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About the Speaker
KHANG NGUYEN: Principal, Architrix Studio
I believe in a simple, practical and environmentally conscious approach to living and I bring this into the work I do at Architrix Studio. To remove the complexities of our daily grind and to focus on what is important to us is the core of my practice. My role is to provide insightful guidance and environmental awareness into the process of conceiving and planning the place you call home. When I am not working, I make sure I leave the digital world and get into the natural world.
PAUL LILLEY: Principal, Owner, Kingdom Builders
Why did you start Kingdom Builders? What has always been your vision for the company?
We’ve always had a passion for building homes and helping our clients realize their dreams. With backgrounds in residential construction and industrial project management, we knew we could bring to the market a high level of service, with a quality product to match. Our vision has always been to be the most efficient, and sustainable, quality custom home builder in Greater Vancouver. Since we started our business, we are proud of our accomplishments and how far we have come.
Why did you go into this field?
Earlier in my career, I was an industrial engineer and worked on large multi-million dollar projects. While I enjoyed what I did, I had a desire to utilize my skills in a different way. Being a custom builder is gratifying. There is something very special about being given the opportunity to build someone’s home. Knowing that we are somehow contributing to people’s lives and helping them create a place where they can raise their families and build memories, means a lot. There’s no better feeling than completing a project and handing over the keys to the homeowner.
Check out pictures 'Queen Mary', the HAVAN Award-winning home for Best Custom Home $3Million and Over, and Best Energy Labelled Home: Custom.
Here's the Full Transcript of this Episode
EPISODE #50 Best Energy Labelled Home
[00:00:00] Jennifer-Lee: Hey, Mike, we’re back in the studio at Rami Films for HAVAN’s podcast, Measure Twice, Cut Once.
[00:00:04] Mike: Hey, Jennifer Lee, always great to be back here. What a great place and some amazing people to talk to today. I’m very excited to get into it because as we keep working our way through these award-winning designers and builders, there’s so much ground to cover and so many amazing stories. And what has become apparently clear as we move through this season is nothing is by accident. All these people have won awards for very good reason. And it’s really exciting to dig into the stories behind the people and behind the thought processes that culminated in these people winning HAVAN Awards and Georgie Awards and all sorts of other awards and recognition that is well deserved.
[00:00:40] Jennifer-Lee: Yeah, it’s not just about, like you said, winning the award. There’s a lot of steps that take a place to get them. And it’s like people don’t realize that sometimes a lot of the times it’s like people don’t enter for 20, 15 years into their career. So, it’s just a really cool thing.
[00:00:56] Mike: Yeah. Certain people who seem to consistently win and congratulations. There’s a reason for that. But then you see people who don’t win every year. Or any year even, and it’s really incredibly special to see people who are first time award entries and winners, and especially seeing them up in the winner’s circle as well, because it’s just phenomenal seeing people get the recognition they deserve in this industry. And I think it’s a great opportunity for us to shift gears a little and stop talking about awards and start talking to some of the award winners. You want to get started?
[00:01:26] Jennifer-Lee: Yeah, I want to welcome, I love this guy every time he comes into our studio, but Kang from Architrix Design Studio, and then new timer, which I just got to meet today, which is lovely, Paul Lilley from Kingdom Builders. Welcome, guys.
[00:01:40] Paul: thanks very much for having us.
[00:01:42] Mike: Paul, since you’re new to Measure Twice, Cut Once, we’re going to put you in the hot seat first if that’s okay. I don’t really know a whole heck of a lot about you and I’d like to change that. I’m wondering if you could share a little about yourself and your background for our viewers and our listeners so we can learn a little bit more about what makes you tick and a little bit more about Kingdom Builders.
Paul: Yeah, sure. My background is in mechanical engineering from UBC, and from there, I went into the wood products industry. I started out with the Weyerhaeuser company for the first 10 years of my career, and that was in mostly softwood lumber manufacturing. And then my last assignment with Weyerhaeuser was in North Carolina and I really wanted to be closer to family. I grew up here in Vancouver. And in 2005 we started Kingdom Builders and it was my brother-in-law who’d been in the construction industry for 20 years. And then myself new to the construction industry, but familiar with project management and industrial manufacturing. And since that time with Kingdom Builders we focused largely on renovations and custom homes and then continue to grow the company over the years. We always had an interest in sustainable building, but it was a little bit later in the history of Kingdom Builders that I joined forces with a project manager that we still work with Aaron, who is LEED certified and really brought in a lot of the green building knowledge. And our first passive home that we built. We had the opportunity in 2016 to build a passive house in Vancouver. And it was a great success. We had great metrics very airtight home really good success phenomenal client. And that was really a launching pad for us to where we are today of building high performance homes in almost the majority of our projects are that way.
