Naikoon Contracting and One Seed Architecture + Interiors tackle Vancouver’s missing middle housing with a stratified Passivhaus+ duplex project including two lock-off suites, as a smart in-fill solution.
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Co-Host, podcast editor: Jennifer-Lee Gunson: jPod Creations
Co-Host, Mike Freedman, AI Technology & Design
Production: Rami Films
Distributed by Black Press Media: Today in BC.
About the Speaker
Born on Haida Gwaii, Joe became immersed in construction from a young age. He started his construction career as a laborer on construction sites with his father’s company and has moved through almost all ranks and positions in the construction business. He is proudly a Red Seal Carpenter, a Gold Seal Project Manager, a Certified Housing Professional and a born businessman who has spent over 20 years in the industry.
Joe is an awarded entrepreneur who has founded several companies in the construction space including Naikoon Contracting Ltd, a boutique, full-service construction firm specializing in a diverse range of innovative projects throughout BC. Joe has led his construction teams to over 40 awards locally, provincially and nationally and has been recognized personally with numerous awards including environmental, community and entrepreneurial awards. Joe’s industry and community impact include founding “Construction Cares” community fundraiser event and being a founding member of Canada’s Net Zero Energy Housing Council. Other volunteer work includes chairing the CHBA-BC Technical Research Committee, BCIT carpentry advisory committee, and Municipal Advisory Design panels, to name a few. Joe is committed to developing the Naikoon group of companies into a national success story. He is passionate about carbon neutrality, Virtual Construction, Off-Site Construction and Mass Timber as well as continuing to develop key leadership staff and young apprentices who are ready to lead the modern-day world of construction. In his spare time, he enjoys relaxing and spending time with his wife and son.
Allison founded One SEED in 2008, leaving a comfortable position at an integrated architecture / engineering / construction firm to pursue her passion for evocative and sustainable residential design. Her aesthetic is informed by the rugged outdoors of the West Coast, the straight lines and big skies of the prairies where she grew up, as well as international travels. As a mother of two young and completely crazy boys, her work is also influenced by the daily adventures and pragmatic realities of raising an active family. Formerly a competitive swimmer on the McGill Varsity Swim Team, she has more recently taken to hikes and family bike rides, and often times can be found pulling a chariot laden with giggling kids. As a local leader in residential sustainability and Passive House, Allison believes in being an “open source”, and has shared lessons learned at various speaking engagements and conferences. She loves to geek out on technical envelope details and is involved with several local groups pushing municipalities and the local construction industry to support sustainability and low-embodied carbon construction.
Allison holds a Masters in Architecture Degree from McGill University in Montreal, and has worked in firms from Montreal, to Calgary, to Vancouver, accumulating a broad range of project experience including in commercial practice. The exploration of new concepts for modern and green housing continues to be the foundation of the practice.
Here's the Full Transcript of this Episode
EPISODE #40 Passive Plus Duplex
[00:00:00] Jennifer-Lee: Hey Mike, we’re back in the studio again for another episode of Measure Twice, Cut Once.
[00:00:05] Mike: Hello, Jennifer Lee. Yeah, we certainly are. The last episode with Jake from Smallworks is absolutely amazing. He’s so passionate about building to our needs with a smaller footprint versus the old adage of bigger is better.
[00:00:17] Jennifer-Lee: Yeah, and I really liked his thoughts on how the single-family lot could potentially help solve the housing crisis we have here in Vancouver.
[00:00:24] Mike: On that note, today’s guest Joe from Naikoon Contracting is back. He was a guest on a previous episode. And we’re going to talk about a passive house plus project here in Vancouver, and he’s brought the project’s chief architect, Allison Holden-Pope of One Seed Architecture and Interiors.
[00:00:40] Jennifer-Lee: Welcome to you guys.
[00:00:41] Joe: Thank you. Thanks. Glad to be here.
[00:00:43] Mike: Yeah, it’s exciting. Well, let’s dive right into it. Those of you who are listening, who were not listening in our earlier seasons, while number one, you probably should, but had you listened, you would’ve heard Joe as a previous guest. Those of you who don’t know, Joe should really take a couple minutes to hear his story because it’s a really exciting one. And Joe, could you tell us a little about your journey to where you are today and a little about yourself so we can better understand where you’re coming from?
Joe: Happy to. We can time this out for 2 minutes and under maybe.
Jennifer-Lee: There we go. Keep it to two minutes.
Joe: Yeah, we’ve had a few, few Javas today. But yeah, overall, I mean, I started, I was born into construction, family, started working on site when I was six years, five, six years old to like, remember following my dad around like a lost puppy and picking up trash. And I think just learning through osmosis and just naturally I’ve never kind of looked back. So, it’s always been what I’ve wanted to do and I started apprenticeship as a carpenter you know, back in when I was about 14. Finished that shortly thereafter high school and sort of my entrepreneurial journey, which is now going 22 years strong. So, currently I’m the president of Naikoon and, uh, and we’re high performance, uh, home builders, um, as well as, as other things, um, kind of crossing over the sustainable construction and prefabricated wood space. So, super happy to be here and, uh, and super honored to have worked on a, a project with, with Allison in one seed and, uh, and have a chance to talk, uh, together about it today.
[00:02:04] Jennifer-Lee: And you have a beautiful office, and you serve great coffee when you go visit.
[00:02:08] Joe: Very, very nice. Yeah,, we do have a good coffee machine there and it’s getting, we’re getting a lot of mileage out of that. We enjoy that. So, thanks for bringing that, bringing that up.
[00:02:16] Jennifer-Lee: Just promoting you. Yeah, right on. Allison, I haven’t had a chance to get to know you yet. Do you have a great office of great coffee and tell us a little bit about yourself as a tea drinker.
[00:02:24] Allison: It’s not going to be as rewarding. Coming to my office, we have really good loose-leaf teas.
Jennifer-Lee: oh, that’s pretty good.
Allison: You’ll have to decide. I came into architecture kind of sideways. Um, in high school I attempted to get into a photography course, entered the code wrong, both design and communications, but it was design and communications too. And it was a drafting course. And so at first it was like literally hand drafting axonometric drawings of like car parts, things like this. And I was like, this is not great, but this is my only option to keep going. But by the end of it, the last thing we did was a designing an interpretive center and drawing floor plans. And I was like hooked after that. And so straight out of high school, into architecture at university focusing on focusing on sustainable architecture. Worked in an integrated architecture, engineering construction firm for my time. postmasters to starting one seed in 2008. and really appreciated that process and having hands-on access to actual construction sites where they would say, why don’t you try torching something on so I can actually like try it out, you know? And so that was a really good experience and I really loved the integrated approach. So, I always knew I wanted to work in residential though, which is what one seed architecture focuses on. So that’s what, once I had the opportunity to start my own firm in 2008, we’ve been going at it for 15 years focusing on modern, sustainable, um, architecture That is fun. We try to just choose a few pictures. We’re a few projects. We’re a small firm of only three.
