Canadian Homeowners Cash in on LEED-Certified Home Construction

Residential News » Residential Real Estate Edition | By Scott Kauffman | August 26, 2010 8:30 AM ET

(BOWEN ISLAND, BRITISH COLUMBIA, CANADA) -- The Cape on Bowen, a $100 million oceanfront community located on the southwest tip of Bowen Island near Vancouver, recently announced that it is offering financial encouragement to buyers who follow the community's Sustainability Plan and build certified LEED and Built Green sustainable homes.

The cash incentives increase if buyers opt for a higher environmental certification. Buyers who build their homes to the LEED Platinum level will receive a payment of $100,000 from the developer when the home is certified.

Homes built to LEED Gold level will receive $50,000 and for LEED Silver, $25,000. The pilot program's incentives apply to Phase 1 oceanfront home sites in the community.

The Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Green Building Rating System is a third party certification program and an internationally accepted benchmark for green building.

Vancouver developers Don Ho and Edwin Lee are currently selling the first phase of ten-acre home sites, priced on average at $2 million each, after recently launching The Cape on Bowen. The Cape on Bowen's beaches, trails, shorelines, and dense woods have been virtually untouched for more than 50 years and the developers have taken a sustainable approach to developing the community and they hope their incentives will encourage buyers to do the same.

Today's buyer wants choice and they don't want to be told what to do," says Don Ho, partner at The Cape on Bowen, "But they are very conscious of the environment and they want to do their part. Our cash-back incentives encourage sustainability, while offering choice."

The Cape on Bowen developers took a sustainable approach to the development of their land by hiring leading environmental consultants, Pottinger Gaherty Environmental Consultants Ltd. (PGL) to draft the Cape on Bowen Sustainability Plan and conduct a detailed environmental assessment to determine natural areas to be protected.

The Sustainability Plan was created by PGL to assist The Cape on Bowen in a review of its development, using elements of LEED Canada for Homes, Built Green and Smart Growth. The plan documents the many measures already implemented and offers suggestions for home buyers to carry on the sustainability initiatives.

Sustainability goals are grouped around the following categories: Energy, Environmental Protection, Water, Indoor Air Quality, Materials, Waste Management and Education. Some goals for which the developer has implemented strategies include:   maintain or augment existing biodiversity; minimize impact to environment during construction and occupancy;  and minimize waste generated from construction and during occupancy.

Among the goals and strategies for home buyers to opt-in on include: reducing total energy consumption of project through use of Energy Star rated lighting, appliances, windows and installation of a geothermal heating and cooling system; conserving and/or reducing potable water consumption through high efficiency water fixtures and equipment and minimizing consumption and depletion of material resources by sourcing local manufactured materials wherever possible.

The Cape on Bowen Sustainability Plan lists specific measures that home owners can follow. Home owners can provide a copy of this document to their builder to ensure that these measures can be implemented within their overall site and building plans. Most measures do not represent an additional cost to the home owner if they are considered early.

"The Cape is a magical piece of land and the developers want to help preserve its natural qualities while at the same time being sensitive to the individual property owners' own priorities," says James Askew of rareEarth Project Marketing Ltd., who are conducting the marketing program for The Cape on Bowen.

"This incentive program is a win-win, as owners who build green homes are rewarded for their efforts."

There are several systems available to follow in the design and construction of a green home, including the Built Green system developed by the Built Green Society of Canada and LEED Canada for Homes developed by the Canadian Green Building Council (CAGBC). Certification for green homes is usually based on a point system, where points are awarded for each energy saving strategy adopted.

An overview of each system is included in the Cape on Bowen Sustainability Plan.

"Working together with home buyers we feel we can make a significant contribution to the goal of building green and healthy homes at The Cape," says Edwin Lee, partner, The Cape on Bowen.

The Cape on Bowen is a 35 minute ferry from downtown Vancouver and the neighborhood is made up of 59 estate home sites. Its ten-acre home sites offer a unique opportunity to create a legacy home on a previously undeveloped south facing island property in the Strait of Georgia. The Cape on Bowen Community Development Limited, a joint venture between the Trans City Group of Companies, led by Don Ho and the Leeda Developments Group, led by Edwin Lee, is developing The Cape on Bowen.


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