[00:03:28] Jennifer-Lee: Great. And Khang, we know you quite well here and you’re part of the Haven family. And of course, you’ve been on Measure Twice Cut once before. But for the listeners, can you give us a little Khang refresher?
[00:03:40] Khang: Yeah, absolutely. First off, thanks for having me here again. It’s always fun to come and hang out with you guys and chit chat and share our knowledge with all the listeners and the world out there. So, a little history about myself. I studied biology, actually, in university.
Jennifer-Lee: I actually didn’t know that about you.
Khang: Yeah. So, the whole intent of my education was to go into medicine. And I was always interested in art and architecture. And I think I really brought the biology training and understanding into my work just through understanding the natural processes of nature and understanding a little bit more about efficiencies and how to simplify processes to make projects more efficient. So that’s a little bit about me in terms of my work background. I after I graduated from BCIT, I worked with a company called Formworks. They are a very high end custom residential architectural firm. And from there, I just spring boarded into my own kind of creative output and was able to get some projects and then it grew. To many projects until, now where we’re quite busy and, we get to work with some great builders like Paul and we get to win awards and it’s been a great journey so far.
[00:05:02] Jennifer-Lee: Perfect. And how’d you guys find each other? What was your origin story of how you first met?
[00:05:07] Khang: I first met Paul at the Passive House project that you had finished in 2016.
[00:05:13] Paul: Yeah. That was your first project and you did a big tour. The house was open to the public, right?
[00:05:22] Khang: Yeah, that’s right. So that’s where I first learned of Kingdom Builders. And that’s where I first met Paul and his team at that project that they had just finished in 2016.
[00:05:31] Paul: Yeah, that’s right. Yeah.
[00:05:33] Mike: I have a question for both of you. Both of you, it feels like we’re very early adopters of this energy efficient methodology in building houses that is only now becoming commonplace. In both of your cases, what drove you to want to build or design that particular type of home? Because I think it’s important for us to understand the motivation for you to be early out the gate with something that’s going to be commonplace in a few years, but absolutely isn’t now.
[00:06:01] Paul: Yeah. Yeah. It’s a good question. And it’s really, it’s bottom line. It’s just the right thing to do. Interesting with Khang, what he shared today of his, interest in biology and myself and our family, we spend a lot of time in nature. We live close to Mount Seymour, the trails, the network there a lot of holidays we go on. It’s to do outdoor activities, that sort of thing. And that’s a real part of life we really enjoy and appreciate. So, it’s just the right thing to do. And instead of just doing the same old thing all the time, there’s different ways of building that’s not only higher quality, better ways to do it, but it’s also better for the environment. So, a fairly natural fit for us.
[00:06:45] Khang: Yeah, I would agree. It does feel like the right thing to do in terms of the efforts that we all put in and any opportunity. We can, we try to improve our knowledge and our technique to make our footprint smaller really just to ensure that, and I have a, seven year old daughter that I think about all the time and it’s just thinking about the future and what we’re, what we’ll leave for them and really for us too while we’re here to do good things and to, preserve As much of the environments as we can.
[00:07:20] Paul: Exactly. Yeah.
[00:07:22] Jennifer-Lee: Yeah. And your daughter is so cute.
[00:07:24] Paul: I’ve met her before.
[00:07:24] Khang: Yeah, that’s right. She came to a party.
[00:07:27] Jennifer-Lee: She came to the HAVAN Award party, which of course we’re going to talk about a little later about the awards you won. But yeah, she might be running your company one day. So, it’s important to create a legacy. And when you have certain clients that want to build these homes and come to you as either a builder or as the architect, do you find that there’s a lot of. Teaching them about the home or do they know a lot about these types of home like passive home and they’re passionate about it or do you find that it’s like a great learning process of like why you’re doing it and why you guys are passionate to be the leaders in this field?
