EkoBuilt News & Happenings, Energy Efficiency, House Design

EkoBuilt Project: Urban home in central Ottawa

This new custom home is just a stone’s throw from the Governor General’s residence in central Ottawa. It’s a great example of flexibility in an urban setting. The home is situated on an unserviced laneway in a historic neighbourhood just east of the city’s downtown core. The home’s design had to be approved by the city’s historical committee before a building permit could be obtained. Construction was made much more interesting because the nearest intersection was closed throughout for the installation of a storm water collection facility!

All of these challenges made building this home exciting and rewarding. The family we built it for really love the area and it’s fantastic to share the end result with our followers.

Continue reading

Perth Ontario townhomes for sale by EkoBuilt
EkoBuilt News & Happenings, House Design, Passive House resources

Net Zero Perth Townhomes Selling – Don’t Delay!

We’ve been delighted with the interest in EkoBuilt’s development of five townhomes in the PerthWorks Community in historic Perth, Ontario. Two units have already been claimed, leaving only two middle and one end unit for prospective buyers.

Photo from Downtown Heritage Perth

These units represent exceptional value – $289k for an end unit, $279k for a middle unit – for homes that will be net zero in their energy consumption and built to the Passive House standard.

Situated centrally in charming Perth, homeowners will be able to enjoy all that the town has to offer as well as being within commuting distance of Ottawa.

click to enlarge

EkoBuilt is working with homeowners to fully customize their units’ plans to best suit their needs and lifestyle.

The sample floorplans we offer are a great starting point and make tremendous use of the nearly 2,000 square feet of living space on these two-storey towns.

December 2019 Occupancy

Purchase contracts to be finalized by late February 2019, groundbreaking in May 2019, occupancy December 2019.

Purchasing your new home in Perth can be a reality that quickly.

Get all the details from the Perth Town Homes for Sale section on our website, and then please do get in touch. We’re here to answer your questions!

 

Ottawa coch house costs
Coach / Tiny Homes, Energy Efficiency, Home Building trends

What it costs to build a coach house

Please note: as of March 2019 base pricing for coach house plans and basic shell installation have increased. The cost scenarios here will be affected in terms of total pricing as a result.

We have been receiving a tremendous amount of interest in our Coach House offering for the 2018 build season. We thought it would be appropriate to talk about future possibilities for everyone we haven’t heard from yet.

The new coach house regulations in Ottawa create a great opportunity for additional income in the form of a rental property and potentially even more income from an Airbnb format. It can also make for an economical in-law suite or starter home for a son or daughter.

Unlike most builders out in the marketplace, EkoBuilt is focused on building a style of home that is future-proof, something that will actually appreciate over time. Most builders design to today’s building code, and the real problem with this approach is that codes are starting to change dramatically.

This means that a home built to code standard today will be sub-standard come the next code change just four years from now.

Current building code is solid from a safety perspective, but the energy efficiency of most homes built to this code has not kept pace with drastically rising utility costs.

It doesn’t cost much extra to build ahead of code, so why not build to the future code standard? This is our approach and it just makes sense for anything truly designed to be a 21st century home.

To help in showing how possible it is to build to future code, we have prepared a cost analysis documentation for a couple of our designs.

Cost Analysis: Tiny Canuck

Tiny Canuck coach house plan

Tiny Canuck 499 sq.ft.

Size:  1 bedroom, 499 sq.ft.

Finished for $132,375:

  • that’s a $694 mortgage payment
  • rental $1250+ (including utilities), that’s a 56% ROI, beats the stock market.

Download the Tiny Canuck cost analysis


Cost Analysis: Nepean Point

Nepean Point tiny house plan

Nepean Point 720 sq.ft.

Size: 2 bedroom, 720. sq.ft.

Finished for $175,802:

  • that’s a $922 mortgage payment
  • rental $1750+ (including utilities), that’s a 53% ROI

Download the Nepean Point cost analysis

Including utilities would make these units really attractive to anyone in the market. Since the homes are ‘future proof’, they can be heated and cooled inexpensively with electricity (no gas/propane) which will be the fuel of the future.

Alternatively, if a coach house is built to current code standards, your mortgage rates may be slightly less (5%) but with substantially higher utilities, overall cost of living would be more expensive.

Coach House Plans: CodePlus & Passive House

Make sure you visit our Coach House Plans page and review the kit pricing for our coach house plans based on CodePlus and on the Passive House standard. Questions? We’d be happy to answer them!

Please get in touch with us to explore Coach House opportunities for your property!

EkoBuilt News & Happenings, Energy Efficiency, Passive House facts

International Passive House Days 2017

Passive House residents around the world open their doors Nov 10th – 12th, 2017. The EkoModel Home near Ottawa will open its doors after having been lived in for a year, so this is a great time to visit our project and check out others in the area.

