Greening Our Urban Environments Since 2003

Menu Toogle Image


Older posts
Newer posts

By Tom Pechloff of OBJ – Published on May 29, 2015

A “microcosm” of Windmill Development’s Zibi development at Chaudiere Falls went on sale this weekend.

“Tragically for a developer, Ottawa has never been the kind of town where people camp out and line up down the block and sell out in three hours,” Mr. Wilts said. “That has not been an Ottawa phenomenon, but I definitely expect demand to be very strong and I fully expect we’re going to move a fair number of units.”

Mr. Wilts said Windmill has around 3,500 registrants – those interested in the properties for sale – signed up online. Sixty-five condos will be available Saturday morning at 10 a.m., and Mr. Wilts said Windmill will also be “taking interest” in between 15,000 and 20,000 square feet of commercial and retail space that will go in existing, repurposed buildings. Mr. Wilts said more commercial space will be available soon.

A commercial tenant will have to fit the Windmill vision, Mr. Wilts added.

“We’re looking a lot at of local operators, locally owned and operated independent businesses,” he said. “We’re inspired by examples like Granville Island (in Vancouver), like the Distillery District in Toronto that is very heavy into those kinds of businesses.”

Read more here.

Posted in News, Press | Comments Off on Demand strong for Zibi phase one, says Windmill partner
By Tom Pechloff of OBJ – Published on May 21, 2015

Windmill Developments marked a couple Canadian firsts Thursday, announcing collaborative agreements with the Algonquin-Anishinabe community that will ensure that community has a strong presence in the development of the former Domtar Lands.

Windmill Developments and members of the Algonquin community mark letter of intent, One Planet sustainable community designation

Windmill founding partner Jeff Westeinde signed a letter of intent with Pikwakanagan chief Kirby Whiteduck that will see several collaborative initiatives, including ensuring Algonquin tradespeople work on the company’s $1-billion Zibi mixed-use development, youth mentorships are put in place and economic development partnerships and small business opportunities are created.

Mr. Whiteduck said he was also happy Windmill and Bioregional want to work to create a sustainable community around the area of the Ottawa River, which has been contaminated by years of industrial use.

“We think that’s something the Algonquins want to be a part of and continue that legacy that we’ve always had with the territory, the land and the waters,” he said.

Read more here.

Posted in News, Press | Comments Off on Windmill signs letter of intent with Algonquins, gets One Planet designation

London, May 21, 2015 – UK-based sustainability charity Bioregional has endorsed
Ottawa-Gatineau’s Zibi project as Canada’s first One Planet Community and the world’s

One Planet Living PR Event May 2015

One Planet Living PR Event May 2015

One Planet Community status is the gold standard in sustainability ambition for
development projects, representing not just endorsement of green building standards
but an ongoing commitment to all aspects of sustainable development through the
lifetime of a project.

Zibi, which means ‘river’ in the Algonquin language, is a waterfront area located in the
downtown cores of Ottawa and Gatineau overlooking both the Ottawa River and
Chaudière Falls. The name of the development was chosen as a public commitment to
the Algonquin-Anishinabe people, on whose unceded land the Ottawa Valley, and parts
of Ontario and Quebec are situated.

Redeveloped from industrial brownfield land once dominated by a paper mill, the 37-acre
site will include a blend of commercial and retail properties, condominium developments,
a hotel, waterfront parks and open spaces and a network of pedestrian and cycling

Over three million square feet of development is planned. Zibi will provide a unique
opportunity for people to live, work, play and learn in one of the National Capital
Region’s most picturesque and historic areas.

Working with Bioregional, developers Windmill Development Group and Dream Unlimited Corp. have used the 10 principles of the One Planet Living framework to help guide sustainability and eco-friendly planning for Zibi. Its One Planet Community status is underpinned by a sustainability action plan based on these 10 principles.

