The Ontario Home Sweet Home Competition

Photo: Artist's Rendering by Reid's Heritage Homes

The idea for Home Sweet Home sprouted in 2008 during the research and development of, an online directory that was founded by Mindscape Innovations Group in response to the overwhelming demand for information about green building products and services to serve Ontario’s growing green building market.  Mindscape, experts in green building consulting and certification, developed as a free directory for use by the public and industry. While researching companies to add to, they decided these companies deserved more profile. A competition and awards event is a fun way to invite Ontario’s green building leaders to step into the spotlight and strut their stuff.

They decided to let the competition showcase the full range of people and products that enable green building and renovating in Ontario. Home Sweet Home focuses on an end product – a home. Just as is a useful resource because it brings carefully chosen categories of information together into one convenient place, Home Sweet Home is unique in that it celebrates the “coming together” that happens in quality building projects. The whole (in this case, the home) is always greater than the sum of the parts. By recognizing teamwork, Home Sweet Home aims to encourage industry-wide innovation and excellence.

One award will be given annually in each of the following four categories:

Production Home of the Year
This award recognizes excellence in building design, construction and materials that can be replicated in hundreds of homes, significantly impacting Ontario’s housing market. While any one production home may not seem as impressive in green impact as its custom-built counterpart, this category allows us to recognize the transformational impact of the cumulative effects when green features are implemented on a mass scale.

Custom Home of the Year
These are typically owner-initiated projects, so the breadth of creativity here is endless. This category recognizes outstanding and unique homes, often experimental in nature. These are the homes that turn problem worksites into stunning testaments of human ingenuity, or the ones most likely to achieve Net-Zero energy or to be off-grid, or to use advanced health concepts and specialized materials. They are in a class of their own, and Home Sweet Home will give them a chance to compete that way.

Affordable Home of the Year
This award recognizes the best environmental performance within a tighter budget, reducing energy costs for the people who need it most.  While affordability is a relative term, and cost-effectiveness wins points under every Home Sweet Home category, the Affordable Home of the Year award is about creating a socially just society where every individual can afford a place to call home, and where that home is energy efficient and healthy to live in. Because the building budgets for these homes are naturally lower, we created a category for them to encourage fair competition.

Renovated Home of the Year
There is no way to overstate the value and importance of retrofitting existing homes.  Simply put, climate change cannot be addressed without improving the energy efficiency of our older housing stock. This category is about applying today’s knowledge to yesterday’s buildings, turning unhealthy energy hogs into Home Sweet Homes.

A jury of distinguished judges will choose one winner in each of the four categories. Judges will use a points-based matrix developed by green building consultant and founding sponsor of Home Sweet Home, Mindscape Innovations.  Judges will use information submitted by the lead applicant, including the energy analysis report and qualitative information submitted through the online submission report, as their sole sources of information about each entry. The judging criteria enable consideration of the following:

  • Energy Reduction
  • Water Efficiency
  • Waste Reduction
  • Transportation
  • Technical Repeatability
  • Environmentally Preferable Building Materials
  • Affordability
  • Technical Innovation
  • Use of 3rd Party Labelling Programs
  • Builder’s Commitment to “Green”
  • Social Engagement and Potential Impact on Market Transformation

The competition opens for registration on June 1st and in the Fall there will be a Student Competition, where rumor has it there will be a $10,000 Prize.

As 2010 marks the first year of the Home Sweet Home Competition, has decided to declare four unjuried “winners” as Founding Homes to help with the kick-off. The four Home Sweet Home Founding Homes will provide tangible and inspiring examples, built by leaders in each of the four prize categories.

Click here to see the “unjuried” sample winners.