Gold Seal Commits to Built Green Platinum for 2012

For 2012, Gold Seal Homes will register every home we build with the Built Green program at the Platinum level.  What does this mean for our consumers?  They will be assured of the highest level of energy efficiency, comfort and health of any builder in our area.  For more information on Built green or the Platinum checklist requirements view the link below:

Why Built Green?

Efficient and Affordable

  • You can save up to 10% on your CMHC mortgage as a new home buyer. For more information, visit the CHMC website.
  • Buying an energy-efficient home or making energy-saving renovations can offer big savings in terms of operating costs.1

An Environmental Solution

  • Since 2002, Built Green Canada has built homes that have saved 50% of energy usage and reduced over 100,000 tons of CO2 emissions;2
  • Built Green Canada has saved over 5 Million liters of water since 2002.3

Sustainable and Durable

  • A BUILT GREEN® certified home is guaranteed to last with minimal impact on the environment.

Improved Comfort and Health

  • Improved indoor air quality and humidity control;
  • A healthy, clean, quiet indoor environment.

BUILT GREEN® Checklist

The Built Green checklist is a list of “green” criteria. It includes an energy efficiency requirement, and a menu of options in categories, addressing a range of “green” items from which the builder can select to meet the Bronze, Silver, Gold and Platinum achievement levels.

Certification Levels

Built Green Canada recognizes its homes based on the criteria of the checklist described above, which will categorize its members into 4 levels of Green achievement: Bronze, Silver, Gold and Platinum.
Built Green supports the use of lumber and gives a significant number of points for lumber use. Only products that have been submitted for verification can be approved, and are then certified by Built Green Canada. To view a selection of products within the checklist categories below, view our Product Catalogue.

1This is dependent upon the home owner taking responsibility for their energy consumption; following instructions on how to use their furnace correctly; changing their furnace filter regularly; and ensuring that all other operational systems or maintained regularly.
2These numbers are based on an aggregate of homes built between 2007 and 2010 in Alberta.
3These numbers are also based on the same aggregate of homes built between 2007 and 2010 in Alberta.

Pink Shirt Day Campaign in Carstairs

Join us and show your support for a safer community by WEARING PINK on Wednesday February 29!

The Vision 4 Non-Violence Project Committee along with staff of the Towns of Carstairs & Didsbury, & Cremona, as well as students and staff of Hugh Sutherland School, Westglen, Didsbury High School, and Cremona will be wearing pink on Wednesday, February 29 ,2012 in support of “Pink Shirt Day’.

“Pink Shirt Day” began a  “Sea of Pink” campaign against bullying in schools in 2007 when two Nova Scotia students decided to take action in support of fellow student being harassed by bullies for wearing pink. They bought and supplied pink t-shirts for fellow schoolmates to wear to school the following day and word spread quickly via texts and emails etc, and hundreds of students showed up the next day at school wearing pink. As result “there’s been nary a peep from the bullies since” stated the action twosome, as a clear and loud message was received by the ‘would be’ bullies.

Since then, a tsunami of support has spread as “Pink Shirt Days” are being held in schools and communities all across North America. 

Read more about sea of pink:

High demand for Calgary condo project

Tribeca half sold after VIP sales event

By Mario Toneguzzi, Calgary Herald

CALGARY — Here’s another sign of the rejuvenation of Calgary’s new residential condominium market.

Bucci Living sold half of the units at Tribeca, a low-rise condominium development in the southwest Mission neighborhoods, on its first day of sales and before the development has officially launched to the public, after receiving twice the target number of expected registrants for a recent VIP pre-sale event.  The company said the “huge” interest in the development is because of the location in the popular Mission area.

“Tribeca is the first of a number of new condo projects set to launch in Calgary in 2012, an indicator that the condo market is at the start of a growth cycle,” it said.  Tribeca is a four-storey wood frame building, with 82 condos. The development offers a variety of living spaces including one-bedroom, one-bedroom plus den, two-bedroom, two-bedroom plus den and three-bedroom condominiums, ranging in size from 537 square feet to 1,064 square feet. Prices range from $225,000 to $520,000.  “We knew that Tribeca’s affordable prices and great location would appeal to buyers, but demand has more than exceeded our expectations,” said Mike Bucci, vice-vice-president Bucci. “The Calgary market is on the rise right now and Tribeca is a great example of that growth.”

