Ontario Home Builder - Late Spring 2021

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SOAKING IT ALL IN: WHY PERMEABLE PAVING IS ON ROCK SOLID GROUND P.28 TAPPING INTO MOTHER EARTH FOR ENERGY SOLUTIONS P.49

A NET ZERO BUILDING WORKSHOP NOT TO MISS! P.12

CALM AND COOL: INTERIOR DESIGN THAT WILL SOOTHE THE SOUL P.55

OHBA.CA | $5.00 LATE SPRING 2021

PLANNING FOR THE

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1 Available content depends on your subscription. 2 Access to Ignite WiFi Hub requires Ignite Internet from Rogers, the Ignite WiFi Gateway modem, a MyRogers account and a compatible iOS or Android device or compatible web browser. 3 For direct dial ed conversations/voice messages to local Canadian numbers only, based on a total of 44,650 minutes/mo. Taxes extra. Existing Rogers Home Phone customers who subscribe to a Rogers Ignite bundle must switch to the Ignite Home Phone service (activation optional) and their existing home phone service wil no longer be available. Ignite Home Phone operates with the Ignite WiFi Gateway modem 1 Available content depends on your subscription. 2 Access to Ignite WiFi Hub requires Ignite Internet from Rogers, the Ignite WiFi Gateway modem, a MyRogers account and a compatible iOS or Android device or compatible web browser. 3 For direct dialled conversations/voice messages to local Canadian numbers only, based on Taxesofextra. Rogersoutage/di Home Phone customers subscribe Rogers and their 9existing servicenot willavai nolalonger witah total no batoftery44,650back-minutes/mo. up. In the event a powerExisting or network sconnecti on, Igwho nite Home Phoneto aservi ce wiIgnite l notbundle be avaimust lableswitch and youtowithel notIgnitebeHome able toPhone makeservice any voic(activation e calls, incloptional) uding Emergency 1-1 calhome ls. Certaiphone n features ble wibeth Iavailable. gnite HomeIgnitePhoneHomeserviPhone ce, incloperates uding TVwithcallthedisplIgnite ay, diWiFi stinctiGateway ve ring,modem auto connect, with no battery back-up. In the event of a power or network outage/disconnection, Ignite Home Phone service will not be available and you will not be able to make any voice calls, including Emergency 9-1-1 calls. Certain features not available with Ignite Home Phone service, including TV call display, distinctive ring, auto connect, foreign exchanges and multiple lines. Chat lines, data, fax and/or long-distance calls made using call forwarding and three-way calling features are prohibited. ™Trademarks of or used under license from Rogers Communications Inc. or an affiliate. ©2021 foreign exchanges and multiple lines. Chat lines, data, fax and/or long-distance calls made using call forwarding and three-way calling features are prohibited. ™Trademarks of or used under license from Rogers Communications Inc. or an affiliate. ©2021



Contents

28 Sponge City

Cost aside, there’s much to soak in with today’s permeable paving

39 Shared Experience Multi-generational living is back in vogue, while co-living steps up

20 Planning for the Future A trio of trends that could shape the decade ahead

9 One Voice Celebrating innovation and evolution. It’s much more than mere survival. 11 Ontario Report Ontario is on the move, welcoming the Workplace Safety and Insurance Amendment Act, Awards of Distinction deadlines and Net Zero training you won’t want to miss. ohba.ca

@onhomebuilder

15 Trending Ford tough never looked so smart, Cambridge is offering you a lift, DMX will floor you, the PUCCS stops here, a new Bigfoot sighting, Bosch gets fresh with us, a two-for-one from Amvic, Moen wants you to go with the Flo and the smartest doggy door you’ve ever seen.

49 Building Buzz A geothermal project goes deep in Mississauga, while the time is finally right for geoexchange in Oakville, a Hilti/George Brown partnership and an award-winning stucco. 62 Frame of Mind A Japanese design explores the increasing need for live-work space.

55 Modern Classics

Interior design that embraces something old and something new

ON THE COVER

Science fiction is becoming science fact, including a new construction assistant that may remind you of War of the Worlds.

ONTARIO HOME BUILDER LATE SPRING 2021

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The official publication of the Ontario Home Builders’ Association Late Spring 2021 | Vol. 37 Issue 3

EDITOR

Ted McIntyre ted@laureloak.ca ART DIRECTOR

Erik Mohr ASSISTANT ART DIRECTOR

Ian Sullivan Cant GRAPHIC DESIGN

Marikha Saira, Megan Drummond COPY EDITOR

Barbara Chambers CONTRIBUTORS

Avi Friedman, Tracy Hanes, Alex Piccini, Mark Wessel, Joe Vaccaro ADVERTISING

Cindy Kaye cindy@laureloak.ca PUBLISHER

Sheryl Humphreys, ext. 245 sheryl@laureloak.ca PRESIDENT

Wayne Narciso PUBLISHED BY

Laurel Oak Publishing laureloak.ca

ohba.ca

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Ontario Home Builder is published six times per year (Winter, Early Spring, Late Spring, Summer, Fall, Awards). All rights reserved. No part of this magazine may be reproduced without the written consent of the publisher © 2021. For address corrections please email info@laureloak.ca or phone: (905) 333-9432. Single copy price is $5.00. Subscription Rates: Canada $12.95 + HST per year, USA $29.95 USD.

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When you’re building a business, you need the best. The 2021 Ford Super Duty is a powerful business partner. Designed with productivity in mind, the all-new Ford F-150 – with its available Tailgate Work Surface comes ready for the worksite, and its class-exclusive^ available Pro Power OnboardTM offers exportable power on demand to help keep you running until the job’s done.

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Vehicles may be shown with optional features. *2021 Super Duty with 6.2L engine, DRW, Long Box and HeavyDuty Payload Package. Class is Full-Size Pickups over 8,500 GVWR. Max. payload is for properly equipped base vehicle with required equipment and a 150-lb driver and varies based on cargo, vehicle conguration, accessories and number of passengers. See label on door jamb for carrying capacity of a specic vehicle. For additional information, see your Ford Dealer. ^Class is Full-Size Pickups under 8,500 lbs GVWR. **When properly equipped. ‡Max. payload on 2021 F-150 Regular Cab 8' box 4x2 with available 5.0L V8 engine and max. Trailer Tow and Heavy-Duty Payload Pkgs. Class is Full-Size Pickups under 8,500 lbs GVWR. Max. payload varies and is based on accessories and vehicle conguration. See label on door jamb for carrying capacity of a specic vehicle. †Max. towing on 2021 F-150 SuperCab 8' box and SuperCrew 4x2 with available 3.5L EcoBoost, max. Trailer Tow Pkg. Class is Full-Size Pickups under 8,500 lbs GVWR. Max. towing varies based on cargo, vehicle conguration, accessories and number of passengers. ©2021 Ford Motor Company of Canada, Limited. All rights reserved.


One Voice

THE DARWIN THEORY Pandemic, environment are ratcheting up the evolutionary curve “IT’S NOT THE STRONGEST

of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent; it is the one most adaptable to change,” British naturalist, geologist and biologist Charles Darwin once observed. The concept of evolution is hardly lost on home builders—we’ve been adapting to constantly changing environments, market demands, affordability issues and political constraints for more than a century. Just look at how our members have pivoted to keep businesses rolling despite the ravages of COVID-19 over the past 14 months! But changes are coming faster and more furiously these days, and technology upgrades can be hard to keep up with. ohba.ca

@onhomebuilder

IT’S A REMINDER THAT ADAPTING IS NOT MERELY A MEANS OF SURVIVAL. And so it is that this edition of OHB magazine has chosen to focus on multiple innovations in the world of home building. It’s safe to say that the pandemic has driven the subject of one of the features in the pages that follow: the rise of multi-family and co-living residences. Whether it be a response

to affordability or the desire to keep families together and to care for ill and aging relatives in a time of multiple lockdowns, there is an increased interest in homes that can accommodate multiple residents while also providing privacy. The second feature addresses an issue heightened by climate change, noting ways that developments can mitigate potential flooding— an increasing requirement from municipalities. The third feature zeroes in on a trio of trends—one current (clean air in our homes); one evolving (the use of autonomous robots in construction); and the third an exciting development in the world of electricity taking place just outside Silicon Valley. There is also discussion about how we will accommodate the rise of electric automobiles and what might theoretically replace that technology. The constant search for more efficient energy uses is also explored in the Building Buzz section of this edition, with brand new geothermal and geoexchange projects from two OHBA members dicussed—each of which will both reduce energy costs for residents while significantly cutting carbon emissions. But it doesn’t require cutting-edge tech to move us forward. Sometimes it’s an innovative concept that fills a gap in the industry. That’s the case with a Japanese design explored in the Frame of Mind column (see p. 62). It’s just another a reminder that adapting is not simply a means of survival, but an opportunity to distinguish oneself from the competition. Darwin would approve. OHB

JOE VACCARO IS THE CEO OF THE ONTARIO HOME BUILDERS’ ASSOCIATION

ONTARIO HOME BUILDER LATE SPRING 2021

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Ontario Report

ONTARIANS ON THE MOVE First of seminar series stresses need for more homes

The “drive to qualify” movement is driving up home costs, notes Mike Moffatt, Senior Director of the Smart Prosperity Institute.

