Located just outside of Sydenham, Ontario near Frontenac Provincial Park, this custom home is a great showcase for what EkoBuilt can do.
Located just outside of Sydenham, Ontario near Frontenac Provincial Park, this custom home is a great showcase for what EkoBuilt can do.
Hoping to build your own home some day? Does it seem like a dream? It’s best to start planning as far ahead as possible. Here’s why:
The excitement and potential around building your own home are pretty special, but there is a lot of work that needs to go into the process before you ever get there. If any process deserves a long lead time, home building is it.
Considerations around location, availability and zoning of available land, whether to share or become part of a community with others, whether to build in an income component, and the type of structure you would build are just the starting points.
With land availability increasingly scarce in some areas, and energy costs rising, it’s important to get all of these things as right as you can.
It’s never too soon to start looking at available land and considering your options.
In an urban environment you will likely have to take land that’s available or find a property with an existing older home and rebuild. The rebuild may be the preferable option for most in order to be in the neighbourhood of choice and also for the property not to be subject to development costs which can be as high as $25,000-$30,000 in the city of Ottawa. If the property has an existing home on it, regardless of condition or age, the development fee is waived.
In rural areas or smaller towns it is still a good idea to pay attention to development fees. Using Ottawa as an example, the $25,000-$30,000 development fee within city limits could be reduced to as little as $3,500 in the surrounding townships.
– Lay of the land. This is important for some because it may dictate the style of foundation. For example, if you want a walkout basement, a sloped piece of land is necessary. On the flip side, if no basement is preferred, then a relatively flat piece of property is required.
– Orientation. In order to maximize solar gain, it is important to have access to the sun and this means designing the house to face within 20° of due south. In a town or city, streets that run north to south are preferred instead of east to west for privacy reasons. For example, if a street runs east to west, a house on the north side of the road has its south side facing the street. As living areas would normally be placed on this side of a home, there is a potential loss of privacy particularly if the home needs to be positioned very close to the road.
– Water quality. It’s a good idea to research depths of wells if the property is located outside of a municipal area. Deep wells (greater than 250 to 300 feet deep) normally have higher concentrations of minerals which may require a large water treatment system. Well records in the province of Ontario are public information so it’s very easy to see the results.
There is a budget for building, and then there is a budget for living, and as energy prices rise the latter is getting more attention from homeowners.
EkoBuilt offers pre-existing energy efficient house plans to suit many different lifestyles, including tiny/coach house options. Many of our clients like to start with one of our plans, and then customize to best meet their personal needs and preferences, but we can also start from scratch. Working with pre-existing plans provides great benefit in terms of proven models of energy efficiency, layout convenience, and – of course – budget.
EkoBuilt also offers a key array of house performance models for your home, including Code Plus (a home built to the Code standards projected for 2030), Passive House (a home that is 90% better than Code), and even Net Zero (a home which produces as much energy as it uses).
The best investment you can make is in the most energy efficient home that you can afford to build, as you will get the best return on that same investment. Imagine simply not having to worry about steeply climbing energy bills.
Finding a builder who understands what you want to achieve and can work with you to do so, is critical. At EkoBuilt, we welcome clients who want to save on the build cost by doing some or all of their own work, when circumstances allow. We also work with clients who need us to do everything from start to finish.
The earlier in the process that we can have a conversation, the more we can help you consider the best and most cost effective ways of achieving your dream. Make time to sit down with us today, even if you can’t foresee being in a position to build for two or three years.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Tell about your dreams and plans; we’ll help you choose the best energy efficient house plan and show you how to make it your reality.
Read more about the EkoModel Home, which demonstrates all of these principles.
In spring 2017 we installed siding on the EkoModel Home. If you’ve followed the build of this passive house that we’re using as a showroom for what we can build, you’ll be familiar with its two-storey, flat-roofed visage.
This 2,506 square foot home includes 4 bedrooms, 2 1/2 bathrooms, and beautiful, sun-filled rooms from its south-facing rear orientation. When it came time to clad the exterior, we wanted to choose a product with a high degree of renewable or recycled content that would also be:
We choose an engineered wood siding product, GOODStyle by Goodfellow (a Canadian company), that comes with a 40-year guarantee and has 100% recycled content.
