Year: 2018

Homebuyers Want Certified Homes: CHBA, Avid Ratings

(Article courtesy The Calgary Herald)

While interest is growing for new homes with more than one master bedroom, and improving storage and energy efficiency are priorities, kitchens still lead the way.

These are some of the results that surfaced in the 2018 Canadian Home Builders’ Association Homebuyer Preference Study by Avid Ratings Canada. There were 3,000 responses from homebuyers in seven provinces, led by those who identified as Generation Y, or millennials, at 38 per cent.

The survey says 81 per cent of respondents would like a brand new home from a builder for their next purchase, which is up from 73 per cent in the 2017 study.

Avid Ratings division president Tim Bailey covered some of the survey’s findings during a panel discussion at the CHBA National Conference in Victoria, B.C., in April.

The panel included insight from Bijan Mannani, president of Landmark Homes, based in Edmonton, and Eric Andreasen, vice-president of marketing and sales for Adera Development Corp., based in Vancouver.

One of the survey’s trending items is the importance of the second master suite. It’s been on a steady climb to a score of 56.1 in the 2018 survey from 50.8 in 2015.

Thirty-nine per cent of respondents said, when looking for a new home, a second master suite would be considered a feature they either “must have” or “really want.”

“It’s gaining more interest for new builds,” says Mannani. He points, specifically, to homes where there’s a complete secondary suite, with a kitchen and great room, built about the garage.

In some cases, these are multi-generational living arrangements, and others it’s a level of privacy for guests.

He says there’s interest from some buyers “looking at doing renovations or having an infill project, particularly asking for a secondary suite for additional income.”

Andreasen’s company is involved in apartments and town houses, and says “there’s definite demand for dual masters.”

“We’ve got a situation where there’s a big demand for lock-off suites right now. So it connects but you can lock off one suite from another,” he adds. “You can live two separate lifestyles but still be joined.”

The survey asked homebuyers about must-have features in the home overall, and walk-in closets landed top spot of the list.

Beyond that, results showed a common thread, with many respondents going green. Five of the top-10 items were related to energy efficiency. This includes, ranked from highest to lowest, high-efficiency windows, energy-efficient appliances, an overall energy-efficient home, an HRV (heat recovery ventilator)-ERV (energy recovery ventilator) Air Exchange, and certification by a designated program, such as Energy Star, Built Green, and EnerGuide.

This is the first year certification by a designated program has been part of the top-10 preferences.

When it came to factors motivating buyers to include energy efficient features in their home, the ability to lower utility costs led the way with 61 per cent of the vote. The other main reasons were protecting the environment, which had 15 per cent, and higher quality construction with eight per cent.

Another survey question asked how much people would be willing to spend on additional energy-efficient features if it meant saving $1,200 per year on utilities. Leading the way with 58 per cent was $3,000 to $5,000. Twenty per cent said they’d pay an additional $10,000.

At the same time, another survey question showed that 33 per cent of house hunters who had an extra $10,000 to spend on their home would use the money on interior finishes. Energy efficiency slotted second at 15 per cent, and answers of larger lot and larger home were tied at 14 per cent apiece.

“We shouldn’t be looking at energy efficiency only from the sustainability side,” says Mannani. “I think it’s purchasing value, something that’s more comfortable, quieter, it’s performing better, you’re reducing your footprint.”

Along with the walk-in closet and aforementioned energy-efficient features, the survey said the top-10 must-haves for homebuyers also included the kitchen island, linen closets, open-concept kitchen, and large windows.

Storage was another standout on the survey. Ninety-two per cent of participants called walk-in closets a feature they either must have or really want, and for linen closets, that number was slightly down at 89 per cent.

When it came to what survey participants considered to be the most important feature in the home, the cooking space’s reign continued. For all four years of the study, the kitchen placed No. 1. This year, the second most important room in the home was the master bedroom.

