‘Green’ condo saves as it shelters

Thursday, April 1st, 2004

John Bermingham


Heather Birchard and Kimberly Cameron examine the ‘green’ condo’s living room.

CREDIT: Les Bazso, The Province

It’s the home West Coast yuppies dream about over caramel macchiatos.

The “Sustainable Condo” features hardwood floors made from salvaged wood, an indoor greenhouse for growing herbs and a dual-flush toilet to save water.

The “green” condo of the future was unveiled at the Globe 2004 eco-business show in Vancouver yesterday.

“It’s there to show consumers what the opportunities are for sustainable design to be incorporated in their lives,” said architect Peter Busby, whose firm designed the condo.

“Everything there is off the shelf and available today,” he said. “But we don’t have developers in Vancouver picking up on the idea that maybe people want a ‘green’ home.”

Among the 130 ideas packed into the condo are a washer/dryer that uses 10 per cent of the energy of a normal machine and a fridge that uses 11 per cent of the energy of a standard fridge.

“They look better, they’re nicer designed and you’re saving every month you use them,” Busby said.

There are solar panels in the bedroom that also save electricity.

The kitchen has special recycling containers under the folding workspace/table. In the bathroom, the dual-flush toilet uses three or four litres of water per use, compared with the six litres a typical toilet uses per flush. There’s also a low-flow showerhead.

“These places are healthier,” said Busby. “The carpet is so safe, you can eat it. The paints won’t give off poison that contaminates you.”

He said longtime West End residents have developed asthma from living for years in old apartment buildings with fraying carpets and poor ventilation.

“We should be building healthy environments and we know how to do that,” Busby said.

Many of these products will be featured in the city’s sustainable-condo development in southeastern False Creek and the 2010 Olympic village.

“We’re showing them, ‘Here are some examples of what you can do,'” said Busby.

While the solar panels are very expensive, condo-buyers could get most of the “green” features for two per cent more than the price of a typical condo.

“Their energy bill is going to go down by $500 a year,” he said.

“Every year it’s going to pay them back in lower operating costs.”

The sustainable condo will be on public view at this year’s Pacific National Exhibition and is also slated for Science World.

The condo will also be on view on the Internet at www.sustainablecondo.com — a website currently under construction.

© The Vancouver Province 2004

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