[00:03:54] Jennifer-Lee: I love that a mistake led you down to your career path. That’s awesome.
[00:03:59] Mike: Life is full of happy mistakes. So, I have a question for you. Obviously, you’re very much a pioneer in the passive house space. Can you tell us a little about your history? Because you were involved one of the first passive houses in Vancouver, and can you tell us a little about that project, but also a little bit about what drew you to this space and why you love designing this particular style of home?
[00:04:23] Allison: I’ve always been interested in sustainability. It’s always been a driving force behind the projects that we take on. I attended one of the first passive house courses when they came to Vancouver. I’ve always been aware of it. Interestingly, first ever passive house ever was in Manitoba Anyway,
Joe: Saskatchewan, 1970.
Allison: Yeah. and then basically the Europeans saw what was happening, ran with it. Canada kind of dropped the ball, so it’s was predominantly taking place, um, in Europe, but that was a while ago. So basically
Jennifer-Lee: Canada’s always late to the game.
[00:04:57] Joe: early, depending on the perspective.
[00:04:59] Allison: Good point.
[00:04:59] Joe: We were, we were the first, the data came from here and then got repurposed into what it is today, which is interesting.
[00:05:05] Mike: Well, what drew you to designing passive homes and, and really trying to get at, you know, what was the impetus for going on this radically different direction? At the end of the day, everyone else is pretty much still doing that. And there’s a few of you out there going, let’s try something so different. Why, what made you want to do it too passive house?
[00:05:25] Allison: For sure. Yeah. Well, I think attending the first passive house course, it was like day two and I was just, it just clicked. And I said, this is the only way we should be building. Once I started to think about more how the elements of the building go together and like plywood being a vapor barrier and everyone puts it on the outside of the building and therefore trapping moisture. Like you just kind of start rethinking some of the ways that things are done. And I realized that, um, this was what was this is the direction that we wanted to head. It’s the smartest way to build high performance, as well I was coming from a holistic background of, um, focusing on lead, which is looking at not just energy performance, but indoor air quality site selection, like water consumption, that sort of thing but the research was sort of showing that 75% of the impact of a home or any structure over its life was act, environmental impact was a result of the energy consumption of the operating energy. So, realizing that if we focus more on that, that’s critical. Not throwing the baby out with a bathwater, still focusing on a holistically sustainable design, but targeting how much energy a home or a building consumes to operate, to heat and cool itself is what we wanted to focus on.
[00:06:38] Mike: Joe, what about you? What made you want to get in a passive building? Because again, it’s a radical departure than probably how you grew up building. What’s the seed that makes you want to do this type of construction? Because it’s obviously more challenging than just doing it the way everyone else is doing it.
[00:06:53] Joe: Yeah, I think like I was super lucky to the, the first home that Naikoon built when I relaunched about 15 years ago was in the city of North Vancouver. And they were very forward-thinking and they had implemented the inner guide system, which is still around today as a Canadian measurement tool. And if you built to Energuide 80 at that time, which it’s now flipped where zero means the best back in the day, a hundred meant the best. And if you built the Energuide 80 or better, you basically get free floor space in your basement. And if you don’t, then you can’t, then you have to count that floor space in your basement, so you get a smaller house. So pretty well every home that was being built in the city of North Van, which was where our primary activity was at the outset, was um, was built Energuide with a blower door, and I went and did some courses. I quickly became an R 2000 builder at that time, this was back 2009. Actually, I didn’t even realize that everyone was, wasn’t having to do that at the time. So, we’ve never built a home without a blower door test. We’ve never built a home and we’ve done about 70 custom homes. And it took me till about, you know, several years into that to realize like, oh, this is only here and no one across Canada, Nobody is having to do this. And so, so that journey led to, our 2000 Program, that led to us playing around with PHPP modeling back in 2014. And then you know, the fundamentals of all these, you net zero or passive house or portions of lead or portions of these different labels and programs to validate what you’ve done. Built Green at that time was something we were using a lot. The fundamentals are all the same, right? Which is, you know, let’s build airtight, let’s have good windows, let’s have good ventilation and let’s build with a focus on sustainability and occupant health and comfort. And, and so our journey just kind of naturally progressed from there. And Passive House Canada has done a great job of coming into the market and establishing some guidelines and parameters and growing. And so yeah, they’re doing a fantastic effort as a CHHBAs net zero label program and other programs. And so, it’s front and center now. It’s here, it’s trend. It’s being codified. And so yeah, we’re in a good place. I think we now just sort of have to assess, I think, pull back and assess overall objectives again, and to see if there’s any changes or tweaks or lessons that we’ve learned along the way and share those with the industry so that we don’t have any trouble.
[00:09:06] Jennifer-Lee: Did your father ever lead you into any of this stuff? Because you said you grew up on the construction sites. Like I also come from a family construction company, and sometimes the older guys love them, but they’re not super into this newer stuff. So did you just start, like you said, you naturally got involved in it, but did your dad ever lead you into this or is he.
[00:09:26] Joe: I would say like, probably indirectly, so like the short answer is no, but I was born in a small village of Masset in Haida Gwaii. 800 people. My father’s still there. That’s where his company, that’s where Naikoon was originally incorporated in 1980. And so, I spent my summers there and my childhood growing up in school here in North Vancouver. And so, all my summers were up there doing construction. And so there’s a different way of life up there in a small town, a remote community. So living off the land and gardening and you know if a building was going to get demolished, then you would, you know, the whole town would come and like, none of that stuff would go in the landfill. That would all be like great a new tap a new door. It would all get used. And so, I mean, this was just natural to me and, and so indirectly, absolutely. Right. Like the sustainability side of it, the sort of waste knot side of it. And kind of, you know, proximity to local resources. All these things are natural. Like just ingrained in my values. And so that definitely applies to how we build and sort of the methodology of Naikoon, but as far as like the technical side of it, no, I you know, he was curious for sure, and I think some of the older generations of builders that I talked to, you know, kind of going back 10 years or so, they’re like, Hey, we kind of have to like, kind of relearn how to build again. And I think a lot of them retired and said, I don’t want to do that. And so definitely curious, definitely a supporter. And, and I think indirect, uh, reflection of, of sort of the, the company we built and the values that are inside of it definitely come from those times in my childhood.
[00:10:52] Mike: What a cool story for both of you. Really, innovation and leadership doesn’t always come from a clear path. It comes from happy little accidents and discovering that there are better ways to do things and discovering that there are new ways to do things. So hats off to both of you for your leadership. We are here to specifically talk about a project that you guys worked together on, as we’ve discovered time and time again, a successful end result in this business as a result of having a great visionary designer and a very well qualified builder to execute. Can you start to tell us a little bit about this project itself? It’s called The Bird’s Passive Duplex. Can you tell us, first of all, where’d you get the name from?
[00:11:35] Allison: Good question. So, Bird wing, Passive House Duplex is Passive House Plus duplex.