[00:07:58] Khang: Absolutely that it’s interesting the amount of information and education that’s available out there to homeowners and our clients. There’s a lot of information and there’s a lot of interest out there for someone building a new house. I think everyone’s on the same page these days about, doing better and being more conscious of how we’re building. And so I would say that a lot of our clients know at a high level, some clients like Carl, who is the client for this project we’re talking about today. He knew quite a bit. He and I took the Passive House course together and that’s how he and I got connected. But, to the level that he knows about Passive House, not every client knows to that detail and to that extent, but a lot of clients do know about it. There is a lot of education. The majority of our clients will need to get educated if we are to go through a Passive House route. But yeah, there’s definitely education that needs to happen for everybody as we’re going through these types of projects.
[00:09:02] Paul: Yeah, I feel definitely agree with you and I feel in the beginning, especially like I say in 2016, the first project we did, there wasn’t a big pull for the energy efficient building. So, the clients we dealt with in the early days, it was less clients than we have today. But they were actually quite informed because they were driving it, it was something they wanted to do, they knew about and they wanted to do it. Whereas I think that a big shift in the industry is the cities the provincial government municipalities. That have given relaxations or mandated certain levels of performance. And that’s made it not negotiable. And there’s a whole lot more information out there now. And early on where it was starting to become a bit more mainstream, but it wasn’t fully required. We almost made a bit of a menu for people that, okay, you don’t have to go, this to a certain level, but here’s some things you might want to consider an easy one. People can appreciate and understand upgrading your windows. It’s quieter. It’s the weakest thermal part of your building envelope. So that’s money well spent to upgrade your windows. And you start that way, but I’m finding now with the promotion and requirements of the government it’s made a huge difference.
[00:10:17] Jennifer-Lee: Do you find any resistance though? Because I know that there are some mandatory things that you have to hit, especially with the step code and depending on what municipality and do you find any resistance from the clients or everyone wants to do more? Actually, hit more steps.
[00:10:30] Paul: Yeah, that’s a great question. And I think that the thirst is yeah, more, but especially in this climate is the cost of it, right? Yeah. I’m not saying that, doing the right thing or building it. Energy efficiency is way more expensive, but, to go the full, do everything, to the highest level for sure, there’s additional costs. And so, it’s trying to balance that out. And, if you’re fortunate enough to have a client that has the resources and then you can just really focus on, maximizing or doing the best you can, that’s a great environment, but the reality is. Most of our clients, that’s not the case. And so, you’re trying to help them get as much as they can, at a budget that works for them.
[00:11:10] Mike: I think the more of these projects and the more award winning projects like this happen, the more it becomes mainstream. And it’s going to be really interesting if someone picks up this podcast 10 years from now, if they’re listening to this going, and hopefully that’s where we get to, but we’re definitely not there yet. On this particular passive house, so I’m curious, so both of you are 10 plus years HAVAN members in your respective crafts, and had you worked together before this? I’m not sure, but how did you come together on this particular project? Because you both come from such unique backgrounds.
[00:11:45] Khang: I’ll share how we met. So Carl and I took the Passive House course. It was, I don’t know, 2015, 2016, just at around the same time that Paul was finishing his Passive House project. And it was, it’s interesting that you mentioned that back in the day, quote unquote, which wasn’t very long ago, there wasn’t a lot of awareness. And there wasn’t a lot of policy that forced homeowners to reach any certain level of energy efficiency. And so, the folks who were interested in building and learning about it had to take these courses and it wasn’t as readily available, online or through media, but I met Carl at this passive house course and he and I got along really well. He’s quite, quite the fella. He was great to get to know. And he is, his passion for technology and his passion for learning was really inspiring. After we took that course, his son, Eric, was building a house. And so, Carl, who was really funding the build, pushed his son, Eric, to build Passive House after taking this course and after being convinced this is the way to build, and this is the future of building. And so, the first project that we did was Carl’s son’s house and when we finished the course, and when Paul had finished his Passive House, our team toured Paul’s Passive House, and that’s when I first learned of Paul. And I believe Eric, or Carl might have toured the house as well, but we were all introduced basically once we had met Paul and toured his first Passive House.
