In the course of our practice, we’ve encountered lots of ideas for designing better dwellings that suit the priorities of modern life, are more affordable to build and maintain, use less material to create and less energy to heat. These homes are more responsive to our need for peace, creativity, privacy, and connection with the natural world. Here are a few articles that discuss home building based on those ideas. We hope that they’ll inspire thought and dialogue, and welcome your feedback.
- Video: Sustainable Design in the Home https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L6DS_wz9jME Is sustainable design a priority in your home building project? Do you know how to achieve it? John Gower, residential designer, tours a building site and discusses some of the elements of sustainable design in this short video by Edward Homer. (You can view other great videos on Edward Homer’s YouTube channel at https://www.youtube.com/user/EcofilmsbyEHomer)
- Creating the Resilient Home We’ve created a table that outlines some of the challenges we face in the era of climate change, along with practical ways to respond to these challenges. Can be downloaded and printed as an 11″ x 17″ poster or handout: Creating the Resilient Home
- The Small House – An Idea Worth Considering We think that building smaller, better thought-out homes is a timely idea. Here are some of the reasons why.
- Avoiding Renovation Hell How do you prevent that long-anticipated renovation from turning into a stressful, expensive nightmare? We offer some tips, from the careful selection of your contractor to maintaining realistic expectations.
- Choosing The Right House Plan For You So you’ve found the perfect lot piece of land. Where do you turn for your home plans? We examine the three main options: designing the house yourself, purchasing a stock plan, or hiring a design professional.
- Radiant Heating Systems More and more people are finding that hydronic radiant heat is a comfortable, energy efficient and healthful heating alternative. This article looks at the principles of radiant heating, with a particular focus on economical systems for compact homes.
- A Business Profile of John Gower Here’s a profile by David Carrigg of John’s early work as an e-commerce pioneer in Nelson, BC – before it became commonplace to do business online. How things have changed since then…
- What Makes BC Mountain Homes Stand Out? People are often curious about how we approach the design process. This article offers a brief summary of BC Mountain Homes’ design values.
Developing a New Site: Resources
We’re pleased to offer this series of articles by John Gower, providing information for anyone contemplating the purchase of rural property. Here you’ll find the various steps involved — from choosing and purchasing land, to preparing a development plan and obtaining house plans. Throughout, the goal is to help people “find their place in the country”. Click on the links below to read the articles:
Finding Your Place in the Country
Choosing the Property that is Right for You: Part I
Choosing the Property that is Right for You: Part II
Rural Site Development Phase I: The Site Inventory
Rural Site Development Phase II: The Development Plan
Finding the Plan that is Right for You
Giving New Life to Old Structures – Part I
Giving New Life to Old Structures – Part II
Sustainability & Green Building Links
A small selection of useful websites for people who want to learn more about sustainable building:
Bullfrog Power: We’ve taken a big step to reduce our carbon emissions by choosing 100% green electricity for our company with Bullfrog Power®. Across Canada, Bullfrog’s green electricity comes from a blend of wind and low-impact hydro power sourced from new Canadian renewable energy facilities. Bullfrog ensures that the electricity going onto the grid on our behalf is from green sources, displacing energy from polluting sources. As Bullfrog Power uses its customers’ support to provide funding to new green energy projects, our green energy purchase is also helping provide critical financial support to new renewable energy projects in our region and across Canada.
Canadian Passive House Institute (CanPHI): A registered non-profit educational organization, Canadian-owned and operated. Provides the knowledge, tools, networks and confidence to design and construct buildings to the world’s highest level of energy efficiency, the international Passive House Standard.
The Alternative Solutions Resource Initiative (ASRi): A non-profit society based in Victoria, BC. Founded in 2010 by builders, designers, engineers and home-owners with a shared belief that the way we currently build houses is unsustainable. Its mission is to promote affordable, environmentally-sustainable and healthy buildings using appropriate natural materials and systems (natural methods).
The Small House Society: A cooperatively managed and sustained global organization dedicated to the promotion of tiny houses and small house solutions that are affordable and ecologically responsible.
Home Advisor: An all-around great resource for the homeowner looking for articles and tips on energy efficiency in the home, from lighting to water conservation and more.
BC Sustainable Energy Association: The mission of BC SEA is to facilitate the transition to a sustainable energy future in British Columbia through education, advocacy and tangible community projects.
Small Housing BC: Small Housing BC is the public voice in support of small housing in the province. It actively champions the creation and inclusion of smaller forms in established single-family neighbourhoods across BC.
Pocket Neighborhoods: An interesting source of information on pocket neighbourhoods, an emerging model of small-scale community.