Zibi’s plan highlights include:

  • A district-wide energy system, which aims to provide Zibi with zero carbon energy
    by 2020
  • A target for only 2% or less of the waste generated by the completed development to go to landfill
  • 90% reduction in transport greenhouse gas emissions compared to the regional average, thanks to prioritising walking, cycling and charging points for electric vehicles
  • Cutting water use by more than half compared to the regional average – waterusing appliances will be super-efficient and non-potable water will be used for irrigation of green spaces and toilet flushing
  • Radically increasing biodiversity (by 400%) above existing levels on the site
  • Housing opportunities for a diverse range of renters and buyers, and preferential allocation in some of the commercial space to local and socially responsible businesses
  • Working together with the Algonquin-Anishinabe community in ways that generate lasting and tangible benefits to present and future generations; creating a new model for how private developers engage with First Nations in Canada

A strong point of Windmill and Dream’s commitment with First Nations and to the One Planet Community framework is the creation by the Algonquin-Anishinabe of an Advisory Council on Integrity. The Committee is made up of individuals who believe in the importance of sustainability, and who wish to ensure the integrity and appropriateness of the Zibi development on issues of First Nations culture, heritage and socio-economics.

Pooran Desai OBE, Co-founder of Bioregional and International Director of its One Planet Communities Programme commented:

“If everyone on earth consumed natural resources at the same rate as the average Canadian we would need four planets to support us. One Planet Communities – like Zibi aims to be – are places where it is easy, attractive and affordable for people to lead happy and healthy lives within the environmental limits of the planet.

“We are thrilled to launch the Canadian flagship in the One Planet Communities network with such an ambitious and innovative project. Zibi sets a new standard for sustainable development in Canada. Windmill is showing leadership at the global level and we are delighted that Zibi is joining our network of the earth’s greenest neighbourhoods.”

Rodney Wilts, Partner of Windmill Development commented:

“This endorsement from Bioregional – and the required planning and monitoring that goes with it – brings us that much closer to our vision of creating one of the world’s most sustainable communities. We are not just focusing on the energy, water and resource saving performance of the buildings; we are equally concerned with encouraging and supporting sustainable behaviours from its residents, visitors and the businesses working out of it.”

Jason Lester, Senior Vice President of Urban Development at Dream commented:

“Becoming a One Planet Community is more than receiving a stamp of approval. It’s a long-term commitment to bring our ambitious plan to life and to continue to work diligently to build a better community through sustainability.”

Brenda Odjick, Chair of the Algonquin-Anishinabe Advisory Committee on Integrity commented:

“Windmill has extended a hand in friendship to the Algonquin-Anishinabe people. Never before has a private developer been as inclusive and collaborative in this part of Canada, and as consistent with the Algonquin-Anishinabe values attached to the environment and to community.”

Background and information:

Zibi’s One Planet Action Plan
About One Planet Living
Bioregional’s existing One Planet communities
Zibi i-site


About Bioregional

Bioregional, a registered charity and award winning social enterprise based in the UK, champions a better, more sustainable way to live. It works with partners to create better places for people to live, work and do business. Its ambition is simple. It wants its practical projects to inspire people to live happy, healthy lives within the natural limits of the planet, leaving space for wildlife and wilderness. It calls this One Planet Living. The charity has, since it was founded in 1994, established a number of associated enterprises to develop or continue the charitable mission and in which the charity sometimes retains an interest.

About Windmill

Windmill is a visionary company dedicated to transforming conventional development practices by ensuring that exemplary ecological, social and financial returns are achieved in all their projects. Every Windmill development is conceived, designed and constructed to protect and enhance the local community and our ecosystem. Windmill is the only developer in North America to have achieved LEED Platinum on all its mixed-use projects. Completed projects include The Currents, a performing arts centre and modern condominium tower in Ottawa’s Wellington West neighbourhood, and Dockside Green, a model sustainable community in Victoria that was named one of 16 Clinton Climate Initiative Climate Positive developments.