“A kitchen isn’t just a place where you cook, it’s a place where you eat, where you entertain people, and it’s the place of the house where you really get to showcase the way that you live,” Andreasen says.

“Islands have become a big thing, especially in our town houses,” he adds. “An island is a place that everybody can sit around and if there’s just two people in a place or one, you don’t go to the table, you go to the island. We have people that entertain around an island, so we build an island that allows you sit up to six people. It becomes the heart of the home … and it also has the magical storage factor that’s built right into it.”

Owens Corning hosting Designing Acoustic Comfort session

On April 12th, Owens Corning will be holding a session on Acoustic Design at the Hart House in Toronto.

Tarion Builder Bulletin 19R (BB19R) requires condominium projects to undergo design and field review and reporting as of January 1st, 2017. This new version of BB19R builds on the previous version of BB19R, effective July 1, 2010. One of the major changes to BB19R, is the separation of Acoustical Review and Testing into a separate Risk Area to highlight the importance of warranty claim risks associated with inadequate acoustical performance. In addition to the revised Tarion requirements, the Ontario Building Code will feature new acoustical requirements as of January 1st, 2019. These new requirements will focus on system performance rather than component. The new language designers and builders/developers will need to focus on is ASTC (apparent sound transmission class) rating. This 3+ hour interactive session is intended to inform building designers, architects, consultants and builders/developers on the importance of Tarion BB19R conformance, how to design for ASTC ratings, and best practices in acoustical design/construction to limit risk and exceed performance.

■ Understanding Tarion Builder Bulletin No. 19R
■ Designing to Limit Litigation in Acoustic Design
■ Future Ontario Building Code Requirements (ASTC )
■ Multi-Unit Residential Case Study

Space is limited and will be first come, first serve basis. Please confirm your registration for this workshop to Tyler Simpson or Matthew Schiedel no later than April 6th, 2018.

For more information, please download the flyer: OC_2018 Builder and Architect Ontario Invite_ENG.

OHBA Climate Change Council Holding First Meeting, Webinar

OHBA’s Climate Change Council is holding its first general council meeting and Webinar Wednesday in the coming weeks.

The goal of the CCC is to inform industry stakeholders on cutting edge technologies/practices, products, programs, services and the applicable building code changes. The OHBA CCC will be an information sharing hub; hosting webinars, promoting training and events that will help builders adopt higher levels of energy efficiency and innovation to be successful as we all move towards Net Zero.

The first CCC meeting will be web-based meeting and open to all members April 6. Those interested in attending should contact OHBA’s Senior Technical Advisor, Shawn Good at

The inaugural Webinar Wednesday presentation will take place on April 11, 2018 and discuss the benefits of an Integrated Design Process in adopting more energy efficient building practices.  Attendees will hear from experts and peers that have participated in the Savings By Design Program about their benefits and experiences in the program, as Enbridge is now rolling out SBD to eligible smaller builders/projects and municipalities this year.

For further information about the Climate Change Council and how you can participate, contact Shawn Good at

Enbridge Launches 2018 Home Energy Program

The Home Energy Conservation program, delivered by Enbridge Gas, in partnership with the Government of Ontario and the Save on Energy program, allows homeowners to earn up to $5,000 for installing energy efficiency upgrades, while helping to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. This year the program has increased what homeowners can get back, up to $5,000 from $1,600 — an increase of over 200 per cent.

For the next month, Enbridge is holding webinars for homeowners and renovators on the changes to their prescriptive, province-wide program. To learn more, register for one of the upcoming webinars.

This program is offered to homeowners across Ontario who use natural gas, wood, propane, oil, or electricity to heat their homes, and who install two or more eligible energy efficiency upgrades.

Enbridge has also improved the program so that homeowners will now have a clearer understanding about the dollar amount they’ll receive for each upgrade they make. This makes planning and budgeting for renovations that much easier.

