Exploring the future of townhomes and the challenges faced by industry building with a smaller footprint, for the benefit of the homeowner and future generations, Jonathan Meads of Streetside Developments shares lessons learned.
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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
Jonathan is Vice President of StreetSide Developments, the multi-family division of the Qualico Group. Jonathan has held the post for almost three years. StreetSide has been building townhomes, low and high-rise condos and mixed-use projects in the lower mainland for 10 years.
Jonathan has over 25 years’ experience in real estate development and construction. Prior to becoming VP Jonathan was Senior Development Manager for 2+ years, after 11 years with Concert Properties. He has worked in both Canada and the UK, with experience in wood, concrete and steel residential and commercial construction. Jonathan has a Diploma in Building Studies, a Bachelor of Science with Honours in Building Surveying, he is a Chartered Surveyor and holds his LEED AP designation. Jonathan has been a member of various HAVAN, UDI and municipal committees for many years and remains engaged with BC Housing and other government bodies. He is passionate about building better buildings and continual learning.
Here's the Full Transcript of this Episode
[00:00:00] Jennifer-Lee: Hey Mike. It’s Measure Twice, Cut Once, day.
[00:00:03] Mike: Hey, Jennifer-Lee. Sure is. And I’m ready to dive right. The last episode with Joe from Naikoon Contracting and Allison from One Seed Architecture was really interesting because they shared so many lessons they’ve learned. Building net zero ready and passive homes.
[00:00:17] Jennifer-Lee: There’s really so much to consider with the demand for housing is at an all-time high. The regulations are constantly changing and building science is changing. The homes we live in.
[00:00:25] Mike: You know, change in our industry is a constant theme on this show, and every guest we’ve had this season so far has put a spotlight on the new technology or a new way to look at our communities and how we look at the homes that we’re building.
[00:00:39] Mike: So, today’s guest is no different, and we’re going to continue a really inspiring conversation about progress and change in our industry.
[00:00:46] Jennifer-Lee: So, I’m really excited to bring our guest in today. Let’s welcome Jonathan Meads of Streetside Developments. Hi Jonathan. How are you? Good morning. And I know you work with a lot of different companies like Foxridge and Qualico, but who are they and who is Jonathan?
[00:01:01] Jonathan: I’m the VP at Streetside. So, my responsibility is looking after Streetside Developments in B.C. and we are part of the Qualico Group of Companies, of which Foxridge is a sister company, so Foxridge and Streetside build the homes. And then we have a community’s division and others that sit under the umbrella doing land acquisition. And then east of the Rockies is a whole load more. Different things to do with lumber and plumbing and stuff we’re not involved with here.
[00:01:25] Mike: Hey, before we get too deep into this, we’ve talked to a lot of different people on our show, designers, builders, architects. I don’t think we’ve ever had a developer before. So, for our audience, can you just tell them quickly what a developer does different than say a builder would do?
[00:01:39] Jennifer-Lee: Because I feel like a lot of people just think developers make lots of money and that’s it.
[00:01:43] Jonathan: I wish. I don’t even drive a Bentley. So, there’s one myth busted. I suppose in our market, the best way to describe a developer is perhaps somebody that actually acquires land. Takes it through the development process at the municipal hall, so designs it in conjunction with consultants and then a couple of different streams but builds and sells it. Some like ourselves, we self-perform, so we have our own in-house general contracting operation, and some let that by contract out to outside contractors and then obviously the sale and close and hand over to, to homeowners.
[00:02:19] Jennifer-Lee: And why did you choose this lifestyle? How did you get into this? Because it’s something that not everyone can do. It is a complicated process, like I said. I think there’s a lot of myths out there about developers and it’s just an easy life and you bank a lot of money, but like you said, there’s a lot of moving parts to it.
[00:02:35] Jonathan: There is to be honest with you, I’ve always been fascinated by architecture and that’s what started it. And I hate to say it probably even goes back to Lego. I’d be the one that built the house square and color coordinated and proportional and everything. So, it sounds a bit stupid, but that’s probably where it started. My family has no history in the development industry, so I just went off to university, studied, kept going through luck and hard work and where I am today.
[00:03:04] Jennifer-Lee: So, yeah, that’s okay. My family has no experience in broadcasting, but you know what I mean, they’ve gone into construction and it’s a world that I really enjoy learning about.
[00:03:15] Jonathan: Yeah. it’s forever changing and actually that’s one of the great things. No two days are the same. I couldn’t be a bank or something. We just look at numbers all day long, you know, on spreadsheets that would drive me insane as close blueprints, right? Oh, I can look at those all day long, but they don’t look the same.
[00:03:31] Mike: One of the things I really appreciate about developers is the impact they have on developing communities. And I want to talk to you a little about the project that you’re in here to talk about today, because really what you’re doing is two things. One, you’re helping to develop a community, but two, you’re having a lot of leadership in that field. Now, we on the show, had to have a lot of people in from Vancouver and the North Shore focusing a lot on single family dwellings and stuff like that. This is exciting for two reasons. One, it’s breaking some new ground, and two, it’s in Langley. And if you think about the trajectory of people buying their first homes, a lot of people are going on that side of the bridge just for affordability to get started. So, this is especially impactful for a lot of people. Can you tell us a little about the project itself, why you chose Langley and some of the unique aspects of this project?
