Toronto Loft Conversions

Toronto Loft Conversions

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Modern Toronto Lofts

Modern Toronto Lofts

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Unique Toronto Homes

More than just lofts, I can also help you find that perfect house. From the latest architectural marvel to a piece of our Victorian past, the best and most creative spaces abound.

Condos in Toronto

Condos in Toronto

I started off selling mainly condos, helping first time buyers get a foothold in the Toronto real estate market. Now working with investors and helping empty nesters find that perfect luxury suite.

Toronto Real Estate

Toronto Real Estate

For all of your Toronto real estate needs, contact Laurin. I am dedicated to helping you find that perfect and unique new home to call your own.

 

Tag Archives: ENERGY STAR-rated appliances

Young guns driving enviro-condo push

It seems it’s the developers – not buyers – who are gung-ho on green

By Terrence Belford – Globe and Mail

In F. Scott Fitzgerald’s short story The Rich Boy, the narrator says the rich “are different from you and me.” Judging by the statistics, those differences are starkly outlined when it comes to embracing environmental concerns in new luxury condos.

“Green” may be great for mid-market buyers but not for the Greater Toronto Area’s affluent.

Urbanation Inc., which tracks LEED statistics, says that at the end of July, there were 36 buildings — 24 of them currently under construction — registered under the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design certification program. Two major developers — Tridel and Minto — have pledged to construct all future projects according to LEED guidelines.

At the same time, Urbanation says 13 luxury projects were on sale. (It defines luxury as anything selling for more than $600 a square foot.) Jane Renwick, Urbanation’s executive vice-president, says two of them — 77 Charles West and the St. Thomas — are being built to LEED standards, while a third, the Huntington, will likely follow suit.

“We get our statistics from the Canadian Green Building Council and it lists those two for certain as LEED-registered. The Huntington … is from Tridel, which has pledged to do all its buildings under LEED,” she says, but the council had not notified her of it being registered at the time of the interview.

So, those facts and figures raise a few questions, such as: What is actually happening with green condos? How come the most expensive ones, which could easily afford the extra cost of building to LEED standards, are not doing it?

The answers may be surprising to some. First, it is developers driving the move to LEED and not any sort of buyer demand, industry experts say. Second, the leaders in the industry seem to be family owned companies in which the younger generation is now taking over the reins.

“For many in the housing industry, green is an issue whose time has come,” says Sam Crignano, a partner in Cityzen Development Group, which currently has both Pier 27 and the Shores in Oakville on the go. “There is greater awareness of the need to go green, especially among the younger generation; it is an issue they believe in personally.

“Buyers are not willing to pay more for it, but many developers are taking the initiative anyway. They are backing their beliefs with their money. In most cases, the technology is still in almost the experimental stage. But I do think that eventually it will be legislated as the standard for all new construction.”

As for luxury projects: The buyers tend to be men and women in their 50s or older and environmental concerns are not on their list of priorities. In addition, things like Energy Star-rated appliances, which consume about 40 per cent less energy, are simply not available in the high-end, large-sized models those buyers want in their new homes.

“The environment does not seem to be a priority for luxury suite buyers,” says Mark Cohen, senior vice-president at Condo Store Marketing Systems Inc.

“Where in mid-range buildings, buyers are deeply concerned about the impact of rising energy costs and as a result want Energy Star appliances and structural and mechanical systems that ensure energy efficiency, the high-end market doesn’t pay much attention to monthly maintenance fees,” Mr. Cohen says.

“Green is just not on the radar for most of them.”

High-end buyers want what they want, adds Veronika Belovich, director of sales and marketing at Bazis International Inc., developer of 1 Bloor, Emerald Park at Yonge and Sheppard, and the soon-to-be-launched Exhibit on Bloor Street, west of Avenue Road.

“They want gas ranges and large refrigerators,” she says. “Manufacturers do not make Energy Star models beyond 36 inches. They also want rare woods for flooring and non-renewable stones for flooring and countertops.

“This is their dream home and they want what they want.”

That being said, there is still great hope that green features and building practices will be the norm in all buildings in the future, says Andrea Kantelberg. Her company, Kantelberg Design Inc., not only specializes in interior design that is environmentally sensitive and health-enhancing but offers its own line of paints, wall coverings, flooring, carpeting, cabinetry and fabrics — all part of what it calls the AK Ecollection.

You can see her work at 1 Bloor, the U Condominiums on the grounds of St. Michael’s College, and the new Queen and Portland project.

“LEED is just a starting point,” she says. “In reality, it just builds on Ontario building codes. The next step is to create health-conscious buildings and suites. That means no more materials that off-gas; no more materials that don’t come from sustainable sources.

“LEED addresses cost savings; what we do builds on that and addresses all those health issues [raised] by today’s building materials. Health issues are fast rising on everyone’s priority list. It just makes sense that once LEED is entrenched, the focus will shift to healthy design.”

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Contact Laurin Jeffrey for more information – 416-388-1960