Located on a wooded property near a ski hill in Wakefield, Quebec is a custom home that we finished recently. The cost effective house design for this home began with a plan to fit three bedrooms into a modest but comfortable 1,200 ft.² bungalow with no basement (the home is on bedrock).
Typically, a three-bedroom bungalow would run closer to 1,500 ft.² or more, but we utilized some space saving techniques and landed with a great design that totals 1,216 ft.²
We’ve got lots going on this summer across our homebase, the Ottawa region, but we’re also working on a new passive home in the Toronto area. We’re delighted to share a little about that project now.
The home is being built for a young forward thinking family who had to grapple with whether to replace the previous home on their property, which was built in the 1920s. Ultimately, this older home was sacrificing their health with poor indoor air quality and affecting their finances with extremely high heating bills.
If you’re planning on building a new home, you’ve got a chance to get it right from day one. Low energy bills, a healthy and supremely comfortable living environment, great design – what’s not to love?
Energy efficient home plans are the key ingredient to an energy efficient home, along with energy efficient materials and building technologies, and – of course – a builder who understands how to make the most of all of these.
Why are they so important?
Home plans that have been developed by an experienced home builder over time will take into account myriad factors, including the best distances for work areas in a kitchen, ideal corridor and flow pathways, orientation of private spaces to public ones, relationships of the indoors to the outdoors, etc. But there is much more to a home than floorplans.
An energy efficient home plan will also take into account things like roof slope and style, overhangs, maximizing window size on south and west facing walls, etc.
Will you know an energy efficient plan when you see it?
Possibly not. Unless you know the right things to look for, you may not be able to pick out the best options. An energy efficient home builder will be able to guide you in selecting from the best plans, can work with you to further customize those base plans to best suit your needs, preferences and budget, and will know the appropriate building materials and systems required to realize the build properly. The right builder will stay abreast of the best home building technologies and approaches for reducing a home’s energy footprint.
A child’s bedroom in the EkoBuilt model home. Although curtains have been added for light control, they aren’t needed for warmth. The Munster windows are incredibly well sealed and energy efficient.
After years of building custom and energy efficient homes for customers, the EkoBuilt team has years of experience in designing and building homes, and this experience has translated into the 13 energy efficient home plans from our Passive House line, as well as 8 tiny/coach house plans for secondary dwellings/rental properties and tiny home enthusiasts.
The 13 passive house plans that we’ve developed encompass both two-storey and bungalow styles, all boast low-slope roofs with large overhangs, and each one is designed to maximize the placement and size of south and west-facing windows.
These house plans also build on years spent accumulating knowledge of the best kinds of home floorplans to cater to different lifestyles and life phases. Some of our plans will be better suited to individuals, retired couples or those without children, while others are more clearly family/multi-resident homes.
All of the plans include an optional basement with lower-level access, and all can be paired with an energy efficient garage, as required.
Homes designed to take advantage of electricity – the fuel of the future
These homes are easily and cheaply run using an air to air source heat pump which can heat a home for less than $30/month (electricity) during the coldest months of winter. Really!
And, as noted above, we’re always delighted to work with clients to customize one of our plans to best suit their design preferences, budget and needs. We can help you think through how you live and how your home’s design can best support that.
Most importantly, we can help you end up with the most delightfully comfortable and healthy home, that is also the most energy efficient one possible to build currently.
While many homeowners understand that estimating the cost per square foot of a new build is an exercise with a lot of contributing factors (site considerations, build complexity, grade of finishes chosen, etc.), certain numbers provide a common reference point.
A commonly heard figure is $200 per square foot for a custom home, when in reality some homes are done more affordably, while many others cost a good deal more.
The EkoModel Home, with 4 bedrooms and 3 bathrooms, rings in at $194 per square foot, based on 2,509 interior square footage, or just $155 per square foot, based on 3,141 exterior square footage. In either case, these figures indicate a smart build that allows for quality construction and material at a more economical price point.
Of course, the story gets even more interesting when you understand how much you stand to save on annual energy costs with one of our passive house models.
We’ve provided a complete breakdown of costs for the EkoModel Home in this new 3-page document. This shows that you can build a PassiveHouse at the same price point or even below a standard custom build budget.
The Evolution of the Home
We believe strongly that any home built today should be designed for the 21st century – cost effective and sustainable. Our focus is on providing the most comfortable and sustainable home possible, and by ensuring that:
the homeowner will be protected from rising energy prices
interior materials contribute to healthy indoor air quality and comfort
materials used have high renewable and recycled content, minimal manufacturing, and are locally sourced as much as possible
construction waste is minimized and an appropriate recycling facilities are identified for responsible waste management