[00:04:16] Jonathan: Yeah, so the project’s called Cascadia and we’re actually based in Surrey, in Cloverdale. So, it’s the heart of the Qualico operations in BC are more valley focused than perhaps city focused. We are working in Coquitlam and Burnaby too, but it really is focused on Surrey and Langley. And a couple of years ago at our corporate level, our head office is in Winnipeg, we were getting involved with sustainability in a variety of different ways. looking at corporate sustainable responsibility or in the ESG sort of reporting that the banks they’re kind of asking for. And our senior executive just threw down a challenge of saying, we want every builder unit within the company, within Coquitlam to build a Net Zero Ready display home. It’s very easy for, for, uh, one of the single-family divisions to just go and build one home. We started looking at going, well, we can’t just build one and we needed to do it somewhere. That was practical for us. So, we are building more condominiums in Burnaby and Coquitlam. Right now. Townhouses are out in the valley. So, it came down to timing. Cascadia was one of them, but also, to be honest with you, at that time, we approached the Township, and they were very open to working with us on it. It meant some changes. We already achieved third reading on the projects. We knew we needed to make some changes to the building, but our goal is to make the actual home look the same as the others. The interior finishes will be the same, and from the outside you won’t really see a lot of what this is. It’s the guts in the wall and the mechanical systems. But we were quite deliberate in approaching the Township because their building department and the sustainability department were very approachable and easy to work with. Whereas there’s other municipalities and I’m, where trying to approach those parties is lost behind a glass screen, if you know what I mean. So, trying to have a conversation about, hey, we want to do something different here is, it’s down to where you can make that move quickly.
[00:06:18] Jennifer-Lee: So, Langley you say was pretty good with the whole townhouse thing because like you said, there’s a lot of challenges when it comes to stratifying and everything like that. Did you have any more challenges to stratifying a lot and making a lot of townhomes for future purchases for potential buyers?
[00:06:33] Jonathan: Yeah. we’ve learned a lot and we’re still learning a lot on this project. We’ve broken ground and we will have the first ones ready later this year, so we’re going to continue learning. But even just the Strata piece, building a townhouse to the net zero ready labeling under the CHBA is more complex than the single-family home. And it’s not so much the actual mechanicals and the components that are involved in the design, but to your point about the strata, it’s the legalities we found out very quickly and we were aware of it, but clarified it with the lawyers that we can’t just say, okay, there’s the roof space. This is the amount of roof space. Let’s put photovoltaic on it, because the strata owner that’s underneath that roof doesn’t actually own the roof. It’s, it’s owned and maintained by the Strata for everybody. So, we’ve had to put some framework together and we’re nearly finished on it, but on how the homeowner in the future, when photovoltaic are financially justifiable with a good payback. And also, efficient enough to fit the roof space so the homeowner can come back and put them on later. So yeah, definitely stretching in a new direction there as well.
[00:07:39] Jennifer-Lee: And is there any difference of fire code too, because obviously you have multiple units and anything to do with firecode and net zero or is it pretty much similar to like a regular townhouse complex?
[00:07:49] Jonathan: Yeah, the fire code side will be very similar. You won’t see anything different in the NetZero home. We have separation walls between each of the townhouses, on a vertical. The sprinkler in the township. So, that setup will still be the same.
[00:08:04] Mike: I have a question. When we’re looking at a net zero passive house, it’s often built very different than a conventional house, deeper walls, more insulation, different vapor barriers. When we’re dealing with a block of homes and only some of them are built to the spec, how do you differentiate those homes? Because you can’t make them radically, fundamentally different. Like you said, we can’t have some roof in one section and a different roof in a different section. So how do you create that net zero or passive ready home when we’re stuck with the same infrastructure for every unit?
[00:08:35] Jonathan: Yeah, we, we took a very deliberate approach to that, and we tried to simplify it. So, the reason we’re building, we’re actually going to build 18 of these homes, and so we’re doing it in four blocks. And that was originally, we’re like, well, let’s just do the one block. And then our sales team, marketing team were like, hang on, you can’t just build one. We’re building, you know, 230 odd homes here. We’re not sure what the demand will be, but beyond that, we can’t just have one block. Because if it sells out, we’ve got nothing else to offer and that’s going to be our display home and everything else. So, we made the decision to go a bit better and, and we’re building four blocks. So, then it was like, okay, what’s the best orientation, what’s the best way to make these changes? But to your point, have the buildings still look the same? So yes, the walls are going to be a bit thicker. The mechanical systems we, we’ve actually as a function of trying to get to the net zero, ready status, we’ve actually taken the gas out of these homes. So, we’ve got a heat pump up water tank and an induction cooktop, et cetera. But we, we had to look at it and say, okay. When you stamp stand back from the others, it still looks the same. The floor plan layout internally will still be the same, just the walls are a bit thicker. And so, once we sat down with the architect and the energy modeler, we were very quickly able to determine, okay, it’s this orientation. So, all four of them are in the same orientation, they’re all the same floor plan. So, we’re able to, in essence, copy and paste the detailing across them.
[00:09:52] Jennifer-Lee: And to build these types of homes, do you need any special education, any different certifications? Because a lot of the time in building, we don’t even, like, as a consumer, we don’t ask that even of people just building regular homes. A lot of people don’t do the deep dive into if their contractor is qualified or not.
