WHAT’S NEW IN CONDOS?
Technology is constantly pushing the boundaries of what’s possible and consumers expect the best. In response, developers are pulling out all the stops to win prospective homebuyers. Houses and condos are more innovative than ever, incorporating new technologies, amenities and upgrades for easier, “greener” and more connected lifestyles.
Imagine a home that creates more energy than it uses — and saves you hundreds of dollars on your utility bill. Minto Group Inc. (minto.com) has built that green dream, called a “net zero energy ready” home, in its Arcadia development in Kanata, Ont. Billed as one of the country’s most energy-efficient homes, the “Killarney” is a 2,406-square-foot, three-bedroom house that blends technology with innovative design and materials to reduce home energy consumption by a whopping 65 per cent.
Its heating system is twice as efficient as a natural gas furnace and advanced insulation and triple pane windows help the house retain warmth. Its energy-monitoring system helps the homeowner track their energy use.
The most impressive part of the home is its roof, which can accommodate solar panels to produce as much energy as the home is expected to consume in a 12-month period.
The home is open for public viewing while Minto constructs four townhomes with similar energy targets in the Arcadia community, to be sold upon completion. Arcadia is being used as a test site for future net zero energy developments in other communities. The Killarney model starts at $452,900.
Developers of new condominiums are getting creative when it comes to amenities. A new 38-storey residential building by Capital Developments and Freed Developments (redpathcondos.com) at 150 Redpath Ave. will boast a 24-hour inhouse diner to serve both residents and passersby. Residents can order room service, as well as have food brought up to one of the building’s other attractive features — a rooftop pool and deck.
With 25,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor amenities, Lighthouse Tower by Daniels Corporation (danielswaterfrontcondos.ca) — a 45-storey condo to be built at Queens Quay E. and Lower Jarvis St., overlooking Toronto’s waterfront — will have the typical fitness facilities and party spaces, but also promises some fairly unique bonuses.
Sophisticated home cooks and kitchen beginners alike can take advantage of the “kitchen library,” a space stocked with shared appliances for use, as well as cooking seminars and training. The jam studio will have gear and space for musicians of all levels to practise and play, while the arts and crafts studio will provide opportunities for artists to create, learn and enjoy exhibits, programmed by Artscape.
FutureDreamHome, an annual feature at the National Home Show, showcases the best of design, architecture and innovative technologies in a model home to inspire attendees. This year’s installation — designed and constructed by Michael Upshall of Probuilt Design and Build company (probuilt.ca) and Darren Sanger-Smith of residential design firm Structured Creations — featured North America’s first ever installation of a completely invisible, state-of-the-art surround sound system.
In the home’s recreational room, audio designer Keith Vanderkley used a series of speakers from Dolby, Amina Technologies and Triad Speakers to create rich sound that seems to emanate from all angles. The speakers are entirely invisible, hidden from sight behind the screen and in the ceilings. Listeners feel as though they are in the centre of the sound; background conversations in a movie scene sound as though they’re happening behind you and a rain shower sounds as though it’s coming from above.
To ensure its new residential properties are constructed with virtually no errors or issues, Great Gulf Homes (greatgulf.com) builds them three times using its H+ME Technology. First, the home is built in virtual 3D and a team of architects, engineers and designers carefully examine every element.
Once all components are tested and the 3D rendering is approved, instructions for construction are delivered to a 200,000-square-foot manufacturing facility. There, each panel and wall is precision-engineered — including the roof. Because each piece is built and stored inside, nothing is degraded by the outdoor elements. The home is then assembled on-site, often in as little as two days. The homes are more structurally sound and are constructed with almost no errors or delays.
There are currently H+ME Technology developments across Ontario in Oakville, Bradford, Brampton and East Gwillimbury, with future projects planned for Whitby, Milton and Guelph.
Daniels Corporation’s Lighthouse Tower condo development includes luxury amenities, such as a jam studio where musicians can play and rehearse.
Minto’s new energy-efficient homes include a monitoring system that helps homeowners keep track of their energy use.