Baysville, Ontario — Green Home For Sale

A bright, spacious strawbale home with grid-interactive solar power, solar hot water, masonry heater, radiant-heat floors, large energy efficient passive solar windows, and an R60 roof. On 47.6 acres of rolling mixed forest with circular drive, meadow, pond, and wildflower and perennial gardens.

Listing ID: 18375

  • Green Home
  • Healthy Home
  • Natural Home
  • Straw bale
  • Solar - Photovoltaic

Asking Price (USD) $629,000
Annual Property Tax $2,500
Annual Utility Cost $1,500
Home Area 2,500 sq ft
Bedrooms 5
Bathrooms 2
Total Property Area 23 acres
Year Built 2003

Property Description

Nestled in a temperate forest where snows can be deep, this eco-home is sturdy, substantial, and warm, with plastered strawbale walls sixteen inches thick, a 16" thick strawbale-insulated concrete foundation, an R60 roof, and energy efficient windows. In winter, sun floods in through the passive solar glass of south-facing windows and doors. Radiant-heat floors are barefoot comfortable, and the woodburning brick masonry heater that stands in the center of the vaulted great room warms the whole house gently and steadily.

In summer, along with leafy hardwoods, the generous "Enviroshake" roof shades the south windows. The strawbale walls and concrete floors maintain a steady cool temperature, and the house is ventilated by natural convection. The large south windows and doors look out over rock gardens, eco-grass and the pond. A covered deck and airy screened porch face west toward wildflower and perennial gardens.

The indoor living spaces of this storey-and-a-half home are spacious and bright. On the ground floor there are two large bedrooms, two full bathrooms, a pantry/laundry room, a library/sunroom, a screened porch, a large entry/mudroom, and a mechanical room -- and all of this in addition to the open-concept vaulted great room with kitchen, dining, and living room areas.

On the west side of the great room an open pine staircase leads up to an open loft, currently used for extra play and sleeping space. On the east side of the great room, a second large loft is accessible through the master bedroom. Both lofts and the library/sunroom are convertible to part-time or full-time bedrooms. (The septic system is sized for a five bedroom house.)

Elegantly simple and casual, with earth-tone colours and natural textures, the house accommodates guests and grandchildren in style and comfort. An easy drive from the city, the property offers a secluded retreat to nature with no neighbors, road, or power lines in sight. In summer, it's a peaceful, leafy garden spot, close to Echo Lake access, with acres of play space. In winter it becomes a private winter wonderland with trails to cross-country ski and snowshoe, gentle toboggan hills, and a safe skating pond in view of the house.

The property is located on a paved, year-round road. The crushed rock entry lane curves in through trees and beside a small meadow to become a circular driveway in front of the house. The entry lane also extends to the north (winter) entrance, providing direct, level, stair-free access.

Along the lane, there's a 12' x 8' shed to store screened porch storm windows in summer, garden tools and supplies in winter, and building materials year-round. A well-ventilated woodshed, located a few steps from the north door of the house, holds up to 9 face-cords of firewood and doubles as garden centre in summer.

What makes your home a Green or Healthy Home?

The walls are made of stacked rectangular strawbales, not only a completely natural material, but a completely renewable resource (in fact, often just a wasted or burned agricultural by-product). The natural insulation value of these walls is estimated at R40 - R50. The strawbale walls are covered with a cement-lime-sand plaster. The final exterior coat is a natural silicate paint.

The roof is supported by an engineered-lumber post and beam structure, no old growth timber. The scissor roof trusses and second floor decks are also engineered lumber. The roof is clad in Enviroshakes, a cedar shake look-alike fabricated of recycled rubber and hemp fibers, guaranteed for 50 years and recyclable thereafter. Roof insulation is blown-in cellulose at an R-value of 60.