[00:10:09] Jonathan: That’s a loaded question. We’ve been down several paths there. Um, first off, internally, we, we’ve put people through the C H B A net zero course. We’ve also been, uh, in B C I T doing the site super net zero ready courses and things. We did a two-day work that they have a hangar at B C I T that they’ve got built mockups in, and they teach you how to build airtight assemblers and look at all these other things. So, we spent two days there, which was fantastic. But beyond that, we’ve also, we’ve been very lucky. We’ve learned a lot about the consultants. They’re all still learning. There are some specialized consultants that probably like Mike mentioned a minute ago, more focused on single family and have got it dialed in at the single-family level. But at our level, we’ve had to work with the consultants and yeah, they came back and said, look, there’s the, it’s going to cost us more, there’s more fees. And we are like, okay, we got to do this. So, we’ve worked through that. But the last part though, we’re starting to realize is the trades. And there’s no mandate once somebody’s got their ticket to go back to school. Well, everyone’s heard it. You’re talking to the guy that’s been doing the same thing for 30 years. Well, why do I need to change now? You know? Well, we, we need to change if we’re going to do this. The whole approach to the air barrier is so different and I’m sure I’m, I wouldn’t say I’m losing sleep every night, but there are nights where I lie there thinking about this and I’m sure our site super and others are wondering how we’re going to. All the trades consistently achieve this unit after unit, after unit. Just air barrier approach. Sealing the building up. How do we make sure the mechanicals work right? And that’s, that learning is going to end up happening to some degree on site. And we’re trying to now wrestle with how do we get that message out as people arrive at site, how do they get that reminder that, because they may have been working on another site the other day where it’s just, ah, just throw up the Tyvek. How do we remind people constantly and how do we engage those trades that we get the right people building these homes?
[00:12:12] Mike: And I think you’re speaking about a very constant and consistent problem in our industry. There’s a lot more work than there is people right now. That’s one of the biggest impediments to growth in housing and doing more housing. But the nice part is there are organizations that are training the next generation of people in the trades. And these are the people who are going to be more likely to be aligned with what your vision is, who are going to be more coachable, and who are going to be leading from the trade perspective as you are leading from the development perspective. So, there is some excitement there. But you did raise an interesting point and that is building a multi density unit is significantly different in methodology than being building a single-family home. So, what are some of the challenges building a net zero passive ready townhouse relative to what we might have heard other guests talk about building a single-story home like when we had Joe on in our last episode.
[00:13:00] Jonathan: Yeah. There’s a lot of different factors spooling around. But at the highest level, product selection is critical and the availability of it, it’s not like we’re trying to go and buy one induction range. We need 18. And I can tell you I did a renovation in my own home, just ordering one induction machine last year, it was 12 months wait. And, you know so there, there’s instantly a flag of like, okay, when are we ordering these? How many of these are we ordering? We’re shifting into new technologies. So again, I put a heat pump and hot water tank in my house. And, uh, the manufacturer’s been fantastic, but we’ve, I’ve had some teething challenges. So now it’s like, okay, what are we doing in the, in, in these townhouses? Cause we have a warranty, you know, we have to make sure these things do what they say they do on the tin. There’s a whole level at the consultant level of, you know, what windows are we picking? Depending on the orientation, they start to change. It’s no longer less just order a double-glazed vinyl window frame and shove it in. There’s triple glazing, there’s low e coatings and there, depending on the orientation, those coatings appear at different, on different surfaces within the triple glazing system. So how do we make sure that the right window goes in the right opening? So now we get to the, the trade piece again, and you’re right, I actually think the next generation coming out of places like B C I T and elsewhere are actually more aware of what the future brings. But the problem is, they go to work for a company where there’s a guy that’s been doing it for 30 years and he wants to keep doing it his way because he’s got it dialed in and has an efficiency. I get that. But with, with change comes the need to perhaps learn again. So yeah, there, there’s a whole education program. I’ve followed several of the builders that build the single family. And you, even when you watch their YouTube videos and everything else, it’s always the same trade’s coming back again. So, it’s very easy to engage because it’s like the same drywall crew of three people. They know the next project that they arrive at X’s company. Same process again please airtight drywall.
[00:15:00] Mike: But do you think that’s a reflection of the capability of those people who do that specific project or just the nature of the building community to rely on the people they know and trust and go back to that well, again and again.
[00:15:11] Jonathan: Yeah. When you are at that single family level, I think it’s, it’s a different pool of trades as well. But you, you’re right, they are able to go back and say, oh, you know, I want Bill, Joe, and Mack, here again please. Because they know what they’re. When you’re building at townhouse level and we have a hundred, 200 people on the site, you don’t always, you’re not always guaranteed. And we’re going to have to work with our trades to ensure that those, those specific trades, people that know what they’re doing, are back on this project because, um, you know, they, they’re moving through pro um, buildings very quickly. And, and drywall’s a great example. You know, the guys hanging the drywall are on a piece rate and they’re just throwing it up. Move on to the next project. And what we’re trying to work through is if we spend the time having them their first morning and having to pay them to sit and listen to us about the air tightness and the mechanical systems and what they need to achieve, what we want to ensure is those same guys come back the next day and the next week and the next month to keep doing it so that we’re not having to teach another group the following week. Because these drywall crews, they move around where the demand is. And we don’t need them in the building every day. You know it’s kind of, you’re in for a week and then they move on.
[00:16:19] Jennifer-Lee: I never thought about this because there’s so many moving parts. And another thing that you talked about that I was like, wow and maybe you don’t know the answer to this, but you were saying that a lot of people here in BC do single family homes that are net zero. Are you guys kind of the first ones, like in Canada doing like 18 of them? Because you said you don’t have anyone to really learn from or like look at.