BY A L E X P I CC I N I On April 14, the Ontario Home Builders’ Association hosted the first in our #Homebeliever Webinar Series, Ontarians on the Move. Special guest Mike Moffatt, Senior Director of the Smart Prosperity Institute and Assistant Professor with the Ivey Business School at Western University, joined OHBA members and municipal and provincial officials to kick off this webinar series. Mike’s insightful approach with his recent Ontarians on the Move series, provided a data-driven look at where exactly Ontarians are moving to and what we need to do to accommodate this shift in housing needs. Through his analysis, Mike explained how a relatively stagnant housing supply and strong demand have made it increasingly difficult for young #homebeliever families to purchase their first home in an area where they can ideally live, work and play. The “drive to qualify” movement of people from the Toronto Census Metropolitan Area and into the neighbouring Greater Golden Horseshoe has created an economic situation where there are simply more buyers than homes available, pushing housing prices up across those regions and surrounding communities. Consequently, outlying housing market prices have risen significantly in the past several years with this rush of demand, making it even harder for first-time buyers to make their #homebeliever dreams a reality. Mike noted that the data show housing supply is not keeping up with population growth, and that includes all housing supply and possible housing choices, from high-rise to missing-middle to single-family homes. We need more housing of all types for #homebeliever families and individuals at all stages of life. As President Bob Schickedanz has expressed many times, with 2 million more #homebelievers joining Ontario communities in the next 20 years, the elephant in the room remains the need to build 1 million homes to make #homebelievers dreams a reality. With municipal, regional and provincial officials joining the session, the call to action from President Bob is to work together to bring the next generation of housing options to communities across Ontario. ohba.ca

@onhomebuilder

SOURCES OF ONTARIO POPULATION GROWTH Sources of Ontario Population Increase

600,000 450,000 300,000 150,000 0 -150,000

2010 – 2015

Natural

Interprovincial

Immigration

Non-permanent

2015 – 2020

ONE MILLION NEW ONTARIANS Ontario Population Growth — 5-Year Periods 1,100,000 825,000 550,000 275,000 0

July 1, 2010 – July 1, 2015

July 1, 2015 – July 1, 2020

POPULATION GROWTH VS. HOUSING COMPLETIONS Ontario: Population Growth vs. Housing Completions, 2010-15 & 2015-20 1,100,000 825,000 550,000 275,000 0 Population Growth

July 1, 2010 – June 30, 2015

Housing Completions

July 1, 2015 – June 30, 2020 ONTARIO HOME BUILDER LATE SPRING 2021

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Ontario Report

YOU CAN’T WIN IF YOU DON’T ENTER! The 2021 OHBA Awards of Distinction will be open for entry on June 7 and if you enter before June 26 you will enjoy big savings with an early-bird reduced entry fee! The online submission final deadline is Friday, July 23. There will be no extensions, so make sure you don’t miss the chance to enter. Finalists will be announced in early October and winners will be announced virtually through our live event portal on November 16. This prestige awards program honours the vision, innovation and expertise of some of Ontario’s most creative and talented builders, renovators, designers and marketers. Please visit the website at ohbaaod. ca for full categories, entry details and much more. We can’t wait to see you there. 12

ONTARIO HOME BUILDER LATE SPRING 2021

Sign Up for New NET ZERO Builder Ready Training Program Be among the first in the country to experience the newly developed Net Zero Builder Ready Training Program. The workshop will cover everything you need to know about Net Zero Energy home building and the new CHBA Net Zero Energy Labelling Program. Andy Oding of Building Knowledge, past chair of the CHBA Net Zero Energy Housing Council and one of the country’s leading building scientists, will instruct the course, which will take place May 26-27. Enbridge Gas has once again made it possible for Ontario home building professionals to register for EnerQuality’s high-performance new construction workshops at no cost, including up to three members from their organization! The workshop should attract anyone interested in building Net Zero, from builders, developers and contractors to architects, project managers, and manufacturers and distributors of high-performance building products.

Covering subjects that range from air barrier systems, windows and foundations to advanced construction and mechanical systems, the course will provide participants with unparalleled technical preparation for building Net Zero and Net Zero Ready homes based on the newest Net Zero Standard, a practical understanding of how to build homes using costeffective technologies that are already available, as well as tips to successfully market and sell a Net Zero home. You will also be provided support from EnerQuality’s administrative and quality assurance team. EnerQuality workshop completion certificates can be submitted for Continuing Education credits for the Ontario Association of Architects, Ontario Building Officials Association, Professional Engineers Ontario and the Association of Energy Engineers. Space is limited, so email adrian@ enerquality.ca to reserve your spot.

OHBA Welcomes the Passage of Bill 238 Workplace Safety and Insurance Amendment Act, 2021

In April, Bill 238, Workplace Safety and Insurance Amendment Act, 2021, received Royal Assent. This legislation recognizes that under COVID-19, job losses have disproportionately impacted retail and service sectors, causing the average industrial wage to rise well past 7%. The legislation limits that increase on WSIB premiums to 2%, making sure small businesses aren’t subject to sudden undue costs during these challenging times, while protecting jobs and worker benefits. The maximum cap for worker benefits will increase, but only in line with the practical business realities that members are experiencing. This stability helps ensure members have predictability during an unpredictable time. ohba.ca

@onhomebuilder



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Trending I DE A S FOR B U I L DE R S & R E N OVAT OR S

GETTING FRESH

Bosch fridge tech extends food life P.18

TOUGH NEVER LOOKED THIS SMART Purpose-built from the ground up, the all-new 2021 F-150 is Ford’s toughest, smartest, most productive F-150 ever. It combines a new exterior and interior with best-in-class available towing and payload, allowing it to perform on the clock or off. It features class-exclusive available Pro Power Onboard (allowing you to use your truck like a mobile generator), available interior/tailgate work surfaces, and SYNC 4 interface technology with an available 12” touchscreen. FORD.CA ohba.ca

@onhomebuilder

ONTARIO HOME BUILDER LATE SPRING 2021

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Trending

THIS WILL FLOOR YOU Easily installed and VOC-free, the DMX 1-Step 2.0 is designed specifically for basements and/or areas where moisture is a problem. Unique dimples create an air gap that raises the floor from the concrete slab, guarding against mould growth beneath finished floors by allowing moisture to escape and evaporate. There is no need for OSB or plywood, so laminate, engineered hardwood and vinyl plank flooring (at least 5mm) can be installed directly on top. DMXMEMBRANES.COM

NEED A LIFT? Homelifts by Cambridge Elevating provide a revolutionary option in the home mobility industry to help an aging population stay at home. Ideal for renovations and remodelling, it combines the versatility of an elevator with the simplicity of a stairlift, while employing high-quality materials and advanced safety features. Now available in Ontario, Cambridge Elevating seeks renovation partners to provide a startto-finish solution. HOMELIFTS.CA

THE PUCCS STOPS HERE DuRock’s PUCCS NC is a non-combustible cladding for use on all walls within two feet of the property lines where combustible cladding is not permitted. Its continuous insulation allows builders to reduce framing from 6” to 4” studs, while still meeting or even exceeding energy-efficiency requirements. Since it does not require the bearing support that brick does, the frame wall may be moved to the exterior of the foundation to add interior floor space, with a thinner concrete foundation wall, reducing costs. DUROCK.COM ON SOLID GROUND Whatever the weather, Bigfoot’s newest 12” plastic tube (BFT12) delivers a simple, yet dependable way to build footings. Groundwater or rain poses no threat to the Bigfoot tubes, while the tapered plastic design prevents uplift from frost and high winds. Measuring 4’ x 1’, it can be used with Bigfoot Models BF28 or BF36. It also meets or exceeds all local and national building codes when used with a Bigfoot Systems Footing Form. BIGFOOTSYSTEMS.COM

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ONTARIO HOME BUILDER LATE SPRING 2021

ohba.ca

@onhomebuilder


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A FRESH APPROACH Bosch has taken flexible temperature drawers to the next level with its new VitaFreshPRO technology. Precise cooling and humidity keeps food fresher—up to three times longer. Multiple temperature settings allow you flexibility in this spacious compartment— hermetically sealed from the rest of the refrigerator—for everything from fruits and vegetables to fish and meat. CANADIANAPPLIANCE.CA

TWO-FOR-ONE SOLUTION Amvic’s new Envirostrap is a rigid insulation board made from closed-cell EPS with three integrated furring strips on one side. This combination incorporates insulation and finish attachment surfaces that can be used for both above- and below-grade interior applications. The furring strips can either be fully recessed inside the foam (for interior finishing) or can protrude from the surface of the foam by ¾”, creating an air gap required for exterior cladding installation. AMVICSYSTEM.COM

WHO LET THE DOGS OUT Feeling guilty about leaving your best buddy at home? The myQ Pet Portal allows pet parents to safely let their dog out to potty and play while they’re away. It also provides live video streaming and two-way communication through its app. Professionally installed and integrated into a select offering of Kolbe doors, a hidden smart panel features an elevatorstyle opening mechanism that works with a custom collar sensor. MYQ.COM/CES/PET-PORTAL

GO WITH THE FLO The Flo by Moen Smart Water Security System puts users in control over their water supply to detect and prevent leaks, as well as monitor usage, all from the convenience of their smartphone. Its Smart Water Shutoff connects to the main water line and calculates pressure, flow rate and temperature within the home’s water supply system to detect leaks and other vulnerabilities. It also includes Smart Water Detectors— standalone sensors that can be placed anywhere in a house to alert users if moisture is detected. MEETFLO.COM 18

ONTARIO HOME BUILDER LATE SPRING 2021

ohba.ca

@onhomebuilder


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Three fronts that may soon redefine residential construction BY TED McINTYRE

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ONTARIO HOME BUILDER LATE SPRING 2021

ohba.ca

@onhomebuilder


T

he future seems to get here quicker than it used to, with innovation leaping out from around every corner. It can be both imposing and challenging for builders, determining what technology should be adopted and how to implement it. But it can also be exciting. We take a look at three innovative fronts that will have short-term and long-term impacts on the residential construction industry—one already trending, another in its earliest phases of taking hold and a third that just might revolutionize the world as we know it.

ohba.ca

@onhomebuilder

ONTARIO HOME BUILDER LATE SPRING 2021

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AIR APPARENT The energy-saving Advanced Air Purification system from Delos (bottom right) can filter 99.97% of an airborne viral load down to a mere .007 microns.