To qualify, participants must complete a home energy audit before and after the upgrades are completed. The upgrades must also be done by a certified contractor, and must take place before Dec. 31, 2018. A minimum of two upgrades must be completed. The work must be completed within 120 days of the pre-audit. The cost of both audits will also be included in the rebate.

Some of the energy efficiency improvements eligible under the program include:

  • Installing a furnace or boiler heating system (up to $1,000), water heater ($500), or an air source heat pump ($500);
  • Upgrading insulation (up to $1,750 per insulation);
  • Air sealing (up to $150);
  • Or installing energy efficient windows or doors (approximately $80 each).

More information is available at

Ontario offers funds for low-carbon innovation

(Article courtesy Canadian Property Management)

The Ontario government has pledged up to $300 million in seed funding to advance low-carbon technologies and/or implement strategies to make greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction more economically viable. Ontario-based companies and organizations will have until May 7, 2018 to submit their concepts to the newly announced GreenON Challenge.

“This program demonstrates Ontario’s support for innovative thinkers creating projects that will help achieve major greenhouse gas reductions while advancing economic growth,” Minister of the Environment and Climate Change Chris Ballard said earlier today.

This opens up a broad range of possibilities, characterized on the Green Ontario Fund website as initiatives that support “the transformative adoption of low-carbon technologies and processes in buildings or the production of goods.” An accompanying Ministry communiqué cites five fairly vague examples of the types of ideas the fund administrators hope to see, including “new financing mechanisms” and “developing buildings that use dramatically less energy than typical buildings.”

A smaller group of candidates will be chosen from the initial call for proposals and asked to submit more detailed business cases. Selected low-carbon innovation projects must occur in Ontario and be completed within four years. They will not be eligible for any other funds derived from the provincial cap-and-trade program.

“Great ideas are out there. We just need to support our partners in making them a reality,” maintained Parminder Sandhu, interim CEO and chair of the Green Ontario Fund board of directors.

Municipalities receive support for infrastructure initiatives

(Press release courtesy Infrastructure Canada)

OTTAWA, March 13, 2018 /CNW/ – Investing in innovative green infrastructure projects contributes to a clean growth economy and strengthens the middle class by ensuring communities are healthy and sustainable places to live.

The Honourable Amarjeet Sohi, Minister of Infrastructure and Communities, and Jenny Gerbasi, President of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) today announced funding for 67 initiatives in communities across Canada through three programs: the Municipalities for Climate Innovation Program (MCIP), the Municipal Asset Management Program (MAMP), and the Green Municipal Fund (GMF).

Improving Canada’s infrastructure lays – in large part – in the hands of the municipalities. Communities across the country want to be sure they are investing their infrastructure money wisely, and that they are ready to adapt to the potential effects of climate change as they make local infrastructure investment decisions. The projects announced today demonstrate the work being done on these fronts in municipalities large and small.

Through GMF, communities are not only improving the environment around them, they are maximizing municipal resources and improving the lives of their citizens.

In Ontario, the Township of Douro-Dummer will study the feasibility of constructing a net-zero energy centralized public works and emergency services building, which would produce at least as much energy as it consumes on an annual basis. This initiative will provide an example for other small rural towns that want to improve and consolidate municipal infrastructure in environmentally sustainable ways.

Also in Ontario, among other projects, the Township of Russell and the Town of Newmarket both received funding for stormwater management studies.

MCIP, MAMP, and GMF are funded by the Government of Canada and delivered by the Federation of Canadian Municipalities.

For a full list of the 67 funded projects, visit the Infrastructure Canada website.


