Toronto Loft Conversions

Toronto Loft Conversions

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Modern Toronto Lofts

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Unique Toronto Homes

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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

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Tag Archives: utilities

Include energy costs in the price of buildings

A real estate market where the cost of using a building is included in the price tag would encourage more sustainable development and more affordable housing.

Donna Vakalis – Toronto Star

What if…

…Toronto had a real estate market where the price tag included the cost of actually using the building?

In Canada, the operation of buildings accounts for about a third of energy use and associated greenhouse gases; yet the energy use of a given building (for electricity, heating and cooling) is rarely available to those interested in purchasing a property. That’s like trying to buy a car without knowing its gas consumption.

Comment: Sort of. Condos have maintenance fees, many of which include utilities. And the status certificates have budgets, including specifics of water/gas/hydro costs. Whatever is not included, buyers can ask sellers for utility bills – as many do. Thus, you have an idea of what the energy costs of that unit – and sometimes the whole building – are.

Condo energy use
When evaluating investment options, engineers often use a tool called life-cycle costing. For example, a building’s life cycle cost includes its up-front price, plus the estimated cost over time for supplying the electricity and natural gas. By taking the cost of energy consumption into account, building owners quickly become aware that energy efficiency is not only more sustainable, it is also more profitable.

Having lived in several residences around Toronto I know the difference in energy consumption (and attendant utility costs) can vary significantly. Over time it really adds up. And yet, when my family is considering moving within the GTA, there is no useful benchmark for weighing the true cost differences among homes. We are starting to see energy benchmarks used with appliances; now we need to apply these benchmarks to our biggest machines — the ones we live in!

Comment: But is going to be responsible for measuring the energy consumption of the 1,000,000+ residences in Toronto? And some people use more energy than others. A house that has baths vs. on that takes showers. What if someone moves in and changes all the lights and upgrades the furnace? Adds insulation to the attic? Installs new windows?

Energy costs are easy to calculate and track over time. In existing buildings, we can base our estimates on an average yearly total. For new buildings, we could agree to estimate the use based on insulation levels, total space and historic data from similar buildings.

Comment: Again, who measures all of this? Builders would have motivation to overestimate things to get a better rating, just as they underestimate the condo fees for new buildings.

How would your big idea transform the city?

Coming up with a fair benchmarking system for all of our buildings will be a challenge, but the effort will be well worth the outcome. We will have a more sophisticated and transparent real estate market, one that ultimately will drive the development of more sustainable and more affordable buildings.

How much would it cost?

The negligible cost of developing a benchmarking system would be easily outweighed by individual savings and the resulting benefit to the economy.

Comment: But who would pay to measure all of the buildings? Even if you did just condos, there are 2,500 or so in the GTA. Someone has to measure them all and come up with some sort of ranking system. And then how would they be audited in the future, to make sure that later numbers are accurate? How often would they be tested?

Don’t get me wrong, I think this is a great idea. I just don’t see how it is possible to implement in a meaningful and affordable way.

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

Laurin Jeffrey is a Toronto real estate agent with Century 21 Regal Realty.
He did not write these articles, he just reproduces them here for people who
are interested in Toronto real estate. He does not work for any builders.

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