Toronto builders win national competition to build energy-efficient homes



    OTTAWA, Feb. 15 /CNW Telbec/ - Skyrocketing fuel costs and the growing
impacts of climate change are leading more Canadians than ever to take a
second look at everything from the cars we drive to the homes we live in. Two
Toronto builders are doing their part by designing houses that are healthy,
energy-efficient and affordable - projects that won a nationwide
sustainable-home competition held by Canada Mortgage and Housing Competition
(CMHC).
    Sustainable Urbanism Initiative's "Davenport Townhouses" and New House
Project's "Now House" are two of only 12 designs from across Canada to win the
Equilibrium housing initiative competition launched by CMHC last spring.
EQuilibrium housing is designed to lower homeowners' energy bills by reducing
energy consumption and delivering electricity back to the grid. The homes will
also promote water conservation, healthy indoor environments, durability, and
reduced pollutant emissions.
    The Davenport Townhouses proposal will see three townhouses located in
Toronto's downtown Annex area. They will incorporate energy-efficient features
such as spectrally selective window glazing and will also showcase ground
source heat pumps powered by electricity generated through photovoltaic cells
covering the roof of each unit. The fact that the townhouses will be located
in a part of town well-served by transit highlights two sustainable urban
design imperatives - reducing dependence on the automobile, and efficient use
of existing infrastructure.
    "Now House" will see an existing post-World War II house in Toronto
retrofited to meet EQuilibrium's goals. Insulation upgrades, new windows,
Energy Star appliances, wastewater heat recovery, and solar panels are some of
the ways the house's energy usage footprint and greenhouse gas emissions will
be reduced. The goal is to demonstrate how homeowners and their local
contractors can improve energy efficiency of older housing with a few simple
but innovative modifications.
    A selection committee of independent housing experts chose the 12 winning
teams from a pool of 72 applicants. The winners each receive $50,000 from CMHC
to help defray the cost of building the demonstration homes, which will be
open to the public by 2008. CMHC is also providing technical and promotional
support.
    "Almost half of greenhouse gas emissions in Canada come from the
operation of buildings, so it stands to reason that if we deal efficiently
with today's built-environment, it will have a positive impact on our future,"
said Vivian Manasc, President of the Royal Architecture Institute of Canada.
"EQuilibrium is a promising example of how government and industry can work to
support a healthier and more sustainable future for all Canadians."
    Once they are complete, the demonstration homes will offer the
opportunity to measure the performance of EQuilibrium housing under real-world
conditions on a national scale. They will also help spearhead the spread of
healthy, sustainable and energy-efficient housing across Canada.

    Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) has been Canada's national
housing agency for more than 60 years. CMHC is committed to helping Canadians
access a wide choice of quality, affordable homes, while making vibrant,
healthy communities and cities a reality across the country.




For further information:

For further information: For story ideas or to access CMHC experts or
expertise, contact CMHC Media Relations - National Office: (613) 748-4632,
media@cmhc-schl.gc.ca

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