Jennifer-Lee: Good. That’s a mouthful!
[00:11:46] Allison: It’s a long one, isn’t it? I know. If you’re going to do a passive house, you have to get passive house in the name, so, yeah, exactly. It’s got a great origin story for the name of the project. So architecturally, if you see the home, it does have a gable roof line. It’s in the RS five zone in Vancouver. And part of the zoning requirements have design guidelines, including basically requiring gable roof lines, which you’ll see a lot in Vancouver. And that’s a whole other episode. But, it’s, if you’re an architect in Vancouver, it’s a real exercise. And how can you make a gable roof stand out and be different, because oftentimes you’ve got to do a gable. So, it’s got a gable roof line and then it kind of folds down and wraps down under one of the, um, one of the balconies, the front south-facing balcony on the second story. So architecturally there’s already kind of this folded wing design, but also the bird’s wing name comes from some of the goals that we had with this project. Obviously, it’s reference to nature and the importance of the environment by incorporating a local bird, like the blue heron. The colors of the house also pick up on the plumage of a blue heron, and also the two clients, the two homeowners are a brother and sister who also have several other brothers and sisters. And so, it’s kind of bringing the family together into the fold. Under one wing is sort of one way. We’ve looked at the analogy of the design of the home, and also, it’s a duplex with two lock-off suites. So, it’s actually bringing four dwelling units in the size of a single-family home under one roof line. So those are some of the reasons it’s called Bird’s Wing.
[00:13:15] Jennifer-Lee: I love it. I, I think that’s so cool. I love hearing origin stories like that instead of just being like, we built this box because we wanted to put our family in it. It’s like, this is neat that it’s coming to this with the lock off suites and with the other suites on top, are they stratified or are they owned by the owners? Like how is that dealt with?
[00:13:34] Allison: Good question. Yeah, so it’s a, it’s a duplex, so it’s a legal duplex. Um, it’s going to be stratified between the two units and they each have their own lock off suite within their unit, so it can always be stratified between the two. But those two lock off units remain part of each strata lot. So, it’s not for strata units, it’s two strata units, but they can be sold off, which is another benefit of the brother and sister sort of sharing land cost, building their own homes, investing together, but they’re not tied to forever living together. If one person’s plan changes, they can sell off that unit.
[00:14:07] Mike: This unit is very, very different. It’s a stack unit splitting the basement versus a back-to-back or side-to-side design. Can you guys talk about why this is so important to leverage the space and why you were able to leverage the space in the manner you could for this very unique design?
[00:14:26] Allison: Yeah, that was actually one of the, it was an interesting time because the duplex, the allowing duplexes on single-family lots was new in Vancouver at the time, so there weren’t a lot of precedents. And that was one thing that we were, I mean, duplexes are not a new concept at all, but that was one of the things that we were kind of playing with. It was different configurations for how the different units could work together. And ultimately the goal is to maximize each unit’s indoor space, but also access to sunlight, outdoors, daylight. Both of them are coming from single-family homes, downsizing to a duplex, so not looking for that feeling of living in a condo or a townhouse. So, in the end, what we ended up with is a stacked plan. So one unit is on the full upper floor, as you said. The benefit of that is that they have on four sides, four sides windows. So, when you’re in the living room, you don’t get the, you don’t have this party wall anywhere. That means that there’s somebody on the other side of that wall. It’s like in your living room and kitchen. You can see in three directions at all times, open front to back. You can open windows at the front and back and get great airflow throughout. Then the sort of back to the circulation space is if you can imagine the sort of traditional stacked front-to-back or side-to-side unit that’s over three stories. Each unit having its own staircase, the staircases consumes so much of the floor area. So, we did a lot of studies in that stage just to show, because the initial goal was, yeah, let’s just do a stack or a side-by-side.
[00:15:53] Allison: But it quickly became clear that by eliminating those staircases they gained, you know, so much more space and we were able to give them much more functional space. And the other element of it is that duplexes in the city of Vancouver are supposed to have two front doors facing the street. And so we were able to work with the city because it was a passive house, because we had these sustainable goals to move one of the front doors to the back of the house, which meant that the main floor, instead of having just two doors facing the south front south facing street where you basically would be pinned to half the footprint as well as not really a great space to be putting like living spaces or kitchens. They’re able to have a full frontage with yes, one entry door, but then big windows facing. So, that main floor unit is able to get the same solar gains as on the upper.
[00:16:44] Jennifer-Lee: So, question here, and I’m just trying to paint a picture for the audience, because you said you have two lock-off suites. So, there’s one floor for one person.
Jennifer-Lee: And then another floor for another person. But then where are the lock-off suites?
[00:16:55] Allison: Good question. So, they’re in the basement, the lower level. And the one unit that’s on the main floor has a little bit of space on their floor given to the front door for the upper unit. So they have one bedroom, kitchen, bathroom, living all in one level. And then below they have a lock-off suite as well as a second bathroom and a second bedroom. So, the basement is kind of divided, one-third, two thirds between the two units and the front-facing unit, which is south facing, again, you aren’t supposed to necessarily have large open spaces at the lower level in the city of Vancouver, but we did double French doors, large glass facing the street, and we’re able to build a nice courtyard, or not a courtyard, but a patio off of that basement unit. And then it’s terraces up with planting to the grade level. So, you don’t get this feeling of being in a basement. It’s got nice big windows. And then the back unit is a very compact lock off unit. It’s just a studio unit. So that one is a little bit more tight.
[00:18:00] Jennifer-Lee: Well, the whole space thing, I can’t wrap my head around it. Like, it kind of just changed my mind because I grew up in a duplex and I always say, my dad was like saying the trend they bought a lot a long time ago, him and his friend, because they couldn’t afford to buy one themselves. And then they both built a duplex. But my duplex figure because of the way it was laid out. But now that I think about it, like staircase. Mm-hmm…that could have been so much more extra space in our home.
[00:18:26] Mike: So much square footage to stairs in their home. Now what’s very interesting is one of the challenges we are all facing as we only have so much lot size and there’s restrictions on how big you can build. So does this logic of help us, I don’t want to say cheat because we still have to follow certain requirements, but does it help us unlock more square footage that would otherwise be constrained if we’re building in the city of Vancouver or Burnaby or New Westminster? Like is this a template for more space?
