Com­pany stays ahead of green curve

En­ergy sav­ings, less waste cre­ated

Calgary Herald New Condos - - New Condos - PAULA MCCOOEY OTTAWA CI­TI­ZEN

Jamie Kipp feels she struck condo gold af­ter dis­cov­er­ing an af­ford­able hous­ing op­tion that prom­ises to rad­i­cally re­duce en­ergy costs.

Kipp had an in­side track — she works for Minto Com­mu­ni­ties — but she jumped af­ter see­ing plans for the com­pany’s am­bi­tious new Stone­field Flats com­mu­nity, Canada’s largest multi-fam­ily Lead­er­ship and En­ergy En­vi­ron­men­tal De­sign (LEED) com­plex of 10 apart­ment build­ings planned in Ottawa’s south end.

Minto is at the head of the green move­ment with Stone­field Flats, promis­ing the con­dos will meet LEED’s strict stan­dards for en­ergy sav­ings and re­new­able ur­ban plan­ning.

There will be 16 con­dos in each build­ing, start­ing at $171,900, a prime fi­nan­cial niche for first-time buy­ers like Kipp and her hus­band Scott.

“I went to take a look at the mod­els … and the de­sign just blew me away. It was beau­ti­ful,” says Kipp, 27, who had been scour­ing the mar­ket for months.

Stone­field Flats will of­fer two de­signs. Both con­dos fea­ture two bed­rooms, two bath­rooms and an out­door deck, but one also in­cludes a den.

Condo fees run about $100 a month, about a third of what de­vel­op­ers usu­ally charge.

Kipp says the moderate prices and open-con­cept plan im­pressed them, but when they found out the build­ings were also go­ing green by be­com­ing com­pletely LEED-cer­ti­fied, that pushed them to sign on the dot­ted line.

“I know it’s go­ing to sound hor­ri­bly cliche, but it re­ally sealed the deal.”

But LEED — what’s it all about? Is it a bunch of hot air? Well, hot, not nec­es­sar­ily. But air? Def­i­nitely.

An­drew Pride can speak to air qual­ity. He is Minto’s green guru and top green or­ga­nizer of Stone­field Flats.

LEED is a for­mal rat­ing sys­tem for homes in Canada. Pride says pur­chas­ing a LEED home is just as much a health and en­vi­ron­men­tal in­vest­ment as it is a fi­nan­cial one.

Fea­tures like En­ergy Star win­dows, fur­nace and ap­pli­ances will help shave about $80 off monthly util­ity bills. “Green homes use less en­ergy, wa­ter and nat­u­ral re­sources, cre­ate less waste, and are more durable and comfortable for oc­cu­pants,” says Pride, who is vice-pres­i­dent of the Minto Green Team with Minto Group.

Pride says green liv­ing in­volves many fac­tors, in­clud­ing about 30 per cent more in­su­la­tion, well be­yond what On­tar- io’s build­ing code re­quires; the use of non-toxic ma­te­ri­als; and a fur­nace with a 92-per-cent en­ergy-ef­fi­ciency rat­ing.

But, he says, it’s also about in­stalling bet­ter win­dows.

The Stone­field Flats’ En­ergy Star-rated win­dows en­dure rig­or­ous test­ing which, Pride says, is im­por­tant be­cause win­dows are a ma­jor source of heat loss dur­ing win­ter.

“Hav­ing th­ese (win­dows) tested to be En­ergy Star-level is def­i­nitely im­por­tant,” says Pride. “One, it keeps the heat in­side the house in the win­ter­time; it keeps heat out­side the house in the sum­mer­time, and be­cause it’s sealed bet­ter, it’s ac­tu­ally qui­eter.”

Pride’s favourite LEED fea­ture? The “all off ” switch.

Lo­cated at the front door, it turns off all the lights in the condo with a quick flick.

“That tends to con­nect with peo­ple re­ally well,” says Pride. “They’re go­ing ‘yes, I so get it. The bath­room light is al­ways on, I al­ways for­got to turn that off.’” Minto con­ducted mar­ket re­search through on­line sur­veys and had a great re­sponse to this type of project, which brings a more af­ford­able, ur­ban-style home to sub­ur­ban com­mu­ni­ties, says Minto mar­ket­ing di­rec­tor Cather­ine Shea.

The condo flats are ideal for first-time buy­ers, peo­ple looking to down­size and in­vestors, says Shea.

A view of the kitchen re­veals the open de­sign of the de­vel­op­ment.

Pho­tos, Jean Levac, Ottawa Ci­ti­zen

Jamie and Scott Kipp will trade ur­ban life for a two-bed­room Minto condo in Stone­field Flats, said to be Canada’s largest LEED com­plex with 10 build­ings each hous­ing 16 apart­ments.

The in­te­rior of one of the units has a fire­place in the great room.

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