September 24, 2009
Media Release

The Regional Municipality of York encourages developers to build sustainable homes

Monthly savings in utility costs offset increased costs to new home owners
NEWMARKET – York Regional Council has approved a plan to provide developers with an incentive to build more sustainable homes that use less energy and water resources, potentially resulting in lower long-term operating costs.
 
“This program was developed through a co-operative partnership between York Region, local municipalities and the development industry,” said York Region Chairman and CEO Bill Fisch.  “It will introduce incentives to design and build new homes that are more cost-effective and valuable to homeowners over the long term.”
 
Developers that meet specified eligibility criteria and incorporate various sustainability requirements may qualify for either a 10 or 20-per cent reduction in water and wastewater servicing allocations for new development proposals that deliver more sustainable, water-efficient residential development.
 
“We expect the Sustainable Home Incentive Program to result in healthier living environments for the residents of York Region while using key resources such as energy and water more efficiently,” said Town of East Gwillimbury Mayor James Young, Chair of the Region’s Planning and Economic Development Committee.
 
It is estimated there will be increased costs to the home purchaser of between three to five per cent for a green home over a conventionally-built home.  However, the monthly savings in utility costs are expected to offset the increased mortgage costs for energy efficient homes.
 
In addition, energy efficient homes may have an increased resale value of five to 15 per cent higher than conventional homes.
 
The voluntary Sustainable Home Incentive Program utilizes a third party rating system to ensure the sustainability measures for each incentive level are addressed and effectively translated from design into construction, including energy conservation, water conservation, resource management, indoor air quality and home owner education.
 
Local municipalities will be required to endorse the Sustainable Home Incentive Program to enable any developers or builders to participate in it.  The program may have positive financial impacts on the delivery of local services through enhanced conservation and servicing efficiencies. 
 
Participation in this program can be easily incorporated into the existing approvals process for site plans and plans of subdivisions and condominiums.  An Implementation Guide provides a detailed description of the Sustainable Home Incentive Program including:
• eligibility criteria
• technical specifications and supporting documentation
• easy to use forms
• checklists to clarify and simplify participation in the program
 
Summary of the Sustainable Home Incentive Program
 
Level One: 10 per cent Incentive
 
To qualify for an allocation incentive, eligible applicants must commit to implementing a variety of sustainability measures into new home construction, including:
• Water conservation - to be achieved through implementing high efficiency toilets, low flow shower and lavatory faucets and laying drought resistant sod
• Energy conservation - to be achieved by constructing homes to meet Energy Star for New Homes criteria and to be Solar Ready
• Resource management - to be achieved though increased use of recycled and/or environmentally preferred products and construction waste management plans
• Indoor Air Quality – to be addressed through use of Low VOC paints, varnish and sealers and appropriated HVAC systems
 
Level Two: 20 per cent Incentive
 
Developments that reach a higher level of conservation through more progressive and innovative approaches to home building will be rewarded.  To qualify for a 20 per cent servicing allocation incentive, the proposed home must improve upon the criteria outlined above plus the following:
• Install permeable driveways surfaces (other than sod)
• Install either a rainwater harvesting and storage system for indoor and outdoor water use or a greywater reuse system
• Homes or roofs oriented for solar applications to implement solar assisted water and air preheating systems
• Reliance on locally sourced and recycled content in building materials where available
 
This policy conforms with York Region’s sustainability strategy, “Toward a Sustainable Region,” a long-term framework for making municipal decisions that better integrate the economy, environment and community.  It is also consistent with York Region’s criteria for building new communities that proposed new residential developments will achieve a higher level of performance in community design, water management, transportation, green space and energy and green buildings.
 
The program compliments the Sustainable Development Through LEED Program that provided additional servicing allocation as an incentive to encourage more sustainable high-density residential development within Regional and local centres and corridors.
 
For more information on The Regional Municipality of York, please visit www.york.ca
 
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Media Contact: Tim Paleczny, Corporate Communications Specialist, York Region
                       Phone:  905 830-4444, ext. 1238, (416) 297-9696 or Toll free 1-877-464-9675
                       Cell:  905 251-6413  Email: tim.paleczny@york.ca
 
 

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