[00:18:56] Allison: Yeah, I mean, I do think that this house we had the opportunity to present this project at the International Passive House Conference in Germany last year because the reason that people were interested in it is that it is kind of a new housing typology that it’s addressing the missing middle problem in Vancouver. But as far as unlocking floor area, yeah, that’s a good point in this. One of the great things about working in the city of Vancouver is that the sustainability group at the city is very proactive and they’re really willing to do what it takes to make the sustainable projects happen. So currently there is an incentive until 2025 for the FSR exemption if you’re going for a certified passive house because they’re trying to push that transformation. They’re trying to support early adopters, reward early adopters so that they can make help showcase these projects and uh, for other people to catch up basically. So yeah, they got 18% extra floor area for doing a certified passive house duplex, which meant it was 600 square feet total. But of course, you lose a bit of floor area with the wall thicknesses with um, a passive house. But the city has taken that into account, into that math so that there was still a bonus of 300 square feet of additional floor area, which both units got an extra bedroom out of it basically. And so that was something that meant that as a project progressed, they weren’t ever thinking about let’s eliminate passive house because it was worth the investment to get that extra bedroom to also get a passive house. Like, although they were approaching Pacific House because they care about the sustainable aspects, it, it was never something they got on the value engineering checklist.
[00:20:30] Jennifer-Lee: I love that. And like we were going back to saying like extra space and it, and I think you mentioned it before, is like, who needs a hallway, like some, some buildings in here, even condo buildings and like residential. There’s so much wasted hallway space. Like I have a friend that has a duplex of Vancouver and it’s the other model where you said there’s a unit at the front, but her door face is the front as well, so to get to the back unit, it’s like she’s got to go through this long hallway that’s like, that feels so wasted to get you to your unit. So, it’s great that you guys come up with these ingenious things. And then were you saying then one of the lock off suites, that one is just a studio?
[00:21:08] Allison: Yeah, one’s a studio, one’s a one bedroom. And that was really down to each of our clients, and how they wanted to approach it. So it was,
[00:21:17] Jennifer-Lee: I thought they would have a fight of who got the one bedroom. Because it would be easier to run down for more money.
[00:21:22] Allison: Yeah, no, it’s like a good point. So, it is, this house was not designed as a prototype. Like we’ve done prototypes. I think it is a good prototype. So many people who have come through it have said this makes so much more sense, even compared to other duplexes. Like sort of, as you said, this makes a lot of sense as far as a layout but it was a real balancing act between brother and sister accomplishing what each of their individual goals were for their custom home within the same footprint. And so, what the decision ultimately was the sister really was in, is really into landscape and outdoor areas. So, she’s on the main floor and her front door cascades out south onto a patio that goes to her garden which meant that she had the notch out on her level for the upper floor. So, she just has more space in the basement because of that. And the other one, and the brother has the full upper floor, but he has two staircases to go down to his lock off. So, everything was kind of a checks and balance of pros and cons until we’ve kind of found this like Tetris shape that really, uh, got them each what they wanted. So, it was a really fun design challenge. It was a lot of work and there was a lot of different options that were reviewed, but in the end, I think it really worked out well
[00:22:33] Jennifer-Lee: Because I was going to say, was there a fight for the top versus the bottom, Because that’s usually what kids fight about. Such if we’re top bunk. Top bunk.
[00:22:40] Allison: Yeah. Top bunk. That’s a good point. I should call it the Top Bunk. They, I mean, it went back and forth throughout the process and ultimately they both had different things that they cared about. And the upper suite has some advantages. The lower suite has other advantages, and they’re both happy with what they ended up with. But it did go back and forth a lot for sure.
[00:22:59] Mike: Speaking of brothers and sisters and not fighting and keeping the peace, anytime we’re sharing walls, noise is definitely going to be an issue, and I would imagine having people in the top walking over you all the time could also potentially be an issue. That raises the point of a passive house and the acoustic levels in a passive house versus a conventional house. Now, can you guys go through this and talk a little about what makes a passive house so much better for someone who’s concerned about an acoustically inert environment?
[00:23:34] Joe: Yeah, I’ll jump on it and then, and then we can take, take team. This one maybe. I mean, I think just fundamentally, um, you’ve got a well-insulated exterior wall assembly, good quality windows, strip glazed, and air tightness. And so, it’s going to give you a natural, you know low sun transmission rating from inside. to the outside of the home. And then, you know, interior wise, I think, I wouldn’t say necessarily that passive house would have any bearing on sort of the interior floor-to-ceiling and wall-to-wall transmission points. Although there was an extensive conversation in sort of the early design and collaboration process between Naikoon and One Seed where you know, we talked about air tightness and compartmentalizing different parts of the building. And I think certainly sound and air tightness are go. An airtight box is more soundproof than a non-airtight box. And then there’s some other benefits about around smell and some other things. Maybe Allison could talk a little bit about the floor ceiling assemblies and, and some of the, some of the good benefits we got out of those.
[00:24:44] Jennifer-Lee: Yeah, I think that’s something that we don’t think about either, is smells and like, so I live in a building from 1912 and it’s been obviously renovated over the years and the other day I like walk into my bedroom was like, hmm, someone’s making something I can, so, and like sometimes it’s not pleasant. So does that happen in a passive home or is that it? No more smells from the lock-off suites from your brother Cooking. Maybe something that you don’t enjoy to smell.
[00:25:12] Allison: Yeah, I mean it’s a good question. And I think Joe touched on the fact that passive house really focuses on the exterior envelope of the structure and then what you do insides kind of up to you. So, we’re more into just like best design and building practices for the interior, kind of separate from passive house. That being said, passive house is being very airtight. You can have more pressurization or depressurization between the two units. So, if they are airtight and then one, one guy’s got his window open and there’s like a pressure buildup in one unit compared to the other, instead of going out leaky windows or gaps in a, you know, in a, the envelope in a normal home, there is more pressure on those, um, party walls and floor assemblies. So what we did working with Naikoon, address that what we need is to include an air barrier between the two units, whereas that’s not a requirement by code to put an air barrier between units. So, the full sort of Tetris shape outline, we’ve got an air barrier continuous between the units, and then there’s just fire separations required between units and they’re pretty sturdy. So just with that you know, we’ve got two layers of drywall on the underside of our floor, joist, floor joists packed with insulation, and then we have a whole extra service cavity below that for lighting, mechanical, with another layer of drywall, all in resilient channels. So ultimately, we have created a pretty, um, sturdy assembly between the different units.
[00:26:36] Mike: One of the things that’s really interesting is listening to you guys go back and forth about how you came about this, and that brings up an interesting point. One of you is an architect and one of you is a builder. How do you guys integrate so you’re meeting in the middle to best serve the needs of your client? Like, because that to me seems like the biggest part of this is an integrated design and building team. How did you guys get on the same page with each other, and can you talk a little bit more about the importance of the integration between a quality builder and a quality design team?
[00:27:01] Joe: Mm, good subject.
Yeah. Who, uh, who came first on this one?
[00:27:06] Allison: I think we were like almost at the exact same time. Yeah because our clients were very committed to get a good team together and an integrated design team, which is what we both favour.
[00:27:16] Joe: And we had just met and we, we met at Naikoon. We’ve been connected by some colleagues and said you guys should meet. I think you’re, you got similar approaches and processes and sort of values. And so, we had a good sit down at Naikoon and kind of um, Allison’s, you know, exceptional organization and process and drive for sustainability. And, and I exchanged the same, and we felt a natural fit there and I think shortly thereafter, Yeah, I think you, I think you recommended us to the owner here on this one if I’m remember.
