Category Archives: Green Living Series


Buy A Net Zero Home & Drive a Prius… On US!!!

 When we launched New Brunswick’s first two “Net Certified” homes last year, we were pretty excited about the potential energy savings in these homes.  Now, 1 year into the project, our own Pierre Martell has gotten used to Net Zero living.  He and his family have been living in one of our Net Zero Homes and the proof is in the pudding!  In the run of a year, this home has absolutely generated as much power as the Martell family has consumed.

The Martell Residence, at 200 MacCoun Street, is currently FOR SALE… and we want to help the new owners reduce their carbon footprint even further.   If you’re not into high power bills, we figure you’re not into high gas bills either.  That’s why we’ve come up with this exciting offer.

If you purchase 200 MacCoun before December 31, 2012, we will cover the cost of a Toyota Prius* for 1 year!!!

You can see more of the awesome features of this home in this informational video.

Want to see this home in person?? Come by our open house :

Saturday, October 20 from 2-4pm

Sunday, October 21 from 2-4pm

Or call for a private showing:

Ryan: 962-7926

Natalie: 232-1276

 

*We will subsidize lease payments on a Toyota Prius for up to $330.00/month for 1 year.

Living Green: Lawn Care

Interested in changing some lawn care habits to help the environment and your pocketbooks? Here are 5 great ways to start living green!

 

1. Pour with Care! – Gasoline can be very damaging to the soil of your lawn not to mention the creatures that come in contact with it. So, when you’re pouring gas into your lawnmower take your time. All too often we’re trying to be quick and we end up spilling gas everywhere which is wasteful and potentially very harmful. We recommend investing in a funnel or a gas canister with one built in to help you control the gas as you pour!

2. Don’t Water the Sidewalk – We talked about this in our Living Green: Conserve Thy Water post but we wanted to say it again, don’t water the sidewalk! It’s very wasteful of our water resources to be spraying the lawn so be extra careful where you place that sprinkler the next time you go to give your lawn a drink!

3.  Get Reel About Mowing – You may have never considered a Reel Mower before but this handy tool will help dramatically reduce the negative impact that your lawn care has on the environment. This tool is run totally by you, no gas and no electricity. Look at it this way, by using a reel mower you’re trimming your lawn, saving the environment, and getting a workout all in one! Now that’s a win.

4. Downsize – A bigger lawn means more work which usually means more resources. Consider investing in a smaller lawn the next time you’re home-shopping. Remember, there are always parks and public spaces if you’re concerned about having the space you need.

5. Eco Landscaping – It may seem strange but there are ways to design your lawn that will make your home more ecologically friendly. For example, deciduous trees can be planted to the south or west of your home to shade the building and lower air conditioning costs. Shrubs can also be planted around the foundation to help insulate your home and keep that heat in! For more info check out this article!

Interested in other ways to live green? Check out our other blogs:

Living Green: Conserve Thy Water

Living Green: Laundry

Living Green: Conserve Thy Water

Living a green life is about more than just saving money, it’s about minimizing as much as possible our negative impact on the environment around us. At Martell Home Builders this idea is more than just words, it’s action and we want to empower you to action as well. Besides purchasing a net-zero home (which you can definitely do!) there are other ways that you can minimize that negative impact.

 

In our first installment of the living green series we talked about how to live green in the way you wash laundry (check out that post here). Today, we want to talk water. In a Country covered in fresh water lakes, ponds, and streams, we often don’t fully appreciate how lucky we are to have access to clean water. By being intentional in our efforts to conserve water we are both ensuring a ‘moist’ future for our children and also expressing solidarity with those around the world that are less fortunate than we. So, without further ado, here are our top 10 tips on how to conserve water in your home!

1. Turn off that Tap! – We’ve all heard this one before (or at least should have) but turning of the tap while you’re brushing your pearly white teeth is a great step towards water conservation. You don’t need to hear a waterfall while you brush!

