Category Archives: News

Phase 1 Sold Out!

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This past weekend Rodeo Fine Homes opened its new Heritage Collection site in Sharon Village for a VIP event. The sales team is proud to announce that we sold out Phase 1 in its entirety during the event! We’d like to thank all of the new Heritage Collection owners for making our VIP opening such an overwhelming success, and we’d also like to congratulate them on the purchase of their new homes.

If you missed out on Phase 1, don’t worry; phase 2 is coming soon! There’s still an opportunity to live in this beautiful new community, register HERE if you haven’t done so yet. We look forward to meeting you at Phase 2.

Thank You To The East Gwillimbury Parks Department!

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Rodeo Fine Homes would like to thank the team from the East Gwillimbury Parks Department for putting their time and effort into making the grounds at our heritage home in Sharon Village, so beautiful and welcoming. We’ve received countless compliments on the property, and we’re certain it will remain a neighbourhood highlight for years to come. Our grand opening VIP event would not have been so successful without your hard work and we truly appreciate all you’ve done for the community and our company.

Building on What We’ve Got

By Bryan Tuckey, President & Chief Executive Officer at Building Industry and Land Development Association (BILD). Originally published in BILD Magazine, summer 2012.

At the Building Industry and Land Development Association, we have a number of members who are pushing the limits, stretching expectations and asking the people they work with to think differently about sustainability. In building 40,000 homes every year across the GTA, the industry is required to meet a myriad of standards but the real go-getters set out to exceed them.

Since this magazine issue focuses on communities, relationships and the importance of working together through the planning, development and home building process, I decided to phone up one of our members who did just that about five years ago.

In 2007, Rodeo Fine Homes began construction on its EcoLogic community in the Town of Newmarket. At the time, I was Commissioner of Planning and Development Services for York Region and I remember the Town’s intention to sell the land to a builder that would work with them to set the sustainability bar a little higher.

Well, these guys certainly did that.Rodeo Award

I strolled through the development with William Mauro, son of Frank, who owns Rodeo with partner Vince Naccarato, a few weeks ago. It was encouraging to see and hear how Canada’s first residential subdivision to be certified as LEED platinum is doing years later.

These 34 homes achieve and exceed specific environmental targets. Including a 50 per cent reduction in household gas production and energy consumption compared to conventional homes.

To meet these targets, the builder had to work with the Town Staff to do research and get educated on new technologies and practices. Then it was a matter of educating the trades as well.

From the eco concrete foundation walls with heavy-duty damp proofing, drainage layer and weeping tiles, to the increased insulation levels throughout the building envelope, to the rainwater harvesting cistern for every home, the structure set the stage for the holistic re-thinking of resources, waste and energy use. Each home is also outfitted with solar thermal hot water preheat, vinyl casement low-e2 thermo pane windows, three-foot overhangs for solar shading and interlocking permeable concrete stone for driveways.

I could go on but I have to say that when I asked William about the homeowner’s perspective on all the features, he told me that residents will often remark on their low gas, electric and water bills—and for our industry, that says a lot.

With these EcoLogic homes and other projects that have reached beyond, we’ve got some answers—and with the recent changes to the Ontario Building Code to increase standards for energy efficiency, we can show examples and work with out municipal, regional and industry partners to meet and exceed them.


Life After LEED Platinum: What is Next for Rodeo Fine Homes?

By Tracy Hanes

When Rodeo Fine Homes made its first foray into green building, it didn’t do it in small steps. It took a quantum leap. The small custom-home builder took on the task of building Canada’s first LEED Platinum subdivision when it answered a request for proposal from the Town of Newmarket, Ont. In January 2006, Rodeo bought 34 lots for $3.2 million from the town that had been set aside for an environmentally progressive subdivision. The condition was that the homes had to achieve stringent water-use, waste-reduction, and energy-saving goals: 60 percent energy-efficiency savings, 60 per cent less effluent and greenhouse gas emissions, and 25 per cent less water use than code-built houses.