Tribeca will officially launch to the public on Saturday at noon. The Sales Centre is located at 1905 4th St. S.W. Calvin Buss, president of Buss Marketing which works with many city condo projects, said there will be 14 residential condo towers under construction this year in Calgary inner-city neighborhoods’.  According to Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp., apartment starts in the Calgary census metropolitan area amounted to 2,106 units in 2011, up 56 per cent from the 1,349 started in 2010.

“New construction in the condo market has been subdued in the last couple of years as builders were working through elevated inventories,” said Richard Cho, senior market analyst in Calgary for the CMHC. “Towards the end of the 2011, however, we started to see a shift in activity with more condominium projects breaking ground and this is expected to continue in 2012.

“Condominium units appeal to many young buyers as well as homeowners who are looking to downsize. Many of the new projects that are proposed or have started construction are in vibrant areas and close to many amenities. Not only has demand improved, but the supply of new condominium units on the market has also declined paving the way for more condominium projects.”

Steady Growth Forecast for Calgary Housing Market

MLS sales and prices to increase in next two years

By Mario Toneguzzi, Calgary Herald

CALGARY — Steady growth is forecast for Calgary’s housing market in the next two years, according to a new report released Monday by Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp.  The agency said MLS sales in the Calgary census metropolitan area will grow to 23,000 transactions in 2012 and to 23,700 in 2013 from 22,466 in 2011.  The CMHC said the average sale price will rise from $402,851 in 2011 to $409,000 in 2012 and $420,000 in 2013.  The optimistic forecast also translates into the new housing market.

The CMHC is predicting housing starts in the Calgary region to jump from 9,292 in 2011 to 10,300 in 2012 and 10,700 in 2013.  “Economic activity in Calgary will continue to support housing demand throughout the forecast period,” said Richard Cho, senior market analyst in Calgary for the CMHC. “Sustained investments in the energy sector will not only create jobs in the energy industry but also promote activity in other industries leading to more employment opportunities for job seekers. Employment levels in Calgary steadily rose in 2011 and the same is expected for 2012. As labour market conditions gradually tighten, we can expect to see higher migration flows to Calgary which is also an important driver for housing demand. In addition, favourable mortgage rates will also contribute to more sales in the new home and resale market.

“More single-detached and multi-family homes are forecast to break ground this year. In the past, elevated active listings in the competing resale market contributed to fewer single-detached starts. However, as the resale market becomes more balanced this year coupled with improving demand, we can expect to see more single-detached homes start construction. Multi-family construction will also pick up this year and next, mainly from higher apartment starts. Apartment inventories have come down from their elevated levels providing some builders an opportunity to start more projects and help satisfy demand.”

In Alberta, the CMHC forecasts housing starts to jump from 25,704 in 2011 to 29,100 in 2012 and 30,000 in 2013.  Provincially, MLS sales are forecast to jump from 53,146 in 2011 to 54,650 in 2012 and 56,550 in 2013. The average MLS sale price will rise from $355,808 in 2011 to $363,650 this year and $372,300 next year.  “Employment opportunities in the Prairies will continue to draw migrants, supporting new housing demand,” said Lai Sing Louie, the CMHC’s regional economist for the Prairie and Territories Region.

The CMHC report said net migration to Alberta is on an upward trend due to economic growth, job creation and low unemployment rates and the 2011 count will almost double 2010’s total of 19,613, which was a 15-year low. The CMHC estimates net migration in 2011 at 38,500 followed by 39,000 in 2012 and 39,500 in 2013.  “Over the forecast period, net migration will be close to the 10-year average with about 40,000 people added each year, increasing housing demand for rental and home ownership,” said the report.  It also said economic expansion is expected to continue supporting rental demand in 2012.  “Investments in the energy sector are promoting economic growth in Calgary, creating jobs and attracting migrants,” said the CMHC. “In addition, rental supply is not anticipated to see any large increases in the near future.”

