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May 01, 2019

Hope at Large - The sun is king

Solar power, energy efficiency still tops in Knightsbridge’s homes

Marty Hope

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Joe Starkman has never been shy about pushing the envelope when it comes to home design.


“We are not trying to change the world, we are just responding to a world that’s changing,” says the president of Knightsbridge Architecture and Construction in introducing the two latest housing ventures.

Knightsbridge was one of the founding builders of Built Green Alberta in 2005 and has always constructed to this higher standard, he says.

“With these new projects, Knightsbridge is focusing on even more energy efficiency,” says Starkman.

Spring Glen View Estates and SOL Discovery Solar Townhomes are located on Calgary’s desirable west end — and both feature solar panel technology as one of their many unique
elements.

The showhome for Spring Glen View Estates is the 1,963-square-foot IKAROS bungalow model — named for the Japanese spacecraft powered by solar sales to orbit the sun in
2010 — that has 32 solar panels.

Computer modeling provided by Knightsbridge solar provider Skyfire Energy shows the setup at the show home will generate approximately 12,300-kilowatt hours of electricity in
its first year.

“This is significant in that the average home in Calgary uses around 7,400-kilowatt hours of electricity per year — albeit the IKAROS is larger and will use more than the average,
perhaps up to double,” says Starkman.

“However, as you can monitor your electrical use, the educated homeowner will be able  to achieve a net-zero electrical consumption.”

Net-zero simply means the system produces as much energy as the house consumes on an annual basis.

The home is “super-insulated” and comes with triple-glazed windows, low-E glazing for windows and doors, LED lighting, and high-efficiency mechanical components.

The IKAROS home is situated on one of seven estate-sized cul de sac lots in the Springbank Hill area. Starkman says the “contemporary, funky-style” home has been designed for
a two- or three-child family whose bedrooms are on the lower level, and the master bedroom, with an island vanity, on the main floor. All bedrooms have their own ensuite.

“As the kids grow and leave, the parents don’t have to move from a house that is too big as their essentials — and an elevator — are contained on the main floor,” says Starkman.

The package of show home, lot, and landscaping is priced at $1.5 million.

Just a bit to the south and east of Spring Glen View Estates in the last phase of Discovery, Knightsbridge is the 47-townhouse project called SOL — Discovery Solar Townhomes.

There will be two models. The first is the SOL-18 measuring about 1,600 square-feet in either two- or three-bedroom layouts. The SOL-16 has two or three bedrooms across 1,320 square-feet.

“But both models come with six solar panels that, according to computer modelling will generate up to 40 per cent of the annual electrical requirements,” says Starkman.

The homes will come with two full baths and a half-bath, vinyl plank flooring and a single-car garage.

“Our key feature, though, is affordability. Preliminary pricing runs from the $360,000s to the $480,000s, plus GST,” says Starkman.

As well, the homes will  target two buyer groups: one is the active empty-nester couples or singles, downsizing and changing to a more leisure lifestyle and who have lived in the
west end and want to remain there, and the “older” millennials.

“This group is in their late  20s or early 30s and generally grew up on the west side and would love to live there again but can’t afford the resale single-family market. SOL Townhomes lets them into the market in Discovery or Sienna Hill where in five years or so they can move up to a single-family, if they wish,” Starkman says.

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