Quick facts

  • The Municipalities for Climate Innovation Program is a five-year, $75-million program designed to encourage Canadian municipalities to better prepare for and adapt to the new realities of climate change as well as reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
  • The Municipal Asset Management Program is a five-year, $50-million program designed to help Canadian municipalities strengthen infrastructure investment decisions based on sound asset management practices.
  • The Green Municipal Fund is a program designed to support initiatives that demonstrate innovative solutions or approaches to a municipal environmental issue that can generate new lessons and models for communities of all sizes and types across Canada. The Government of Canada endowed FCM with $550 million to establish the program and an additional $125 million top-up was announced in Budget 2016.
Photo courtesy Reid's Heritage Homes

700+ Per Cent Growth in Zero Energy Buildings Market since 2012 – Report

Photo courtesy Reid's Heritage Homes

(Article courtesy New Buildings Institute)

New Buildings Institute’s (NBI) 2018 zero energy buildings list includes nearly 500 verified and emerging zero energy (ZE) buildings across the United States and Canada—a 700 percent increase since NBI began tracking projects in 2012, with private sector investment now representing nearly half of all buildings on the list. ZE buildings are ultra-low energy buildings that consume only as much energy as is produced through renewable generation resources. The list is part of the 2018 Getting to Zero Status Update and Zero Energy Buildings List that NBI officially released in February.

ZE buildings transcend North American climates and borders with buildings in 44 U.S. states and four Canadian provinces. California is by far the front-runner in ZE building activity with Oregon boasting the second largest count. California’s leading energy policies, ambitious energy reduction goals, and effective utility programs, as well as Oregon’s Path to Net Zero efficiency program and incentives are driving their rapid uptake in ZE buildings. Both the Northeast and the Southwest regions saw the highest growth with more than a 90 percent increase in buildings since 2014.

The 482 buildings represented total over 45 million square feet of commercial space and include 67 verified projects (with at least one year of energy use and production data to prove ZE performance), and 415 emerging buildings (with a stated goal of zero energy, but not yet completed, fully occupied, or still working to attain ZE performance).

“Zero energy buildings use less than half the energy of typical buildings, saving owners and occupants money on energy bills,” said NBI CEO Ralph DiNola. “We see ZE buildings taking off across the country in all climate zones—larger buildings, high energy-use buildings, private sector and residential are going ZE—proving that deep energy savings is not only possible, but profitable in every market, in every region.”

“Since the construction of the Center for Sustainable Landscapes,” said Richard V. Piacentini, Executive Director, Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens in Pittsburgh, “Phipps has added a modular net-zero energy building and is in the process of retrofitting an existing property for net-zero performance as part of a Living Campus, showcasing three very different types of buildings at the peak of efficiency.”

Other trends identified in the study of buildings from NBI’s tracking database include:

Verified buildings use less than half the energy of typical buildings. The ZE verified buildings on the list on average use 60 percent less energy than comparable existing U.S. commercial buildings and 46 percent less energy than new buildings under one of the most stringent U.S. base code (CA Title 24). The median gross site energy use intensity (EUI) of ZE verified buildings is just 18 kBtu per square foot per year (before renewables). The ZE emerging buildings, which are a blend of measured and estimated energy use, have a median gross site EUI of 24 kBtu per square foot per year.

Emerging buildings list shows projects increasing in size as design teams gain capability.The majority of verified ZE buildings (roughly 80 percent) are smaller than 25,000 square feet, reflecting the early trend of small demonstration buildings getting to zero. But the 2018 ZE emerging list of buildings show more evenly distributed building size, suggesting that large ZE buildings are entering the market with more diverse sized buildings pursuing ZE. In the 2018 emerging list, more than 40 percent of all buildings, and 88 percent of the total floor space, are 50,000 square feet or larger.

Broadening set of building types are found, even in high energy intensity segments. ZE buildings can be found across a growing number of building types. Even high-energy intensity building types, such as hospitals and restaurants, are finding innovative ways to pursue ZE. As in years past, the combined education market, which includes K-12 schools, higher education, and general education, dominates the 2018 Getting to Zero List, making up 37 percent of the buildings.

Private sector invests, districts emerge. ZE is finding favor with the private sector, with nearly 26 percent of the full list representing for-profit, private sector buildings and overall private ownership now at 46 percent. Home production builders say ZE residential projects have been “profitable, sustainable, and rewarding for their businesses and their customers.” The communities and commercial districts are increasing and carving a critical path to scale ZE buildings.

