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    Sustainable Living In The GTA: Eco-Friendly Homes and Communities

    A look at some of the most innovative properties for eco-conscious buyers

    Written By Robert Van Rhijn

    An increasing number of individuals are making conscious choices to reduce their environmental impact. In the Greater Toronto Area (GTA), this has led to a surge in the popularity of sustainable living practices, with eco-friendly homes and communities becoming more popular and prevalent.

    And of course it is! Research shows that sustainable housing not only reduces carbon footprints, but also promotes healthier living environments. And can even lead to financial savings in the long run.

    So let’s explore some of the most innovative and eco-conscious homes and communities in the GTA, where sustainability meets modern living.

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    Green Homes: The New Trend in Real Estate

    Research from the Canada Green Building Council indicates that green homes can reduce energy consumption by up to 20-30%, translating to significant savings on utility bills for homeowners.

    In the GTA, we’re starting to see more and more properties aiming to be sustainable in their design, building materials, and the types of technology used within. For example, 1B Marowyne Dr. was built using passive house building principles.

    The four-bedroom, five-bathroom house is all-electric and has a net-zero designation, meaning it produces as much energy as it consumes, while being up to 80% more energy efficient than a conventionally-built home.

    Now 1B Marowyne Dr. might be the overachiever in the greenhouse space. But there are other homes on the market doing the most to be as eco-friendly as possible.

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    Like 95 Riverview Drive. This gorgeous four-bedroom house was designed with sustainability in mind. It features a ton of things like green roofs, rainwater harvesting, skylights that open for fresh air ventilation, LED's, a permeable drive membrane, high efficiency split zone mechanical systems, and more.

    Speaking of green roofs, not only do they look cool — but they improve energy efficiency by providing natural insulation. That’s because they enhance air quality by trapping dust and pollutants.

    According to a report by the University of Toronto, green roofs can lower surrounding air temperatures, contributing to reduced urban heat island effects. For residents of these sustainable homes, this blend of modern living and environmental responsibility offers a path to a healthier, more cost-effective lifestyle.

    Another thing we’re starting to see more of in homes is geothermal heating, which offers a sustainable alternative to traditional HVAC systems.

    Like this three-bedroom house in Caledon, that comes with geothermal heating and cooling, as well as a 160 foot well. After all, why pay for water when you have your own underground!

    Another thing sustainable homes will do is add rooftop solar panels. Solar panels can decrease household electricity use by 20-30%, which is ace considering how expensive hydro has become in recent years.

    It’s also not just single-family homes that caught the green bug.

    In Toronto, condos like Minto 775, M5V Condos, and One Cole Condos all have LEED Gold Status. This means the building meets specific standards of sustainability and best practices.

    One recent condo development that caught everyone’s eye with the amount of eco-friendly elements were The Plant Condos. This 10-storey mixed-use development in Toronto’s Queen West neighbourhood features a terrace atop the third-floor podium. It has planters for communal gardening, as well as an “intensive” green roof that acts as a pollinator garden.

    Additionally, we’re seeing new condos like the Grain Lofts in The Junction doing some cool things. The Grain Lofts are only using spruce, fir, and pine grown in certified-renewable forests in Northern Ontario. There are also plans in the works for the first-ever mass timber Passive House condo project in Toronto, which is exciting.

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    Eco-Friendly Communities: Where Sustainability Meets Community Spirit

    But it’s not just individual homes or condos getting the green treatment. Entire communities in the GTA are being designed with sustainability at their core.

    One shining example is the Evergreen Brick Works. As the first large-scale community environmental centre in Canada, Evergreen Brick Works is setting the pace for sustainable living. Their public markets serve as incubators for small businesses, while pilot programs in the Children’s Garden explore innovative approaches to play and learning. The redevelopment of the historic kiln building is a significant step toward becoming a carbon-neutral campus. And what’s awesome is that successful initiatives at Brick Works are scaled and implemented across Canada, transforming cities for the betterment of people and the planet.

    Outside the city proper there are other gems like Kortright Centre for Conservation in Vaughan. This living laboratory for sustainable technologies showcases green building designs, renewable energy solutions, and organic farming practices. It’s like stepping into a future where humans live in harmony with nature — a future that’s being built right now.

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    The Perks of Sustainable Living

    With all that in mind it should be obvious why more people are making the switch to sustainable living.

    First and foremost, it’s a fantastic way to save on utility bills. Solar panels, energy-efficient appliances, and smart home technologies mean less money spent on electricity and water. Plus, eco-friendly homes often come with government incentives and rebates, making the initial investment more affordable.

    But beyond the financial benefits, sustainable living is about creating a healthier environment for ourselves and future generations. Cleaner air, less waste, and a smaller carbon footprint contribute to a more sustainable planet.

    Finally, let’s not forget the added perks of living in beautiful, thoughtfully designed spaces that prioritize both comfort and eco-consciousness.

    Now, how’s that for living the green dream?

    Starting your search for a new home? Click on any of these links to access active listings, sold listings or contact a Strata agent.

    For any questions about this article or media inquires, please email media@strata.ca