It said the rental vacancy rate is expected to dip from 1.9 per cent in October 2011 to 1.8 per cent this year and to 1.6 per cent in 2013.  The average two-bedroom apartment rent is expected to rise from $1,084 in 2011 to $1,125 this year and $1,175 in 2013.  Todd Hirsch, senior economist with ATB Financial, said for over two years prices for newly-built homes in Calgary have remained basically unchanged.  He said it reflects stability in the housing market. Also, housing starts and existing home prices have shown similar patterns of stability in recent years.  “Alberta’s rising population and great labour market conditions are boosting housing demand. Yet that may be counter-balanced by the general belief that mortgage rates and prices will remain steady in the coming months. This may be reducing the urgency for potential buyers to jump into the market,” said Hirsch.  “This all suggests a fairly balanced, healthy market. The current stability eases any fears of inventory or price bubbles building — which pose much bigger problems when they burst.”

The History of Valentine’s Day!

The Legend of St. Valentine

The history of Valentine’s Day–and the story of its patron saint–is shrouded in mystery. We do know that February has long been celebrated as a month of romance, and that St. Valentine’s Day, as we know it today, contains vestiges of both Christian and ancient Roman tradition. But who was Saint Valentine, and how did he become associated with this ancient rite?

The Catholic Church recognizes at least three different saints named Valentine or Valentinus, all of whom were martyred. One legend contends that Valentine was a priest who served during the third century in Rome. When Emperor Claudius II decided that single men made better soldiers than those with wives and families, he outlawed marriage for young men. Valentine, realizing the injustice of the decree, defied Claudius and continued to perform marriages for young lovers in secret. When Valentine’s actions were discovered, Claudius ordered that he be put to death.

Other stories suggest that Valentine may have been killed for attempting to help Christians escape harsh Roman prisons, where they were often beaten and tortured. According to one legend, an imprisoned Valentine actually sent the first “valentine” greeting himself after he fell in love with a young girl–possibly his jailor’s daughter–who visited him during his confinement. Before his death, it is alleged that he wrote her a letter signed “From your Valentine,” an expression that is still in use today. Although the truth behind the Valentine legends is murky, the stories all emphasize his appeal as a sympathetic, heroic and–most importantly–romantic figure. By the Middle Ages, perhaps thanks to this reputation, Valentine would become one of the most popular saints in England and France.

Origins of Valentine’s Day: A Pagan Festival in February

While some believe that Valentine’s Day is celebrated in the middle of February to commemorate the anniversary of Valentine’s death or burial–which probably occurred around A.D. 270–others claim that the Christian church may have decided to place St. Valentine’s feast day in the middle of February in an effort to “Christianize” the pagan celebration of Lupercalia. Celebrated at the ides of February, or February 15, Lupercalia was a fertility festival dedicated to Faunus, the Roman god of agriculture, as well as to the Roman founders Romulus and Remus.

To begin the festival, members of the Luperci, an order of Roman priests, would gather at a sacred cave where the infants Romulus and Remus, the founders of Rome, were believed to have been cared for by a she-wolf or lupa. The priests would sacrifice a goat, for fertility, and a dog, for purification. They would then strip the goat’s hide into strips, dip them into the sacrificial blood and take to the streets, gently slapping both women and crop fields with the goat hide. Far from being fearful, Roman women welcomed the touch of the hides because it was believed to make them more fertile in the coming year. Later in the day, according to legend, all the young women in the city would place their names in a big urn. The city’s bachelors would each choose a name and become paired for the year with his chosen woman. These matches often ended in marriage.

Valentine’s Day: A Day of Romance

Lupercalia survived the initial rise of Christianity and but was outlawed—as it was deemed “un-Christian”–at the end of the 5th century, when Pope Gelasius declared February 14 St. Valentine’s Day. It was not until much later, however, that the day became definitively associated with love. During the Middle Ages, it was commonly believed in France and England that February 14 was the beginning of birds’ mating season, which added to the idea that the middle of Valentine’s Day should be a day for romance.

Valentine greetings were popular as far back as the Middle Ages, though written Valentine’s didn’t begin to appear until after 1400. The oldest known valentine still in existence today was a poem written in 1415 by Charles, Duke of Orleans, to his wife while he was imprisoned in the Tower of London following his capture at the Battle of Agincourt. (The greeting is now part of the manuscript collection of the British Library in London, England.) Several years later, it is believed that King Henry V hired a writer named John Lydgate to compose a valentine note to Catherine of Valois.