01

Breathe Deeply To say that consumers, given recent history, have grown more conscious of the air they breathe is to understate the emerging trend of health and wellness in residential construction. Manufacturers are catering to the trend, with air purification devices and even furnaces that inhibit the growth of pollutants such as allergens, bacteria, moulds, odours and, yes, viruses such as COVID-19. One new company looking to break into the Ontario market is Poppy, whose extensive team varies from University of Toronto advisors and Stanford graduates to NASA scientists. Poppy offers a turnkey solution in monitoring for pathogens within an enviroment, with no upfront costs or installation required. For a monthly subscription service starting from a few hundred dollars, the company will deploy monitoring devices throughout facilities, which collect from your site’s air and surfaces. Poppy then processes and analyzes each zone’s collection, 24 hours a day, with its customized dashboards providing updates, alerts and next-step recommendations. Exquisitely sensitive, the monitors “can read all variations of COVID,” notes Poppy cofounder/CEO Sam Molyneux. “Research has 22

ONTARIO HOME BUILDER LATE SPRING 2021

shown that the higher settings of the devices can offer up to seven days’ advance warning of a rise in infection rates and even uncover the presence of asymptomatic individuals.” One company with boots already on the ground in Ontario is Delos Canada. Delos has been elevating health and well-being as central values in the spaces where we live, work, sleep and play for nearly a decade. Having recognized an opportunity to integrate health and well-being programs and solutions into the built environment, Delos has fostered research collaborations with leading medical institutions, architects, scientists and wellness thought leaders. Delos’ wholly owned subsidiary, the International WELL Building Institute (IWBI), has seen a rapid adoption in Canada of the WELL Building Standard and WELL Health-Safety Rating. With these programs, the company offers various pathways to certifying or rating buildings based on health and wellnessfocused standards and protocols. In addition, Delos has a number of scienceand evidence-based solutions, including advanced air purification, water filtration, circadian lighting and their proprietary

home wellness system. And with air quality becoming an acute concern throughout the pandemic, Delos has the advantage of having studied all types of air purification technologies in recent years to determine what technologies offer the highest efficiency in various environments. “Not all air purification systems are created equal,” says Isaac Mulvihill, Senior V.P. at Delos. “Advanced systems are a critical supplementary approach to reducing transmission rates by remediating airborne pollutants and contaminants. Evidence suggests that small aerosolized particles carrying SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes COVID-19) are about .06 to .14 microns in size and can remain suspended in the air in aerosol form for long periods of time indoors. Delos’ advanced air purification units are equipped with technology that filters particles as small as .007 microns, at 99.97% efficiency.” This also helps filter out contaminants and pollutants from the air, expel odours, and remove toxins, harmful chemicals and allergens. “We are speaking with a number of prominent developers across Canada who are showing a heightened interest in building healthier residential units,” notes Delos Canada President Brandon Crombeen, “and they are now hearing consumer demand to address indoor air quality and other health and wellness components of a development.” ohba.ca

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Fitted with Built Robotics’ AI guidance system, construction vehicles can work autonomously.

A WALK IN THE PARK Able to traverse demanding terrain, Boston Dynamics’ nimble Spot can be outfitted with laser scanners, among other equipment.

02

See Spot Run Viewer discretion advisory: If you watched Season One of War of the Worlds on CBC last year, this might freak you out a bit, because those dog-like alien quadrupedal bots that terrorized the remaining population on earth are more real than you may think. They are, in fact, based on Spot, an agile mobile four-legged robot created by Boston Dynamics. To quote the product’s Massachusetts-based manufacturer, “Spot is designed to navigate terrain with remarkable mobility, allowing you to automate routine inspection tasks and data capture safely, accurately and frequently. The results? Safer, more efficient and more predictable operations.” Spot is just an example, albeit a high-profile one, of the advance of robotics into the construction industry—a world where you can now 3D-print entire homes. But Spot stands out—literally. “We call it ‘athletic intelligence,’” the company says, “since the robot walks, climbs stairs, avoids obstacles, traverses difficult terrain and autonomously follows preset routes without constant input from users. Applications such as stopping an autonomous mission ohba.ca

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when a person is nearby or responding to voice commands can be added.” Although Spot, the base model of which retails for $74,500 US, may provide its greatest ROI in potentially hazardous locations such as nuclear plants, Quebec general contractor Pomerleau has leased a pair of the robots to survey construction sites, documenting everything from how much drywall is up to the amount of concrete poured. The data enables contractors to better prepare for the next day’s work, meaning improved efficiency. “We predict a huge value by implementing this robot,” Yuri Bartzis, an innovation manager with Pomerleau, told CBC News. While most of its construction industry use has been commercial, London, England-based Foster + Partners, an award-winning architectural design and engineering firm, has used Spot to help them build an apartment building complex, among other projects. “The highest business value that the Foster + Partners team uncovered during testing is Spot’s ability to generate consistent, repeated scans of the same site over time,” A Boston Dynamics case study of the partnership notes.

Canvas’ robot can provide better than a level-5 finish, at 2.5 times the regular drywalling speed.

“The technical achievement of Spot is incredible,” says Martha Tsigkari, a partner in Foster + Partners’ Applied Research + Development (ARD) group. “It’s not a matter of buzz. You need to be able to see the potential beyond that—the possibilities that these technologies will create for the future of construction.” Ah, but that buzz! “Whenever we were on the building site, the builders would all have their camera phones out,” relates ARD’s Adam Davis. Spot’s uses are increasing as additional partners come aboard. “Spot is a modular platform that users can customize by adding various payloads,” the company notes. “Developers can create custom methods of controlling Spot, program autonomous missions, design payloads to expand the robot’s capabilities and integrate sensor information into data analysis tools.” Although decidedly less sexy, a new U.S. company bringing robotics into the built environment is Canvas, whose approach combines with the skills and expertise of trained union workers. Its units can spray drywall compound while providing a dustfree sanding system and better than a level-5 finish—all while reducing typical finishing times by up to 2.5 times. San Francisco-based Built Robotics, meanwhile, has helped automate somewhat larger construction equipment. “We upgrade off-the-shelf heavy equipONTARIO HOME BUILDER LATE SPRING 2021

23


ment with AI guidance systems, enabling them to operate fully autonomously,” observes Built Robotics’ Director of Communications, Erol Ahmed. “Our robots are deployed today across the earthmoving industry, and they’re being used to build critical infrastructure such as wind farms, gas pipelines and new housing developments.” With work such as trenching, grading pads and earth-moving projects in the U.S. and Australia, the five-year-old company will take your equipment and modify it, Ahmed explains. “We made a strategic decision to make our technology available with any kind of OEM (original equipment manufacturer). We put our autonomous tech on your machine, install our AI guidance system kit—a large black box mounted on the back of an excavator over the counterweight, for example, which hooks into the hydraulics and the computer system of the machine and allows it to work autonomously. But at any time you can jump back into the cab and run it manually.” Users pay a fee for the software licence and for per-hour usage. “The technology is pretty easy to use,” Ahmed says. “You select a starting point, end point and a few metrics around the bucket. What makes our technology different is that it’s fully autonomous—you don’t need to remote control it—you press go and the robot does the digging.” Multiple safety redundancies are built in, and the vehicle is restrained within a certain geofence area. Efficiency gains and cost reduction has been a clear benefit, suggests Eric McCosker, Project Manager with Independent Construction, which has worked on multiple subdivisions in California. “Built’s autonomous dozer is the real deal. We’ve had it finish-grade hundreds of pads so far,” McCosker says. “We see it being a force multiplier for our team, where our skilled operators take on the hardest tasks and the autonomous equipment does the more mundane work. We specifically noted the benefits on straightforward design projects where there are plenty of repetitive tasks. “It’s a tool that can make us more productive and safer in certain conditions,” McCosker adds. “We were able to negotiate some variances and use the robots at night, which is a great use of the technology.” 24

ONTARIO HOME BUILDER LATE SPRING 2021

POWER TO THE PEOPLE Amber has integrated its technology into the foundation of a home’s electrical infrastructure, the circuit breaker. The circuit breaker provides not only the power to your whole home, but also provides key lifesaving functions to reduce the chance of electrical fires. Amber is bringing solid-state technology into this archaic framework to provide energy metering, enhanced safety as well as advancing these lifesaving functions by adding alerts and emergency shutoff.

03

Plugged in Canada has the second-least-expensive electricity rates in the world for both residential and industrial customers, according to the Canadian Electricity Association (CEA). But there’s always room for improvement. Geothermal/geoexchange technologies, for example, are providing more efficient, renewable ways of powering new communities and condominiums. As electrical car chargers in driveways and apartment/condo parking lots become the norm, some of that innovation is focusing on saving energy for a rainy day. In fact, “the global market for energy storage technologies is projected to reach $21.5 billion by 2024, up from 2015’s $606 million,” the CEA reports. As well, there is the potential rise of virtual power plants (VPPs) in homes and condos— something Alectra Utilities (then known as PowerStream) provided a glimpse of back in 2016 with their Power.House development in Vaughan. That pilot program used an aggregate fleet of 20 residential solar and energy storage systems in customer homes that could be autonomously controlled through intelligent software to simulate a single, larger power-generating facility. The technology employs a combination of rooftop solar PV panels and a lithium-ion battery installed behind the meter at participating homes.

Residents benefit from generating their own clean, renewable energy and displace a portion of their energy from the Ontario grid, providing significant bill reduction. An even more innovative development is occurring within the walls of Amber Solutions near Silicon Valley, just east of San Francisco. The 2021 Innovation Award winner at the CES consumer electronic trade show, Amber is developing the digital control of electricity in modern solid-state architecture. The fuses, breakers, light switches and electrical outlets in your home are ancient technology, the company notes. Amber is making the use of electricity safer and far more efficient by replacing the clumsy hardware of AC/DC converters and AC switching with smaller, more reliable, solid-state boards for prototype purposes, with a short-term path to ‘siliconization’—a silicon SOC (system on a chip) that will make that power converter the size of a dime. “If Thomas Edison came back to life and saw how pervasive he and his peers’ breakthroughs were, he’d be very proud—until he saw an iPhone. And then he’d be horrified that his technology (has not been implemented in that capacity),” observes Amber’s CEO Thar Casey. “So that is what we’ve done—shifted from electro-mechanical—which is literally ohba.ca

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metal pieces being forced open and closed, with arcs as hot as the sun when they’re separated in a breaker—to the software-defined digital management of electricity; literally a mini computer in every electrical end-point in building electrical systems.” That digitalization entails multiple benefits for builders and consumers, from a vastly smaller profile to increased reliability and arc-free switching in every electrical input—all without the need for added installation time or training for electricians. Other benefits from its solid-state solution include a wide and dynamic input voltage range (with the industry’s highest efficiency), as well as short-circuit, over-voltage and thermal protection. “It’s not invasive, so you don’t have to cut drywall and add second or third gang boxes,” Casey says. “Now add wireless control to that. And we’re technologically agnostic, so the wireless protocols of other smart products in a home can be plugged into and leverage an Amber power grid.” The product allows for “a unique ‘whole building’ system for energy management and savings, with sensing and automation intelligence that solves major industry problems, saves money and increases consumer satisfaction,” Casey says. It’s also competitive with other ‘smart’ products , Casey contends. “Let’s say you have a $90 smart outlet—single function, wireless on-and-off with power metering. It’s all you can do to stuff that thing into that gang box. But for roughly the same price we will make it thinner, and put 10 sensors into it! You’ll have such functions as temperature and air quality control in every outlet in the house and more.” Amber also has a premium surge in the works that not only protects the device itself but stops a surge from travelling downstream within the building electrical grid, so that any appliance connected to an Amber-powered end-point will be fully surge-protected. While there is no official timetable, Amber has been busy lining up major international manufacturers and semiconductor companies that will be both developing and embedding their silicon chip technology in products, with sales expected to commence as early as the end of 2022. While it’s exciting news, it’s just one of the reasons why the future is getting harder to plan for, suggests Stephen Koch, the Director of Emerging Markets and Member Services at the Canadian Electricity Association (CEA). 26

ONTARIO HOME BUILDER LATE SPRING 2021

75mm

48mm

“There has been so much change in the electricity industry in the past decade. But the reality is that the next five to 10 years will seem twice as fast as that.”

