Low Carbon Condominium (Finalist.)
Options for Homes is already well known in the GTA as a developer of cost effective ownership housing. We developed the first three condominiums in the Distillery. Our most recent development is the 643 suite Heintzman Place in the Junction.
We are now planning to develop a new condominium with the lowest carbon footprint in North America.
Our more recent buildings already have features incorporated into them that contribute to energy efficiency and a low carbon footrint. Heintzman Place has solar hot water panels that provide for about one third of the hot water needs of the residents. It also has a heat recovery system, high efficiency boilers and chillers and our own car share - Options for Cars - that further contribute to a lower footprint.
But we're planning to go further than this on one of our upcoming projects. We will build into this condominium all the energy saving features of Heintzman Place and, in addition, we'll get rid of parking for privately owned cars altogether. The building will have parking spaces for up to ten Options for Cars vehicles as well as space for bicycle parking. All purchasers of a condo suite will automatically have a membership in the car share.
This would be Toronto's second car free condo - the first is on University Ave. But the combination of solar hot water heating, green building features and no private car parking will make this project arguably the lowest carbon footprint condominium in North America.
The low carbon condominium will show that this kind of building not only makes sense from an environmental perspective but that is also has market appeal and can therefore be successfully replicated.
Emissions reduction potential comes from three main areas: from solar hot water panels, from not building an underground parking garage and from residents not having a private vehicle.
Taking a 250 suite condominium project this would mean the following emissions reduction potential:
About twenty two per cent of household energy use goes towards heating water. According to the EPA per capita household co2 emissions are four tonnes per year (this might be a bit less in Canada but not much). A one third reduction in hot water heating needs from gas or electricity translates into an co2 emissions reduction of about 7.3% of total household emissions (22% / 3 = 7.3). So the saving per person per year would be about 7.3% of 4,000 kg or 292 kg. Historically, Options condominium population density is 1.6 people per suite. So, for a 250 suite building the population would be about 400 people. Therefore, the annual emissions reduction for a 250 suite building with a hot water solar collector that provided 1/3 of the hot water needs would save 400 x 292 kg or 116.8 tonnes of co2.
Savings = 116.8 tonnes co2 per year.
Normally, a condominium will have parking spaces for 60% of its suites. So if a condo has 250 suites, about 150 parking spaces will be built. According to EPA figures, each tonne of concrete produced creates about one tonne of co2 emissions. Given that it takes approximately 10 tonnes of concrete to build a parking space, a 150 spot parking garage would require 1,500 tonnes of concrete and would cause a corresponding 1,500 tonnes of co2 emissions.
Savings = 1,500 tonnes co2.
Given that each passenger car emits on average 5.5 tonnes of co2 per year (EPA) the potential savings per year would amount to 140 cars (150 less 10 Options for Cars vehicles) times 5.5 for a total of 770 tonnes.
Savings = 770 tonnes co2 per year.
So total emissions reductions for a single 250 suite low carbon condominium would be 1,500 tonnes initially plus about 885 tonnes per year thereafter. This represents a per capita reduction of some 3.75 tonnes during the construction year (1500 / 400 = 3.75) and 2.2 tonnes (885 / 400 = 2.2) each year thereafter.
Given that Canadian per capita co2 emissions are about 20 tonnes of co2 per year, living in a low carbon condominium would reduce the overall average carbon foot print of each resident by 17% in the construction year and 10% each year thereafter.
Michel Labbe: Mike will be the principle developer representative and project lead. Mike has created an innovative housing development and financing model that has made home ownership available to lower and middle income families. He has helped develop communities that emphasize low carrying cost, energy efficiency, low car ownership and high owner occupancy (and therefore strong community). An innovative developer, Mike has revived areas previously considered unattractive or in decline. A prime example of this is the Distillery District where Options was the first developer to build in what was, at the time, considered marginal land.
Deltera Construction: Deltera Construction is a subsidiary of Tridel, winner of the Green Builder of the Year (2007 to 2010). Deltera has worked with Options for the past 10 years on its condominium developments, including the recently completed Heintzman Place.
Options for Homes Staff: Options for Homes has a talented staff of 10 full time and 10 part time employees with expertise in sales, marketing and administration.
As suites are privately owned, all of Options condominiums are self-supporting.