[00:27:45] Allison: I think so. But we welcome a great project. Yeah, yeah, exactly. It’s a good one. I think also they were pretty meticulous and interviewed all the architects and all the builders who did Passive House projects as well. And so, they were wanting to build an integrated team and we were eager to work with Naikoon, so that was fantastic. And yeah, I think that one of the important things, or one of the important aspects of a sustainable design and um, making it successful is an integrated design process. That’s something that I value, something that Naikoon values. And so that was something that was integral to this project and others was at every stage of the process we were pinging back and forth to say, here’s where we are in the design. Do you have any thoughts on constructability sustainability, how you would approach it? Budget, and any, just any advice is greatly appreciated. And so, there was that collaboration, which is important because we don’t want to be delivering a design that’s fully resolved and just say, make it happen. we want it to be designed the way that the builder will want to build it and pull it together.
[00:28:45] Jennifer-Lee: And with communication on the project, it’s very important to also realize the climate you’re building in as well. Because, you know, if you’re building here in Vancouver, it’s going to be different till what you’re building in Florida because the climate is vastly different. So if you guys aren’t on the same page and it’s not going to be a great experience because like you can do an amazing design, but if Joe doesn’t guide you for the right materials in the Vancouver rainy climate, we have, it’s not going to work. Maybe your design is going to start getting soggy halfway through.
[00:29:16] Joe: Yeah. I think what’s imperative that we figured out over the years is. There’s, you can be a great builder and not a great project manager. You can be a great architect firm and architect, and not be a great project manager. You can be a homeowner who often is found actually in the role of project managers. They just don’t even know it yet to be able to assemble the, you know, how many consultants on the City of Vancouver project now, six or seven typically. And so, who’s, you know, of course, coordination of these. It can vary. Sometimes you got sophisticated owners, sometimes you don’t. And I think early communication to clearly highlight, here’s all the roles inside of a project and, you know, who’s going to take those? And, and it can be anybody as long as they’re, they’re getting filled. And so I think we had some good dialogue back and forth. You know, I call it the triangle of death.
[00:30:06] Jennifer-Lee: Oh, that sounds really pleasant.
[00:30:08] Joe: The homeowner, the architect, and the builder. And so, these,
Jennifer-Lee: And why is it the triangle of death? Can you like tell like?
Joe: Yeah, no, I will, I’ll unpack that.
Jennifer-Lee: Elaborate please.
Joe: And I think it ties right into this. We need to be all on the same team, the same page, and we need to be together early and often. Right? And that’s not how always how it goes. And so, there’s push and pull from all three of these key core team members. And they’re all very important. The architect’s been hired to set a vision and deliver that vision for the owner. The owner has a vision that’s being developed by the architect, but also has a budget that the builders accountable for typically. And so how do you navigate all of these parts and pieces where there’s always going to be some concessions? Every project has a budget, whether it’s small or huge. And so, I think you know we navigated this very well. It was a long process together. We have personalities and dynamics and different people, and sometimes staff changed during you know, the three, or three plus years. we’ve had this right through the whole pandemic. And so I think the end result’s been exceptional. We’re not quite there yet, but there’s definitely some ups and downs and, and as long as we’re communicative, professional and able to meet and just sort of talk about how is it going often and regularly, then we’re going to get through these things. But it is a journey for us all. And I think communication from my experience is like 80% of the win there. And it wasn’t a triangle of death on this project and that’s because we had a great team and great leaders and sophisticated people that know you know their lane and know their role.
[00:31:44] Jennifer-Lee: I’m going to start using that term now for my father’s company. It’s a triangle of death.
[00:31:49] Joe: Yeah. coined by Joe.
[00:31:51] Mike: No. If you’re working with the right company, it’s a triangle of happiness and relaxation.
[00:31:56] Joe: Yeah after you’ve moved in and recovered and relaxed and I’m sort of thought back on the whole experience and you’re going to be relaxed. Yeah. But it is a journey. I mean, for homeowners out there listing you need to have some time to put into these things that it’s imperative. It’s so, they’re a critical piece and sometimes they don’t realize it as much, especially if they’re trying to coordinate a team of seven people or something at the beginning or assemble the team, right? So, we were lucky to have conversations on, at the beginning to assemble the team. And so, they did it right. They did a lot of due diligence, and they did it right, A design build team.
[00:32:32] Jennifer-Lee: And all honestly, it’s a relationship. We talk about this many times in the podcast, but it is a marriage because like you said, the project could be two to three years and it’s not always going to be great times. And sometimes the builder has to let the homeowner know some important information that maybe is not what the homeowner wants to hear. And it’s like your spouse, you’re not always going to have a great day every single day in your marriage, but, if you have the right team, you’ll do well.
[00:32:57] Joe: It’s a hard job we have sometimes, right? That, you know, it’s tough to give disappointing news to people and we have to do it all the time and it’s got to be done immediately and with clarity. And so, I always say to some of our clients, it’s, you know, hey, We can control what’s going to happen because we haven’t started. But the news is, you know, you didn’t hire us to tell you what you want to hear. And so here’s the facts of reality, what the marketplace is telling us that this is going to cost and take. Sometimes it works out and sometimes it doesn’t. Most often, there’s always a gap there from my experience. And then we have to have a discussion on how are we going to mitigate this? So, can the budget come up a bit? Can the design get tweaked a bit? Can we value engineer? And I think Allison alluded to this one earlier with the city density bonus and the passive house, often people want to start chopping into the sustainability efforts because they might not see value in that versus, you know, a finish or a fridge or something. And in this case, that was not even on the table as a value engineering item. Once we started it got done and it’s going to get, you know, certified. And I think that’s an exceptional program that the city has. And so, I’m looking forward to more of these.
[00:34:04] Mike: I think these are important conversations and helping to challenge some of the preconceived notions that us as homeowners may have, and also helping to empower homeowners so that your job’s easier because they’re asking the right questions and they’re talking to the right people and getting the right information. And believe me the information you’re giving us today has been absolutely phenomenal. However, we do have to take 30 seconds for a very quick commercial break to thank our wonderful sponsors. So, we’re going to step out for just a second and we’ll be right back.
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Okay, we’re back. And we were talking about the importance of hiring experience teams. Something else that you have to be an experienced team at is, of course, going through the step code, because a step code could be very confusing. I don’t feel like I know it that well, and we’ve been doing many episodes on it. And Joe, can you touch on that? Like, can you give us a little mini Cole’s notes version of what the step code is just to refresh our listeners and what step that people get to for their basic needs.
