario’s cleanest, longest rivers – swim, paddle, fish, and row – or just relax and enjoy the view!
Alpine Skiing is just 15 minutes away at Calabogie Peaks
Walk or bike to the local cafes and galleries in picturesque Burnstown
More shopping awaits in Renfrew and Arnprior (10 minutes by car)
The Burnstown Beach is right across the river, with beautiful sand beaches, play structures and a boat launch
Ottawa is a short drive away with its museums, restaurants, theatre, and the Rideau Canal
Located within the historic and picturesque Township of McNab Braeside, Braeburn Estates is Ottawa’s newest and most beautiful river-front community.
Easy commute to Ottawa, with Kanata just 25 minutes away
Located at Burnstown, Ontario – an historic Ottawa Valley Hamlet
Directions from Ottawa: Take Hwy 417 west, continue on 17 west. Turn left at Cty Rd 508 / Calabogie Rd. At Burnstown, turn left on Burnstown Rd. Turn left at the top of the hill on Building Supply Rd. Drive to the end and you are at Braeburn Estates.
Lot sizes vary from 1 – 3 acres; all have at least 145’ water frontage;
Lots will have Bell & Hydro service brought to lot line, and will have frontage on a new paved road
All lots in the community will enjoy shared access to the community dock and swimming area
Phase 1 Lots will be available for possession late spring/summer 2018
Please click on the diagram of available lots below to see a full size version.
Community Development Vision
Community Covenants will help ensure the protection of the environment and encourage common design standards
Friends and family of homeowners in the community will enjoy shared access to the community dock and swimming area
As is typical of all property along the Madawaska River, the water frontage is owned by OPG (Ontario Power Generation). Home owners may apply to OPG for a license to use the waterfront and build dock facilities.
Work with EkoBuilt
As one of the select builders in the closest new waterfront community to Ottawa, we are excited to offer the opportunity of a passive or timber frame home to anyone who shares our vision.
Contact us to discuss available property, design approaches (both for the dwelling and its heating/cooling) and cost to build.
We recently came across a great, highly informative article on whole home ventilation for anyone looking at building a new home. Six Steps to Success With Heat-Recovery Ventilation by Bruce Sullivan was first published on the Green Building Advisor blog.
The article explains the difference between HRV/ERV and the necessity for highly efficient fresh air machines. At EkoBuilt, we prefer ERV (energy recovery ventilators) over HRV (heat recovery ventilators) because modern buildings should not only be airtight but also vapour tight.
It is extremely important for long term building health to make sure there is no condensation within a wall cavity. An ERV in a vapour tight house is able to maintain comfortable humidity inside the building while removing excess moisture (anything above 60% humidity). These machines also offer a constant fresh air supply for a healthy interior environment.