Offered in planks, shingles or panels, GOODStyle siding is available in a vast array of colours. We opted for a mix of grey and mustard tones, giving the house depth and interest (actual colours: Galet, Barn, and Cedar). You can realize your own perfect exterior with the many options and colourways available from Goodfellow.
For more detail, view the GOODStyle by Goodfellow brochure.
The rear, south-facing aspect of the house is where the common living areas are focused.
The front of the home, which is north-facing, has smaller windows.
Find out more about the EkoModel Home passive house, and Goodfellow siding. Contact us today!
It’s feeling like spring really has sprung, and it seems like a good idea to share some of the inspirational ideas we’ve been storing away over the winter. Fun and clever stuff that will get the cogs in your brain whirring!
How to upcycle pallets into “rustic-industrial” stuff for your home
This article from theFix.com was recently shared on Treehugger.
It helps to determine which pallets are safe to use, and which are not, and also contains a fun and informative infographic on how to prepare pallets for whatever project you might have in mind.
Also from theFix.com is Home Improvement Projects You Can Do with Reclaimed Wood, which gets the same cool infographic treatment, making for a quick and lively review of some neat design options.
We’ve all seen our fill of tiny home projects, including many models designed for hitting the road. This sleek cargo van conversion is a really cool addition to the options available to anyone wanting to live on the road.
10 Ways to Repurpose Vintage Furniture (Apartment Therapy)
All-in-one cube is ‘room within a room’ that hides bed, bike, closet & office (Treehugger)
Genius Trash to Treasure Crafts (Good Housekeeping)
Whether you’re building a new home or considering retrofitting the lighting in an existing home, if energy conservation matters to you there is only one type of light you should consider: LED lighting.
LED stands for Light Emitting Diodes. The following is an extract from How Stuff Works on How Light Emitting Diodes Work:
Basically, LEDs are just tiny light bulbs that fit easily into an electrical circuit. But unlike ordinary incandescent bulbs, they don’t have a filament that will burn out, and they don’t get especially hot. They are illuminated solely by the movement of electrons in a semiconductor material, and they last just as long as a standard transistor. The lifespan of an LED surpasses the short life of an incandescent bulb by thousands of hours. Tiny LEDs are already replacing the tubes that light up LCD HDTVs to make dramatically thinner televisions.
In the EkoModel Home, we used recessed LED lighting throughout the home.
The product we chose to use is from a company called Energy Efficient Lighting based in Markham, Ontario:
These recessed lights only require 9W of energy and are rated for an amazing 50,000 hours. They retail for about $30 per unit.
For a list of agents carrying these lights, see Energy Efficient Lighting’s website.
The Ottawa Home and Remodeling Show 2017 Coach House Village was a huge success and we were pleased to be a part. We were blown away with the amount of interest, from the general public as well as the Ottawa Citizen, CBC and CTV (the latter both broadcast from the Coach House pavilion).
We are attracted to the new Ottawa Coach House regulations because intensification of the city is an amazing example of sustainability! We heard lots of great ideas from visitors to our booth who are exploring putting a coach house on their property for the following kinds of reasons:
Apart from urban Coach House interest, there were also a number of visitors interested in tiny house communities run like a condominium and with a shared access road. There were retirees looking to truly downsize and those just looking to start small.
Listening to all these ideas was very energizing and inspiring and we look forward to seeing where the Ottawa Coach House trend will take us.
The Ottawa Home & Remodelling Show will run from January 19-22, 2017. Get $4 off the ticket price with your EkoBuilt code.
See you there!
EkoBuilt is introducing a series of tiny house models that are perfectly suited to the new Ottawa Coach House regulations but which can be applied by anyone, anywhere.
What better opportunity than the upcoming Ottawa Home & Remodelling Show running January 19-22, 2017 at the EY Centre to find out more firsthand.
Apply Ticket Code EKOBUILT and save $4 off the regular box office adult admissions.
We’ll see you there!
Design mecca Houzz has released its Kitchen Trends Study for 2017. The study polled nearly 3,000 users who are planning, executing or have recently finished a kitchen renovation. Results point to newer trends like shiplap, continuing ones like stainless steel, and changing tastes in counter tops, as well as custom storage.
We like that kitchen renos have a great way of helping homeowners to focus on their health. A revitalized kitchen tends to lead to a clearer, improved focus on cooking.