Partners Development Group’s Innovative Partnership with Attainable Homes Delivers Two-Fold
There is widespread public concern as affordable housing stock continues to shrink in Canada. Extensive work is underway in the public and private sectors to address this complex social issue. Key industry associations, including the Canadian Home Builders’ Association, through their leadership, have worked with other housing associations, experts, and industry professionals to provide specific proposals and recommendations for the federal government’s development of the National Housing Strategy.
Recommendations also include climate change mitigation, which demonstrates the building industry’s contribution to Canada’s realization of its environmental goals and objectives. Delivering affordable homes that are also sustainably-built has been perceived as difficult, given the widespread perception that the two are not mutually compatible. The convergence of affordability and sustainability is, however, a fundamental consideration for the residential building industry.
Fortunately, there are success stories that highlight work being done to address these issues. Shining a spotlight on these successes contributes to, and helps to inform, new solutions. In Calgary, through a partnership between Attainable Homes Calgary Corporation and Partners Development Group, access to affordable and sustainable homes is improving—showing that sustainable building practices and affordability can go hand-in-hand.
Attainable Homes Calgary Corporation provides down payment assistance to moderate-income Calgarians, working to ensure the dream of homeownership can become a reality. A non-profit organization created and owned by The City of Calgary, they deliver entry-level homes to those caught in the city’s growing housing affordability gap. By connecting builders, developers, lenders, lawyers, and other resources, Attainable Homes can give qualified Calgarians the chance to own their home with a $2,000 down payment. For many, this program is life changing.
Partners Development Group, one of Calgary’s top BUILT GREEN® certified townhome builders, have completed over 1,300 multi-family projects in Southern Alberta. Their Arrive communities—from which a number of townhomes have been provided to the Attainable Homes program—are built utilizing energy-conscious building techniques, ‘green’ materials and practices, and new energy- and water-saving features, as part of their certification. Recently, this builder reached the milestone of completing 600 BUILT GREEN® Gold townhomes.
Facilitated through the Attainable Homes program, in early 2013, Partners turned over the keys to their first Attainable Homes’ homeowners in Skyview Ranch. Reflecting on this, Partners’ President and founder, Greg Gutek, says, “We saw the gratitude first-hand from regular people who might not have otherwise been able to be homeowners.” After that, the Partners’ team decided to commit approximately 10 per cent of their Calgary multi-family builds to the Attainable Homes program. As part of this commitment, Partners’ absorbs some of their building costs and overhead.
“We’re proud to say that we have provided 122 new, BUILT GREEN® certified Arrive townhomes to the Attainable Homes' program over these past five years—with more to follow.” Gutek says that in recent years, he’s been happy to see other quality builders partner with this worthy initiative.
To-date, their partnership has resulted in providing various townhomes from five Calgary developments being delivered through the Attainable Homes program; these include Arrive at Skyview Ranch, Arrive at Redstone, Arrive at Evanston, Arrive at Skyview Ranch Arbours, and most recently, Arrive at Bowness. Each development has quality attainable and market-priced townhomes.
Arrive at Bowness, their most recent development, features BUILT GREEN® two- and three-bedroom townhomes with nine foot ceilings; 2.5 bathrooms; laminate hardwood floors; kitchen island with eating bar; designer cabinets; stainless steel appliance package with EnergyStar™ front load washer and dryer; attached, heated garage; spacious decks; Low-E windows; heat recovery ventilators for clean air quality; 96 per cent high efficient furnaces; 100 per cent electric water heaters; and more. This development was built especially for Attainable Homes and 38 of the 50 townhomes built were sold through this socially responsible program.
“Partners Development Group’s commitment to delivering 10 per cent of their multi-family builds to the Attainable Homes program has contributed to an increase in affordable housing stock in Calgary. And certification with Built Green Canada has made these high-performance homes even more affordable through utility and maintenance savings, as well as mortgage insurance rebates,” says Built Green Canada’s Chief Executive Officer, Jenifer Christenson. “Their work in merging sustainable building and affordability shows tremendous leadership in advancing the needs of Calgarians and setting an example for others in the residential building industry.”
The BUILT GREEN® program these townhomes are certified through is holistic, with energy efficiency, integrating the EnerGuide label through Natural Resources Canada, as one focus among seven key areas of sustainable building: energy & envelope, materials & methods, indoor air quality, ventilation, waste management, water conservation, and business practices.