About Dream

Dream (TSX:DRM) is one of Canada’s leading real estate companies with approximately $14.7 billion of assets under management in North America and Europe. The scope of the business includes residential land development, housing and condominium development, asset management for three TSX-listed real estate investment trusts and one TSX-listed diversified, hard asset alternatives trust, investments in and management of Canadian renewable energy infrastructure and commercial property ownership. Dream’s development projects include Toronto’s Distillery Historic District as well as the 2015 Pan Parapan American Athletes’ Village. Dream has an established track record for being innovative and for its ability to source, structure and execute compelling investment opportunities.

About the Algonquin-Anishinabe Advisory Committee on Integrity

The Advisory Committee is non-political and will act as a recommendation body to Windmill Developments on issues of Algonquin-Anishinabe interests, notably to ensure the integrity and appropriateness of cultural, heritage and socio-economic aspects of the Zibi project. The Committee has been created by Algonquin-Anishinabe women and is designed to work in a culturally appropriate way, inspired by ancestral Algonquin-Anishinabe practices.

Posted in Blog, News, Press, Press Releases | Comments Off on Zibi, Ottawa becomes the world’s 10th One Planet Community


Ottawa, February 24, 2015 – Windmill Development Group and Dream Unlimited Corp. (TSX:DRM), today announced details of one of Canada’s largest urban renewal master-planned projects, the revitalization of the industrial lands on the Chaudière and Albert Islands, and the downtown Gatineau riverfront.

To be known as Zibi (#ZibiIsHere), Windmill and Dream’s redevelopment of the 40-acre site will include a mix of commercial and retail properties, condominium developments, a hotel, numerous waterfront parks and open spaces, and a network of pedestrian and cycling paths.

“Zibi is a once in a lifetime development opportunity for the National Capital Region,” says Rodney Wilts, Partner, Windmill. “After more than a century, people will finally be able to live, work, play, and learn in one of the Region’s most picturesque and historic areas. We couldn’t be more pleased to be writing this new chapter in the Outaouais’ history.”

“With an anticipated investment value of more than $1 billion, we are committed to working with Windmill on this significant urban renewal project,” says Jason Lester, Dream’s Senior Vice President, Urban Development. “Dream manages and develops real estate across North America and in Europe, each with unique, innovative and exciting characteristics. But as a Canadian real estate leader, this uniquely Canadian project, the dynamic mix of uses and the cutting edge approach to sustainability makes this a truly exceptional project, and a special development within our portfolio.”

The partners plan to transform this industrial brownfield site into one of the world’s most sustainable mixed-use communities.

“I applaud Windmill and Dream for recognizing the rich history, breath-taking geography, and world-class views that combine to make the islands a character-defining place in the Capital,” said Dr. Mark Kristmanson, CEO of the National Capital Commission. “We look forward to continuing our close collaboration with Windmill and Dream, the municipalities, and Algonquin First Nations to ensure Zibi reflects key Capital interests including improved connectivity, heritage preservation, access to the falls, and inspired public spaces.”

Zibi (pronounced ZeeBee) means ‘river’ in the Algonquin language. It was one of the 200 names submitted for the site as part of a contest Windmill launched last summer. The name was chosen both to recognize the Algonquin people’s rich history in the area, and to acknowledge the importance of the Ottawa River to the community.

With the development of Zibi, the magnificent Chaudière falls and the Ottawa River’s rapids will become accessible for the first time since Philemon Wright established the first sawmill there in 1808.

“This natural wonder and central part of the Region has been not just inaccessible, but unknown to most residents and visitors” said Ottawa Mayor, Jim Watson. “The developers’ vision for Zibi stands to enliven a part of Ottawa that has been dormant for far too long and make this central part of our City and Region the kind of destination that everyone can enjoy.”

Windmill expects environmental remediation efforts to begin in the fall, and a sales launch in the months to come. The initial development phase of Zibi will include the revitalization of three existing industrial properties as part of a new retail commercial component, as well as the construction of two new six-storey condominium developments along the Gatineau riverfront.