[00:13:20] Paul: Yeah. That’s right. Yeah. That’s what I remember as well. And then there’s Karen Shaw Arbutus Interior Design. That’s a longtime friend of Carl’s has done interior design projects with Carl in the past. I’m thinking of the house that they were living in before they moved into this. And then also in Whistler, she was involved. She also, I remember getting a phone call from her, saying that they’ve got this project, which was Carl’s son’s home we’d like to talk to you to see where it goes. And that’s where it kicked off as well.
[00:13:47] Khang: Yeah, the first project that we did together was not this project. It was a previous project and it’s interesting how it’s all related. Carl’s son, Passive House, and it all spawn from there.
[00:13:57] Paul: That’s right. Yeah. And we didn’t screw up the first one.
[00:14:00] Khang: So yeah, and we should have submitted for that one. Yeah. Yeah. When it was, there was no category for energy efficiency, but it would have, I think it would have won all the awards for any category we would have submitted for, it was a beautiful home.
[00:14:15] Paul: It was very nice. Yeah.
[00:14:18] Mike: I’d love to talk about this home, but before we do that, we have to take just a couple moments to have a quick. conversation to thank our podcast partners. So we’ll be right back. Okay.
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[00:15:50] Mike: So, before we left for a break, we talked about how you two got connected on this home. Now this is really the fun part. Now that we know who you guys are, we know what makes you tick, and we know how you came together we get to talk about a cool project called the Queen Mary, which won some awards. It’s getting some great press. Khang, why don’t you start by telling us a little about the inspiration for the home and we can work our way through the process from there.
[00:16:16] Khang: All right. Yeah. The inspiration I feel really was driven or the, the design kind of direction was really driven by Carl. He was very keen on firstly building a passive home and then secondly building a unique home, a home that really was different than, everything else that was in the neighborhood, which is Fort Langley. So yeah, this house was built in Fort Langley and a really, and I don’t know if, some of you have been out to Fort Langley, but for those who you haven’t, it’s, there’s a lot of history. There’s a lot of kind of old timey vibe out there. And there are quite a lot of really nice homes. There’s a lot of money being spent out there for custom homes. And there are a couple of really nice brick buildings, like the municipal buildings. There’s a couple of really nice brick ones. And I think there was inspiration from Carl using, to use brick and then really to do a home that was unique. And so, the whole idea of doing like a Frank Lloyd Wright prairie-style brick home was the driving inspiration behind the project. And it was really driven by Carl and I just helped facilitate that vision. And then Paul stepped in to execute it from a construction perspective.
[00:17:34] Mike: So for people who are listening, aren’t familiar with Fort Langley, it’s one of the oldest settlements in British Columbia. So, it definitely has that historic heritage feel to it. And to our people watching and listening to this, you have to check out the photos because you guys have done a really great job of bringing in that timeless design. And it actually fits in the neighborhood really nicely, which is not something we can say about all new homes in classic neighborhoods. So good work. Thank you.
[00:17:59] Jennifer-Lee: It’s gorgeous. And that’s why it’s the HAVAN winner for Best Custom Home: 3 million and Over and Best Energy Labeled Home: Custom. So, congratulations guys. I always feel like I need to pop a champagne or something when I say that. It was just like, there you pop it for us. And then I also know that it’s a passive plus house. So what is the plus? Because we talk about passive homes all the time, but we never talk about the plus that much.
[00:18:24] Paul: Yeah. So, the passive house plus is an added recognition for generating power on site and in this project, the exposure was good for solar panels. We have solar panels on the roof that generates the majority of the electricity that the home consumes in a year.
[00:18:46] Mike: When it comes to solar, I think there’s a lot of misconceptions out there. It does rain here a lot. There’s a lot of overcast. So, does that mean the people in this house can only use their solar panels four or five months a year?
[00:18:56] Paul: No. Even if it doesn’t have to be a clear sky just the light through the day is enough, to generate power. Year round it’ll generate electricity. And with the solar system, it’s actually an interesting thing because it’s become a lot more approachable. In the past we were having to have battery banks and that sort of thing. So, I was like, where are you going to store them? What’s the additional cost of having the batteries. In this case there wasn’t a need to have power stored and in a lot of cases, that’s how we’re doing the solar systems now. And so, it’s a grid tied system, so it’s net metering. If you’re not using the power, if you’re away or you’re at work and not consuming energy, you can sell it back to the grid. And so, on really high performing days, a great sunny day, obviously there is more electricity being generated with the bright sun on the panels is you’re able to bank that by selling it back to the grid.