The EcoLogic Subdivision was launched in the summer of 2008, and since then all 34 homes have ben sold. Rodeo managed to achieve its LEED Platinum objective, but not without a steep learning curve and some bumps along the road.

So we had to ask: Is there life after LEED Platinum, and what lessons can be taken from this groundbreaking example of sustainable housing? Here’s what Vince Naccarato of Rodeo Fine Homes has to share about what he and partner Frank Mauro learned from this ambitious exercise in green building.

When Rodeo bought the lots, the company hadn’t as much as constructed a single ENERGY STAR house. “ENERGY STAR was just going and though we enrolled in the program we hadn’t build any ENERGY STAR homes,” explains Naccarato. “These were huge targets but I liked the lots, and we’d built in the area before (Stonehaven, a premier subdivision). Naccarato says in a project basis, “it was challenging, and it was interesting. We also knew that the building code would be changing (in 2012), and we figured we would be first in line to see what we could do.”

After getting feedback from a number of green consultants (including John Gooden and Lenard Hart), Rodeo proposed it would peruse LEED Platinum certification. The project’s architect was Vincent Santamaura of RN Design. “On the marketing front, we needed something the public could relate to, and it fit with what we were doing,” he says. “We weren’t far off from LEED from what we were designing, anyways. We had to tweak the models and do a few other things to get to the LEED Platinum level.”

City staff and council were excited by the idea; far more so than the purchasers, at least initially. “The biggest challenge was demonstrating that we were achieving the energy-efficiency savings,” says Naccarato. “We used a number of consultants, and the town had a peer review consultant check all the numbers. Once we got past that, on the marketing end we had to tell the story, and it was hard to convey the message, because LEED was not even in Canada then. We were involved in the pilot project to bring a version to Canada. “It was so new and with LEED Platinum, people understood that it was the best of the best, but as far as the marketing materials, and all the benefits and features, there was a lot to absorb, and it was difficult to convey. A lot of customers educated themselves before they came in, but there was a lot of material for people to grasp.”

Naccarato says they also had to translate green into dollars, which was difficult. “Some buyers were educated and wanted to buy green and were sold on the concept before they even came in, but no one bought on the spot. Everybody needed to look at what we were doing and had to understand it, that these houses were the highest quality as far as green features.”

The project of single-family, detached executive homes launched in summer of 2008 and opened briskly, but they market crash brought things to a virtual standstill for a year. Eventually all homes sold. They were on 40-, 45- and 60- foot lots, ranged in size from 2,200 sq.ft to 3,600 sq.ft., and prices at about $500,000.

Rodeo had received numerous awards in the past, including an Urban Design Award from the town of Markham; but as a result of this project they gained national recognition with Sustainable Community award from the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM), which was presented to the Town of Newmarket for Rodeo’s EcoLogic site.

Naccarato and Mauro were inundated with green-product suggestions and had to choose ones that would help to achieve the LEED goal. Many came from local suppliers, such as air solar panels, Forest Stewardship Council-certified lumber, and urea formaldehyde-free cabinetry. “Some of the products were easily identified as wastes of time,” says Naccarato. “There were a lot of good products and ones that had been proven out there for awhile, but many had been used only on custom homes.” Most suppliers were from small companies that had been dealing with small one-off projects. “It’s not that 34 houses is a big development but no one else had done 34 at one time,” notes Naccarato. “If a product lent itself to our goals, then we’d use that product. On the mechanical side, it was fairly simple. We used a combination system that had been proven. We used off-the-shelf items that had specs out there on energy saving.”

Naccarato says the biggest bang for the buck was the building envelope itself. Spray foam insulation was used throughout the homes (except for the basements), which provided air sealing, as well as insulation. “It helped with energy savings and it created a type of comfort in the houses,” he explains. “If you have no drafts, you have a very comfortable living environment. The biggest thing really was to concentrate on air tightness and insulation value, and windows. We used low E squared windows with two films instead of one on the inside panes of glass and that helped with passive and reflective solar heat.”