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“Over the past four years, my role at CEA has been to look out 10 and 20 years and try to understand the challenges that will impact us,” Koch says. “There has been so much change in the electricity industry in the past decade. But the reality is that the next five to 10 years will seem twice as fast as that.” But what can be expected to impact the way multiple-family, single-family and commercial properties are built and operated? “I see three factors,” Koch says. “The first, which is already here, is electric vehicles. You’ll need charging stations not just for your own car, but for visitors—even for commercial properties, such as when people are shopping. “Number two is energy management and integration. The more we witness an increase in the electrification of our economy, the more we’ll have to manage it. At the end of the day, electricity companies and utilities will not be able to supply enough power if we go through these huge peaks and valleys in demand, because they have to provide enough electricity for the top of the peak. With our current generation capacity, it makes it very difficult to turn generation

on and off, so these management systems will play an increasing role on the residential front. And I’m not just talking about software, but storage and self-generation as well. By having storage, you can draw off the grid at nighttime at low peak times, hold on to it and utilize it during high peak times. “The third front I see is the one you can’t predict—the speed at which technology moves forward,” Koch explains. “Builders have been used to hooking up to the utility and then worrying about where it goes in the house. But maybe someone is working in their basement right now, creating a way to transport electricity without wires! “While batteries are what we’re going to see over the next five years, there are other technologies out there that may overtake batteries as a storage possibility—one being hydrogen, which can be produced by hydroelectric dams right now,” Koch notes. “By storing that and not having a high-voltage line running from one community to the next, you could actually just transport that particular fuel to wherever it needs to go to produce all the power you need.” OHB ohba.ca

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SPONGE CITY The advance of permeable surfaces BY M A R K D O U G L A S W E S S E L

I

n 2010, flood damage in urban areas, including homes, businesses and public infrastructure in Canada, registered at approximately $3 billion according to the World Resources Institute. And if nothing is done to address this problem, the think tank estimates that by 2030 those costs could balloon to over $8 billion. Ask a planner, an environmentalist or someone working in a municipal road, water or sewer department and they’ll point to hard, impermeable surfaces— particularly roads and driveways—as key contributors to urban flooding. To put things into perspective, Craig Reid, senior advisor for the Association of Municipalities Ontario, says that AMO members continue to be pro-development, with a particular interest in more affordable housing. “But they’re also trying to manage externalities. And a major piece of that is flooding and runoff.” Reid says that after years of steady urban growth, many municipalities

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must now contend with the fact that a heavy concentration of roads, roofs, driveways and hardscapes convey water runoff far faster than natural surfaces. Consequently, “in places like Burlington, Toronto and Peterborough, we’re seeing these really fast, intense storms that are overwhelming the local stormwater management and, in many instances, water is backing up into people’s homes.” Despite this new reality, instead of singling out residential homeowners or builders as simply being part of the problem, some city officials are now increasingly reaching out to these groups to be part of the solution, as is the case with the City of Kitchener. “We’re a groundwater-dependent community. So we’re trying to encourage developers and home builders to maintain the natural hydrological cycle to the maximum extent possible,” says Nick Gollan, manager of planning and programs for Kitchener’s sanitary and stormwater utilities. By “encourage,” Gollan refers to the fact that Kitchener is offering up to a

45% reduction in the stormwater portion of a monthly utility bill, tied to such homefront improvements as installing rain barrels, rain gardens or permeable paving—work that can be done on existing homes or in new residential projects. According to RAIN, a communitybased group that works with municipalities and homeowners to reduce runoff and manage rain where it falls, the success of the stormwater credit program has resulted in diverting more than 500,000 m3 of rainwater from Kitchener’s sewer system per year. Despite this success, Gollan estimates the city still incurs $15 million annually in costs associated with water runoff. “You can easily spend $3 million to $5 million (per location) to fix damage to water courses and nearby infrastructure,” he notes. Apart from incentives to reduce water runoff, as home builders are well aware, hard-surface restrictions are all too common for new residential communities, especially in areas that are designated as environmentally sensitive. ONTARIO HOME BUILDER LATE SPRING 2021

29


A contrast of dark and light stones were used to enhance the design of this PurePave walkway and driving surface in Toronto’s High Park.

Leor Pomeranc, whose Ontario numbered company specializes in building upscale rental apartments, says the Town of Perth mandated the use of permeable paving solutions for a project he completed in 2019. “Otherwise we would have exceeded our impermeable lot coverage ratio and would have had to drop the number of homes from 27 to 25.” In order to prevent that from happening, which would have significantly cut into his profit margin, Pomeranc turned to two permeable paving solution providers. The first was Ottawabased PurePave Technologies, which has developed a highly porous surface— capable of absorbing 14,000 litres per cubic metre per hour—that’s comprised of natural aggregate with a polymer bonding agent and permeable base system. The second company was Torontobased LID Paving, distributor of the Ecoraster permeable paving system that deploys gravel or grass in plastic grids. 30

ONTARIO HOME BUILDER LATE SPRING 2021

For the Perth site, Ecoraster was used for some of the residential driving lanes, while PurePave was installed on the walkway and vehicle parking pads. In hindsight, says Pomeranc, “It was a no-brainer for the project,” not only from a profitability standpoint, but also in terms of how the company is now perceived. As a luxury rental home builder, Pomeranc indicates that his company “invests hundreds of thousands of dollars into landscaping for each project, and PurePave surfacing adds to that image” thanks to the product’s stone aggregate finish. “It’s also nice to be able to say that we’ve done a low-impact development (where stormwater runoff is managed as part of green infrastructure).” One of the pioneers of aggregate, resin-bound surfaces is Addagrip, a UK company that launched its product back in the 1980s. Notwithstanding its environmental benefits in terms of

porosity and water control, managing director Roger Critchley readily admits that Addagrip’s primary motivator in the early days was “coming up with an attractive surface for parks and schools that was a faster product to put down.” Critchley says their surface also addresses planner concerns over “not wanting to have too much black surface on the ground,” both in respect to aesthetics and concerns over high concentrations of hot surfaces during the summertime that contribute to the heat sink phenomenon. It is also ideal for nursing homes—and, for that matter, all residential settings, he notes—because of the product’s slip-resistant surface and the fact that their driveways, walkways and patios “help to get the rain into the ground as quickly as possible.” Everyone from builders to landscape architects in the UK have fast-tracked employing Addagrip’s product on the residential front. Initially it was mostly ohba.ca

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for high-end homes, but increasingly the surface is being used for mid-range residences as well. “Quite often they want to use our product because the driveway is the first thing you see,” and that can be a significant selling point, Critchley notes. The company has become so mainstream that “every major town in the UK has an installer,” says Critchley, who notes that economies of scale and speed of adoption has helped lower the cost of the product over the years.

H A R SH R E A L I T I E S The initial cost, however, remains the obvious drawback for builders and

developers: Whereas the average cost to pave a 400 sq. ft. new home driveway with asphalt is around $1,800, it’s closer to $10,500 for PurePave (although there are volume discounts beyond 1,000 square feet, the company notes.) But there are other factors to consider. From a property-owner maintenance standpoint, PurePave surfaces resist ice build-up, and snow melts 50% faster. Further, concrete and asphalt require touch-ups every few years and are more prone to buckling due to freeze/thaws cycles. Asphalt also has a particularly short lifespan. Interlocking brick, meanwhile, takes longer to

THE HARD FACTS Whether it’s to meet increasingly strict municipal runoff regulations or simply build homes that are more environmentally friendly, there are some key numbers to keep in mind when considering installing a permeable surface, be it a driveway, walkway, patio or even a home surround. Arguably the most important criterion is the actual permeability of the surface— how much water can be absorbed within a specified period of time. And then, based on a combination of absorption rate and the volume and type of precipitation coming down, how much moisture will end up running off? While impermeable surfaces such as asphalt and conventional concrete have a

zero absorption rate, open-cell concrete pavers can handle anywhere from over 700 to well over 3,000 litres of moisture per square foot per hour, while surfaces such as Ecoraster and PurePave can soak up more than 4,400 litres. Other factors include: strength from a pounds-per-square-inch measure (which, in turn, dictates how well the surface can handle heavier weights); flexural (bend) strength; and how the surface stands up to Canada’s unforgiving freeze/thaw cycle, which causes surfaces to contract and expand with the season. These last two measurement are inextricably linked because, especially for

install and can also be prone to heaving over the years if not installed properly. Permeable surfaces require some maintenance as well—ideally an annual pressure wash at the bottom end of a driveway where cars enter, as some clogging of the openings can occur, although not enough to affect the ability of the overall surface to absorb/retain water. While Addagrip has excelled in the UK and has caught on to some extent in the southern U.S., it never made it to Canada—in part because the product couldn’t withstand the harsh freeze and thaws that are all too common here.

hard surfaces like asphalt and concrete, the annual freeze/thaw cycle can reduce the overall strength of the surface. Which leads to another key consideration: How long will it be before some form of maintenance, repair or remediation is required? For instance, permeable pavers will shift over time due to the freeze thaw/ cycle, and porous surfaces can get clogged with sediment or debris, requiring such maintenance as power washing. From an environmental standpoint, municipalities must also consider the product’s carbon footprint (how much energy is required to create the surface) and heat absorption (how much the surface either contributes to or helps mitigate a community’s heat sink effect). Here’s a quick rundown of how those numbers add up:

MATERIAL

% OF SURFACE POROUS

ABSORPTION RATE L/SQ.FT./HR

WEIGHT BEARING STRENGTH LBS/SQ. INCH

FLEXURAL STRENGTH BEFORE FREEZE/THAW MPA**

FLEXURAL STRENGTH AFTER FREEZE/THAW MPA**

PERIOD BEFORE MAINTENANCE (IN YEARS)

CARBON FOOTPRINT

PROJECTED LIFESPAN IN YEARS

PRICE PER SQ. FT.