“This large-scale redevelopment of the lands formerly owned by Domtar is extremely important to the City of Gatineau,” said Maxime Pedneaud-Jobin, Gatineau Mayor. “Gatineau has been working to revitalize its downtown for many years, and the advent of this major interprovincial project aligns perfectly with our efforts.”

Windmill and Dream are using the One Planet Communities framework to guide sustainability planning for Zibi. The One Planet Communities program is aimed at creating a network of the earth’s greenest neighbourhoods and to creating places where it is easy, attractive, and affordable for people to lead healthy, happy lives within their fair share of the earth’s resources.

“As a sustainable community, we will look to create environmentally advanced buildings at Zibi,” says Rodney Wilts. “But, we will also look to provide the services, infrastructure, and design features that make it easy for the people living and working at Zibi to do so in an environmentally friendly way.”

Download backgrounders and images:


About Windmill

Windmill is a visionary company dedicated to transforming conventional development practices by ensuring that exemplary ecological, social, and financial returns are achieved in all their projects. Every Windmill development is conceived, designed, and constructed to protect and enhance the local community and our ecosystem. Windmill is the only developer in North America to have achieved LEED Platinum on all its mixed-use projects. Completed projects include The Currents, a performing arts centre and modern condominium tower in Ottawa’s Wellington West neighbourhood, and Dockside Green, a model sustainable community in Victoria that was named one of 16 Clinton Climate Initiative Climate Positive developments.

About Dream

Dream (TSX:DRM) is one of Canada’s leading real estate companies with approximately $14.7 billion of assets under management in North America and Europe. The scope of the business includes residential land development, housing and condominium development, asset management for three TSX-listed real estate investment trusts and one TSX-listed diversified, hard asset alternatives trust, investments in and management of Canadian renewable energy infrastructure and commercial property ownership. Dream’s development project’s include Toronto’s Distillery Historic District as well as the 2015 Pan Parapan American Athletes’ Village. Dream has an established track record for being innovative and for its ability to source, structure and execute on compelling investment opportunities. For more information, please visit

For information:

Annie Boucher                                     or                     Danny Roth
613.863.3702                                                                416. 414.9064                  

Posted in News, Press, Press Releases | Comments Off on Media Release

Toronto, ON ( by PATRICIA WILLIAMS February 11, 2015

Windmill Development Group is acting as co-developer on a project in Toronto that involves adaptive re-use of a historic church and construction of an adjacent four-storey Vestry building.

LEED Platinum is being targeted for the 43-unit Union Lofts condo development, at the northeast corner of Perth and Wallace avenues in the rapidly gentrifying Junction Triangle.

“We have a very ambitious green agenda,” says Windmill partner Alex Speigel, who heads the real estate development company’s Toronto office.

Windmill is developing the project in partnership with Toronto’s Cornerstone Lofts Ltd. and financial partner ONE Development. Completion is scheduled for this summer.

The project is being undertaken by a team that includes Caricari Lee Architects, structural engineers Soscia Engineering Ltd., mechanical-electrical engineers Integral, Mark Hartley Landscape Architects and Concept Contracting.

Speigel, previously director of development at Context Development, said conversion of the neo-Gothic church into a condo development has presented its share of challenges.

The interior of the heritage building, which was constructed in 1913, was gutted.

“We basically kept the shell of the building,” said Speigel who joined Windmill about three years ago.

He said the structure had to be designed “in a very smart way.

“We’re essentially building a building within a building.”

Wood frame and core slab structural systems were considered before a decision was made to utilize a structural steel frame in conjunction with a structural stud system.

Care also had to be taken when it came to insulating the century-old building, Speigel said.

“You can’t add as much insulation as you would in a new building in order to protect the stability of the original masonry walls.”

Recycling of building materials was a priority. Most of the wood in the church, including the pews, was recycled. An organ, manufactured in 1924, was disassembled and donated to another church.

“We were very careful about not throwing things into dumpsters,” Speigel said.

The new Vestry building sits on the site of the former church parking lot. A geothermal heating and cooling system, unusual in residential developments, was installed.