2. Don’t Flush Unnecessarily – Instead of flushing that kleenex away, just put it in the garbage and save water.

3. Basin, Not Tap – Wash your fruits and veggies in a basin or bowl instead of under a running tap.

4. Brick in the Tank – If you have a large toilet tank but a displacer inside of it to save water.

5. Brita in the Fridge– If you keep a jug of cold water in the fridge it will keep you from running it (until it goes cold) the next time you want a glass

6. Don’t Water the Road– Position your sprinkler so non of the water is getting wasted by watering roads, driveways, etc.

7. Big Close Drops –  Set your sprinkler or hose to dispense big close drops. A mist will likely be wasteful since a lot of it blows away!

8. Check– Check those valves and pipes for cracks and leaks

9. Long Lawn – Set your lawn mower to a high setting – longer grass = more shade = less evaporation!

10. Fish Food – Use your old fish tank water (when you’re switching it) to water your plants!

Check out more tips (100 to be exact) here!

 

Living Green: Laundry

Living an environmentally conscious life helps you to contribute to the sustainability of the environment and can also mean savings for you and your family (as your trim down on electricity usage, reuse items, and reduce the amount of waste that you create). This summer the Martell team wants to help you save money and save the environment! To do so, we’ll be bringing to you, throughout the summer, a number  of ways that you can make your home and your life more eco friendly.

 

Stop. It’s laundry time.

Doing laundry can be time consuming, money consuming, and energy consuming. Here are some great (and sometimes common sense) tips on how to get your clothes clean without breaking the bank (or the ozone layer). Remember, you may roll your eyes at some of the more “well known” tips but it’s never bad to be reminded that little changes can make a big change!

 

  1. Dry Those Clothes Outside, Silly! It’s summer which means the sun is shinning and it’s the perfect time to hang your clothes out to dry. Dyers use up so much energy that this quick (and easy) switch will help you save watts and wadds (of cash, that is).
  2. Turn Down the Heat – You may be noticing a bit of a theme here but heating things with electricity is expensive and sometimes wasteful. Turn your washing machine to “cold water” to save electricity that would have been spent heating the water .
  3. Use Eco Friendly Detergent – It may be a bit more of an investment but using natural detergents can will reduce your negative impact on the environment. Even making your own can be a great way to do your part.
  4. Reuse the Bottle – Instead of throwing out that detergent bottle why not turn it into something new! One way to reuse it is to (after rinsing it out) punch some holes in the lid and use it as a watering can for your garden! Check out this example from Pinterest:

5. Measure – We’ve all done it. You’re pouring out the detergent into the cap and one way or another it gets spilled.. or you pour in way too much. This not only creates a mess but it also means that your’re wasting the detergent that you paid for (and the more you have to buy it the more bottles you have, the more waste!). So, next time you’re pouring make sure there are no distraction and ALWAYS measure! (Hint: if you’re bad at measuring, like me, try out Dizolve pre-measured laundry sheets!)

Martell Home Builders Honored To Receive The Premier’s Award For Energy Efficiency

Our own Pierre Martell was on hand at the Fredericton Convention Center for the NB Premier Awards for Energy Efficiency last week.  Martell Home Builders was the proud recipient of the Premier Award For Energy Efficiency in the category of New Construction residential.

Earlier this year, we launched our ECOmmunity at Sterling Meadows in Moncton and qualified for the first Net Zero incentives offered in the Province.

Thank you to Efficiency New Brunswick for this fantastic honor.

Put Money In Your Pocket: See Moncton’s First EcoPlusHomes

Money In Your Pocket

“Join us this Sunday and step inside our first EcoPlusHomes in Moncton”

– Pierre Martell

Sunday August 21 from 1:00 to 4:00 p.m. Sterling Meadows development on MacCoun Street, just off the old Shediac Road in Moncton

This Sunday we’re excited to host a special event with launching the province’s first ECOmmunity – featuring two EcoPlusHomes constructed by our team in the past couple of months.

From 1pm until 4pm, visitors will be able to tour the homes and talk with industry representatives about the energy efficiencies and how they literally put money in your pocket as a homeowner.