[00:16:44] Jonathan: No, we’re not the first. There are some, some leaders in other markets. So when you look at specifically Ontario, but back east, there are others. Here locally there are one or two, and I don’t mean this in a, in a bad way, but there’s some more boutique and they’ve actually probably been more passive house focused. There’s one in Coquitlam, there’s a, there’s been a couple on the North Shore. We’re the first in the valley. Okay. And, and we’re the first to build the net zero Ready Label under the C H B A. Program. So from that side to your second part of the question Yeah. We asked, we are learning for ourselves. It’s not like we can go and look at what they’ve done in Ontario because the, the climates are different. And it’s just simple things like, okay, we, we are building in a wetter environment. How do the peel and stick membranes work? We we’re, we’re still figuring these things out, and we have to, as I mentioned before, warrant the homes. So, we need to do it right. We are acutely aware of the, the leaky conduct crisis that happened and we don’t want to see that happen again. So, there’s a lot of conversation and a lot of discussion and you know, how these things happen where the right people suddenly start coming together and just stepping out of the, the, the bigger crowd. So, we’ve got envelope consultant, energy consultant, the architect, they’ve all kind of just, we’ve realized we’ve got these challenges and no one’s shying away from it. It’s not like they’re sitting there with a handout again, they realize they’re learning. They’re not just sort of saying, oh, we need more fees. It’s, it’s becoming a very collaborative effect effort too, to figure out solutions to each of the problems.
[00:18:17] Jennifer-Lee: Yeah. An environment is such a big factor that a lot of people, I feel like in your like, you know, you, we watch all these different news stories about passive homes and like, There’s buzzwords out there and it’s like, but some of these homes have to be tailored to the environment you’re in. Like if you’re going to build this in a hotter climate, it’s going to be using different material, like you said, compared to here, which is a more wet climate. So, I think that’s the thing that we have to think of as a building industry as a whole, is like wet environment. I am, am I in? Because I feel like sometimes everyone just makes it easy on YouTube. They’re like, oh, you can just build this anywhere.
[00:18:49] Jonathan: It doesn’t, well, I mean, we have climate zones across not just BC, but across Canada, the US for that very reason, right? Yeah. I’ll give you one example just with wood, we use plywood for a sheathing. It gets put on a B train. Some rapid interior comes out of a mill, and you think about how many times you’ve been on highway five and the sheathing, the wrapping around, it’s flapping away, or it doesn’t even exist anymore, or it’s tops and now you’ve got wet material. We now need to kind of work with our suppliers and say, okay, how can you guarantee us we’re going to get dry so that when it arrives on site, we can put it up, we can seal it quickly before it gets wet. You know? So, it’s almost like, we’ll, we frame the home, we shea them, and that day we literally put the membrane on the outside of the sheathing so that there isn’t, so that it’s able to adhere to a, a dry fabric rather than a wet fabric. So, these are things that just go, they go back beyond just our framers now, now we’re working with suppliers and trucking companies and everybody else as well. It’s, it’s very different than you know, working in, in a, a dryer, hotter environment, for example, where you, you don’t need to worry about it because it may dry out as it’s traveling along in the truck.
[00:19:56] Mike: Well, you have to engineer for all three days of winter we’re having here.
[00:20:00] Jonathan: Yes.
[00:20:01] Mike: So, we talked a little about some of the technology in these homes, some of the things that you’re leveraging. Can we talk a little about the benefits of that technology? Because I think it’s great that we throw out some of these items and some of this logic, but really to me or to Jennifer or anyone else thinking about a unit like this, what are the benefits to us as a homeowner? Why would we invest in one of these units? Specifically, because of the technology.
[00:20:24] Jonathan: Yeah, that’s something we’re wrestling with too. We’ve got a lot of different people looking at different things and that’s where our sales and marketing have kicked in. It’s like, okay, what, what do we need to tell the homeowner? Because the net zero, the knowledge in the general public around what a net zero home is. A passive home is still much less than the industry’s awareness. So, we’ve kind of captured it. Somebody put it earlier on to us, but we’ve kind of captured at three very high-level points. The home’s more, uh, is more energy efficient, it’s quieter and it it’s healthier. So that, that takes away from the technology. And, and, but to speak to the technology piece, we need to hand over a home that A does what it says on the can, but B is easy for an average person to maintain. The reason you look at a Tesla, the reason it was so successful is it’s got one screen that looks like an iPad that everyone knows how to use. Without that, when we first tried to understand how to plug it in and set on your phone, the apps and the charging things, that bit was harder than learning how to actually understand the car working. So, we need to do the same thing in our home so we, we can’t go adding crazy control systems. You know, when we build big commercial buildings downtown, you have building management systems with, literally an operator who sits there and looks at the screen telling them this fan’s running here and that air handler’s doing this, and that. We need something that people are used to. So, they need to be able to get up in morning and look at their smart thermostat and go, okay, yeah, I’m, I’m warm at this temperature. I’m going to turn it down a degree. And everything else happens in the background.
[00:21:53] Mike: Quieter is one of the things that I really want to dig down on because one of the challenges we face is as we are living in an urban environment, the idea of light and noise pollution is significant. And I think a lot of us who are stuck at home for a few years in the past might have experienced that at a greater degree. How does having a quieter home benefit a homeowner? And how are we making these homes quieter?