[00:19:51] Jennifer-Lee: And it fits the design so well to like, when we’re looking at the photos, it’s not like sometimes you look at homes of solar panels and they’re not placed really nicely. It just looks like, oh, we just stuck some solar panels on it and didn’t think about the design element. So, can you talk a little bit about maybe how you incorporate things like solar panels into your design? So, it doesn’t look like an ice working. It looks like part of the house.
[00:20:15] Khang: Yeah, that’s a great question. Because in this particular case, the solar panels weren’t the driving factor in the design. And we designed the roof line to fit the holistic architecture of the home. And it just turned out that some of the roofs were actually oriented really nicely to capture or capitalize on the solar gain. And from the photos, I’m not sure if you or your listeners will notice, but there are quite a lot of trees. And so, the house was placed in this nice little clearing and we did have to remove some trees, but the house was placed in this perfect little clearing where again, it was very fitting and suitable to have solar panels placed on that particular roof to capture, the most amount of sun that roof could capture. So that’s right. Yeah. So, in terms of if you are to design for solar panels, right from the get go, there’s definitely more thought into the roof form and the slope and the overall architecture of the home. And, if you’re lucky, like what we experienced, if the solar panels were then conceived of after, as long as you go along, hopefully the stars line up to allow for optimization of the solar panels. Yeah.
[00:21:32] Mike: Technically, to have an energy efficient house, you don’t have to have solar, but we tend to think of energy efficient homes as somewhat boxy and a very conventional design. This is definitely not a boxy design at all. It’s very open and airy. Does having the solar panels allow you to do more things with the house to offset what otherwise be some of the parameters you have to deal with a net zero passive house can you make it more open and spacious because you do have solar panels up there as opposed to having to go with a box for energy efficiency?
[00:22:02] Khang: I’ll just quickly answer. Yeah, sure, yeah. The way the passive house parameters work is not so much to do with the solar production of a home. It’s more to do with the energy consumption of the home. And so, the solar panels aren’t really part of the baseline passive certification. And that’s why it’s passive plus they introduce passive has introduced these levels of passive certification and levels depending on solar production or energy production. So, the baseline is passive house, and then you have plus there’s gold, silver and platinum, and then plus, I think.
[00:22:42] Paul: It’s plus, and then premium plus and premium.
[00:22:45] Khang: Yeah. And those signify levels of power production that you can achieve using solar panels.
[00:22:52] Paul: Yeah, I believe premium is if you generate all the power you consume in a year. And plus is that you’re generating some power, but not 100 percent of the power that you consume.
[00:23:02] Jennifer-Lee: I thought they would go passive plus plus, but that might be too hard. What is the gold then? Because we’ve never heard about that.
[00:23:09] Paul: I’m not sure if it is. I think it’s. Passive House plus and premium.
[00:23:13] Paul: Premium. Oh, okay.
[00:23:13] Jennifer-Lee: Maybe gold will be like the future. It’ll be like the ultimate, I don’t know. Like you’ve got your own farm in the background or something. ? No.
[00:23:20] Khang: That’s a titanium.
[00:23:21] Paul: Yeah, titanium. The motivation with it is a common stat is the carbon. We’re talking a lot more about carbon embodiment and carbon production and within BC, 60 percent of the carbon emissions comes from buildings. And we can reduce the carbon footprint by using the materials and stuff that we use, how efficient the equipment is building, passive house and that sort of thing to reduce the energy that’s needed. But the solar getting back to that is a clean way of generating electricity that’s not relying on carbon or fossil fuels.
And so that’s the main driver behind it is a clean energy source. And as Carl likes to say he’s full of great expressions and one is with the sun, it doesn’t send an invoice, so why wouldn’t you use it?
[00:24:08] Khang: Yeah. Very true.
[00:24:10] Mike: Speaking of energy. You have some unique heating and cooling options in this house that are not typically found in a passive or net zero house you guys want to go into that in a little bit of detail as well because I think it’s the melding of old versus new and how you guys figured it out is beyond me, but I’d love to hear about it.