The high EnerGuide scores of 93 or greater, have earned each home a $7,500 energy efficiency incentive rebate – the maximum available from Efficiency New Brunswick for new-home construction.

These carbon-conscious homes can save their owners $3,500 in energy costs and reduce green house gases by more than 80% each year – and that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Resale values for EcoPlusHomes should also be accelerated as North American energy costs continue to rise in the years to come.

Depending on your energy-use habits, these homes can also help pay down your mortgage faster than if you build or buy a home with conventional energy efficiency standards.

Each of the Sterling Meadows EcoPlusHomes is constructed using two airtight modular sections in partnership with Fredericton-based Maple Leaf Homes. The home itself is powered by a network of integrated renewable energy sources from Bosch of Germany – helping to redefine the future of sustainable homebuilding.

As Pierre Martell points out, “Depending on the energy consumption habits of its eventual owners, Moncton’s EcoPlusHomes have the potential to be “net-zero” – meaning their photovoltaic solar panels generate at least as much electricity as the homes and their occupants consume.”

Axel Lerche, President of EcoPlusHomes has worked directly with Martell Home Builders to ensure these homes exceed industry standards while remaining affordable and accessible, to the public and the eco-conscious developer.

“It is our sincere hope that citizens, developers and municipalities across North America will look to the EcoPlusHomes in Moncton’s Sterling Meadows as a meaningful, practical example of how best to meet the growing demand for cost and energy-efficient housing that reduces electrical demand and green house gas emissions, and saves people money.” said Lerche.

The Martell Home Builders ECOmmunity will be open for public tours from 2-4 pm every Sunday beginning August 21, 2011. For a private tour please contact Natalie Davison at 506-232-1276 or natalie@themartellexperience.com.

For general information contact:

Natalie Davison, Martell Home Builders

506-232-1276

natalie@themartellexperience.com

Save 75% or More on Your Energy Bills with an EcoPlusHome

EcoPlus-Blog2Join us on August 21st from 1-4pm to learn how you can reduce your energy costs and carbon emissions when you buy an EcoPlusHome at Sterling Meadows.

The first two EcoPlusHomes at Sterling Meadows are projected to save their owners 75% or more on their energy bills for electricity, heating, cooling and hot water than if the houses had only been built to code with lower energy efficiency (e.g. EnerGuide rating of just 69). In addition, annual projected green house gas emissions are expected to be at least 80% lower – the equivalent of taking three cars off the road each year.

With energy prices increasing every year and supply in question, these savings are compelling enough to take a closer look.

The buzzword in sustainable home construction is net-zero housing … a house that provides owners with the opportunity to use less energy than it generates. In other words, zero energy consumption from the power grid which translates into huge savings!

While “living off the grid” conjures up images of a modest dwelling beside a lake in the woods, inhabited by granola-eating tree-huggers, a net-zero home is a game changer in the sense that it offers a comfortable and viable living option that is suited for living in suburbia.

The net-zero concept depends on two key elements: the energy efficiency/generating capacity of the home, and the energy consumption patterns of the homeowners. With the potential of an EcoPlusHome, homeowners with the desire to save money and the planet can now be closer than ever to living a net-zero lifestyle within their own four walls depending on how much energy they choose to consume.

It is important to note that EcoPlusHome energy consumption, energy cost savings, and green house gas emission data are calculated using Natural Resources Canada official statistics for an average family of four (two adults, two children). These statistics also assume the EcoPlusHome uses compact fluorescent lighting and EnergyStar rated appliances.

Using advanced alternative energy solutions by Bosch, Martell Home Builders – in partnership with EcoPlusHome and Maple Leaf Homes – are building two EcoPlusHomes at Sterling Meadows (off the Old Shediac Road) with pre-construction EnerGuide ratings of 93 out of 100.

The Martell EcoPlusHome is the premier energy-efficient home on the Moncton market with a payback on a homeowner’s investment being realized in as little as five years depending on the homeowner’s energy consumption habits (and that’s based on today’s power rates).

Knowing that an investment in an EcoPlusHome will pay for itself by allowing you to continue saving on energy costs while increasing the eventual resale value of your home – which home would you choose to build or buy?

