Howland Green Business Centre, Markham (Artist Concept). (CNW Group/Howland Green Homes Ltd.)

Howland Green Homes’ new mission is simple: to build beyond net zero. One place this objective is to be realized is in the Canadian city of Markham, where the company is developing the Howland Green Business Centre, a commercial building which will produce more energy than it will consume.

The First Building Of Its Kind In Canada
For Dave de Sylva, president of Howland Green Homes, the future is now. This new project could set a whole new standard for environmentally conscious development that goes above and beyond the current objectives that Canadian developers are required to meet.

Net-zero energy means that a building has the ability to produce enough renewable energy on-site to match its annual needs. The practice has been increasingly realized in Ontario by several developers, and Howland Green is a pivotal example of a company that builds such developments in the Greater Toronto Area.

To go beyond net zero, or to become net positive, a building needs to generate more energy than it uses each year. According to Howland Green, this “raises the bar” in development, not only with regards to ensuring a clean ecological footprint but also in terms of economic efficiency by reducing energy-related costs with less-efficient buildings.

Behind The Energy Savings, Going Beyond The Norm
The Howland Green Business Centre is being built using an enhanced insulated concrete form, the new XR35 by Nudura, which will make the building’s combined thermal resistance value considerably higher than the insulated formwork used in other similar structures. The XR35 increases the walls from 2-5/8 inches of expanded polystyrene (EPS) on each side to 4 inches, creating an estimated R35 value, approximately three times more than the Ontario Building Code.

Some of the features found in Howland Green Business Centre, all of which are being done to reduce the building’s carbon footprint, include:

  • R80 roof insulation.
  • State-of-the-art geothermal heating and cooling.
  • Full coverage of solar arrays.
  • Load-sharing capabilities within structures.
  • Electric potential energy storage.
  • Pneumatic energy storage.
  • Rainwater capture for toilet usage.
  • Groundwater capture for irrigation.
  • All ramps to underground parking entirely closed from the elements.
  • High-efficiency dual-level LED lighting.
  • Low-E Argon thermal pane insulated windows and sliding doors with fiberglass frames.
  • And high-efficiency geothermal hot-water delivery with additional thermal tank wrapping.

Learn more about Howland Green’s beyond net-zero iitiatives by visiting To learn more about building beyond net zero with insulated concrete forms visit