Trendsetter in sustainability

Trendsetter in sustainability

Sinclair Construction takes a collaborative stance to reinforce its reputation as an industry leader

Many builders talk the talk about sustainable strategies, but Sinclair Construction takes the discussion to a whole new level.

An early proponent of a more sustainable approach within the residential home building industry, Sinclair Construction actually reaches out to others, seeking a collaborative approach, which cements its status as an industry leader in LID (Low Impact Development).

“Sinclair Construction has embraced LID, energy efficiency and more sustainable housing,” says Dan Sinclair, Project Manager for the Kitchener-Waterloo-based company.

Family-owned, Sinclair Construction was founded by Warren Sinclair back in 1979. Its customer-centered approach, accented by a mark of excellence, reinforces its reputation as a builder that exceeds the standard and accentuates the details.

Sinclair Construction is known as a company that builds homes to last and believes that longevity starts with efficiency.

We don’t just comply with the energy efficient Ontario building code – we surpass it,” says Sinclair. “And this means when you own a Sinclair Construction home, you enjoy reduced operating and maintenance costs and a smaller carbon footprint.”

Over the past 36 years, Sinclair Construction has built several communities and more than 300 family homes.

Its current project, The Enclave at Victoria Hills in the town of Ingersoll, is the most recent example of a synergistic LID endeavor. Working in conjunction with the Upper Thames River Conservation Authority, Sinclair Construction has incorporated extensive rain gardens as a means of achieving storm water management through the promotion of infiltration and evaporation.

In a nutshell, LID is a storm water management approach that uses Best Management Practices (BMP) – small, simple designs and landscape features at the lot level to infiltrate, filter, store and evaporate and detain runoff close to its source. (BMPs can be used in new development, urban retrofits and redevelopment projects, on lawns, streets, sidewalks, medians, roofs and in parking lots.)

“By eliminating more traditional methods for storm water management we were able to avoid costly underground infrastructure and the installation of a storm water management (SWM) pond, therefore gaining more land on which to build more units,” Sinclair says, noting that The Enclave at Victoria Hills is on a peaceful neighbourhood street, and features condominium bungalow and two-storey townhomes.

The process at The Enclave at Victoria Hills project began with the existing streetscape.

Originally, Sinclair says, the site drained towards a street, in this case Ingersoll Street. After the installation, the runoff drained to the perimeter, and then either clockwise or counter-clockwise around the edge. The runoff then moves through a series of bioswales and rain gardens, towards two large rain gardens along Ingersoll Street.

Water is retained in the rain gardens before infiltrating into the soil. A perforated drain moves storm water that has been filtered by plants and soil on to the next rain garden. At the two largest rain gardens along Ingersoll Street, any water in the underdrain will flow at a controlled rate into the municipal storm water system.

Sinclair Construction also looked to industry experts for energy efficiency input.

“We worked collaboratively with Bowser Technical Inc., and Priority Mechanical Services Ltd. to ensure all homes in our project are built to the Energy Star standard, at a minimum, with most achieving higher EnerGuide ratings,” he added, noting that an Energy Star new home is, on average, 20 per cent more energy efficient than a home built to code.
“Both organizations (Bowser Technical Inc., and Priority Mechanical Services Ltd.) have provided valuable knowledge in helping us to select features to achieve these ratings, such as higher insulation values, better windows and water heaters, right-sized HVAC systems and increased air-tightness results.”

“We are looking forward to continuing to position ourselves as an industry leader in LID through the adoption of more sustainable building methods and technologies and also pursuing net-zero goals in upcoming projects.”

Sinclair Construction has consistently set the bar for new home builds in southwestern Ontario, participating in the Ontario Power Authority’s NEW HOME CONSTRUCTION initiative, which is designed to encourage home builders and renovators to construct energy-efficient homes. Sixteen per cent of the homes built in Ontario that have taken advantage of this initiative were built by Sinclair Construction. The homes surpassed the building code using energy-efficient materials and techniques to meet EnerGuide standards. The homes are more energy-efficient from the beginning, reducing waste and providing future savings for the homeowner. Additionally, Sinclair Construction has been the recipient of a residential sector ERTH award, which recognizes businesses that are committed to sustainability.

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