Saskatchewan's first Built Green community takes shape
Courtesy of Jonathan Hamelin and You're Home magazine
For a new development outside Regina, green is the colour and environmental sustainability is the aim.
Autumn Ridge Estates by Dakine Home Builders is a residential subdivision located seven minutes north of Regina. It’s the first community in Saskatchewan being constructed in partnership with the Built Green Canada program, a national, industry-driven organization committed to working with builders interested in responsible sustainability practices in the residential building sector.
“We think it’s important to be environmentally friendly in the home building industry,” said Todd Bodnar, owner of Dakine Home Builders and a Built Green board of directors member. “Autumn Ridge Estates will be a great, energy efficient community that people can be proud of.”
Built Green was created in 2003 by Jay Westman during his term of presidency with the Calgary region of the Canadian Home Builders’ Association, with input from industry professionals such as builders, manufacturers, developers and trades, along with the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC), SAIT Polytechnic, Natural Resources Canada and the Alberta Research Council and Climate Change Central.
Since 2003, over 30,290 BUILT GREEN® single family certified homes have been completed in Alberta, British Columbia, Ontario and—most recently—Saskatchewan.
“Dakine Homes was the first builder in Saskatchewan to certify their builds through Built Green Canada and we’re very encouraged to see further expansion of the program into Saskatchewan with Autumn Ridge Estates,” said Jenifer Christenson of Built Green. “Todd Bodnar’s leadership in sustainable building practices is to be applauded.”
Autumn Ridge’s involvement through Built Green means that participating builders will be taught to use the latest technologies to ensure a healthier, more durable home with a lower environmental impact. Builders will need to take a holistic approach that means using advanced building technologies that consider everything from site orientation, building materials, HVAC equipment, windows, water and electrical consumption.
Bodnar feels that meeting these requirements won’t be a problem for Saskatchewan builders.
“I would say the majority of builders won’t have to change their building practices,” Bodnar said. “By being a great builder and having great building practices, a lot of the builders in this province meet the requirements of building an environmentally friendly home.”
A benefit to builders purchasing lots in Autumn Ridge Estates is that they will receive a $1,000 rebate toward their certification through the developer, while Built Green will waive training fees to the builder and work alongside those building homes in the community to ensure their successful certification.
Homeowners of BUILT GREEN® certified homes will enjoy a number of benefits including a healthier, more comfortable home thanks to improved air quality and fewer toxins and dust in the air. Energy efficiency is promoted through the careful selection of windows, furnaces, air conditioners and other appliances. All homes are also third-party certified. Homeowners will also enjoy the cost savings that come with operating an efficient home and through automatic rebate eligibility; CMHC and Genworth Canada offer automatic mortgage insurance rebate eligibility of 15 per cent for Built Green certified homes (up to 25 per cent, depending on the energy efficiency achieved).
“Housing costs have gotten expensive over the past few years. Maybe that’s where people start compromising the energy efficiency projects in order to get granite countertops, which isn’t the right way to build a house,” Bodnar said.
“Fuel economy comes into play when people are shopping for a new vehicle. That analogy can be taken into building a new house. If House A is more efficient than House B and priced slightly higher, it’s only common sense that you’d go with the more efficient one. Your utility costs are going to be cheaper and the comfort factor is going to be far greater.”
Beyond its involvement with Built Green, Autumn Ridge certainly has the feel of a green community. The 100-acre development features beautiful landscaping and is located in the RM of Lumsden, close to the Beaver Creek Ranch & Horse Centre and Last Mountain House Provincial Historic Park. There are 50 lots available ranging from one to two acres, including walk-out lots backing the Flowing Springs Golf Greens.
“We’re aiming to capture the tranquillity of being in the country,” Bodnar said. “We wanted to create a relaxed rural development that’s close to the city; you don’t have the traffic, the noise. At the same time, we have the same services you’ll find in the city: paved streets, garbage/recycling pickup, treated water, a sewer system.”
The expansion of Built Green in Saskatchewan is timely, as the Government of Saskatchewan will enforce 9.36 of the building code Jan. 1, 2019. This will be the first time the code addresses energy efficiency in Saskatchewan’s building sector.
“Built Green’s programs are complementary to the incoming code … those building in Autumn Ridge Estates will be ahead of the curve,” Christenson said. “We’re really optimistic about further growth in Saskatchewan as builders become more familiar with our programs and the benefits they offer. In large part, our growth is due to progressive builders who continue to pursue better building technologies and innovations.”
For updates on Autumn Ridge and lot availability, visit www.autumnridge.ca.