[00:22:14] Jonathan: Yeah. Psychological, right? I mean, it’s, it’s a big thing to have a quiet space, especially at night for good sleep, good resting, and, and that impacts mental health too. So how we’re getting there, um, the quieter homes actually come about as an accident of what we need to do to make the home net zero. So, we’re moving to, I don’t know, the proper technical phrase, but we use the word outsulation. So, the insulation started to sit on the outside of the building. It’s wrapping it up like a, a sweater, wood on you or I if we’re cold. And that added layer of insulation starts to improve just how the walls perform. And they’re already quiet. But the big one, and the one I’ve already, already been surprised by myself is the glazing systems. So we are, we are moving away from sliders, um, in windows. We’re, we’re going to casement windows, and we’ve already done that on our projects as a whole, even double glazed. And I’ve stood on, stood on the second floor of a townhouse on a project, and we’ve got going actually in South Surrey right now where we’ve put casements in, they’ve got three gaskets. You pull them shut and they snug tight and you can actually hear the air, air almost coming out of the gasket slightly, which is good cause it’s sealing itself. We’re looking across at the second phase of this project, and I can see the machines moving, can barely hear them. They are, they’re quieter than a voice. Their background noise. When you open the window, suddenly it’s, you know, all the noise is running again and everything else. And, and it’s, that surprised me how quiet and how well-sealed the, the glazing systems have become.
[00:23:45] Mike: That’s awesome. I was at a friend’s townhouse about three weeks ago out by the barbecue and every time someone drove a motorcycle or a car through there, the whole building just absolutely rattled. So I’m not sure how many people really consider the impact of noise on their health and just in their comfort of living as well. And, and so this is, you know, I mean, we talk about energy efficiencies seems to be the high-level conversation, but really there’s all these other wonderful benefits, so you can’t even really put a price on.
[00:24:10] Jennifer-Lee: And I’m just curious too, because these terms get thrown around all the time, but what is a net zero home versus a net zero ready home?
[00:24:18] Jonathan: this is the one that we’re trying to sell in three seconds in the elevator but takes five minutes.
[00:24:23] Jennifer-Lee: There you go. Do our elevator pitch right now. Sell it to Mike and I.
[00:24:27] Jonathan: So, when we build a home now, we run an energy model and what it does is it works out using some averages and some norms. So, 2.2 people living in the home, how much energy it will use over the year based upon your design, the orientation, so what sunlight comes in, or what cooling occurs, what equipment you put in. So even down to the appliances in your kitchen, your mechanical systems, your hot water tanks, et cetera. It adds up all of that over the course of a year and works out – okay, we’re using, let’s say, a hundred gigajoules. To become net zero, you need to be able to offset that use. So, in essence, in in, on paper over the course of the year, let’s say use a hundred gigajoules, you are making a hundred gigajoules of renewable energy somewhere. And there’s some bits and pieces around geothermal and other stuff, but predominantly in our market, it’s going to be photovoltaics on the roof of a home. So, to be truly net zero, you now need to create a hundred gigajoules and of course, it’s not, there’s a conversion function going on into kilowatt hours, but you need to create a hundred gigajoules of energy in photovoltaics. So, if your roof isn’t big enough to create a hundred gigajoules of energy from the roof over the course of the year, you’ve now got to do something to reduce your hundred gigajoules to 50 gigajoules or 40 gigajoules. So that’s the very high level. But actually, what’s happened is CHBA and, and in fact BC with the Energy Step Code, have looked at it and said, well, a hundred gigajoules isn’t even viable. So, they’ve set thresholds and I can’t remember all the different steps from the step code for example, but you know, we’re getting down to sort of 30, 40 gigajoules and it’s worked out per square meter of home. The net zero are already, the only difference is you haven’t put on the home the ability to offset the energy use today, but it’s been designed so that in the future can add it. So, it may not have photovoltaics on the roof. So, our sister company, Foxridge, is going to build net zero homes. You’ll see the photovoltaic panels on the roof of the home. We aren’t doing that in the townhouses yet. The efficiency is not quite there.
[00:26:31] Jennifer-Lee: I’m so confused. It’s a lot of, I was like gigajoules and stuff. Yes. But like, what’s photo vortex? It sounds like, I don’t know. We’re in the matrix or something. But yeah.
[00:26:40] Jonathan: It’s, it’s something that people that have been suddenly down into the southern states may have seen, and they’re the, they’re, they’re kind of a, most of them are like a blue crystal line type panel that sits on the ruse of the houses. Um, there’s not a lot here yet. But they basically convert sunlight into electricity and then you feed it back into the grids. So over the course of the year, in the summer, you want to be producing more power than you’re using, Because you’re kind of paying back for the energy you’ve used in the winter and yeah the gigajoule kilowatt hour thinking get very confusing and that’s why we’re struggling to how do we, how do we truly tell people what we’re doing here?
[00:27:18] Jennifer-Lee: Yeah. You lost me in the elevator. Sorry. Yes. Sorry. We can retry again.
[00:27:22] Mike: Yeah, no, I know exactly where you’re going. And I have a geek question for you. We know that the current capability of solar panels is not enough to power the house. And if, if it’s okay if we’re not on the same wavelength here, because I go into some pretty esoteric places. We are reading a lot about solid state aluminum batteries. Now the biggest impact’s going to be in the electric vehicle revolution. But at the same time, they’re being touted as something the size of a briefcase can be an energy capture device for your whole. Do you think as that technology starts to emerge, that we might be able to solve some of the problems with our solar panels, in other words, so we can take a lot more power in during the day and store it and then use it at night? Do you think that might alleviate some of those growing pains for this logic?