And the Winners Are…

Toronto, On… (February 22, 2018) Ontario’s best Green Builders were celebrated tonight at the EnerQuality Awards Gala (EQ Awards), taking place at the Universal Eventspace in Vaughan, Ontario. Hosted by Breakfast Television’s Kevin Frankish, more than 200 industry peers gathered to share concepts and accolades as together they  help to move towards a more energy conscious future.

“Advancing energy-efficient techniques and tools are huge priorities in the building sector to continue to improve healthy living   conditions,   fight   climate   change   and   minimize   unnecessary   spending,”   says   Corey   McBurney,   President   of EnerQuality. “The EnerQuality Housing Innovation Forum & Awards help to connect builders with the innovation they need to meet their design goals as well as spotlight the change-makers who are effecting policies and driving standards towards a shared goal of Net Zero housing.”

Among the biggest attractions of the Innovation Forum, which took place during the day was the keynote from MaRS Senior Adviser and CBC guest, Tom Rand, where guests heard tangible solutions to combat climate change including his stance on pricing carbon and how sharing a new story of clean energy abundance has the power to engage the public and inspire action. The highly competitive Innovation Gauntlet rounded out the day before the official Award ceremony began, with

IBC Technologies Inc being named the winner for their newest innovation – IBC DC Series Dual Condensing Appliance. “The IBC Better Boiler product is a forward thinking, adaptable technology with integration to smart homes. This is a truly unique product and was a clear leader in this year’s submissions,” says Shaun Joffe, Executive Director of Sustainability & Building Sciences at Great Gulf and judge of the Innovation Gauntlet participants.

2017 EQ Award Winners: 

Partner Award
Enbridge Gas Distribution
Union Gas
Owens Corning

Enbridge Savings By Design Award
Remington Homes

Building Innovation Low-Rise
Great Gulf Homes Ltd (for H+ME Technology)

Building Innovation Mid/High-Rise
Times Group Corporation

EnerQuality’s ENERGY STAR®® for New Homes Builder of the Year  (Small volume) (Sean Mason Homes)

EnerQuality’s ENERGY STAR®® for New Homes Builder of the Year (Mid- volume)
Remington Homes

EnerQuality’s ENERGY STAR®® for New Homes Builder of the Year  (Large volume)
The Minto Group

EnerQuality’s ENERGY STAR®® Champion of the Year
Jacqueline Collier, Tamarack Homes

Best Green Marketing Campaign
Doug Tarry Custom Homes Ltd

R-2000 Home Builder of the Year
RND Construction

Net Zero Home Builder of the Year
Reid’s Heritage Homes

Evaluator of the Year
Angela Bustamante, Building Knowledge

Builder Achievement Award
Shaun Joffe, Great Gulf Homes Ltd.

Ontario Green Builder of the Year
Sifton Properties Ltd.

EQ Awards Finalists Announced

Narrowing down the field from a huge number of outstanding nominations, our Jury has made its decision and some of the best, most innovative builders in Ontario are getting recognized for their work!

Categories include Building Innovation (Low, Mid/High), ENERGY STAR® for New Homes Builder of the Year (Small/Custom, Mid-Volume, Large Volume), Net Zero Builder of the Year, Evaluator of the Year and more, all the way up to Ontario Green Builder of the Year.

Check out who got the nod

Housing Innovation Forum programming announced

The Housing Innovation Forum will bring what we know about energy-efficient, high-performance building into immediate focus with insights and best practices to drive your business today.
Beginning with our Keynote speaker, MaRS Senior Adviser and CBC guest Tom Rand, the day will also include our ever-popular Innovation Gauntlet – a “Dragon’s Den” and audience-choice award for most innovative product – and a session on Mythbusting: Ask the Experts. Bring your most complex questions! Click below to read the rest of the day’s schedule.