In 2021 we supplied our weathertight material package to a couple wishing to build a small passive home near North Bay, Ontario.Read More
Until now, Toronto homeowners have only been able to add a secondary residence to their property if it is next to a public laneway; this will change when the new Garden Suites provision is approved.Read More
Your FAQs Answered
Interested in building a super energy efficient new home that you love? Start here!Read More
You can always find a larger square foot home more cheaply from a developer, but as soon as you move into one of these spaces and notice the poor air quality, cheap finishes, and expensive utility bills, it is easy to become quickly dissatisfied with the space. Why compromise?Read More
In the Ottawa area? Interested in visiting one of our passive homes?
Come visit the EkoModel Home this weekend – we’ll be open from 9am to 3pm on Saturday, October 5th. The home is just west of Ottawa in McNab/Braeside. (If you can’t make it this time, we’ll also be having a 3-day Open House in early November.)
Open House days include a 12pm presentation by EkoBuilt’s Paul Kealey.
Passive House resources
This new EkoBuilt passive home is located in rural west Ottawa. A bungalow, its design is slab on grade and it encompasses 1365 ft.² of living space including two bedrooms and two bathrooms. It was finished in time for the 2018-2019 winter season.Read More
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.
1) How do you want to live?
- Are you building for where you are now, or where you will be in a few years or more? Are you building a family home or for a single/couple? Will you work from home?
- Do you like the idea of building a home with a community of other like minded folks?
- Does your household have special needs?
- With rising costs for home ownership, does it make sense to build in an income/rental component?
2) Where do you want to live?
It’s never too soon to start looking at available land and considering your options.
Urban or rural?
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.
Other factors to consider:
– 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.
3) Budget: To build & to live
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.
4) How will you build?
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.
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.
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.
Get in touch
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.