[00:28:07] Jonathan: I do actually. The biggest preventative, deployment prevention to deployment right now is the cost. But Tesla have the power packs and the power walls. Schneider and Siemens, I think are developing them. There’s some others, and I’ve missed people, but they are starting to deploy batteries. In fact, in somewhere in Australia, they have enough sun that they went and deployed, you know, several hundred Tesla packs and the entire village has cut off, cut itself off from the grid because the photovoltaics that gather the energy and then the storage opportunity. The one thing we’re missing though, and I think’s coming, that could be a big game changer. That avoids the battery pack, per se, is the next generation of electric vehicles actually has the ability to power homes. And if they’re plugged in at the right time, you can send power back and forth. So, again, I’m a bit of a nerd too. We’ve bought an Ionic five, but any vehicle with the 800-volt architecture, so the F-150 Lightning, there’s one of the Porsches and the Ionic, but there’s others coming now too. I think the Rivian does it too now, doesn’t it? The Rivian? Yeah, maybe. Yeah. With the right, um, I’ve forgotten the electronic term, but there’s an extra panel you have to put into your circuit, but it can feed back into your house. So now you could be charging your vehicle during the day as your port. Battery pack that then at night or if there’s a power out, can power your house. And to give you perspective, the F-150 claim is it could power your house for three days.
[00:29:42] Mike: There was a news story about that, Texas power went out in Texas and the guy had a Ford lightning and he kept his house going for two full days and before the power came on. And I see immense value in that because the power will go out. It went out in my neighborhood this morning and having my vehicle charged in and keeping it readily charged means we don’t have those issues anymore. That’s going to make a huge difference.
[00:30:05] Jonathan: Yeah. And these cars are so intelligent. You can even set into the systems or want to recharge the house but leave 20% in the battery so I can go to work.
[00:30:13] Jennifer-Lee: I, I feel like it’s one of those, HAL-like things like, it’s going to like lock you down. Like that old movie where it’s like the robot house
[00:30:21] Mike: one of these days your car is going to, Jennifer, what are you doing?
[00:30:25] Jennifer-Lee: My car already scares me. I’ll be driving and it will be like, oh, the road seems icy. I’m going to put on my like four wheel. I was like, okay, you do you.
[00:30:32] Jonathan: But oh yeah, the beeps and things that go off when the car in front pulls away and it’s like what? I can see it’s probably, well no, I didn’t react quick enough, apparently.
[00:30:42] Mike: I’ve been waiting for that technology since night writer first came on in 1984. Well, before we go too deep down this rabbit hole, and I’m loving this, this may be a better discussion for us to have offline. We should take just a couple moments to acknowledge our wonderful sponsors and take a quick break. So, we’re going to take a quick break and we’ll be right back.
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[00:32:52] Jennifer-Lee: I want to touch on the healthy aspect of these homes. So, can you explain a little bit about that?
[00:32:54] Jonathan: Yeah. It’s actually a really important factor when we first started going down this road and even when we were looking energy step code targets and I was involved at sort of the, the developer level providing input, big consumers, oh, are we going to create another leaky condo? What’s the healthiness of the home? At that point, we are already starting to see things like I’m going to use some in acronyms, but HRVs and ERVs appearing in the market that’s a heat recovery ventilator or an energy recovery ventilator. And we are aware that obviously. Our homes 10 years ago leaked. They leaked a lot of air. We’re targeting one air change per hour now at step five. And I can’t describe it, but it’s a, you know, it’s a, imagine you’ve left the window open an inch, a slight tip sliding window. That’s more than one air change. So, this is the rate of air that moves from your home, leaks out. If you were to go down to, I’m going to pick on the states, but like Miami on a Nevada or something, and on a hot day you’ve got the air conditioning on in the home. You could go up to the window or the front door and you could feel cold air blowing. When you’re standing outside, blowing out through holes in the door frame of the window. They just didn’t seal it up. Or we didn’t do much better here either with our mild climate. We didn’t need to do. Places like Manitoba they’ve already required this. So, if you go to a home in Manitoba, you know, they heat it, but the heat doesn’t leak out of the home. So, the air change thing is the amount of air that’s leaking out of a home. When you turn on your HVAC system, when you turn on your heat pump or your furnace or what have you, it’s an essence pressurizing that home and it’s finding these little holes. So, the government set a target and under the net zero program, we need to do the same thing. We reduce it because in essence what we’re doing is we’re pushing energy out of those holes. So, we’ve spent money making heat out of a furnace or a heat pump that we’re actually pushing money out of the wall. When you’ve got five air changes per hour, or seven and a half air changes per hour, that’s seven times more money being pushed out of a hole in the wall than at one change. So, we had to ratchet this down. So, we then became concerned that the air in the home now wasn’t leaking out. Is it getting stale? Oh, we need to deal with that. So, we’ve always used bathroom fans for exhaust ventilation, but that wasn’t really balancing the home’s air. You have got living rooms and bedrooms now where there could be staler. So, the next step is to put HRVs and it’s actually a very efficient method of ensuring good clean air is delivered. Fresh air is delivered to the home, separate to the heating and cooling function. So, what it does is it extracts the stale air from the home and runs it through this box. And the, there’s a thing in it called the core, and there’s crazy gizmos, but basically what it does is it passes the warmed air through this core and then exhausted outside. But at the same time, the fan is drawing fresh air in from outside the fresh air passes next to the exhaust air and actually warms itself up and then is blown into the home. So, on a cold day outside, you’ve got warmer passing through the core on the way out of the house. Cool air coming in, but that cool air is now warm. The big complaint in the past, of course was, you know if we tried an intermediate function called CRV Central Recirculation Ventilation, I think it was. But the problem there is you’re just bringing in cold air. It wasn’t being warmed up to this HRV is doing a much better job. It’s much more efficient. It also reduces the amount of energy load because if you imagine that waste air is, you are using this clever core to balance the air temperature in your home. So, it works in reverse. On a hot day, you’re, you are drawing out warm air, you’re drawing out cold air from the house, but bringing warmer and it cools it down again. So now we’ve got this forced air that’s constantly moving, and it runs 24/7 through the home and supplies it can exhaust air out of the bathrooms, but it supplies fresh air to the places you live in.