Rodeo used integrated heat recovery ventilators (HRV) and air handlers with a variable speed ECM motor that delivers heating, air conditioning, and ventilation. The air handler, akin to a forced-air furnace without any burners, derives heat from hot water circulated through a fan coil. The HRV transfers 70 per cent of heat from warm exhaust air to fresh incoming cold air, improving indoor air quality and the ECM motor uses 75 per cent less electricity than a conventional furnace fan. Warm-air exhaust from bathrooms and the kitchen, usually vented outside, was directed back through the air handler.

The dual-purpose on-demand boilers (domestic hot wnnater and space heating) lent themselves well to radiant-heat flooring in the basement. “What came standard was the rough-in for radiant-heat flooring, and a lot of people elected to hook it up. The fact that a basement was warm and comfortable went a long way to reduce the amount of time that the clean-air furnace had to work to heat the space,” says Naccarato.

All mechanical system’s ducts were also sealed, as was anywhere there could possibly be air leakage. Under-slab rigid insulation (R10) was used under the basement, “which goes a long way with the heat and is not difficult to install. It’s just getting everybody on board. A key thing was making sure you had trades scheduled for certain times. It involved a lot more co-ordination,” he notes.

Domestic hot water preheats by Enerworks came standard in every house and “that worked well and went a long way to reduce gas consumption. There were some hiccups with it but we got it working well,” notes Naccarato. Naccarato says because the larger EcoLogic homes on 60-foot kits were penalized by LEED, solar-air preheat was implemented (solar panels on the roof were tied into ductwork and warmed air going to clean the air furnace).

Newmarket Wins Prestigious Sustainability Award

Newmarket recognized nationally for environmental subdivision

NEWMARKET, Ontario, June 1, 2010 – On Saturday, May 29, the Town of Newmarket received a CH2M HILL Sustainable Community Award from Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM), Newmarket was recognized for the Town’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Platinum certified subdivision.

The Sustainable Community Awards are open to municipalities and their private sector –partners for projects of national significance that demonstrate innovation, excellence and environmental responsibility. The Town of Newmarket and its partner, Rodeo Fine Homes, were recognized in the building category.

“This project was a big step forward in the environmental sustainability and preservation of our community and we are thrilled to be recognize on a national scale,” says Newmarket Mayor Tony Van Bynen. “This collaborative effort between the Town of Newmarket and Rodeo Fine Homes demonstrates the effectiveness of public and private sector partnerships and how these relationships benefit the community and the environment.”sustainability_award_photo

Newmarket’s 34-lot EcoLogin subdivision is the first subdivision is the first subdivision in Canada to receive LEED Platinum certification from the United States Green Building Council and the Canadian Green Building Council. Some of the advanced green features include rainwater collection to flush toilets and irrigate gardens, super insulation levels, draft-proofing, heat recovery for ventilation and drain water, high efficiency appliances and lighting, ultra low flow fixtures, sustainable harvested wood throughout, low Volatile Organic Compound (VOC) finishes, and solar panels for space and hot water heating.

“We decided early on in this project that we wanted to strive for LEED Platinum certification because it is the best of the best and we knew that if we were successful it would be the first subdivision of its kind in Canada,” says Vince Naccarato of Rodeo Fine Homes. “We hope that this project demonstrates that green building is possible in conventional neighbourhoods and that moving forward this becomes the norm rather than the exception.”

In order to lead the way for other municipalities and developers that are interested in creating this type on environmentally sustainable housing, a detailed manual has been created which outlines the steps that were taken to develop these innovative homes. The manual can be obtained by contacting the Town’s Building Department at 905-895-5193.

This is the second time in three years the Town of Newmarket has received a Sustainable Community Award. In 2009, Newmarket along with Aurora, East Gwillimbury, Georgina, King and Whitchurch-Stouffville was recognized in the waste management category for its collaborative was collection contract and implemented of the green bin program.

Over the past 10 years, the Federation of Canadian Municipalities’ (FCM) Green Municipal Fund (GMF) and CH2M HILL have been recognizing municipal governments across Canada with Sustainable Community Awards for leadership in environmental excellence and innovation in service delivery.

Along with environmental benefits, winning projects demonstrate the economic and social advantages of sustainable community development.