[00:36:37] Joe: Yeah, for sure. So, the BC Energy Step Code, this is something that’s been brewing in the province for, for many, many years. It was sort of a soft rollout two years ago, and some advanced municipalities started using it right away. And now others, I believe as of May 1st are, it’s mandatory to be adopted in all municipalities across BC. I’m quite sure. And so, what it is and how it was designed was, Step 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 to implement into British Columbia to lower operational energy usage and intensity of homes in the province. There were these climate emergencies being declared and a number of groups started reacting to say, Step Code, great. This will solve it. And you know, we can debate this part, but I think it was a good move. And so, a lot of them went right to Step Three and they said Step Three is now mandatory. And so it came on very, very fast. So, you know, over the 10 years it didn’t go, kind of step one, step two, step three, step four, the individual municipalities can select it to start at step one, but I haven’t seen any yet. That doesn’t mean there aren’t any, but I don’t think there’s too many, most of them have kind of gone, they’ve already had their internal initiatives. They’ve moved towards energy and climate goals, and then they’ve moved into higher steps right away. And I think Step Three is a great place to be at. And I think we can kind of debate between Step Three and Step Five and Passive House and Net Zero, if there might be sort of a sweet spot in between there from an economics or from an environmental or from a comfort and occupant standard. Right. I think there’s lots to learn here still so hopefully I covered that off.
[00:38:14] Jennifer-Lee: But you did, it’s great to kind of have like the Step Code program, but it’s like if you’re starting to force everyone to do three, are people doing it for the right reasons? Are they doing it because they have to do it? And what could that create down the road?
[00:38:29] Allison: I’m a big supporter of legislation being the direction to sustainability because I think we’ve seen it. I can’t even remember what code it was where we started to require exterior insulation in the city of Vancouver. And all the builders, the spec builders were pushing back and saying, we can never do this. And now that’s just, every house that goes up in the city of Vancouver has exterior insulation. We also practice on Vancouver Island where that is not the code. And trying to even just do a standard home with exterior insulation it requires bringing in more often specialty siding contractors because they don’t know how to deal with it. So, I think that’s a really good indication of, you know, bringing forward those sustainable measures, forces the market transformation, the training, the trades, the material availability. That’s how these things become more accessible for everybody. So, we don’t want it to be so much that it causes some a sticker shock where there’s a real pushback on the finances. But these steps, I think the only way that they’ll happen because as we said, 10% of the people are doing the best job that’s, that can be done, that people are making the right choices, building long, durable, sustainable homes. But if 90% of the industry is going to be building a house with a 15-year shelf life out of spray foam insulation, what’s the point? So, everybody’s got to get pushed and that’s how that will happen.
[00:39:52] Mike: Mm-hmm, it sounds like a very steep learning curve for the industry as we go through this though.
[00:39:57] Joe: Yeah, and if I can add to that, like, I totally agree, totally. Support like a legislation route to this is, is good. I think that we kind of screwed up right. You know our forefather’s kind of screwed up a little bit and we kind of forgot a little bit about sustainability for a good chunk of time in this country, this world. And we’re now reacting to that as a society. And so, I think the intensity in which something like this was designed was correct. Like it was going to be 10 years. And it just comes down to capacity of the industry, right? So, you know, go back even five years or go back 10 years, when we were doing blower door tests, there was a handful of people in the entire province or even the country that could offer these services. So, this is a new industry inside of building. And so now to Allison’s point on the exterior installation, it changes the way we’ve always built. And so, we now need more mechanical designers, we need more energy advisors. We need to train mechanical contractors to CSAF280. We need to train exterior envelope or framers or some carpenter groups to understand like framing structure, air tightness, insulation, because it’s all become integrated. And so, it’s happened fast and I, you know, there’s some risks out there for sure because, you know, people need consulting to learn how to do that. And if there isn’t a consultant that’s got any time to be able to consult to them, then they’re going to have to go figure out, this is industry-wide building inspectors, the architects, the city, the builders, the trades. And so it’s a wild time right now in the province, I would say, where everyone’s scrambling to figure it out and there’s no proven path in which, a performance-based path versus prescriptive, right? The old code would say, build the two by six wall and put an R22 bat in the wall. And that was prescribing how to build, where now performance-based options allow you Step Code. You could build a two by four wall with an R14 insulation, potentially even in a password less, potentially. And, have another wall over there that compensates for that and play with a performance-based modeling, which we found advantageous to try and find the right formula. But the thing is the builders were saying, Hey, you know, we’ll do it, but how do we do it? And there’s no answer to it. It’s starting to develop. So, what’s the assembly we should use? Well, here’s 150 different options and pick the one that best for you. And they’re like, well, I have no idea. Like, just tell me what to do. And so I think we’ve been fighting that a little bit as an industry. Capacity’s coming. BC housing’s been doing great education. CHBA’s been doing great job education Passive House. Canada’s been doing great. BCIT’s been doing great stuff. So, it’s all there. It’s coming. It’s happening. I have less concerns today than, than I did 18 months ago when this was, I’m like, oh my God, this is going to be wild. But we’re also regional here, and Vancouver has been ahead of this. The municipalities in North Shore and West Van have been ahead of this but you go, you know, we’re in bubbles. You go to Northern BC, you go to probably Vancouver, Valley. And in some context, although we’ve got great, great people over there kind of pushing the, pushing the legislation. It’s different. And so, you we’re in our little bubble. So, some people have never done this. They’ve never built a step code home and they have to learn. And others that have been in certain regions, it’s business as usual. And then the rest of Canada, well, that’s a whole other story. And so, the implementation of tier code nationwide will be, is coming. And we’ll see if that if carbon catches that and if there’s some tweaks to that. But, we have to build long or short, there’s risk. We have to build capacity. We don’t want another leaky condo crisis on our hands here.
[00:43:37] Mike: No, but I’d imagine as an early adopter, you’ve had to learn a lot of these lessons firsthand. And the nice thing is people like yourself, both of you have been very forthright about the experience and your leadership role will help the rest of this industry scale up. Can we talk about some of the lessons you have both learned along the way in your journey as well? Because I think that’s important. We can learn from our lessons. They’re teachable moments.
[00:43:59] Joe: You screwed a lot of stuff up, but we encourage internally like we encourage to celebrate lessons and issues internally at our company. And then I, you know, I love to go out and share them. I’m, I’m happy to stand in front of a room people and say, hey, here’s what we thought was going to work and here’s why it didn’t, and here’s not what to do. And hopefully that saves you. So, I mean, I think the main, material I think, you know, going 10, 12, 14 years back, building high-performance homes and not really having a conscious understanding, because I don’t think a lot of people really did. It wasn’t like what it was there, but like, what are the materials we’re using and is this you know, is this like a really bad material that’s causing a bunch of environmental impacts somewhere else? And making my house airtight and energy efficient. Well, is that, you know, we’re now studying is that right or is that wrong? And there’s more data now. So that’s something that I’ve learned a lot. And then I think overall, to keep it simple, Right. We’ve done all kinds of creative. You know, we’re kind of a natural group of we want to innovate. We we’re not scared to innovate. We’ll take some risks. We love new things. We love creative design teams that want to push the limits. And so you know, we’ve done a lot of really complicated things. Mechanical system control things and wild assemblies and other things that, you know, they’re great. I’m glad we did it. What we learned was we’re not going to do that again. And so, so I think that that’s my journey. That, that’s my thoughts on that is just keep it simple. Focus on the fundamentals, right? Don’t get lost in the, don’t get lost in the weeds of all these things and new products and all these kinds of things. Focus on the fundamentals and learn those and then see if you can incrementally apply improvement to that. And then improvement is, is something that we now have started to question, you know, what is this thing and how is it actually adding value into kind of these three pillars occupant, comfort and, and health. environmental net impact, and economics cost. We got to, we got to have affordability in here somewhere, right? So, I don’t know what your experiences are, Allison.