Individual heat pumps and energy recovery ventilators (ERVs) will be provided within the units. Electricity consumption as well as hot and cold water usage will be monitored to encourage conservation. Some 14 boreholes were dug 500 feet below the building’s parking garage. This work was performed on a design, build and operate basis by a division of Oakville Hydro.

Construction is currently about 50 per cent complete. Speigel said most of the construction waste has to be sorted offsite because of the tight site.

The church itself occupies more than half of the 20,000-square-foot site.

“Recycling can be a real challenge on a small site because you can’t have multiple bins.”

The developers are aiming for LEED Platinum certification, from the U.S. Green Building Council, in the category of LEED for Homes, multifamily midrise.

This category applies to buildings of between four and eight storeys. Speigel said this designation is not yet available from the Canada Green Building Council.

Windmill is a member of both councils.

“We’ve gone through the entire LEED checklist,” Speigel said. “Energy points are a big one. We’ve also paid a lot of attention to the building envelope.”

Read more here.

Union Lofts

Posted in News, Press | Tagged , , , | Comments Off on Ambitious green agenda for church re-use project in Toronto


For the past few years, a seminar on new and innovative green building products has been a staple at Construct Canada.

This year was no exception, as Windmill Development Group and BuildGreen Solutions partner Rodney Wilts provided an update on the latest technologies, materials and systems — his sixth such presentation at the annual exposition.

“The green products marketplace has had a radical evolution over the past six years,” he said in an interview later.

“We now have so many more green building products.

“Overall, selection has grown, quality of products has grown and efficiency has improved.”

In his presentation, Wilts reviewed a slew of “great, green products” in the energy, health, and materials sectors. He also touched on future trends.

“Some of these products are just coming on the market,” he said.

In the energy sector, products that were reviewed include: the SolTech integrated solar thermal system, a new way of integrating solar energy into a building; and coloured solar PV panels, which Wilts described as a “modest” innovation.

“Previously, if you wanted to do solar, it came in one colour — black.”

In the health sector, products include halogen-free polyiso roofing insulation; “tunable” lighting which blends the efficacy of LEDs with the ability to have full control over the colour and intensity of indoor lighting; and “air purifying” hardwood flooring.

“We just stumbled upon this product recently,” Wilts said in reference to the flooring product.

“This is something we are starting to investigate in our office.”

In the materials realm, one of the innovative products that made the cut was Fireclay CRT tiles, manufactured in California from 100 per cent recycled e-waste — such as old televisions and computer monitors.

CRT was first introduced in the early 1900s as a way to transmit images. But demand has been rapidly declining since the introduction of LCD displays.

“This company is turning these items into quite good-looking tiles, thus avoiding their disposal in landfill sites,” Wilts said.

Other innovative products include:

— Panels designed to control sound reflection that are manufactured using recycled PET plastic bottles, eco-friendly dyes and no added adhesives;

— Enviroshake roofing products composed of recycled tire rubber, cellulosic fibres and post-industrial recycled plastics;

— Certified “green” gravel. This product is expected to be on the market next year.

— Cross-laminated timber (CLT). Wilts said the “fully structural” engineered wood panels can enable much taller wood buildings to be constructed.

Read more – click here.


Posted in News, Press | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Green building products evolution continues

Ottawa, ON ( Friday, 19 December 2014 11:34 Written by Steph Willems)

Jeff Westeinde’s car glides silently to a stop in the shadow of his company’s newest condo development on the edge of downtown Ottawa.

In the final stages of construction, Windmill Developments’ energy-efficient Cathedral Hill condo tower boasts 130 environmentally-friendly units overlooking the Ottawa River from atop a lofty escarpment. The company claims to be Canada’s leading sustainable developer, and the building itself is expected to achieve LEED Platinum certification.

But on this day, the company’s co-founder is more interested in his car – a Tesla Model S sedan he picked up just two days prior.