Asphalt

2-3%

0

3,000-5,000

2.18

1.18

5-7

141 kg / m3

25-30

$3-12

Concrete

4.10%

0

2,500-5,000

4.49-4.59

2.43-3.20

1-2

1,860 kg / m3

30-50

$10-22

Ecoraster Gravel Grid

28%

4,456

1,137

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

$8-12

Open Cell Concrete Pavers

15-30%

743-3,767

8,000

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

25-50

$14-35

Permeable Pavers

<10%

560-1,060

6,000

3-5

N/A

2-5

N/A

25-50

$14-30

Porous Concrete

16-25%

446-3,903

4,000

1-3.8

0.72-2.76

4-10

215-394 kg /m3

20

$14-26

PurePave Rustic / Pro

22-29%

3,900-4,456

11,000

6.13

6.13

6-18

58 kg /m3

40+

$13-32

*Sources for this content include: Yorkton Concrete, The Build Blog and Credit Valley Conservation Authority **MPa or Megapascals is the metric measurement most commonly used for flexural strength. 1 MPa = 145 lbs./sq. inch

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ONTARIO HOME BUILDER LATE SPRING 2021

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The Bridle in Caledon (left) is among Flato Developments’ Palgrave Estates homes that will feature permeable paving. Above, Ecoraster surfaces composed of loose stones in a grid system can be used for residential and office parking lots.

Inspired by Addagrip’s success but also cognizant of Canada’s weather obstacles is what ultimately compelled PurePave Technologies CEO Taylor Davis to work with some of Canada’s top construction materials chemists to develop a polymer/aggregate surface that is not only highly porous but was made specifically to withstand our climate. To verify these capabilities, the University of Ottawa recently conducted rigorous freeze-thaw tests in which several PurePave samples were filled with water and placed in a freezer at -40°C for an hour, before transferring them into an isolated room with a temperature of 30°C for an hour. The finding determined that the surfaces retained a flexural strength of 6.1 MPa (62.2 kg/cm²)—six times that of asphalt at room temperature. It was the first time the university had tested a surface in this manner, where no degradation in flexural strength was identified. Reassured by those performance numbers, Markham-based builder Flato Developments Inc. eyed the product for its Palgrave Estates community in Caledon. Not unlike Pomeranc’s Perth project, Flato must adhere to municipal water runoff restrictions. “We’re now in our fifth year of getting the site developed, and the agreements 34

ONTARIO HOME BUILDER LATE SPRING 2021

with the town are that the driveways have to be finished with permeable pavers,” observes senior project manager Dan Lacroix. “It’s in Caledon’s urban guidelines for estate developments to have this (type of surface).” As of February, Lacroix indicated they’re currently in discussions with Caledon to determine whether they’ll be required to make all of the driveways permeable, just a portion of the driveways or, possibly in lieu of permeable driveways, a permeable surface in front of the garages. Lacroix says that Flato will cover the cost of any permeable paving adjacent to the homes, while the cost of any driveway permeable paving will be borne by the homeowner. Caledon’s director of engineering Andrew Pearce helps provide a snapshot of how he and his peers perceive the growing challenges of water runoff. “The town will use green infrastructure while managing rainfall at the individual lot/house level, along its path of flow and before it enters a body of water. This includes: the use of permeable pavers (as has been done in the Flato development); bio-retention cells (landscaped depressions that capture stormwater); soakaway pits (larger holes filled with coarse stones used to capture water from drainage

pipes); and perforated pipe systems to manage stormwater, which collectively will help meet multiple stormwater objectives,” Pearce explains. It’s all part of “necessary actions to building a sustainable Caledon.” Against that backdrop, Lacroix says PurePave’s porosity and durability was one draw. Another was the appearance of the surface, as well as its non-slippery nature—even when wet. As far as upgrades go, “homeowners are still thinking about kitchens and bathrooms,” accepts Lacroix, although he’s confident permeable paving products could catch on. Mindsets are constantly evolving, he notes. When he was first starting out 30 years ago, one builder Lacroix worked for decided to install nine-foot ceilings. “Everyone thought he was crazy for doing that. And sure enough, now we’re doing 10-foot ceilings everywhere. So there’s always room for creative outcomes.”

R E S I DUA L COST S AV I NGS In the case of the Flato development, PurePave’s Davis says there’s an opportunity to “transform the whole neighbourhood into a net-zero runoff site while increasing curb appeal. The only runoff going down the street would be ohba.ca

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“A MORE POROUS SITE COULD BE ELIGIBLE FOR A HIGHERDENSITY, POTENTIALLY MORE PROFITABLE DEVELOPMENT.”

your zoning doesn’t allow for any more solid surfacing. So in that instance it’s used more as a driveway extension.” From a community-wide perspective, Gasner says their product is commonly employed for access roads in and around stormwater ponds. “Realistically, all of these ponds have access roads for (service vehicles) and Ecoraster can be used as a grassfilled permeable surface that blends in with the surroundings but can still support heavy vehicles when the road needs to be used.” Similarly, PurePave contends its product can handle a 40,000 lb. loader driving overtop.

TH E I NCE N T I V E TO CH A NGE

Permeable surfaces are also finding a home in backyard spaces.

just from the street surface and not the homeowner properties”—the net effect being greater protection for the local watershed. While some builders may be dissuaded by the product costs associated with achieving such a benefit, there are also residual savings builders can realize by incorporating permeable paving into their development on a larger scale. So says Craig Applegath, a founding partner of the Toronto studio of Dialog, a multidisciplinary architecture, engineering, planning and urban design firm. “Where there’s an opportunity to reduce development costs is parking areas, especially multi-unit residential projects, where having a stormwater retention pond on site is expensive,” Applegath says. “So if you can use permeable paving (for the parking surfaces), it will allow you to use more site area.” 36

ONTARIO HOME BUILDER LATE SPRING 2021

Getting even more adventurous, Applegath notes, “If you did permeable paving on both the driveways and the roads, then the whole stormwater situation basically is handled in the area in which (the storm) is occurring.” In doing so, the higher cost of permeable paving could easily be offset by the fact that a more porous site could also be eligible for a higher-density, potentially more profitable development. “If we want density, we can’t have these giant sites with huge retention ponds,” Applegath says. “So you have to figure out how to plan your site so that all of it is absorbing water.” In keeping with that mindset, Ellise Gasner, CEO of LID Paving, says the Ecoraster product is often used in a residential setting “if you want to increase the size of your driveway, and

From a cost perspective, some cities are looking to incentivize and accelerate the transition to more permeable surfaces. The City of Ottawa has announced a rebate of up to $5,000 for homeowners to install a permeable driveway versus a hard-surface one. And building on their current 45% stormwater fee discount incentive, the City of Kitchener is investigating a similar program as part of market incentives geared for “service providers,” including builders, landscape architects and driveway paving companies. Under newly proposed guidelines, the City of Kitchener would put into place an incentive whereby a provider would supply two quotes: one for a paved driveway and one for a permeable paved driveway,” Gollan explains. “So what we want to do here is create a level playing field. And given that the cost to install a permeable paver driveway is higher than simply paving it in asphalt, the City might pay for some or all of that difference in order to realize the environmental benefit that comes with reduced runoff.” In many respects, Kitchener, not unlike other cities across the country, is dealing with a mindset that dates back to the 1800s, when “the primary focus was to get nuisance water away” from where homes were built, Gollan says. “We’ve inherited the impact of that decision-making, and what we’re trying to do now is reverse it. But we still have a long way to go.” OHB ohba.ca

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GRAND PARENTS

KIDS

PARENTS

SHARED EXPERIENCE The comeback of multi-generational homes BY T R AC Y H A N E S

A

blast from the past—the multi-generational home—is making a strong comeback in Ontario. Pre-World War II, this form of housing was common, but it was eclipsed by demand for single-family homes due to the popularity of the automobile, increasing household wealth, affordable airfare and a cultural shift to children leaving home at a young age. Now the multi-gen home is a growing trend, driven by people’s concern about how to accommodate aging parents (especially since COVID-19’s deadly toll in nursing and retirement homes) or

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a desire to help financially challenged young adult kids struggling with housing affordability. About 20% of Canadians were living in multi-generational housing prior to COVID-19, according to a Pew Research Centre study. The last federal census revealed a 38% increase from 2001 to 2016, with the highest proportion (17%) in Toronto. While children used to leave home at 18 for postsecondary education and often didn’t come back, lack of housing affordability or student debt has forced many young adults to return to their ONTARIO HOME BUILDER LATE SPRING 2021

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Jeffery Homes’ Waterford model in its Orchard East community of Bowmanville is a two-unit residence featuring separate entrances and a double-car garage, with a bay for each unit.

parents’ homes. And with the population of senior citizens over 65 being the highest it’s ever been in Canada, many are looking at ways that they can remain independent, yet have support and companionship. “There is no question that age-in-place with family is becoming more popular in our society,” says Stephen Hunt, principal of Hunt Design Associates Inc. in Markham. “Particularly in view of the COVID era, people feel it’s safer to provide care at home and protect the nest.” While home additions or refinishing basements to create apartments for family members has been common in the renovation market, new-home builders are realizing the opportunity and some have begun to introduce multigenerational designs as part of their product mix. Marshall Homes has embraced the concept at two of its Pickering sites, as well as Jeffery Homes at its Bowmanville site. Three years ago, Marshall introduced the Flexhouz, incorporating a small bungalow within a larger two-storey house on a 50-foot lot. The homes cost approximately $1.6 million and three buyers at an 18-lot upscale site opted to purchase the design. “The first customer to get the Flexhouz is very happy,” says Craig Marshall, president of Marshall Homes. “He has his in-laws living there and he has told me it is exactly what they wanted.” In fall 2020, Marshall launched its Next site in Pickering, offering the Flexhouz on smaller, 37-foot lots. The 42-lot Next community, where about one-third of the homes are Flexhouz designs, quickly sold out. The affordability issue prompted Jeffery Homes to introduce some multi-generational homes at its Orchard East site in 40

