Ottawa infill project for EkoBuilt
Coach / Tiny Homes, EkoBuilt News & Happenings, House Design

A taste of our current projects

A snapshot of some of our current projects is actually a great way to get a feel for how some homeowners are using EkoBuilt’s energy efficient house plans as well as our design expertise. We thought we’d share this round up for a bit of home design and planning inspiration:

Ottawa Urban Infill Project

We’re excited to be working on preliminary drawings for an urban rebuild project close to Lansdowne Park and the Rideau Canal. A young, forward thinking family are the clients and we are excited to design their new family home. There is an existing post-war type house on the property that will be recycled, and a new home, designed for the 21st-century, will emerge.

We typically prepare a site plan, and it’s particularly important in this case as we’re working with limited space and need to design to maximize space on the property within the setbacks required by the City of Ottawa. There is a basement involved and we have given a couple of options for feedback from the client.

Photo Gallery – click to enlarge

Coach House Over Garage

This design started as a garage with a workshop and kennel area for three dogs. The clients decided to take advantage of the new Coach House Bylaw in Ottawa and put an apartment over the garage for affordable investment income.

The utility area will be the only heated area in the garage section, so we will super insulate the floor and follow passive principles for the second-floor apartment. The Coach House will face due south.

Photo Gallery – click to enlarge

House with Attached Garage

The property of this design is sloped, but not by much, which meant not having a basement, but also that it wouldn’t be slab on grade. A conventional poured concrete foundation is going to be installed, the only difference being R32 insulation beneath the slab instead of R10, as required by current code. With energy costs rapidly rising, it only makes sense to install more insulation, if reasonable to do so.

Photo Gallery – click to enlarge

Shooting Star – Modified Bungalow

This design started from our Shooting Star house plan, a 2 bed/2 bath bungalow of just over 1200 square feet. The client took our original plan and customized it to best suit their needs. It is a home designed to be off the grid because the client does not want to depend on the grid. We find this pretty inspiring. Why connect to the grid if you don’t have to?

Building to Passive House standard — the original inspiration behind our 13 energy efficient house plans — it’s easy to take the home off-grid. A generator is required, but we use a generator that burns oil from sun derived energy, including vegetable oil, reclaimed vegetable oil or bio diesel.

Photo Gallery – click to enlarge

You can download the original Shooting Star plans here

Ottawa Custom Bungalow

If you can’t find a design, not to worry, we can help! The clients of this design came to us with a rough idea and, after a few revisions, we transformed the idea into a computer assisted drawing. It’s a unique situation because this home will sit in a forest but still consume 80% to 90% less energy than its building code equivalent, reinforcing the reality that every house should be passive!

Photo Gallery – click to enlarge

These examples show that we are ultimately a custom design/build firm. If you like our minimalistic, modern and sustainable approach to design, we can help in any capacity. Feel free to reach out to discuss your project!

Couple viewing potential land for their home
Energy & Household Trends, Home Building trends, House Design

Tips for purchasing land on which to build your home

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.

Ottawa coach house plans by EkoBuilt

EkoBuilt’s Mooneys Pad tiny house plan

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.

We look forward to hearing from you!

 

Photo by Alex Iby on Unsplash