We are very excited about this project.  Please plan to come out to see it for yourself on August 21st.

An Introduction to Sustainable Building

Sustainable Building - Green Home Construction

A couple weeks ago we introduced you to net-zero energy homes (NZEH) by explaining what these homes are and what the benefits of building/owning a NZEH are. If you haven’t yet had the chance to check this article out, you can do so here: An Introduction to Net-Zero Energy Homes. Now, here’s a look at green building, which can also be referred to as green construction or sustainable building.

We recently had the opportunity to interview Patrick Reardon, a sustainability advocate and owner of Botan Construction Inc., which specializes in green construction methods.

Martell Home Builders (MHB): What is sustainable building?

Patrick Reardon (PR): Building sustainably is considering the materials and methods used in order to build a building that is durable, reduces our requirements on energy and water, and is healthy for its occupants. It does not use materials that are laden with chemicals and VOC’s (volatile organic compounds). It considers the lifecycle of the building from cradle to grave. It considers the overall energy requirements for construction including transportation, manipulation of materials. It’s enhanced with natural lighting, and using the sun for solar heat gain and learning how to harness this energy passively.

MHB: Are there any financial benefits to green building?

PR: The long term benefits of green building are undeniable. The payback period for green building can be anywhere between ten to twenty years but people are starting to realize that these enhancements add value to these buildings and people are willing to pay for it. Savings over the lifetime of a home could be sixty to ninety percent compared to the average home. Implementing solar panels can even be a source of income. Homes that have LEED or Pasive Haus designation rely on less energy than the typical home and that could result in substantial savings for the home owner over the ownership period of their home.

MHB: What is LEED?

PR: LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) is a certification system that considers all aspects of green building and provides a quantifiable rating platform for sustainable constructions.

MHB: What kind of support is out there for those wishing to implement green building?

PR: As awareness increases people are seeing the value of green building. They realize the benefits many are looking exclusively for builders who are well-versed in sustainable building practice. With time we’ll see that this will no longer be a niche market but the norm as municipalities implement changes in their building codes to reflect these required changes.

MHB: What is the latest and greatest in green construction technology?

PR: Some of the best technologies are technologies that have existed for hundreds of years. Green roofs, for example, have been around for centuries in northern Scandinavia but have only really gained momentum here in North America as recently as the mid to late nineties. On the modern technological side, we’re making great advances in capturing solar and wind energies with products that are more efficient and less costly than ever before.

MHB: Patrick, thank you for taking the time to discuss sustainable building with us.

You can learn more about Patrick and Botan Construction by visiting greenconstruction.ca.

More on Green Construction

Hey MHB fans, do you have questions about green home construction? Is there a topic you’d like to see us cover on the blog? Leave a comment below to let us know!

Eco-Friendly Homes with Uber-Cool Designs

Green Home(Image Credit)

There are some green homes out there that are … well, way “out there” in terms of design. On the other hand, there are eco-friendly homes that look really cool, which proves that you don’t need to sacrifice style for sustainability.

Home for Life

Home for Life by AART

AART Home for Life

The above home is a zero-energy home; it was created by Danish architects AART and has been dubbed Home for Life. Here’s what they have to say about this awesome green architecture:

Home for Life is a self-sufficient and CO2-neutral demonstration project and thanks to 7m2 solar collectors, 50m2 solar cells and a solar heat pump the house produces more energy than it consumes. With an energy surplus of 9kWh/m2/year it takes approximately 40 years for the house to generate the same amount of energy that was used to produce its building materials and at that point the house will have returned more to nature than it consumed.

To read more about Home for Life and to see more photos, visit the Dagens Design website.

Low-Impact Home Design

Case Design Home

Case Design Home Interior

This green home was developed by Case Design & Project Management. Here’s how the architects describe this home:

Situated on a generous, flat, in-city lot, the home features Solar Pre-heating, Radiant Floor Heat, Advanced Framing, Rainwater Harvesting, Cellulose Insulation, Rainscreen siding, and is Close to Public Transit.

