Durham Region


Durham Region in partnership with Tribute Communities, Natural Resources Canada (NRCan) and the Federation of Canadian Municipalities, is attempting to define a new standard in efficiency in new home construction. “Working with local builder, Tribute Communities, we are establishing a 88 home community, which will raise water and energy efficiency in new home construction”, reports Glen Pleasance, Water Efficiency Coordinator for Durham Regional Municipality in Ontario..

“We finally have for some hard numbers from our Efficient Community project. We've just passed the halfway point of the project monitoring, and  we are exceeding our expectations for water, electricity and  natural gas reductions. There will be be much more contextual information in the final report as well as the results from the residents meetings that will occur after the monitoring is completed at the end of September”, notes Glen Pleasance in providing a project overview.

According to Pleasance, “Sales began in February 2003, with occupancy beginning in August 2004. The following details how these homes’ water and energy efficiency will be upgraded. It will also focus on our broad partnerships, program implementation and water and energy efficiency targets.”

Indoors, features include dual flush (3 and 6 litre) toilets, 4L. pressure toilets and 6L. toilets, premium low flow showerheads, front load washers and dryers, efficient dishwashers and fridges The appliances are all ENERGY STAR® rated, except ranges as there is no ENERGY STAR rating as yet. Ranges are builder standard units.  Outdoor initiatives include xeriscape front gardens and lawn care education. In partnership with the builder, residents will also receive information on other indoor and outdoor water and energy efficiency opportunities.

There are efficient homes (88 Study Group) and ‘current standard’ (88) Control Group) in the same neighbourhood will be monitored for indoor and outdoor Water, Energy Use and Green House Gas reductions. Within each group of 88, 10 of each will be intensely sub-metered for one year. The other homes in each group will have the external water, gas and electricity meters read regularly for one year.

The sub-metered Study (10 homes) and Control (10 homes) will each have seven water sub-meters and six electricity sub-meters. The water sub-meters will measure front and rear outdoor faucets, water feeding the water heater, dishwasher (hot water meter), clothes washer (hot and cold water meters) and the whole home. The electricity sub-meters will be on the whole home, fridge, stove, dishwasher, clothes washer and clothes dryer.

Together, this monitoring will provide a cost benefit analysis for each efficiency initiative. This will enable the Region, the Builder, other program partners and homeowners to clearly see the benefits of each initiative when compared to the current standards. The results of this project will provide valuable information to other municipalities, homebuilders and potential home buyers. 

“The goal of this project is to establish new standards of water efficiency for low-density residential development”, concludes Glen Pleasance.

For more details on the project and the results to date, please click on this link to download the Interim Report on Durham Efficient Community,


Posted May 2007