Get first hand experience of the many advantages Passive Houses offer, and feel the supreme comfort of these super energy efficient homes.

Find Homes Near You

The EkoModel HomeTo search on participating homes in Ottawa, Eastern Ontario, or wherever you live, use the Passive House Database.

The listing for the EkoModel Home, including its passive house credentials, can be found at listing 5081 on the Passive House Database.

Please come out and visit our four-bedroom, 2,509 sq ft passive house on any of the following days:

Fri, 10 Nov: 9-3pm
Sat, 11 Nov: 9-3pm
Sun, 12 Nov: 9-3pm

See complete house plans for the EkoBuilt Trillium passive house right here.

See all 13 of our Passive House plans here – we can modify any of these plans to best suit your needs!

Wood engineered siding on the EkoModel Home
EkoModel News, House Design

Engineered Wood Siding: Beautiful & Sustainable

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:

  • affordable
  • a natural material
  • extremely low maintenance, and – most important of all –
  • look great!

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.

Before and After Photos

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.

Goodfellow Engineered Siding Photo Gallery

Find out more about the EkoModel Home passive house, and Goodfellow siding. Contact us today!

Ottawa home builder EkoBuilt at the Ottawa Home & Garden Show 2017
EkoModel News, Home Building trends

Your questions answered!

The Ottawa Home & Garden Show last weekend was a tremendous experience. As ever, we enjoyed many rich conversations and answered a lot of questions. We thought we’d share some background here for our newest readers.

Who we are and how we are different?

EkoBuilt is a company committed to building homes design for the 21st-century. This means strikingly designed and deeply comfortable homes that are easily and cheaply heated and cooled with electricity.

Why do we do what we do?

It is our goal to get anyone and everyone in a quality passive house as affordably as possible. Our minimalist approach to design and investment in finding the right products/materials/systems have made this abundantly possible.

What exactly do we do?

First and foremost, we design and build low-energy homes that need no furnace or boiler.

How is this possible?

Super insulated, airtight and vapour tight construction.

What do we use for heat and air conditioning?

Even in a low energy home, heating and cooling systems are needed, but in a passive house, we just need a simple air to air source heat pump which is cheap to install and cheap to operate. These systems are not viable in conventional homes because the heating and cooling demands are too high.

On average, a passive house in winter with no sun and -30°C needs approximately 6 kWh of energy per day to keep house comfortably at 21 degrees. That’s amazing!

What about fresh air?

Even homes built to standard code require an HRV [heat recovery fresh air ventilator]. The difference is that conventional HRV units are 65% efficient, whereas passive house HRVs are 95% efficient.

The passive house unit also removes humidity which is important because these homes are vapour tight.

Find out more

If you’re new to EkoBuilt and our site, you can check out the Passive House and Coach House sections. The blog is also a deep source of detailed content on all of the above.

EkoBuilt's passive house solar engine
EkoBuilt News & Happenings, Solar Power

Your House Needs a Solar Engine, and We’ve Got It

The Eko Solar Engine - passive house infographicsWe now have the opportunity to take houses off the grid and power them with energy completely derived from the sun. Your home can work smarter and save you money all year round.

At EkoBuilt, we’ve invested a lot of time and know-how into developing the perfect solar engine for your home, and we’ve created a special infographic to easily convey how it works.

This simple, fully documented and proven complete building solution is completely unique and makes it extremely easy for anyone to achieve energy independence. Our solar engine uses the latest available technologies to make this not only possible but affordable – NOW!

The beauty of the system is that you can apply it in part or in its entirety, depending on your situation.

Want to learn more about the Eko Solar Engine?

Click here for full details.

Click here to get in touch with us to explore what you need for your home.

 

House with recessed LED lighting
Energy & Household Trends, Energy Efficiency

Why you should light your home with LEDs

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.

What are LEDs?

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.

The Recessed LEDs We Recommend

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:

4 inch UltraThin LED Recessed Luminaire Round – UTLED-S9W-3KWH

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.

Low energy house with double car garage
Home Building trends, House Design

Garages & carports for the low energy home

Over the past year we have been asked a number of times if garages/carports are possible with the lower energy homes and the answer is, yes – absolutely, why not?

While a stand alone garage or outbuilding has its advantages, for many of us living in colder climates, there are real benefits to a structure that is attached to the home. What’s important is that the garage or carport is constructed in such a way that it does not compromise the weathertight shell of the home, and this is easily done.

We’ve prepared revised sketches of three of EkoBuilt’s low energy home designs to incorporate a garage or carport.

Low energy home with carport

Low energy home with carport

The Stonecrop design with optional carport

Low energy house design with carport

Foxglove design with integrated carport

If there was one limiting factor to incorporating a garage, it would be to not place it on the southern side of the home as this would block the sun. Any other side would be fine.

Introducing a carport or garage actually provides opportunities to add further interest and utility to your home’s exterior, and to create defined outdoor areas for patios, gardens and other features.