[00:36:46] Mike: Does that make an impact on indoor air quality in terms of reducing outside issues? Like as an example, in the summer, during forest fire season, our air quality in the Lower Mainland is like smoking six packs of cigarettes a day, almost. So, people are keeping their windows closed, keeping their air conditioned. We’re talking a lot about health and the air quality inside the house. Are there benefits to this logic for, as far as improving outdoor air quality as it comes into the house as well?
[00:37:10] Jonathan: Yes. We need to be very careful about these. We pick and some of the cheap ones just use a very simple plastic cause, but the better-quality ones are introducing HEPA filters and other filtration systems and I’ve forgotten the terms for them but basically it can extract that fire smoke. And I think we’re going to see that deploy, especially in the interior, more and more. Charcoal filters. That’s what I was trying to remember. There’s different types of filtrations, but it is in essence cleaning that air for you. Yeah. And it will make a difference.
[00:37:42] Jennifer-Lee: I’m just still stuck on your imagery of money leaking through the window. That really resonated with me. I feel like that will resonate with a lot of listeners. Even if you don’t want to be healthy, a lot of people don’t like money seeping out of their homes.
[00:37:53] Mike: So, anyone who’s got kids who leave the door open experience, this isn’t a daily day basis, right? So, it’s like, okay, we get mad at our kids for doing this. Why are we buying homes that do this every single day? I mean, I mean, you might as well stand at the end of your driveway and let a $20 bill on fire every 45 minutes.
[00:38:08] Jonathan: You’ve nailed it. Yes.
[00:38:10] Jennifer-Lee: Now I can retort to my mom who used to be like, did you grow up in a barn? Why is the door open? Our home is leaking anyways, so there you go, mom.
[00:38:18] Mike: Let’s not let my kids listen to this. I’ll never have an argument with them again without them bringing up this episode. I’m really excited about some of the lifestyle changes that these types of homes are going to bring about as well. Can you talk about some of these changes that, so I’m looking at one of these homes versus the conventional homes. What are some of the changes in my lifestyle I can expect when I start living in one of these 18 units that you guys are building?
[00:38:41] Jonathan: I mean, we started talking about the healthy home there. There’s other parts to that too, right? I mean, projected benefits, things like the air fresher, but it reduces the chance for sort of the mold grows and other things at that very high level. But then the other parts, just in living in it day-to-day, you are not going to see a lot that’s different, but you are going to know it’s better for you. Induction cooktops are a game changer. Not just are they more efficient, but I’m, I’m blown away how fast they’ll boil a can of water. So, you’re going to have, see the little things like that. We’re also looking at other technologies that do require a change, but it’s minor dryers are a really good example. There’s, there’s kind of three primary types of dryers, right? You’ve got your electric dryer, your gas dryer, and now there’s these, these heat pump dryers. So again, it’s using this compressor technology to remove the moisture. They take longer. So, you’re going to have to adjust what you do day to day. You’re still going to get dry clothes, but the way, the simple way to put it would be we put stuff in our, our laundry and it takes in the washing machine, takes an hour, pull it out, you put it in the dryer and it’s done in half an hour. Well, these types of heat pump dryers are going to take. It’s a, it is a small adaptation.
[00:39:54] Jennifer-Lee: It’s a, an adjustment. I’ve used an electric dryer before, and it takes forever. So, I’m like, I don’t know. At that point, I might rather just air dry than actually put it in the dryer.
[00:40:05] Jonathan: and, you know what I mean? Why not put it outside on a, on a line and, and actually saving more money.
[00:40:10] Mike: Yeah. But if you use your dryer, you’re actually helping heat your house. That’s the biggest difference I think with this, is that right now I run my dryer for an hour. It goes outside and all that heat’s gone. All that energy is gone. You are recovering the energy and using it to keep the inside of the house comfortable and, and healthy.