[00:46:10] Allison: I think, um, our lessons learned on the incorporating sustainability would one of the main things was that at first it did seem like this exotic thing to do. We were, when our, we did our first passive house, it was designed at the same time as there was two getting designed at the same time. So, we didn’t have the materials that we currently have. We didn’t have the resources; we didn’t have the expertise. Every, all the documents were in German. It was really, it really was a lot of work to try to figure out how to make it happen. Every inspection failed because the inspectors didn’t know how to review a passive house. It was a real challenge for sure. So, I think that, I mean this isn’t really lesson learned, but the industry lesson learned is that it’s getting a lot easier. Like a lot of these scary stories. It’s not that hard to do a passive house. No, the materials are available. We learned quite quickly that it doesn’t have to be exotic, it doesn’t have to be scary. We’re still just using cellulose insulation, tgi’s, wood studs, like nothing that’s too exotic. A lesson learned that we have taken into our non-passive house projects, because we always sort of have what we call like our One Seed sustainable code-level house. So, it’s way above a code-level house. And it’s kind of we are not willing to take on projects below that, but it’s not near a passive house, is that air tightness is the thing that matters in a passive house. And that applying, using those better membranes, using those better project products on a project that’s not targeting passive house has huge implications for a very little sticker value. And so, I think that would be the lesson learned as somebody who’s undertaking the sustain the, um, their first sustainable project is really getting those air barriers, right. Using good membranes that are breathing, that are smart membranes, airtight taped and tracking that air barrier through the whole house, sealing it to the windows, sealing it at every junction and just right there, you will have achieved quite a sustainable house. And that’s something that you’re already using membranes. Like just use a slightly better membrane and pay attention to its continuity. I think that’s kind of the main lesson learned that we had with incorporating the passive house principles.
[00:48:24] Jennifer-Lee: Well, it’s just breaking down the misconceptions too. And I think now we got to go over to the consumer side and let them be aware of that. Because I think a lot of times consumers will see this as like, hate to use the word, but like fads. Like, oh, we got to do this because it’s green right now. And then in five years there’ll be something else and then in five years there’ll be something else. And so, I think sometimes it’s like we throw all these buzz words like passive house net zero, and people are like, oh, okay, well there’ll be something else again in like 10 years.
[00:48:51] Allison: No, that’s a good point. And I think that the greenwashing is a real risk, but having seen LEED gain strength and then sort of lose popularity and then Passive House gained strength. I don’t think that there was, if you had done a lead project, you didn’t lose, you know, you got a very sustainable project. We learned and it way better than everything else that was done at the time. We just learned, also, let’s incorporate this, um, energy efficiency and passive house in particular is very data-based. So, it’s not a sticker, it’s not a fad, it’s, it’s, you know, it does consume 90% or 80% less energy than another home. You’re not losing on that so there’s, you want to make sure that you’re doing things holistically and things will pivot and evolve. And that’s what we want. We want things to keep, let’s figure it out. Like I was mentioning before that passives conferences used to be all about, energy efficiency, and now they’re all about embodied carbon because you’ve already set this base of a high-performance home. Let’s do it using as sustainable materials. And so, I think that that’s how things are evolving, and I’m not worried about it being a fad. It’s ultimately everybody’s dream. That passive house doesn’t even get mentioned anymore because it’s code. That’s just how we build. That’s what we want to have happen.
[00:50:05] Joe: Yeah, I can, I think I can support that in the fundamentals are here now and ingrained in code. The Step Code or passive house, or net zero, or, you know, there’s, we did a study, there’s 18 different labels. I think we’ve done 16 of them for housing and they all have different sort of strong points and nuances and other things. So, none of them are perfect, but the fundamentals are largely the same. And I think there’s value-based fundamentals to many of them. And there’s energy, sort of sustainability, like operational energy-based fundamentals, and now this embodied carbon pieces. Certainly, I think from my view, it’s like tying this all together, like, okay, we tackled energy performance, which is a huge, which is a huge piece of it, and it’s happening. And so, there’s some realization to just ask ourselves a little bit how we did that as an industry. Did we succeed at our goal to reduce operational energy performance of homes and make sure that we study that so that we understand, you know, what energy or what, what emission or what went into the materials that we used to achieve that. Right? And so, this is certainly going to be hot topic. I don’t think that there’s the fad here is not, I don’t believe a label, but, and I don’t think the fundamentals of what we’re doing will go away. But I inevitably, the industry moves and evolves. You know, we go back to the, to the nineties when LEED was really hot and, you know, I see it coming back in certain aspects again. Because it’s a holistic approach. So, you know, I think if we, if we get past the need to validate ourselves with perhaps the hot label or the hot, you know, Designer jacket of the year or whatever it may be, like consumerism. Then get, and just get back to the basics where people want to. A home that performs well. People in a home that’s healthy and has good quality indoor occupy and they want to try and find the best way to achieve that without kind of overspending. And so that’s when you now get into true custom housing. These are value-based decisions made by the person cutting the check. And if they’ve aligned themselves with groups like us, then they likely have like shared values and shared common value. And I think that’s really important to a homeowner, even selecting an architect and selecting a builder. And our client here did an extensive job, probably broader than many would to just really make sure there was values alignment. And we do the same thing, and I’m sure Allison does. She’s talking about sort of minimum standards there. And we have a similar thing where if you get that right, then you’re going to be able to achieve, achieve, uh, success because you’re all kind of focused on the same thing.
[00:52:54] Mike: How we’re going to power our homes in the future is going to be very different to how we power our homes now. And we all know that it’s going to be easier to do so with an energy-efficient or net zero or passive home. There’s a lot of words out there for it. Can we add a very high-level talk about some of the different energy sources one could use to power their home now and what you might think the future looks like for that as well. Because I think the trick here is not to look at where we are now, but to really look 10 years ahead when this is a fully formed future and what you guys are doing is not special or unique, it’s just what we all do now. So, let’s talk about the energy sources for this new home that we’re all going to build.