The concept below, which shows a double car garage added onto the Trillium model (the EkoModel Home that we’ve been building this year), illustrates how a lovely space would be created on the south-facing wall of the home that would anchor a garden or seating / outdoor dining area. This is actually highly practical, as the door immediately to the left of the garage exits from the home’s living and dining area, just steps from the kitchen.

Trillium house plans with double car garage

Low energy house with double car garage

The Trillium model with optional 2-car garage

View all of EkoBuilt’s house plans, including the models showing sample carport and garage placement.

We’re delighted to work with you to discuss optimal design and placement for any of our low energy house plans. Sample cost per square footage: approx $35/sq ft for a carport, $55/sq for attached garage. Contact us for details.

Don’t forget that you can come out for a walk-through the EkoModel Home this weekend for International Passive House Days.

EkoBuilt News & Happenings

New pricing and approach to EkoBuilt’s passive house kits

We’ve made some fundamental changes to how we price and deliver our Passive House kits, and here’s why:

EkoBuilt’s goal is to provide anyone building a new home the opportunity of achieving an affordable Passive House. We know that this looks different for everyone.

Foxglove cottage kit plan

Foxglove, 1424 sq ft
Total sample build cost: $337,130. See cost analysis >

Our challenge: The Passive House model, although a simple approach to construction, does require specialized carpentry and building techniques. It has three simple but crucial layers to the building which need to be properly sealed. There is a watertight layer, a wind tight layer, and a vapour tight layer which, when installed properly, easily ensure that the house will perform to the passive house standard.

Our solution: We have simplified our passive house materials package to include all items necessary for a watertight, wind tight, and vapour tight passive house. We are excluding previously included items such as exterior siding, soffit/facia, steel roofing, timber frame, insulation because these items are readily available anywhere in Canada. Doing this allows the home builder much greater flexibility and control over the total project budget.

Why it matters: Our revised passive House material package is important to the consumer in three key ways:

1. For the Do-it-Yourselfer
Because all of the materials necessary to build a watertight, wind tight and vapour tight passive house are available in a single package (including design plans), there is no need to undertake the extensive research and sourcing to figure this out. We have done the hard work for you and in a single phone call or a meeting with one of our representatives we will prove to you that our system is the most cost effective and affordable system on the market.

Sometimes the building permit process alone is burdensome enough to prevent an individual from building their own house. In addition to construction drawings most building departments are now asking for duct design, heat loss calculations, an engineer’s stamp, energy efficiency design summary, etc. EkoBuilt is a registered design firm and in addition to construction drawings (which have always been included with our packages), we are now including all of the paperwork required to satisfy any building department’s requirements. We believe the permit process should be simple and free of headaches and we’re doing all we can to aid in this process.

2. For the small builder or contractor
For the builder/contractor who has a client interested in passive house or just generally wants to offer passive house to clients, this approach is superb. Although passive house is known and understood by many Canadians it is still a relatively new style of building in our country. Therefore most consumers and builders have limited knowledge of proper passive house design specifications and materials, particularly windows and doors.

EkoBuilt is not only specialized in passive house design and construction; we are committed to making the affordable passive house a reality. We have placed all of the necessary materials into one simple package and can offer support, if desired. Our simplified package also provides the builder or contractor with the ability to supply and build most of the house on their own, including exterior siding, roofing, fascia/soffit, interior finishes, etc.

3. For the owner-builder who wants to act as their own general contractor
Many of our clients prefer this approach because they like to choose interior finishes and be completely involved in the decision making process, but it would be beyond them to put together a passive house materials and design package. This is our specialty and we are committed to using the best materials that are also affordable, making it unnecessary for owner-builders to get tangled up in research and complex decisions. Just give us a call and we will explain everything:  we want our clients to be completely aware of and confident in the specific materials used and the reasons behind their selection.

How do you want to build your new home?

Over the years, we have encountered every possible variation in home owner involvement in the new house building process. We understand that you need as much information as possible, particularly on every aspect of building a realistic budget for your project. We also understand that everyone comes at the process differently.

For this reason, we can:

  • Just provide you with one of our 13 passive house plans and materials kits.
  • Provide you with one of our kits, along with additional support and/or services.
  • Build your new passive house from start to finish, including to a completely unique design of your own choosing, or by modifying one of our existing designs to better suit your needs (site requirements, lifestyle needs, etc.).

We can supply and install exterior siding, roofing, fascia/soffit, interior finishes, HRV, kitchens, etc. We have simplified the basic Passive House materials package so that anyone can achieve this standard in an affordable way, but we’re still here to provide a total solution from design through to the installation of the last finish in your new home, if that’s what you’d prefer. Call us today to find out more.

Quick links

PassiveHouse Plans & Prices
PassiveHouse Materials
EkoBuilt PassiveHouse Cost Analysis
PassiveHouse Gallery