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Bowmanville, part of the municipality of Clarington on the GTA’s eastern edge. “We thought if we could take a bungalow that had a bigger footprint and have a separate dwelling in the basement, it could be a mortgage helper or accommodate adult kids who have come back home,” says Scott Jeffery, co-owner of Jeffery Homes. “Some kids go to university and graduate with huge debt, or have gone through a divorce and have a child or two and need to stay with their parents until they can re-establish themselves.” However, adult children don’t necessarily want to share space with Mom and Dad, says Jeffery, so his company developed the Waterford, a 2,929- to 3,540-square-foot bungalow (including both units) on a 40-foot lot. Each unit has two bedrooms and two bathrooms. The lower level contains 1,435 square feet, with 9-foot ceilings, a full kitchen and soundproofing, as well as its own heating and cooling system. The double-car garage has a dividing wall in the middle, with stairs to the basement from one of the bays. The Waterford sold for about $850,000 including the finished basement unit; a similar model with an unfinished basement was priced at $699,000. The seven two-unit homes available in Orchard East sold out. “The bungalow is raised, so you do end up with a few steps to the main level,” notes Jeffery. “In the basement, we wanted bigger windows, so we did 9-foot ceilings and heated floors. It’s very comfortable and doesn’t feel like a traditional basement. People can use the separate staircase in the garage or a side entrance door to access it.” Hunt says traditionally, multi-generational homes have been bungalows, but that’s not always possible in the current market ohba.ca

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SEPARATE & SHARED SPACES

The secondary suite kitchen at Jeffrey Homes’ Waterford (left), and the living area and residents’ lounge of Node’s co-living project in Kitchener (below).

as they require larger, most expensive lots. But designing homes with private elevators opens up multiple possibilities, such as in two-storey homes and three-storey townhomes. The cost of the elevator is negligible compare to the price for a larger lot, Hunt says. Where accessibility isn’t an issue, Hunt’s firm has designed detached and townhouse plans where the basement and ground floor comprise one residence and the second floor another. For Max LeMarchant, owner of New Amherst Homes, the question was not if but when he’d be including multigenerational housing in New Amherst, a New Urbanism development in Cobourg. The community master plan, created in the early ’90s by New Urbanism gurus Andres Duany and Elizabeth Plater-Zyberk, included the provision for secondary suites—a forward-thinking idea in Ontario at the time. It took until 2011 for the Planning Act to be amended to require municipalities to authorize Accessory ohba.ca

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Dwelling Units (ADUs) or secondary suites in their official plans and bylaws (as of January 1, 2012). But it took several more years for those changes to work their way into the province’s housing industry. While he had previously built a few custom basement suites to accommodate buyers’ family members, two years ago, LeMarchant started building laneway ADUs as part of the housing mix. The end units of New Amherst’s Garden Flats (small at-grade townhomes geared to empty-nesters) include a detached double-car garage with a 660 sq. ft. coach house apartment above. Three of the four Garden Flats with the one-bedroom accessory units have sold, with buyers using the coach houses as rental properties or to house family members. LeMarchant plans to build two more coach house units this year on the end units of a block of newly-released three-bedroom bungalow loft townhomes. He also saw opportunity in some sloping lots in New ONTARIO HOME BUILDER LATE SPRING 2021

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Amherst’s current Phase 6 to create multi-generational houses with selfcontained one-bedroom, one-bath walkout suites with separate entries and HVAC systems. The Calcutt Cottage includes a 1,483 sq. ft., three-bedroom, two-bathroom bungalow with 721 sq. ft. one-bedroom lower suite on a 49-foot lot, starting at $812,900. The Port Granby Estate with walkout suite on 49-foot lot starts at $834,900 and includes an 1,886 two-storey, threebedroom, three-bathroom residence on two floors with a 570 sq. ft. suite in the walk-out basement. A third option is the Cusato, a two-storey plan with three bedrooms on the second floor and an adaptable suite on the main floor that could be used for an adult child or senior parent. However, it lacks its own kitchen, separate entrance or heating system. “There’s a big threshold to get into the housing market, and families are leveraging their resources to make it possible,” says LeMarchant. “Multigenerational homes such as these give residents autonomy but still allows everyone to be part of the family.” He says these housing units help to diversify neighbourhoods too, making them more sustainable and are a good way to integrate more people into the community’s social strata. Until recently, the housing industry’s response to multi-generational housing has been poor, according to Leith Moore, former adjunct professor at the University of Waterloo’s school of Urban and Regional Planning and principal and founder of R-Hauz Solutions, a Toronto company that manufactures factory-built laneway and mid-rise avenue housing. In Toronto, he’s seen a real upsurge of interest in life-cycle housing. “You have the ability to use your own land, buy a laneway house from us, and in four months it’s done and you can put your family in it or rent it,” says Moore. “You can have something on the ground floor, such as an office, visitor suite or guestroom. Or if you’re using the ground floor as a garage, it can easily be adapted to family living.” Moore says these units are the least expensive form of housing and provide gentle density, with a repeatable design. And with COVID causing people to 42

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on an unrelated topic... While not designed to accommodate multiple generations, co-living is another trend in Ontario for seniors who want a different option or for young professionals seeking affordable housing. Several small co-housing projects geared to senior citizens have been created in Ontario, where unrelated residents become co-owners in a home, sharing common areas such as a kitchen, family room and dining room, but with private bedrooms and bathrooms. A 2016 pioneering project, dubbed the ‘Golden Girls’ house in Port Perry in Scugog Township, saw four single women in their 60s and 70s work with local renovator John Lucyk to renovate and expand a large heritage house to meet their co-living needs. It paved the way for Ontario’s Golden Girls Act. Driven by MPP Lindsey Park, the legislation amended the province’s Planning Act to prevent municipalities from using local bylaws to prohibit seniors from co-habitating. Scugog Township councillors, concerned about boarding houses and illegal nursing homes, tried to create a bylaw to prevent the Golden Girls house from proceeding, but allowed it after the Human Rights Commission stepped in. Two new co-living projects, quite different from that model, have launched in Ontario—both contained in multi-unit residential buildings and appealing to young professionals. Kitchener will be the first Canadian site for a Node co-living building. Node has communities across the globe, with CEO and founder Anil Khera splitting his time between Toronto and London. DesignAgency in Toronto designed the building to cater to young urbanites with small, efficient, move-in-ready apartments and shared communal spaces. The building offers fully furnished suites with wifi and utilities included in the rent, and even offers a roommate-matching service. Node Kitchener will house approximately 50 residents in 38 private apartments, with a communal lounge, co-working spaces and an outdoor patio with views of the city. Price per person starts at $1,000/month for a shared twobedroom unit and $1,600+ for a one-bedroom unit including modern furnishings and interior design. Leases will be 12 months, with flexibility for tenants who have to relocate. “I went to the University of Waterloo and

knew Kitchener-Waterloo was rising as Canada’s innovation incubator and thought it was a good place to incubate new product with the demographic to do it,” says Khera. “I wanted to show this concept isn’t just about big cities and expensive areas.” Khera wants to bring Node projects to cities such as Toronto and Hamilton, and says the concept could be easily adapted to suit senior citizens or young families. Another co-living building is coming to Ottawa and will be part of the 34-acre Zibi masterplanned development that aims to be one of North America’s most sustainable communities. It will dedicate 7.7 acres to four parks and five public plazas and will utilize the region’s first zerocarbon district cooling and heating system. Zibi is expected to be home for 5,000 residents and provide employment for 6,000. Dream Unlimited Corp. partnered with New York-based Common (which has co-living projects throughout the U.S.) to create Zibi Common, where 45 of 204 residential units in a mixed-use tower will be co-living suites. Typical residences will be traditional one- and two-bedroom units, while the co-living spaces will have three- to five-bedroom suites that will be rented individually. The co-living units will include lounges, kitchens and in-suite laundry facilities, as well as amenities, to be shared with the residents of the traditional units, curated to foster a sense of community. The amenities include indoor and outdoor facilities, among them a third-floor roof deck overlooking the main public plaza, co-working spaces, yoga rooms, a gym and outdoor spaces for cooking and lounging. “From our perspective, this presents the perfect opportunity to bring housing to urban professionals looking to live more affordably, as well as to lighten their environmental footprint,” says Jason Robitaille, V.P. of Development at Dream. “Common has a lot of experience in property management for co-living and their approach to property management and technology is what enticed us.” Rents will start at around $1,225 per month for a bedroom in a co-living suite—about one-third less than a market-rate one-bedroom in the area. Rent includes all utilities, wifi and fully furnished units. Ground-breaking was slated for this spring. ohba.ca

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Marshall Homes’ Flexhouz models include a spacious, family-sized residence with a separate but connected in-law suite for parents, in-laws or extended family.

MAIN LEVEL

UPPER LEVEL

realize the advantages of having family close by, laneway homes provide a lower-density, affordable ground-level solution in the city, as opposed to moving to the suburbs. R-Hauz’s laneway houses range from 800 to 1,200-squarefeet, priced at $330 to $350 per square foot, about half the price of a Toronto condo. Moore says R-Hauz’s six-storey masstimber townhouses, designed for avenues, offer flexibility in the number of units (up to six) and mix of uses, and can also be a multi-generational solution: “With the six-storey, you could have all family, no family, some family.” LeMarchant is also offering his laneway units as a solution for homeowners who already own an existing home or property that can accommodate an ADU. Currently, the coach houses are stick-built, but he’s exploring modular solutions. Custom home builders are also seeing more interest in 4 4

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GROUND LEVEL

generational housing. “We’ve been getting more inquiries the last few years,” says Jonathan Jacobs of Walden Homes. “It’s definitely something people are talking about. I can’t say there’s been a large influx, though people are cognizant of the value in doing this.” Although Walden hasn’t experienced a lot of demand yet for these types of homes, it will be starting a multi-generation project this spring in an upscale neighbourhood in Brampton, adding a large addition to a small heritage home on a street occupied mainly by ‘monster homes.’ “It will be a modern addition that’s essentially a second home attached to this home,” Jacobs explains. “It’s done so that sometime down the road, the husband and wife that own the house can potentially have both sets of parents come live with them. It will really maximize liveability on this amazing property.” ohba.ca

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1 BEDROOM/ 1 BATH newamhersthomes.com 798 New Amherst Boulevard721 SQ. FT. Cobourg, Ontario CONTACT US K9A 0G5

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MAIN FLOOR 1483 SQ. FT.

