Our dream of building Silver Birch Village is moving forward!
We have successfully made an offer on a property. We are currently doing the due diligence necessary to finalize the land purchase and take one more step toward the completion of Silver Birch Village.
We have made other strides by incorporating as a not-for-profit development corporation – The Greater Sudbury Seniors Cohousing Development Corporation.
The function of that corporation is to be the development entity that actually designs and builds the community. Once complete, ownership will be transferred to the group’s operating structure.
The original intent was to have our ownership model as one of private-unit ownership andjoint (strata) ownership of land and common facilities – similar to condominium ownership.
We have moved away from that model for a few reasons:
First, the escalating cost of development and construction are making that model increasingly difficult to obtain. Member households were all intending to take the equity from their existing homes and use it to purchase their unit.
A second consideration is that there is more availability of funding for other models of affordable housing and a lack of any type of incentives or funding for privately owned / condo style property.
For these reasons, we have decided to adopt a cooperative housing model. The co-op will act as the mortgage or funding holder for the property, and the members will pay rent to the co-op.
The co-op will use that rent to cover mortgage costs, build a capital reserve fund, and cover operating expenses for the complex. For the members, it means that rather than invest their existing home equity into the purchase of a cohousing unit, they will retain that equity.
Our goal is to build a community together where we can grow older without the social isolation that plagues most seniors and affects their health and well being.
If you are interested in shaping a meaningful, community-based senior lifestyle and learning more, join us for our Introduction to Cohousing Zoom session on June 8th at 11:00. To register, contact email@example.com.
Our group is now at the stage where we will begin to focus some of our energy on the design process for our new homes. We have had some discussions about this, and as a whole the group knows that they want our Cohousing units to be attractive, functional, compact and energy efficient.
Our current approach for energy efficiency is to build to the Passivhaus Standard. This standard was first developed in Europe in the early 1990s, and has grown in popularity worldwide. There are now tens of thousands of homes, schools and commercial buildings that have been constructed as Passivhaus buildings.
There are five main features of all Passivhaus buildings:
Super-insulated Envelopes The quantity of insulation in floors, walls and roofs is much higher than in conventional construction. Insulation levels are two to three times the levels called for in our current building codes. Walls in our area of the country would typically be 20″ to 24″ thick.
Airtight Construction Much of the heat lost from a conventional home is the result of air leakage. Air that can move in our out of the building through cracks, gaps and improperly sealed air barriers can waste heat and cause drafts and moisture problems. A Passivhaus building will be two to three times more airtight than homes built to standards like R2000.
High Performance Doors and Windows Doors and windows are chosen for their high levels of air-tightness and insulation. Windows are triple-glazed with argon or krypton filled spaces between panes of glass to reduce heat loss.
No Thermal Bridges Thermal bridges are the construction details that have solid materials that join the inside and outside of your home. Those details allow heat to “wick” its way from the heated inside space o the cold outside. Careful details in Passivhaus construction eliminate these sources of heat loss.
Heat Recovery Ventilation Living in a house built to high air-tightness standards means we need to ensure proper ventilation to remove stale air and moisture; and to replace that air with fresh outside air. This is done by continuously exhausting inside air to the outside. At the same time, fresh air is continuously drawn into the home. This may seem like an energy-waster, but this process is done using a Heat Recovery Ventilator, which extracts the heat from the air we are exhausting and moves it to the cool outside air we are bringing in. Modern heat recovery ventilators can recover 90% of the heat that would normally have been wasted.
What are the Benefits?
Low Heating Load and Operating Costs Homes built to the Passivhaus standard are 80% to 90% more efficient than standard construction. Passivhaus homes are so efficient that they do not require a furnace, boiler or other heating system. The only heat source required to keep your home comfortable is the heat generated by you, your appliances and the sun that shines in your windows. The backup heating system for very cold weather is usually a tiny electric baseboard heater that uses about the same energy as a hair dryer.
Eco Friendly and Sustainable As our world grapples with the issue of climate change and fossil fuel consumption, we welcome the opportunity to be part of the solution rather than contributing to the problem.
Comfort The Passivhaus standard results in a home that is free from drafts and temperature swings.
Excellent Air Quality Continuous ventilation and heat recovery means that we will have much better air quality in our homes. Indoor pollutants, moisture and humidity and cooking odours are quickly removed and replaced with fresh air.
Quiet The high levels of insulation and quality windows and doors; and the high standards for fans and ventilations equipment mean that the inside space will be very quiet.
Resilience Worried about extended power failures? A house built to Passivhaus standards will remain comfortable, even if power or fuel supplies are interrupted for extended periods of time
What a great turnout at both our Public Information Session on June 19th and yesterday’s first full-day workshop: “Cohousing- An Option for You!”
After a full day of talking about the concept of cohousing and the realities of aging in our current situation we have more than doubled our interested and committed members!
We will repeat the sessions in the fall when everybody is home from holidays but hope to have enough engagement (we are suggesting 12 households) by the end of the year so that more serious planning can start.
Where will it be? What will it look like? What will we do to build “intentional community? “
We have a launched an exciting journey. You should think about joining us!
Dates and locations are now confirmed for both our information session and our one-day workshop.
A perfect time to get general information about Cohousing, to meet the group or to find out a little more about our plans for the project. The session will be open and informal, with lots of opportunity to ask questions and connect with others interested in Cohousing.
Place: McEwen School of Architecture Room SA122 (first floor) When: Wednesday June 19, 2019 at 6:30 pm
A deeper dive into aging, aging strategies and planning ahead, and how Cohousing may be a good option for dealing with that.
Place: McEwen School of Architecture Room SA122 (first floor) When: Thursday June 20, 2019 10:00 am to 4:00 pm
Resource materials and lunch provided. Cost $35.00 per person Facilitator: Janet Gasparini
It is important that you pre-register so that we know how many people are attending, and we know how much food to bring in.
If you are able to pay the $35.00 per person workshop fee by email transfer, you can send it to firstname.lastname@example.org. The funds will transfer to Debbie Munn, who is acting as our bookkeeper/treasurer.
Otherwise you’re welcome to pay the day of the event (cash or cheque only)
Either way, please be sure to register to let us know that you’re planning on attending.
Want to learn a bit more about Cohousing? Have questions about the proposed project in Sudbury? Mark your calendars for the following events.
General Information Meeting Wednesday June 19 at 6:30 PM to 8:00 PM McEwen School of Architecture – Elm Street and Elgin Street Come in the front doors on Elm Street and look for signs to find the session
This will be an informal meet and greet and information session with lots of opportunity to ask questions. We’ll be explaining our vision for the project, and answering questions on Cohousing in general.
Workshop on Aging Strategies and Cohousing Thursday June 20 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM School of Architecture – Elm Street and Elgin Street Come in the front doors on Elm Street and look for signs to find the session Includes supplies, resources and lunch Cost: $35.00
This will be a much more detailed look at aging, aging strategies and how Cohousing might be a solution for many older adults.
Introducing Cohousing – a plan for now and the future
Aging Out Strategy – the realities of growing older in our current environment
Economics and Options – cost considerations in our future
Building Intentional Community – an antidote to social isolation
We’ll be providing information shortly on how to sign up and to reserve a spot. Stay tuned.
We’re also considering repeating this workshop on a weekend for those who may not be able to attend on a weekday. If this is something you’d like to see, please contact us and let us know.
A great article by Brian Iler and Claudio Pedrero about the Senior Cohousing model and possible legal models for development. Originally prepared for the Ontario Bar Association’s Real Property Law & Elder Law program on March 22, 2019