[00:24:28] Paul: Carl’s a really interesting fellow and quite a great background and he’s always as Khang alluded to earlier just his thirst for knowledge and he’s always challenging people or he gets to know your strengths and what you’re interested in and he wants to push you to learn and grow with him. And he had an experience with a project he has done in the past where he had a really cold basement, and it just didn’t work out well for him. And he was really concerned about having a warm basement. And the passive house we’ve done in the past as most people know, you can pretty much the equivalent of a hairdryer is enough to heat the home. And so, when Carl’s talking about a cold basement, it’s no, it’ll be fine. Cause we’ve really wrapped the basement and the foundation and like 12 inches of insulation under the slab, really thick foundation walls with lots of insulation. And so, it’ll be fine. But, it’s okay if Carl wants a warm basement, that’s, very comfortable what options are there? And he was challenging putting radiant floor heat in the home. And the first thing is oh my goodness, you’re going to overheat the home. And that’s not a passive thing.
[00:25:31] Jennifer-Lee: I just want to like no, no radiant heat when it comes to passive homes, right? Yeah.
[00:25:36] Paul: And most of our clients really in the past building in this area it’s more the heat wave, the warmer periods of the summer is where there’s more of a concern is cooling after, 10 days of plus 30 degree weather, it starts to get a little too warm. So how do you deal with that? But so, it was a bit of a different perspective. And we did, scratch our head and say who’s done this? What can you do about it? And sure enough, there’s a builder in Washington state south of Vancouver here that was, is doing a lot of passive homes and using radiant floor heat. So, we decided to head down there and meet up with him. He was gracious enough, like a lot of people in our industry that want to share and that sort of thing. And so, we just went down to check it out and. And the thing that kind of tipped us off is, reducing the amount of heat you’re going to have in the home was our biggest concern. It’s fine to add it but don’t overdo it. And instead of putting the water heating pipes to the regular standard that we do with a code-built home is we spread the pipes out a lot wider area so you’re getting that radiant floor heat, but, much less of a BTU is, like the amount of heat that you’re putting in is a lot less. And yeah, so we were able to come up with the design learning from them and we successfully implemented it. So yeah, it was good.
[00:26:53] Jennifer-Lee: That’s so cool that you guys are always working together as a community in the passive ops, no matter even if it’s across the border. Just to go back to a little bit, because some people don’t understand, like you were saying, just to make it for the listener, usually in a standard radiant heat, the pipes are closer together. And then you guys spread them out. Yeah. So it’s less piping. Is that correct?
[00:27:11] Paul: That’s exactly right. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. And normally we’re putting them about six inches apart. These ones were about 12 inches apart. And we did have installed a bunch of temperature sensors, throughout the floor. And just seeing, how often the heat comes on and, and trying to fine tune the temperature. So, we’re not shocking the system, putting too much heat in. Cause you’ve got a huge thermal mass of the slab. And if you overheat it, then, you’d be take a while to get the heat out of the house. Cause the whole principle of the home is to retain, the heat. You have to be very careful how you do it. And the neat thing with it as well back to the carbon we talked about is that we actually used an electric boiler in this case, as opposed to most times people think of radiant heat, you’re using a gas fire boiler, but this was an electric one.
[00:27:56] Jennifer-Lee: So many cool features, like we can learn about this all day long, but I question from going from Carl’s son’s house to Carl’s house, what were some things that maybe you guys learned or even Carl learned from doing the son’s house and then to his own house? And did you improve anything? Does he have a better house than his son now?
[00:28:17] Khang: I wish Carl was here to answer that question.
[00:28:19] Paul: Yeah. Yeah. There’s a few things that we did different, but I guess maybe if I turn the question around a little bit, just the introduction to Carl and what he brought to the table is that yeah he’s, and I think maybe there’s a lot of learnings that we had by even doing his son’s house that we carried through. And Carl’s a yeah, incredible person if you meet him, very hospitable and very much about learning and teaching you things. And we’d never built a prefabricated home before. And he’s had the experience of doing that. And so the first one was his son’s and so in order to help us understand about it, he wanted to bring us up to Whistler and see the house that he built up there as a prefabricated home, and then tour the BC Passive House plant up there. And yeah, it was a great experience. I even brought the Kingdom Team along and even my daughter as well, cause I just thought what a cool experience to pass on the knowledge. And it was just a wonderful day. They hosted us up there. Carl’s wife, Karen made us a lovely breakfast and we, toured around. And it was incredible, what we could learn. And with the prefabrication, it was also. Why and try to, wrap our heads around that and Carl being in the car business, he said how about if you bought a car for me and I showed up at your driveway, dumped some parts on your driveway and then assembled your car? That’s how we’re building houses, building it on site when you can do it so much smarter by, by doing a prefabricated. So, our first exposure to that was Carl’s son. And then there were some changes that we did from that design to Carl’s house is just some of the panels and stuff that we’ve manufactured we did it differently with Carl’s to be able to achieve the architecture of the home, so it progressed along that way, a big learning for us through the whole process was just getting introduced to the prefabrication and the benefits of that.