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New Amherst’s Calcutt Cottage in Cobourg features a three-bedroom, two-bath main unit and a one-bedroom walkout suite.

DESIGN CONSIDERATIONS Designing multi-generational homes comes with some challenges and different considerations than a single-family home would normally entail, including separate heating and cooling systems and fire protection between units. “Because these suites require a one-hour fire rating, they are more difficult and costly to build than a normal home,” says Marshall. “We included a zoned heating system, which I would highly recommend. We also had a few hiccups along the way with the first Flexhouz, with trades having to get familiar with the concept. Despite never having done one of these before, our construction team led by John Giancola executed it flawlessly. The next ones will be easier.” Hunt says if the unit is to accommodate aging parents or people with special needs, it’s important to consider residents’ ability to access their home, as stairs could pose a problem. Bathrooms and kitchens should be designed to accommodate wheelchairs and walkers. Parking can be a further concern, as homes with secondary 46

ONTARIO HOME BUILDER LATE SPRING 2021

suites may have more vehicles than a single-family home. Jeffery tried to build its two-unit home on quiet streets without sidewalks; all have double-car garages and double driveways to avoid having cars on the street. LeMarchant says New Amherst’s proximity to grocery stores, pharmacies, restaurants, coffee shops, etc., allows residents to function with less reliance on vehicles, meaning that many households could likely get by with one car, thus requiring less parking. Marshall, Jeffery and LeMarchant say getting approvals for the units from their local municipalities was a fairly simple process, and their local governments were receptive. While Jeffery’s and New Amherst’s ADUs can be used as rental units or multi-generational suites, the zoning for Marshall’s Pickering Flexhouz homes only allows family members to live in the secondary suites. “The municipality of Clarington was great and was all for it,” says Jeffery. “They could see the vision and they want to have this type of product. The town planner was very helpful. She gets it and sees a need for these.” OHB ohba.ca

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OHBA’S ANNUAL CONFERENCE WILL BE HELD

OCTOBER 5, 2021

SAVE THE DATE Stay Tuned for Updates Regarding Virtual Attendance.


Building Buzz NEWS AND MOVES FROM THE INDUSTRY

Minto’s North York Condos marks the builder’s foray into geoexchange energy.

BURIED TREASURE

Minto, Camrost Felcorp buzzing over innovative new projects You don’t exactly have to look under the surface to notice how stoked Minto and Camrost Felcorp are about their latest projects—although under the surface is precisely the source of that enthusiasm. While both have sourced underground energy to help power the way, theirs are two very different systems, at very different depths. Renowned for its energy-efficient designs, Minto Communities’ North Oak Condos at its master-planned Oakvillage community in Oakville marks the builder’s first geoexchange energy system. Geoexchange systems have long been used in Nordic countries as ohba.ca

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alternative energy sources, though in Canada they have primarily been used to improve performance of single-family homes. While geothermal relies on energy generated and stored deep within the earth—often generated from volcanic activity near tectonic plate boundaries—geoexchange relies on energy stored within the earth at a much shallower depth—primarily generated from solar radiation. Geoexchange technology leverages stable underground temperatures to provide heating or cooling year-round, substantially reducing the amount of fossil fuels required. It involves installing a closed-loop

system of underground pipes (somewhere between 500 and 800 feet, in Minto’s case). In the winter, cold water circulated through the geoexchange field draws heat from the earth. High-efficiency mechanical systems then leverage this consistent heat in order to warm the buildings above. Conversely, in summer, heat is extracted from the building and circulated through the pipes, allowing the cooler temperatures returning from the geoexchange field to be used to provide air conditioning. This minimizes the use of cooling towers that consume large amounts of energy and water. While it reduces carbon emissions ONTARIO HOME BUILDER LATE SPRING 2021

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by up to an eye-popping 70% and will contribute to energy efficiency of at least 15% better than the Ontario Building Code, this renewable and reliable ground-source energy also protects residents from rising utility costs. Minto had been looking at geoexchange for eight years, but needed to find the right combination of factors to employ the technology, explains Roya Khaleeli, Director of Sustainability and Innovation at Minto Communities GTA. “A number of people need to be involved—architects, the construction team, the financing team—and one of the barriers is not starting early enough with the whole group,” Khaleeli notes. “What helped make this particular project work is the financial model. The geoexchange company owns, manages and maintains the system, and that’s included in the condo fees, which will be no higher than a typical condo building. “Because you’re leveraging heating and cooling in the ground, if it’s not balanced, your system will eventually stop functioning properly,” Khaleeli adds. “So the fact that they’re managing the geoexchange system is critical. All of its operation and maintenance (over the course of the 25- to 30-year contract) that’s within the scope of the provider is not the responsibility of the condo corporation, protecting residents from related unexpected costs.” The North Oak system is designed so that future towers of the Oakvillage community, located on the north side of Dundas St. East at Trafalgar Rd., can also be connected. Groundbreaking on North Oak’s first tower is expected in January 2022. The technology will help ensure improved resident comfort, notes Carl Pawlowski, Project Manager, Sustainability. “Because the system provides year-round heating and cooling, there is no ‘switchover’ between seasons,” meaning residents have ondemand control of their environment, even if they want to turn the air conditioner on in the wintertime or turn up the heater in the summer. Further, without the usual need ohba.ca

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of a large mechanical room, there’s the practical advantage of increasing saleable area—particularly given that the system allows future towers to be incorporated into the existing geoexchange system. “So there are economies of scale, since you could keep adding on,” Pawlowski says.

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DIGGING DEEPER Less than 15 minutes east, at the new Exchange District mixed-use community in downtown Mississauga, Camrost Felcorp is going much deeper to find its energy source. The Toronto-based builder/developer has drilled 186 geothermal boreholes, ranging in depth from 59,400 feet to 118,800 feet, to provide an alternative energy source to two of the four towers in the development. The project will bring off-grid energy to the rental tenants in the development’s purpose-built rental tower, as well as guests of the planned boutique hotel structure and the 650 suites of the 66-storey EX3 condominium tower.

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In partnership with Diverso Energy, a geothermal energy service provider, the buildings will benefit from this low-carbon heating and cooling solution which, unlike conventional systems, will not require heating boilers or rooftop cooling towers. Additionally, geothermal eliminates the need for natural gas for heating. The inclusion of EX3 in this power ohba.ca

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system makes it the tallest residential development in the province to feature a geothermal-based approach to sustainable energy service. Camrost has also partnered with Mitsubishi Electric to utilize the company’s state-of-the-art Variable Refrigerant Flow (VRF) system. The system revolutionizes the typical approach to HVAC in multi-residential towers, providing a solution typically seen in Class-A commercial settings, with features such as simultaneous heating and cooling as well as heat-recovery capabilities. While the heat recovery system has a greater initial cost, it allows for better zoned thermal control of a building and overall greater efficiencies, ultimately saving residents operating costs in a sustainable manner.

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GEORGE BROWN, HILTI PARTNER TO SUPPORT WOMEN George Brown College has partnered with Hilti Canada to help women build rewarding careers in the skilled trades. Through a $40,000 financial contribution, Hilti is helping to expand George Brown College’s Women Transitioning to Trades and Employment (WTTE) program by providing access to industry expertise and hands-on learning. The WTTE program was established with funding from the provincial government through the Office of Women’s Issues, with a mandate of increasing the economic security of low-income women by providing opportunities for women in the skilled trades. Statistics show that women make up about 48% of the Canadian labour force yet hold less than 4% of jobs in the skilled trades. In Ontario, women make up roughly only 7% of employment in trades, transport and related occupations. The new partnership aims to reduce barriers to participation and success in the trades by offering

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women and other underrepresented groups access to scholarships career planning, networking, mentoring/ coaching, job shadowing, as well as employment opportunities. To ensure students have access to industry-leading products and start their careers well equipped, Hilti is also donating approximately $100,000 worth of training tools. Graduates of the program will also receive a new tool kit to help lessen the financial burden of having to purchase news tools.

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Dekton by Cosentino’s new Craftizen Collection earned Best of Show honours in the 2021 Best of KBIS Awards in March. Cosentino recently unveiled the collection during the 2021 Virtual Kitchen and Bath Industry Show. Inspired by Venetian stucco and rooted in minimalism and versatility, the Dekton Crafitzen Collection is the first large-format stucco material of its kind designed specifically for flooring and cladding. The collection boasts industry-leading durability in five diverse hues with a rich, deep texture. It will officially launch in the Canadian market later this year. OHB Y

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Product Focus I DE A S FOR B U I L DE R S & R E N OVAT OR S

Wyecroft suggests grooved baseboards and casings as simple yet elegant replacements for traditional trim offerings.

SOMETHING OLD, SOMETHING NEW There’s a place for both classic and modern design, as interiors seek to soothe BY T E D M c I N T Y R E AMONG THE many lessons the

pandemic has taught consumers is to appreciate their homes. That includes the details of their interior finishes, from the floors they walk upon to the technology that lights the way. While home builders are responding in some regards, they’re not in others—particularly when it comes to the old standby of trim, suggests Wyecroft Trim & Doors Group marketing specialist Tara Macedo. “For the past couple decades, builders have been using the same Colonial-style mouldings and doors (in production homes),” Macedo observes. “This worked because builder houses have largely been traditional in design. Over ohba.ca

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the past few years, however, we’ve seen a big shift in the market. Many consumers are gravitating away from traditional design, and toward modern and contemporary design, so builders have adapted their designs accordingly with more modern elevations. “Given that shift, it would be natural to assume that builders have expanded or altered their trim packages accordingly, but we’re not finding that to be the case,” Macedo continues. “We consistently hear from people who have recently purchased their dream home, with its beautiful modern exterior, only to find out that they have Colonial-style mouldings included in their trim package, with

limited options to change or upgrade. “For that reason, we want to bring to light the more modern, simple mouldings and doors that builders can offer to complement those popular modern elevations—options that don’t require them to break the bank.” Wyecroft says it’s time for a ‘new builder standard.’ “Instead of the everpopular Carrara 2 panel door, why not opt for a flush MDF hardboard door? Instead of Colonial baseboards and casings, why not opt for flat stock baseboards and casings?” Macedo offers. “These products fall within a similar price point to their traditional counterparts, making it an easy substitution for the builder. We’ve found ONTARIO HOME BUILDER LATE SPRING 2021

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Product Focus

Metrie’s stylish but durable Complete series (left) and its standard primed MDF profiles help streamline the process for builders.

these simple options to be substantially more popular with today’s consumers because their simplicity makes them easy to incorporate into any design.” For upgraded moulding options, Macedo suggests grooved baseboards and casings. For doors, the company recommends a model with a complementary groove design, such as its Berkley or Melrose by Masonite.”

