Friday, June 20, 2008

Minto EcoHome Opens in Ottawa Celebrating the greenest in home building

The Minto Group opened a new attraction for those interested in Green Building. More like an educational exhibition than a show home, it is one of the greenest houses ever built in Canada. The home, situated in the South Ottawa community of Manotick, demonstrates the future of home building and will help motivate and educate consumers toward greener home choices. The project goal is to not only influence home building in Ottawa, but all across the country.

The Minto Ecohome, it brings together a vision of net-zero energy design with healthy living features that can be afforded by any home buyer. Net-zero means that at the end of the year the home will have produced as much energy as it consumes. The initiative is part of Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation's (CMHC) EQuilibrium Sustainable Housing Demonstration Initiative. Minto was the only Ontario production builder selected to push the limits of green home building. Twelve projects in all were asked to be part of the program nationwide.

We wanted to give something back to the community by having this home uniquely showcase sustainable building, in a way that inspires consumers to become part of the solution," said Robert Greenberg, Executive Vice President of the Minto Group's home building division.

With an open and informative style, Inspiration has interactive displays and signage to explain the features and benefits of green building. Starting in June 2008, the home will be on display to the public to experience for at least a year. For those who cannot visit the home in person, Minto has set up as an interactive green experience.

Global warming and climate change have been strong influences on the green building community. Inspiration strives to limit greenhouse gas emissions. It is designed to generate enough green power on its roof to completely offset the small amount of gas and electricity still used by the home. Thanks to the Ontario Power Authority's Standard Offer Program, Inspiration's homeowners could actually receive payments from their local electricity supplier for the electricity generated by their home.

"We started this project to see what was possible, so we gathered all the experts to build a demonstration home. In the end, we were so inspired by the results that we decided to offer versions of Inspiration in our communities, starting later this year," added Greenberg.

Inspiration is designed to reduce the cost of home ownership, conserve natural resources, improve the indoor air quality for better occupant health, and was constructed mostly with recycled and renewable materials. "In every practical way, we designed this home with conservation, health, and consumer empowerment in mind," explains Andrew Pride, Vice President of Minto's dedicated Green division. "Inspiration has a significantly lower environmental footprint. It uses rain water to flush toilets and water the lawn. It is designed with plenty of windows for natural ventilation to eliminate air conditioning. And, it is architecturally optimized to enjoy the benefit of the sun's heat and light."

The house was developed using an integrated design process and a design charrette - where the key members of the building team start from a blank page to discuss how to practically build a home with minimal impact on the environment.

Minto chose the future community of Mahogany in Manotick as the site for Inspiration. While still in the planning stages, Mahogany will be one of the largest energy efficient communities in Canada, blending the latest in environmentally responsible building technology with the character of the Village of Manotick. Minto has become a leader in LEED(R) - Canada certified green living options with other successful developments, and the company is committed to producing new communities that promote health, material conservation, energy efficiency, and a high quality of life.

"This initiative with CMHC has inspired us to believe that we can slow, and one day even reverse, the effects of global climate change by challenging each of us to do more and to continually strive for better solutions," Pride said.

Inspiration's Green Features:
  • Rainwater harvesting for irrigation and toilets
  • Low flow faucets and fixtures
  • Dual flush water saving toilets
  • Solar thermal air collectors
  • Solar hot water collectors
  • Photovoltaic solar electricity panels
  • Extended roof-line to block heat from the summer sun
  • Natural ventilation design to eliminate the need for air conditioning
  • Passive solar design with slate floors to retain solar heat
  • Double insulated walls for added warmth, quiet, draft proofing, anddurability
  • Triple pane windows
  • Flexible open design to adapt easily to life's changes
  • Rapidly renewing bamboo flooring and stairs
  • Built-in recycling centre
  • Low VOC paints and finishes
  • Compact fluorescent lights throughout
  • A convenient All-Off switch connected to green plugs to make conserving energy easy

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hello All,

This sounds like an absolutely fabulous example of what an ecological house can be. One question (if it was in the article I missed it): why "eecohome", not "ecohome"? Is there a reason for the 2 e's?

I'm very inspired by all the green and energy saving features that can be put into a home after going to the Midwest Renewable Energy Fair in Wisconsin yesterday. What a great resource for those thinking of building small and green!


8:39 PM  

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