To see more stylish green architecture by Case Design, check out their website.

Cliff House

Cliff House by Altius Architecture

Cliff House Interior by Altius Architecture

This breathtaking off-grid home was designed by Altius Architecture. To fully appreciate the beauty of this home – without actually visiting the property and seeing it with your own eyes – check out the full description and several photos the Altius Architecture website provides. Here’s a snippet of what they say:

Designed for an off-grid property, this cottage will feature a hybrid wood/solar radiant heating system with propane backup. Evacuated tube solar arrays will fill mass store tanks that feed a hydronic radiant floor system. This system will supplement a passive gain and solar mass strategy. Summer cooling is through solar shading and passive stack effect ventilation. A series of photovoltaic panels provides the buildings on the property with electricity. Large overhangs control the solar gain while green roofs mediate temperatures and control runoff.

Modular Homes

Pre-fab (prefabricated) or modular homes are eco-friendly and cost-effective. To see several photographs of some amazing modular homes, check out our blog post called Coolest Modular Homes from Around the World.

Container Homes

These eco-friendly homes are becoming more and more popular as housing costs rapidly increase and people become increasingly aware of the environmental footprint they’re leaving. Container homes have several benefits, including affordability, durability, sustainability, the ease of expanding and relocating, and the speed of construction. Additionally, container homes don’t need to look scrappy and unattractive; on the contrary, these homes can be impressively designed. Check out our blog post called The Benefits of Container Homes to see some photos and learn more.

More Green Architecture

Have you come across an architect’s website or seen some really cool-looking green homes? Leave a comment to share your findings!

An Introduction to Net-Zero Energy Homes

Net-Zero Energy Home

(Image Source)

Do you know what a net-zero energy home (NZEH) is or what the benefits of building/owning a NZEH are?

NZEH … with emphasis on the “EH”

Eh? So you’ve heard people talk about net-zero energy homes, NZEH for short, but you’re still left scratching your head wondering what the heck these homes are. Sure, you can make some sort of assumption based on its name, but if you’re still wondering what exactly the term means, here’s an explanation from ZeroEnergyHousing.org:

“Zero Energy Housing (ZEH) is a term applied to a house or residential development that produces as much energy from renewable sources at it consumes on an annualized basis. The Zero Energy Housing project focuses on grid-tied developments that both draw energy as required and feed excess energy back into the grid for others to use.”

In other words, net-zero energy homes are built to utilize green technologies which make it possible to harvest energy on location which can then be distributed to others to use.

What are these green technologies?

The technologies that a net-zero energy home incorporates include:

  • Passive solar
  • Solar domestic hot water
  • Solar electricity, also called photovoltaic (PV)
  • GeoExchange technology

For a detailed look at these technologies, check out the Net-Zero Energy Home Coalition website.

The benefits

Although net-zero energy homes have a higher initial cost of building, there are numerous advantages to building/owning a NZEH. According to Wikipedia, these benefits include:

  • isolation for building owners from future energy price increases
  • increased comfort due to more-uniform interior temperatures (this can be demonstrated with comparative isotherm maps)
  • reduced requirement for energy austerity
  • reduced total cost of ownership due to improved energy efficiency
  • reduced total net monthly cost of living
  • improved reliability – photovoltaic systems have 25-year warranties – seldom fail during weather problems – the 1982 photovoltaic systems on the Walt Disney World EPCOT Energy Pavilion are still working fine today, after going through 3 recent hurricanes
  • extra cost is minimized for new construction compared to an afterthought retrofit
  • higher resale value as potential owners demand more ZEBs than available supply
  • the value of a ZEB building relative to similar conventional building should increase every time energy costs increase
  • future legislative restrictions, and carbon emission taxes/penalties may force expensive retrofits to inefficient buildings

Would you pay to save?

What do you think about net-zero energy homes? The Net-Zero Energy Home Coalition’s vision statement says “All new home construction meeting a Net-Zero Energy Home Standard by 2030.” Do you think this will happen or do you think that’s being a little overly optimistic? Leave a comment to share your thoughts!

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