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June 5, 2018

Little things make big impact for the environment

When it comes to developing affordable housing, industry representatives and experts in London, Ontario agree: We need to think Green.

Yossi Lavie is a community-focused housing developer based in London, Ontario. Yossi has built dozens of projects during his career, and he’s collaborated with public and private partners on many affordable housing developments.

Yossi’s latest project, a 69-unit apartment building in downtown London, incorporates a variety of energy-efficient building techniques and materials. From framing materials to the choice of boiler, no stone has been left unturned in an effort to reduce costs.

“In the long run, it’s beneficial to everybody to be more efficient,” says Yossi.

The final product will boast a 45% reduction in energy savings and 35% reduction in CO2 emissions beyond minimal standards.

By being environmentally conscious, Yossi is saving money on development costs while also creating savings for future tenants.

“Everything comes down to cost,” he says.

Tim Zavitz, the framing supplier for the project, agrees. Tim has worked on a wide variety of projects during his almost 20-year career and has learned a lot about energy-efficient construction. He agrees with Yossi and says the energy-efficient approach saves everybody money in the end.

“We try to help out as much as we can,” says Tim, knowing how far the savings will go.

Staff at the Housing Development Corporation, London, support and fund affordable rental housing projects that are environmentally conscious.

“It results in savings for the proponent and savings for the residents,” says Isabel da Rocha, Program and Business Manager for the municipal special purpose business corporation.

“We always push trying to exceed the minimum standards.”

The development at 356 Dundas Street is a unique build. The site of the project — between 2 existing buildings — initially posed an interesting challenge for the team. The building had to be erected in phases to ensure enough room for equipment and materials. This has resulted in an opportunity, however, since using existing infrastructure and utility connections is an environmentally conscious approach to construction.

“This is about as challenging a job as it gets,” says Tim.

The 6-storey building is also among the first in London to take advantage of building code changes that allow wood structures over 4 storeys. By using wood, a more sustainable material, the impact on the environment is reduced, further promoting the environmental friendliness of the development.

When it comes to the environment, it’s not always about the splashy technologies, according to Yossi. The sum of all of his efforts is greater than the parts.

“It’s about the little things,” he says. “That’s how we are trying to help.”

This project received funding from Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation and the Government of Ontario through the Canada–Ontario Investment in Affordable Housing Agreement. Funds were also provided by the City of London through Housing Development Corporation, London.