Powerful, svelte, and all-electric, the Model S sits at the forefront of a growing segment in the automotive landscape. Its range, approximately 450 km, speed 0-100 km/h in 5.4 seconds, and the ability to carry five adults and two kids have made it the most capable and practical EV to date.

Over a thousand Model S sedans have found homes with Canadian buyers since its December, 2012 introduction.

“I lived in Vancouver for years – my buddies out there have had them for a couple of years, so I’ve driven one for a week at a time,” said Westeinde, who regularly travels between Windmill’s main office in Ottawa and its satellite location in Toronto.

“I didn’t get this sooner because currently you can’t make it to Toronto (on a charge), but they’ve got a Supercharger opening in Kingston in two weeks.”

read more – click here.

Posted in News, Press | Tagged , , , , , | Comments Off on Staying current: developers catering to EV driving condo buyers

Windmill Developments Win Greenline Ideas Competition

The Green Line Ideas Competition is a global competition that called on architects, landscape architects, designers, planners, artists and community members to formulate design proposals to improve the functionality of a 5km long hydro corridor in midtown Toronto. The competition aimed to use this particular hydro corridor as a template for potential ways to improve the public uses of these derelict spaces in cities all across North America.

Alex Speigel, Managing Partner of Windmill Development Group’s Toronto office, partnered with Susan Speigel Architect Inc. to create a visionary design focused on green energy production as a way to fund other public realm improvements along the corridor. Windmill’s submission placed 2nd out of a total 77 competition entrants. We proposed a scheme based on retrofitting existing infrastructure to generate clean, renewable energy using vertical wind turbines, photovoltaic arrays, and geothermal loops below grade.

See Windmills’ Green Line Ideas Competition Submission  >

Whereas most other competition entrants focused on single issues, Windmill Development’s approach was more holistic and comprehensive. The energy harnessed through these infrastructure improvements would serve as a source of revenue to fund a variety of the public realm enhancements put forth by other competition entrants. The proposal has received support from city councilors, the local community, and was featured in this week’s NRU. Whether or not any of the winning designs will actually be implemented remains to be seen but the ideas competition has certainly stimulated positive community discussion and helped to get the ball rolling in the right direction.

NRU May 10th Edition >


Posted in Blog, News | Comments Off on Windmill Finalist in Green Line Ideas Competition

OTTAWA, ONTARIO–(Marketwire – Dec. 4, 2012) – Ottawa-based residential developer Windmill Development Group has unveiled the condo of the future, a sustainable infill condominium building that marries stringent green innovation with modern design and genuine community improvement.

The Eddy is a six-storey, 57-unit condo development in the heart of Hintonburg, one of Ottawa’s fastest growing and hippest downtown neighbourhoods. The low-rise, angle-shaped building makes the most of the limited space of a former parking lot and serves as an innovative model for how developers and community associations can work together to make intensification work.

“Canada’s larger urban centres are embracing intensification to address population growth, optimize existing infrastructure and costs, and reduce traffic,” said Rodney Wilts, Development Manager, Windmill Development Group. “Our experience is that intensification doesn’t have to come at the expense of the community. With The Eddy, we are again proving that we can work within community design plans, while providing the most effective green technologies and visually appealing designs.”

“From consultation to design, Windmill’s project has helped us achieve our goals of encouraging new buildings that fit into the Wellington streetscape, and promoting an active, creative and involved community,” said Jay Baltz of the Hintonburg Community Association. “We truly believe that The Eddy and its residents will contribute to and improve our neighbourhood.”

To read more: click here
Posted in Blog, News | Comments Off on The Condo of the Future: Windmill Developments Brings Sustainable Intensification to Ottawa

Learn what makes Windmill unique in the development world, what values drive our team and why our partners and clients choose Canada’s Greenest Developer. Beyond our green initiatives, this video explores the company’s world-class reputation for being a rigorous and holistic driving force in sustainable real estate.

Posted in Blog, News | Comments Off on Video – What Makes Windmill Unique
Older posts
Newer posts