Builder/Architect Magazine - Green Building
Amedeo Barbini: Custom Luxury Homes Gone Green
By Michael McKay
Interior and exterior craftsmanship and aesthetic beauty are rhe hallmark of an Amedeo Barbini home. Whether he's designing a French-inspired chateau in the heart of Toronto, or a sprawling mansion in Nork York, his clients know that they are going to get a home equipped with the finest materials and put together by the best craftspeople in the city. Each home he builds features modern-day amenities to go along with classic dessigns and attention to detail.
With a reputation for innovation and devotion to his clients, Amedeo began looking for ways to improve his homes.
"We know that we can put together a beautiful home with all the bells and whistles, but something was missing," says Amedeo. "That's when I became an ENERGY STAR participant."
His inspiration was the "air" inside and outside the homes he was building. To Amedeo, building a home with lasting beauty and functionality, without thinking about the actual interior and exterior environment, seemed wrong. Comfort, to Amedeo, includes the air we breathe, both inside and outside the home. This is why the ENERGY STAR program is so important to him.
"When you've perfected the look of a home, then it's time to look deeper into the effects the home has on the environment and the inhabitants of the home," says Amedeo. "I became aware that one of the important upgrades that Boeing introduced with their brand new, state-of-the-art 787 luxury jetliner was the air quality inside. I thought that this could be incorperated into the homes I was building."
To this end, Amedeo enlists the help of John Godden and Larry Brydon to help him with the technical aspects that his homes would need.
"People are much more aware of the impact their homes have on the environment now than they did five years ago," says Amedeo. "They still want to build comfortable homes, but they will now be ENERGY STAR homes because I believe that is what people are looking for. Larry and John have been instrumental in teaching me about the technologies available so that the homes I now build will be as environmentally responsible as they are aesthetically beautiful."
The people who buy a Barbini home are looking for things like location, an in-home elavator and high-end finishes. The ENERGY STAR features will now become an important selling point that will attract the educated, high-income buyer who is looking to do his bit for the environment and save money on monthly expenses at the same time.
"These same people are in the market for the hybrid Lexus," says Amedeo. "They want to contribute any way they can to help clean up the environment and to help conserve energy for the generations to come. Building ENERGY STAR luxury homes help them achieve thier personal goals."
Amedeo's current project, called South Hill Townes - two infill homes being built at 108 and 110 Poplar Plains will feature up-graded insulation, solar heat recovery units to preheat water destined for the hot water/furnace system, state-of-the-art heating and air conditioning from the OZ Group, low-e argon windows zoned for the arctic, in-floor radiant heating and natural gas appliances wherever applicable. The unique furnace will use hot water instead of natural gas flame to send warm air to the rooms. This doubles the importance of the solar heat exchange unit.
"Believe it or not, the greatest saver of energy and money is insulation," says Amedeo. "We're concentrating on filling every nook and cranny with the best insulation available. The passive solar heat to preheat water will save a homeowner up to 30% in their energy costs, but ther efficiency of the insulation is really what saves the homeowner money. In total, the whole package lessens the amount of greenhouse gasses emitted into the air."
The two homes on Poplar Plains will feature the usual amenities available in a Barbini home. There will be the elevators, the luxirous woodwork, the state-of-the-art kitchens, the centralized audio systems and the usual quality workmannship and attention to detail. However it's what the homeowner doesn't see that will make these luxury homes unique.
"There is no turning back for me now. I will be building only ENERGY STAR qualified homes from now on," says Amedeo. "I look forward to exploring new technologies and incorporating existing technologies to further the homes' efficiencies and to satisfy my customers demand for an environmentally responsable home."