Windows and glass doors are low-e, double-glazed, gas-filled casement style, with casings made of pine on the inside and fiberglass on the outside (no aluminum or vinyl). The windows provide abundant natural light, and the house is designed for natural, effective fresh-air ventilation, with a heat-recovery ventilator available as necessary in winter. Interior wall paints are either natural silicate or low-odour latex. There are minimal off-gassing glues and no off-gassing carpets in the house. Almost all finshing materials were chosen with sustainability and occupants' health as a priority.

The house is designed to maximize passive solar heat gain in winter. Two solar panels provide domestic hot water from March until October, and contribute to hydronic heat in fall and spring. In winter, a high efficiency boiler produces hot water for in-floor heating and for on-demand domestic use. This in-floor radiant heat is draft-free, dust-free, and microbe-free. The fourth heat-source, the woodburning masonry heater, also provides steady, gentle warmth. The heater burns minimum fuel at maximum temperatures, producing low emissions and no woodsmoke leakage into the house.

The solar electrical system is set up to be grid-interactive, low-maintenance, and user-friendly. Ten new 165-watt photovoltaic panels, scheduled for installation in May, 2008, will produce, on average, 6600 watts of power daily. A bi-directional meter spins backward when the house produces more electricity than it consumes. Solar-maintained sealed batteries are wired into the system for instant back-up in power outages.

The freezer, dishwasher, refrigerator, and front-loading washer are new, efficient "energy star" models. The range/oven and dryer are new natural gas models, converted to propane use. Light bulbs are all compact fluorescent, except for bathroom halogens.

A drilled well 280' deep provides pure, sweet drinking water. There are no agricultural or other groundwater pollutants in the area. Neither pesticides nor herbicides have ever been used on the land.

Neighborhood Description

The house is five minutes from Baysville, Ontario, on a paved, year-round county road. The village of Baysville includes a post office, fire station, general store, liquor store, public library, curling rink, and several churches. In summer the town hosts arts and crafts fairs and a weekly farmers' market. Baysville also offers public access to the Lake of Bays (boat docks) and to the Muskoka River.

The county road from Baysville to the eco-home winds through wooded hills and between roadside acreages. Less than a kilometer (half a mile) down the road beyond the eco-home property entrance, there's a point of public access to Echo Lake, good for swimming, fishing, canoeing, and kayaking.

About a kilometer south of the house, the eco-home property abuts crown land, with immediate access to hundreds of kilometers of groomed snowmobile trails (also used by cross-country skiers). A few kilometers further south, within hiking or skiing distance, the crown land abuts undeveloped Bigwind Lake Provincial Park, with its pristine woods, lakes, and streams.

Market Area

This strawbale eco-home is located less than two hours from metro Toronto city limits. It is in the Ontario region called "Muskoka," famous as cottage getaway country for city-dwellers. Bracebridge and Huntsville, each less than 30 kilometers away, are two larger Muskoka towns that provide city-style shops and amenities.

Like many Muskoka properties, this home is both urban-accessible and a gateway to wilderness. As an acreage, it escapes the high taxes and developmental pressures of waterfront properties, preserving for its owners quiet privacy and a strong connection to the land and forest.

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Elevation of Home


Building Details

Air Quality

Agriculture in Area No
Industry in Area No
Air Pollution in Area No
Pesticide Free Yes
Fragrance Free Yes
Cleaned with Green Products Yes

Interior Environment

Heating System Fireplace
Hydronic Floor Heat (radiant)
Solar - Active
Solar - Passive
Cooling System Passive Cooling
Ventilation System Heat Exchanger
Whole House Filtration None
Whole House Vacuum No

Energy & Water

Energy System Hybrid
Municipal Energy
Solar - Photovoltaic
Water System Well
Wastewater System Septic System

Construction Information

Construction Type Straw bale
Exterior Finish Plaster - Other
Interior Finish Cement Plaster
Gypsum Board - Sheet Rock
Interior Paint Low VOC
Floor Material Concrete
Wood - Laminated
Roof Material Other
Window Material Wood Dual Glazed
Insulation Material Recycled Newsprint

Garage / Car Port

Garage / Carport No