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SEAN partners with Enbridge Sustain on Barrie development

The development will aim for Energy Star and net-zero ready certifications.

IMAGE: SEAN's Barrie development
An aerial view of the Veteran's Road development in Barrie. (Courtesy SEAN)

Green homebuilder SEAN has unveiled the development of a 73-unit townhome and condo community in Barrie, Ont., with a geothermal system for heating and cooling designed, built and operated by Enbridge Sustain.

The two-acre development, nicknamed ‘Rainwater’ and located at 339 and 341 Veterans Drive, will aim for Energy Star and net-zero ready certifications. It is to be complete in 2024.

Enbridge Sustain is an energy-as-a-service company launched by Enbridge Inc. (ENB-T) in December, offering clean energy solutions to homeowners, developers and commercial customers in Ontario.

“Enbridge Sustain is one of the driving forces here, one of the things that really helped to make this a reality. We give them a tremendous amount of credit for being fantastic partners,” Sean Martin, SEAN’s marketing manager, told SustainableBiz.

“They've taken on the upfront capital costs for the project that made installing geothermal a realistic solution for us. So without that partnership, I don't know that this could have come to fruition.”

SEAN, also based in Barrie, has designed and built over 1,000 Energy Star and net-zero ready homes in the city. The Veterans Drive development is the company’s first mid-rise project.

SEAN and Enbridge Sustain

SEAN previously worked with Enbridge Sustain on a solar installation at 829 Essa Road. An Enbridge representative told BarrieToday that SEAN was Enbridge Sustain’s first partnership.

Enbridge Sustain also offers solar photovoltaic, hybrid heating and electric vehicle (EV) charging solutions.

At Veterans Drive, 35 townhomes will use geothermal for hot water as well as HVAC, while 38 condos will use geothermal solely for HVAC. 

According to a release on the development, geothermal systems can save up to 60 per cent on heating costs and up to 50 per cent on cooling costs. It also states that geothermal systems are 300 to 400 per cent more efficient compared to conventional heating sources.

While moving ahead with the development the partnership has faced some challenges.

“The City of Barrie is incredibly conservative on how deep they allow you to drill. And so what I'm told by Enbridge, (most cities) will allow drilling 850 to 1,000 feet deep, Barrie will only let us go 390 feet,” Sean Mason, SEAN’s vice-president sales, land acquisition, marketing and sustainability initiatives, said. 

“So therefore, you can only get so many drill holes in a certain area, which is frustrating.”

Other sustainability features

According to Mason, the building will use about 40 per cent less energy than a typical condo.

“On the townhouses, they are net-zero ready. They use fibreglass, low-solar heat gain windows, we use outboard or exterior insulation,” Mason said. “We're using AeroBarrier to make the houses really airtight. We're building panels for the town off-site, so it's more efficient.”

SEAN is also using ground source heat pumps instead of running gas into the units. However, there is gas in the condo building “because we saw the design too late to be able to accommodate the big boilers in the basement.”

Other sustainability features in the development include solar shading devices, biophilic balconies, a SmartONE home system, LED lights, cross-laminated timber, optional EV charging stations and solar panels.

The solar shading refers to a decorative awning on the majority of the south and west-facing windows that are not covered by a balcony. The biophilic element of the balconies is achieved by planter boxes SEAN has included for tenants.

Consideration was also given to the roads in the development.

“The site is designed with a six metre road, of which 1.5 meters of that is permeable pavement,” Mason explained. “So in every driveway, in every road, there is a permeable area for stormwater.”

It's “one of the most important things you can do on a site like this,” Mason stressed.

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