EFFICIENCY EXPERTS For interior moulding and door specialist Metrie, convenience is a prime attraction. “Our Polar White finish in our Complete line really streamlines the process and saves builders time since they don’t have to bring in trades to paint,” explains Denise Tripamer, Metrie’s Director of Marketing Communications, of the company’s pre-painted MDF product. “And on a smaller scale, it makes reno work quick and easy for contractors.” Pre-painted with unique finishing layers—all of which feature UV inhibitors to prevent colour variation and low-VOC, water-based paints— make the Complete line exceedingly durable, reducing marking during handling, installation or transport. 56 56

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Further, its package solution with accessory products allows for on-site colour-matched touch-ups, if required. “We have multiple moulding profiles, including pre-painted shiplap, which has been a big seller lately with all the home renos happening, for those wanting to add extra texture to their walls,” Tripamer notes. “In the attempt to add more texture and dimension to their spaces, there has also been a movement toward wall treatments, from shiplap to wainscot, including panel mould boxes on walls, etc.,” Tripamer adds. “It just brings more warmth and comfort into a space.” Noise dampening has also become popular, Tripamer says. “People are looking at replacing hollow-core with solid-core doors, particularly in a home office environment to keep that sound interference down. It can also reflect on the quality craftsmanship of the builder when someone walks through and feels a solid, heavy door open and shut behind them. We also have a product line, Option M, that leans more toward the design solution, where we pair moulding profiles with door styles in combinations that reflect popular decor trends. So it makes the selection easy if the builder is looking for upgrade options.”

WARMING UP

While white remains the standby for trim, interior colours are departing from the stark greys and blues and moving into warmer hues, suggests Yasmine Goodwin, principal at My Design Studio in Woodbridge. “We’re seeing softer, warmer colour combinations, more taupe, with people seeking more serenity in their homes,” Goodwin says. “I’m hearing similar things from flooring and trim companies. “People are also gravitating toward easy-care products, solid surfaces that will hold up,” Goodwin adds. Etobicoke-based Vintage Flooring echoes those thoughts. “We’re seeing a trend toward biophilic design— bringing nature inside,” notes Product and Marketing Manager Penny Hodges. “Natural tones are popular, and pastels are warming up ever so slightly—not orange or yellow, but softer, like the White Oak Canvas hardwood we’ve launched.” The desire for comfy surroundings have also spurred a movement— particularly among millennials— toward what Hodges terms ‘grand ‘granny design.’ millennial.’ “They “They wantwant memories memories of their of grandparents, their grandparents, with with florals florals and and rich rich ohba.ca

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Product Focus

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10–12' 8–10' Vintage Flooring’s Sculpted White Oak Nautilus (top) showcases the popular herringbone style, while the company’s Blade Oak Barista offers the look of reclaimed wood.

tones and more traditional looks,” Hodges says. Although Hodges also cites the increasing popularity of patterns, including chevron and herringbone motifs, Vintage Flooring’s has creatively identified two design trends in one product with its new Blade collection. “We have always been very strong with textured floors,” Hodges notes. “We started off with hand-scraped and added wire-brushed. But we are often ask for a reclaimed-look floor—an Old World look with dings in the woods and saw blade marks. So that’s where the idea came from to create the Blade collection, an alloak line that features a weathered look (without being too rustic) with modern high-quality wood. It’s sort of a refined reclaimed look.” While the product, available in five colours, is easily installed—be it a nail-down, glued or floating 58

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assembly—there’s an added bonus in the Blade design,” Hodges explains. “That texture helps hide a lot of wear and tear,” she says. Which is also good news for contractors. “Since it hides damage, you don’t have to replace a floorboard before the homeowner moves in due to a single ding mark.” There’s also a sustainability aspect, with it being 99% VOCfree. “And all our lumber is locally, ethically sourced,” Hodges says. “And everything is made in our Quebec plant and pre-finished in Toronto. There are a lot of benefits because of that, mainly because if you need to make a repair or another box, we are right here. You can come pick it up at 7 a.m. and be installing two hours later.”

BRIGHT IDEA

Adding comfort to one’s environment means lighting it properly, and that’s an area Goodwin says remains among the top three in home upgrades.

“Particularly circadian rhythm,” says Goodwin of the popular lighting designed to have a biological impact on the human circadian system—essentially, brighter days and darker and softer nights. When it comes to colouring our world, Acuity Podz Canless Downlight Series has added an innovative twist to pot lights. From below the ceiling, the Juno Podz take the form of a traditional 4”, 5” or 6” downlight. Above the ceiling, however, these fixtures boast a minimalist form factor and technologically advanced light engine. Flexible and simple to use, the Podz offer direct control of the lighting in a space. The cutting-edge colour mixing technology delivers white light engineered to stay directly on the cylinder’s black body curve, while maintaining a high CRI (colour rendering index) regardless of the LED setting. The electrical attachment allows for a simple electrical connection of the ohba.ca

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Product Focus

Clockwise from far left: Hansgrohe’s Locarno, the Brilliant Black from Brizo’s Kintsu line, the Kintsu shower collection and Delta’s Matte Black Kitano.

trim module to the remodel junction box or new-construction mounting frame. This canless design is IC-rated for direct installation into the ceiling plenum. The fixture measures less than 3” tall and can install into virtually anywhere for a variety of applications.

WATER WORKS

Manufacturers have also turned on the tap in kitchen and bathroom design, including the striking art deco-inspired Locarno collection from Hansgrohe. “The intention was to create a sleek and anti-traditional elegance that symbolized wealth and sophistication,” the company notes. “Even with today’s emphasis on technology and smart devices, there is a sense of comfort and warmth in harking back to a simpler time.” Collaborating with one of the 60

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world’s leading design firms, Phoenix Design, Locarno embraces geometric shapes, bold finishes and style, with an octagonal design flowing through the entire collection of faucets. Brizo, for its part, has expanded its Kintsu line, a bath collection that combines the elegant minimalism of Scandinavian design with natural materials and a motif of broken geometries that channel the principles of Japanese wabi-sabi. Drawn from kintsukuroi, a Japanese method of joining pieces of cracked pottery with gold, the result is a blend of two aesthetics that join to create a unique yet exquisite balance. “From the handle inlays to the refined, sculptural lines of each spout, this collection showcases a commitment to quality and the finest materials,” Brizo notes. The Kintsu Bath Collection offers

lavatory and tub filler configurations, custom shower trims and components, along with elegantly coordinated accessories. Lever, cross and knob handles are available on select models. Delta, meanwhile, has announced a Matte Black addition to its Kitano Bath Collection, as well as a three-hole Roman tub to provide more versatility in larger bathrooms that have a separate tub and shower stall. Kitano’s clean lines deliver fresh style to the contemporary bath. Available in both single- and twohandle faucets, their rectangular cache aerator outlets provide a wider, visually interesting flow. Which all goes to show that there’s room for both a splash of something old and something new, as homeowners look to enhance their interior surroundings. OHB ohba.ca

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Frame of Mind

FLIP THE SWITCH A Japanese design explores the increasing need for live-work space IF ANYONE DOUBTS the future of live-work environments, the pandemic has demonstrated that it’s going to be more than a passing trend. So are home builders ready? Designing a home that can serve both live and work roles begins by having flexible interiors. Ironically, that includes adopting office building technologies such as demountable walls, of which there are three basic types. The first is a mobile or operable system, which has a sliding mechanism that allows a wall panel to move along ceiling tracks. The second is a demountable system, similar in concept to the traditional drywall system—walls are constructed with metal studs that are placed at specific intervals. The third type is the portable partition made of prefabricated panels that are brought to a desired location and held in place by channels in the ceiling and floor. One can also employ sliding screens. This is common in Japan, where large screens made of wooden frames and paper are moved along tracks affixed to the floor and ceiling. You can also use shelving and furniture to divide spaces. Furniture partitions help to make small spaces feel larger by blurring boundaries 62

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between rooms, allowing the eye to see beyond them, preventing small spaces from feeling boxed in. Further, when shelves, cabinets or other storage units are used to create partitions, small areas are provided with muchneeded storage space. If you want an example of an efficient live-work environment, consider Switch. Tokyo architect Yuko Shibata and her husband purchased an aging 940 sq. ft. apartment and decided to remodel it to function as a home office for Shibata’s firm. However, the transformation of the residential space seemed impossible due to its boxframe reinforced concrete construction, with almost every wall being load-bearing. Additionally, the couple wanted a way to change the home so there could be a “switch” between work and home. The conditions were challenging, but after some renovations, the Switch was complete—and on a budget. Instead of confining her office in a corner of the apartment, Shibata utilized the entire home—cutting holes into walls and adding partitions. Built-in bookshelves have provided more office shelf space, and plywood partition doors with built-in shelves open into the bedroom to form a reading nook.

Moreover, two built-in bookshelves contain large doors—providing the ability to transform from a home to office environment, or vice versa, without altering the original floorplan. One of the two bookshelves was added to the meeting room. As a result, the area on the side of the bookshelf can double as either a library or meeting room. The second bookshelf, meanwhile, was added to the bedroom. A large built-in window-like opening in the shelf makes it possible to approach it from the office side without having to go through the bedroom. When the bookshelf door is opened, a partition between the bedroom and the study is created, with the added ability to have space for the library. Shibata has also created partitions that can slide over the dining table and door frame that, when open, reveal the bookshelves to allow for a more efficient use of space. Switch demonstrates how creative thinking can be harnessed to create flexible space. And given recent history, it’s something builders and renovators will need to increasingly explore. OHB AVI FRIEDMAN IS AN ARCHITECT, PROFESSOR, AUTHOR AND SOCIAL OBSERVER. AVI.FRIEDMAN@MCGILL.CA

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