[00:30:11] Mike: Hey, I have a technical question. When you’re building a passive house, it’s really important that the building envelope is maintained. You can’t have any penetrations. We can’t put speakers on exterior walls cause cold spots and things like that. As we’re looking through the pictures, there’s this amazing floating staircase. How the heck did you guys do that? Because you couldn’t attach it to the building in a conventional sense, right? This is the fun of talking about these really technologically proficient people creating these really amazing spaces is they’re pushing the envelope. And I want to know how the heck you guys figured out how to make this staircase float the way it did, because if you haven’t seen the pictures yet, Absolutely stunning. it’s like very unique. And I want to know exactly right down to the letter, how you did it.
[00:30:55] Khang: Just from a design perspective, the stairs were placed on an interior wall. They were placed not on the envelope. And like you mentioned, if it was placed on the envelope or on an exterior wall, it would have been much more difficult.
[00:31:09] Khang: When designing or thinking about high performance homes and design, you think about how to make that envelope as easy to build and as simple as possible. And in this case for the stair, we just pushed it. Towards an interior wall and the structure and the supports of it were not an issue from a thermal perspective and then from a construction and structural and, support perspective. That’s it. It was quite an interesting. Yeah. Execution from Paul.
[00:31:36] Paul: Yeah. Yeah. Thanks Khang. And it’s so exactly as Khang is saying, the exterior wall, is full of insulation. And so you don’t want to have the thermal bridges there because obviously we have plugs and, different services and stuff that do end up in the exterior walls with, This style of construction, we do a service wall. So a three and a half inch wall on the inside so that you’re not interrupting the insulation in the thermal wall. And you can run your services. And so, the stairs actually part of it does, it’s not impact the exterior wall, but it’s alongside the exterior wall. And then just to back up a bit, we had CLT panels that we used in the design of the house to create an elevator shaft and we had some leftover CLT panels, cross laminated timber. And in hanging that staircase off the exterior wall, the challenge was how are we going to make this strong enough in a three-and-a-half-inch cavity to support the stairs stringer. And working with the project engineer, we were able to come up with a way of attaching the CLT panel in the service cavity. That gave us the strength that we needed to mount the staircase, which again, I was really excited about because it’s a traditional, or not a traditional, it’s a passive house, but we were able to give, all the cool features that you might think are not always possible.
[00:32:57] Mike: Yeah, and you, anyone who’s listening to this, I haven’t done a very good job describing it. Go to HAVAN.ca, check out the pictures. It’s truly inspiring,
[00:33:03] Jennifer-Lee: and I can see why it’s the winner of three Georgie’s this year, HAVAN’s winner for best custom home with 3 million and over and best energy labeled home. Just want to ask you guys a question for winning these awards. What does it really mean to you as the architect, as a builder to win a HAVAN Award?
[00:33:21] Khang: Yeah, I would say it means a lot. The recognition is this is a, I feel, you feel honored. I feel honored to be recognized for the work and to be part of this team, this winning team. And yeah, I know it makes me proud of the work and it makes me want to do more of the same work and to drive myself to learn and to keep on pushing towards doing better.
[00:33:45] Jennifer-Lee: And I bet your daughter was excited to pick up the award with you.
[00:33:48] Paul: Yeah.
[00:33:48] Khang: And it’s true. It was great to bring her. She had a good time there at the awards.
[00:33:52] Mike: Was this your first award that you’ve won awards before, correct? Yes. Okay. But have you won awards before?
[00:33:58] Paul: We had entered into HAVAN the year before with an interior designer and she won the best interior design and we had the associate award. But this was the first award that that we’ve won in HAVAN.
Paul: Yeah. Thanks.
