Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Mike Holmes: Green Condos? Yes, They Exist!

Everyone knows Mike Holmes loves houses. He built his empire on the back of fixing up other people's homes and incorporating energy efficient and energy saving materials into them. Home ownership is a wonderful thing, but buying a house isn't for everyone. Some people choose to go other routes, and condos are a viable alternative to a house for many people.
Early this month, Mike Holmes celebrated the public grand opening of the On The Go Mimico Condo development, which is the first condo development to be "Holmes Approved." (For more information, read this article about Stanton Renaissance and the On The Go Mimico Condo project and Mike's endorsement.) Mike not only put his stamp of approval on the project, he bought a unit in the development. Mike knows that people who choose to buy a condo want the same energy efficient features and amenities that go into a house and housing developments. Mike Holmes put his "Holmes Approved" stamp on this development for several reasons. First, the development utilizes combined heat and power, or "CHP." What is CHP and how is it a more efficient alternative to other energy sources? Let Mike explain in his own words:

Combining this with geothermal and solar makes for a smarter and more environmentally responsible way to generate and use power. With builder incoproate smart technology into their buildings, owners can live sustainably without sacrifice. Good deal!

From the Calgary

Mike Holmes: Green condos? Yes, they exist

Builders offering more eco-friendly options to buyers

June 21 is the longest day of the year, the day we’ll get the most daylight hours, which is reason to celebrate. Not to mention, it’s also my daughter Sherry’s birthday.
It makes sense to use that extra sunlight. It’s free, clean, renewable, and thanks to huge leaps in technology, it’s getting easier to incorporate solar power in homes.
And condo builders are joining the fun, too.
When most people think condos they think standard construction — if you’ve seen one you’ve seen them all. Not true. Just as the housing market has changed over the last 10 years, so has the condo market. Why? Because homeowners are homeowners, whether they live in a 3,000-square-foot house or a 500-sq.-ft condo.
Homeowners care about saving money on their monthly bills, healthy indoor air, sustainability, and most importantly they care about their home and how it works for them. Today’s smart condo builders know who they’re selling to.
It’s no secret I love houses. They are great investments homeowners can keep all their lives, and you can change the space so it works for you, especially as you grow older. But is buying a house realistic for everyone? No. More homeowners are being forced to raise their families in smaller spaces like condos. So issues such as indoor air quality and responsible building are becoming more important in the condo market.
Buying a condo doesn’t mean you have to sit out going green and accept the standard concrete box. You can do better than that and save money.
Some condos going up today are creating the highest level of environmental and sustainable standards. These condo developments are future-focused and help support healthier lifestyles.
For example, a smart developer will build a condo on a transit line, so you can be downtown within minutes without relying on a car. Think of how much money you can save being vehicle-free — not to mention the benefits to the environment, like fewer CO2 emissions and less fuel consumption.
Some new green condos also have programmable thermostats in every suite, quiet and energy-efficient air circulation (including fans), waste-heat recovery systems for heating and domestic hot water and greywater recycling. Some even collect rainwater to water the property, and some have an eco-friendly car wash.
It’s about incorporating smart and sustainable solutions that create more value — for condo owners and the environment — for example, cogeneration, or combined heat and power systems also known as “CHP.”
Typically in high-rises as much as 30 to 40 per cent of the heat a building generates is wasted.
But some condo builders are taking that energy and using it to preheat water for bathrooms, kitchens and laundry.
Really innovative condo builders are taking this co-gen system and combining it with geothermal — so they’re creating a hybrid system that generates power, uses the heat from generating that power to heat water, and then using the temperature from the ground (geothermal) to further increase the temperature of the water for domestic use. So they’re using even less energy, and any excess energy produced by the condo’s system can be sold back to the grid.
There are huge benefits here: First, a system like this can reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 7,500 tonnes over its 30-year life — the equivalent of removing 2,884 cars from the road!
Two, it can help protect condo owners from unexpected spikes in monthly fees, or “improvement fees.” And three, it provides on-site energy that can be used during grid interruptions or failure, so your lights stay on while the rest of the city is in the dark.
When condo builders build right and smart, they help residents save — up to 30 per cent over several years on utility and monthly maintenance costs. Who wouldn’t like that?
If you’re going to buy a condo, be smart. Look for one that’s built with your future in mind.
Watch Mike Holmes on Holmes Makes It Right on HGTV. For more information visit

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