[00:53:37] Allison: Well for this project, it’s purely electrical power. There’s no fossil fuel. The natural gas is capped off at the property line. It doesn’t even come to the house. So, that is how this house is powered. It’s just off of the grid. It’s in the City of Vancouver, so it’s not an off-grid project. But, one of the great things about doing such a high-performance home is that it’s such a great platform for other sustainable targets, including renewable, onsite generated, electrical sources. So, for this project, even though because it has a gable roof with west or east facing, it only took 33 solar panels on the west-facing side of the house and not your optimal orientation for solar panels to get this project to net zero to compensate for all of the expected loads on in the house. So, it’s a nice way to be able to futureproof the house by doing this, it’s so little energy required to operate the house. Heat and cool it, as well. It’s, I mean, it has the EV chargers and things.
[00:54:50] Joe: Yeah, no, I think it’s, it’s like a hot topic. We start, we got to really understand where our energy’s coming from. So, we’re primarily hydroelectric energy or gas, but primarily hydroelectric energy and BC are some areas that are using that don’t have access to that. But primarily hydroelectric, which I mean you know, we’ll keep the trolls off the chat, but, you know, 98% clean maybe. I mean, troll me, you want something like that. It’s very clean. And so, we’ve got a simple formula. In some cases, if we want to limit our emissions impact, right? It’s just go electric and your emissions are gone and, and they’re not gone. But there’re hydroelectric dams somewhere. And so, I think that there’s a great simple choice there. If your goal is emissions reduction, right? Um, which ultimately the objective of a passive home that doesn’t use a lot of energy being a passive house or step five or net zero, which would create its own energy, and this can be done in any home. Ultimately, your goal, the overarching goal was to reduce the operational impact on what’s viewed as emission Canada wide and housing. I can’t even spit that out of my mouth very clearly. But what I’m trying to say is we have to understand where we’re looking, where we’re building and it’s not a one-stop approach. It might be different in Prince George. It might be different in Kamloops. It might be different in the City of Vancouver from the North Shore. And so, overall, I mean, I got a big, interest in, in resiliency right now. I like battery, I like electricity in British Columbia. And I do think there’s a place for incremental opportunity to introduce mixed, mixed systems, in some contexts. Again. You know, the folks control me on that one too. But I think there’s an incremental approach that needs to happen potentially depending on the number of pieces of context. So, we’ve been building all electric for decades. So, you know, primarily, and so I love solar. I like batteries. And, one more comment to the trolls, but the embodied carbon in a battery, where does it come from? All these kinds of things. I can’t answer it. And so there’s certainly some data out there that would suggest is that actually a good thing or, or not, but this is how complex these rabbit holes get. So, I like resiliency. I like a bit of solar, like a little bit of battery. And being able to operate off grid if you needed to, and not have to sort of tap into to city services, which would also kind of include, you know, underground rainwater collection and other things that are kind of, give you a week off the grid if you need it or something. You know, when the big ones coming.
[00:57:34] Jennifer-Lee: These are very complex systems, like you were saying, and the important thing is that we just start learning what’s right for the community that we live in, and if we can all take a step towards it, obviously I don’t want to sound like, you know, we’re going to hold hands and like, everything’s going to be right, but you know in Prince George. I’ve lived there in other places that we can all implement a little bit better. We’re going to try to make the planet a little bit greener at a time. Not sound corny, but thank you so much Joe and Allison, the insight lessons learned from these projects you have been building. I really want to see that project.
[00:58:09] Jennifer-Lee: Allison, I’m going to have to come by. Yeah, it sounds amazing. And you guys have been doing this for 15, 20 years, so thank you for doing your part to make the planet a little bit greener. And thank you for joining us on an episode of Measure Twice, Cut Once. It’s been a great conversation so far.
[00:58:24] Mike: It has been. I want to thank both of you as well. So impressive the level of knowledge that you both shared and your outlook in the future of building high-performance homes. Like really, we have two big leaders in the room with us today and it’s been a very exciting conversation. There’s so much we talked about, and if I had a half hour, I could probably summarize it accurately, but I’m going to do my best in the last few moments that we have. So, there are benefits to passive homes and passive house plus homes, and the importance of good design to maximize the livable space in homes. You guys have really done a great job of that. The importance of working with a great design team experience in building higher performance homes. That affordable homes are possible, even when building to higher performance levels. And lastly, that we have to look beyond energy to include occupant comfort, the economics of building and the environment versus the label if we’re truly going to build green.
[00:59:19] Jennifer-Lee: And I know you guys have shared so many great tips throughout this episode, but please give us one more each. If you could give us one tip to our audience for advice on maybe building their own passive home or, or advice on, I don’t know, something that maybe you didn’t get to discuss, Joe, let me know now.
[00:59:36] Joe: I’ve got a boat. Six. No, I’m just kidding. No, you got,
[00:59:39] Jennifer-Lee: you got one each. Unless you want to combine.
[00:59:42] Joe: Let me go. So, I think advice for a homeowner embarking on a journey to build, quote unquote green or passive house or whatever it is that you feel is right for you. Build a team. At the beginning, sometimes you might get sold to say, hire an architect and go in for a building permit. Then go talk to a builder or hire a builder and have them find their architect and go build a design-build team from the beginning, get it together, and then start the process, an integrated design process. And you are going to have the best chance of success because the dirty work gets done in that process. And I mean the, the hard conversations happen when you have complete control. As soon as you start construction, you lose control every single day. And if that design is not sound and coordinated and have a functional team, you could get yourself into trouble.
[01:00:35] Allison: I think I would say as well, on top of that is building a custom home, a custom project. It should be fun. It’s so important to get a team of like-minded people, just as Joe said, but also somebody that’s a good alignment with your values so that we can all have a really good time enjoying the process of doing it. There’s lots of houses out there on the market. A custom home is not for the weak’s stomach. You know, it’s, you’ve got to be doing it because you’re going to be getting something out of it. You’re, you’re creating something that doesn’t exist in the market. You’re creating, your vision is able to come to life. You’re able to accomplish something more on the sustainability side of things. So, it should be a really fun process.
[01:01:20] Allison: You’ve got to build a team of like-minded people that share the same values and who are going to be just as passionate as you.
[01:01:27] Mike: That’s awesome. Thank you once again Joe and Allison for joining us. Every time we have amazing guests on, it makes me go home and think about what I want to do in our own home. And now I have to go home and tell Pam we’re building a passive duplex next. So, thank you. It has been an inspiring conversation and to our listeners, if you enjoy this podcast, if you were inspired as much as we were, please like and follow and share with your friends and families. The more followers we have, the more people will find out about our podcast and all the amazing resources and information our guests are sharing.
[01:01:59] Jennifer-Lee: And for notes and links to everything mentioned on today’s episode, including resources shared by Joe and Allison and see images, I can’t wait to look at these of Bird’s Wing passive house plus, that’s mouthful. Go to www.havan.ca/measuretwicecutonce.Next week we’re going to be in the studio with Jonathan Meads of Streetside Development, talking about Net Zero Ready Townhomes. It’s going to be an interesting discussion on the future of multi-family development. See you next week and thank you for joining us.