[00:34:13] Mike: Yeah. It really is a big deal to win an award like that because it is so rare and it’s just such a huge honor. Gentlemen, we want to take a couple seconds, because I’d be remiss if we didn’t, to say such, just a huge thank you to both of you for taking time out of your day today to share your story, to share your background, and to share some inspirations, some philosophies, and some of the things that drives the both of you to create these amazing projects that you partner on as well. It gives homeowners a chance to get to know who’s behind the projects, the type of people who are creating these things and bringing them to life, and it really adds life to the awards process. There are people behind these awards and there’s processes that lead to it. And there’s so many things that we could talk about that we learned today. And, so many great lessons, but the two that stuck out to me first of all, had to do with your floating staircase. And the lesson is that teamwork, right? It was a group effort to make this work. There was an idea, something to be created, and you worked together to find a solution, and you integrated the design. And the second had to do with, when we were talking about the radiant flooring, that was really neat, because both of you had to go and do some additional learning in order to make it work. And really the lesson learned there is no matter how good you are at your craft, even if you’re at the top of your craft, there’s always a continued learning and the best people in this industry never stop learning. So great conversation and really tons of inspiration for us as well. And we do this all the time.
[00:35:42] Paul: Thank you.
[00:35:42] Jennifer-Lee: And I know that you guys have given us so many great tips today, but please just one more each, one more tip for the audience, one closing thought. From each of you, you can’t cheat, you can’t combine.
[00:35:56] Paul: Yeah it’s very humbling to have this opportunity to be on the podcast and to win the awards, but it’s so much bigger than we are. There’s so many people that are involved in putting, pulling together a home like this whether it’s the education or the collaboration and just having a team with consistent values, as you’ve mentioned of a thirst I think that’s the environment that you need to be successful. Because if I sat here and said it was me and I did this, I’d be a fool because, it’s a really an amazing team behind it, that it’s got us to where we are and that’s critical.
[00:36:38] Khang: Yeah. I would say teamwork makes the dream work, right? Yeah. That definitely is something I believe in as well as finding that team whether it’s, just the builder or the whole, sub trades team behind the builder and the interior designer and also the client, we’re all working together to, to put forth these projects and to just do what you love and to promote and to, be part of the drive of whatever it is that you’re passionate about or whatever you’re doing, it’s just a, always aim to do better.
[00:37:13] Jennifer-Lee: I love it. And an important last question for you guys. Where did you put your HAVAN Awards?
[00:37:18] Khang: Oh, ours is, so Paul let us take one of his awards. Oh, take one.
[00:37:23] Paul: Okay.
[00:37:25] Khang: So, one of them is sitting on our in our middle shared office meeting room desk
[00:37:30] Paul: right now. Yeah. And we’ve got one that floats around the office and sitting on my desk right now, but I’ve ordered more for the team to be able to share them around as well, so
[00:37:39] Jennifer-Lee: you’ll have to do a timeshare with
[00:37:40] Mike: I want the award for October. If you’re getting it for,
[00:37:45] Khang: yeah, just sign up on the online the schedule
[00:37:48] Mike: Hey, speaking of signing up online, what a great segue to the next part of our conversation. As we have these amazing partners for our podcast and our friends at FortisBC have an awesome prize for our listeners to win. You’re probably sitting at home watching this going, this has been great and all, but what about my barbecuing needs? And it just happens to be that if you’ve listened to this episode, you’ve liked this episode, you’ve told your family, you’ve told your friends, you can have a chance to win a Napoleon Prestige P500 stainless steel, natural gas barbecue valued at $1,500. As mentioned from our podcast partner, FortisBC. All you got to do is go to HAVAN.ca/measuretwicecutonce. And you too could be grilling in the backyard of your beautifully designed passive home or wherever it is that you live.
[00:38:33] Jennifer-Lee: And Mike will come make a brisket for you on it, just throw that in, extra prize there. And for notes and links to everything mentioned in today’s episode, including resources from these lovely gentlemen beside me, Paul and Khang, go to HAVAN.ca/measuretwicecutonce. Thank you so much, Trail Appliances, FortisBC, VicoStone Canada, and Rami Films. And thank you for joining us for another episode of HAVAN’s Measure Twice, Cut Once.
[00:38:59] Jennifer-Lee: Thanks very much.
[00:38:59] Paul: Thank you.
[00:39:00] Khang: That was awesome. Thank you.
[00:39:02] Paul: Good.