[00:40:43] Jonathan: There’s a good point. I mean, again, some of the primary sources of our leakage are things like your dryer duct, your kitchen exhaust duct, et cetera. And, and in going to the heat pump dryer, we now remove one of those ducts, one of those holes through the outside wall. And you think about it, you’ve got a four-inch hole for your typical electric dryer or gas dryer. And all that you get out of this is the moisture is captured and actually drained, into the same connection that your washer drain goes into. I guess the other part, just going back to the healthy home piece too, is in, is it’s not tangible. And I’ve had the fortune to go and stand some, high efficiency homes in places, but there’s a feeling that that home, the home feels fresh, it feels comfortable, and it, you can’t really measure that. You can’t say to somebody, oh, it’s a gold star there, but there is something about the space that just feels nice in you. Right. You know. There’s all the other things that we, we notice all that we’ve eradicated the VOCs and stuff, right. Lead was really good at develop having us develop approaches that reduce the volatile organic compounds, the off gassing, you know, you know, it was,
[00:41:36] Mike: could you quickly explain what LEED is? Just for our listeners who wouldn’t be familiar with the term please and thanks.
[00:41:40] Jonathan: Okay. So yes. Leadership in energy efficiency design, I think is what it stands for. It’s been a while since I looked at it, but basically it was a standard that was created by a private body the US Green United States Green Building Council started with, but then they created the Canadian Green Building Council and others around the world. A lot of office buildings are still built to it, and they have a silver, gold, platinum level and they’re continuing advancing it. But one of the big changes was that the City of Vancouver adopted it probably 10 years ago, and we started to. Residential buildings are quite hard here to meet the newest standards because of where our products come from and shipping and also reporting on, the materials. But the primary, some of the primary functions were energy efficiency, water efficiency, but inadvertently and, and off-gassing and things. And it was, it was about healthy, efficient home. Some of those things have now become the norm and it’s a great thing to change, but like paint. You know, in the old days you’d walk in a home and you could smell the oil-based paints and everything else. It’s all gone. Most of our floors don’t off gas anymore. And they used to like shores really become a leader in that, in, in recycling products, for example.
[00:42:56] Jennifer-Lee: I can’t believe the new paints actually, because I just had my place painted before I moved in back in August, and I was like, before, remember you’d have to wait days till you can move in and you walk in and you’re like, actually I don’t smell.
[00:43:07] Mike: Yeah, now they smell like cupcakes or something like that.
[00:43:09] Jennifer-Lee: It’s amazing. Let’s, we kind of touched upon this, about like having one app and, and, um, a lot of your systems being controlled about, but let’s dive into a little bit more of the automations and how they help us achieve our goals to be Net Zero.
[00:43:24] Jonathan: We’re not necessarily at the one app for everything, although I think the, uh, the Apple home and, uh, I forgot what the Android versions called, it may get us there, but the reality is we can control the modern home from our phone. Um, you can look at your fridge these days on Wi-Fi and check that it’s set at five degrees or your, that your washing machine is running, or that your furnace through a smart thermostat, you can turn it up, turn it down, or you can turn it to cooling mode. You going away, you forget you’re going away. You log in at the airport and head away. So, the, the, the challenge going to the net zero ready homes is, um, we can’t make it complicated and that’s where things fail, right? Learned the hard way. When we first started putting heat pumps in, we didn’t. Probably do the, the best job we could have, tell people how to maintain them. They’re new technology people don’t understand them. It’s not like your furnace where you know the clocks change and you change your filter. These things, they start working, like the furnaces have such big motors in them. They’re just force air through the filter regardless of whether it was blocked or not. These modern heat pumps are much more efficient, and we were getting calls from people, you know, 14 months in saying, oh my, my heat pump’s not working. And we’d, we’d open up the panel and the little red light be on low airflow. You’d pull out the filter and they’d never changed it. It’s smart. Thermostats, for example, monitor how long the furnace or the heat pump is running now send you messages saying change your filter, which is quite handy because these machines are much more delicate. They are much more sensitive to being well-balanced. Even hot water tanks now – the heat pump, hot water tanks will come with, with an app, you can go in and see what status is at, and it runs on a heat pump predominantly, but it might have electric backup. And you can say, oh, well I’ve, I’ve got 10 friends over, we’re having a party. I need high demand. So, you select the high demand, and it turns everything on, but it’ll also then send you alarms when it, it’s like, Hey, we, we don’t need to be on high demand. It’s three days since it turned on. Oh, right. I can turn it off if we give people the ability to see this stuff in a simple format like that. And that’s where the app developers have really got it dialed in because it’s easy to understand if you didn’t give people those tools and if they’re not out there, our handover process becomes much harder because we have to make sure we educate everybody, and it gets lost. At that moving point, right? Everyone wants to move in and just get moved in and they’ve got a moving truck around the corner waiting to drop everything off. And we’re, hang on, we need to explain a heat pump. It’s the wrong time. So, we’re trying to remove complexity by using simple technology that we’re already used to the smart thermostats.
[00:46:08] Jennifer-Lee: Maintenance is so important, like on any home, and that’s the one big thing that a lot of people don’t think of. And I know, um, we still do this as very old school, but with our homes, Euro Canadian. We actually give our clients a manual full of all the literature that they need and then like times of when they need Yeah. To fix it. And if they have any questions, call us and we’ll direct them to the right person. And that’s the thing is it doesn’t matter how smart your home is, if you don’t maintenance it, no matter how green, how great it is, it’s not going to be efficient for you.
[00:46:39] Jonathan: That’s right. And the newer homes have to be maintained properly, probably more than older homes for them to work properly. We we’re doing the same thing. We, we actually have automated reminders that go out, hey, have you thought, you know, test your smoke detectors because it’s the, the clocks are changing sort of thing. We’ll send those automated functions and we’re actually even now putting YouTube videos together. So when, when a homeowner moves into one of our projects, they get access to a portal and they can go into the portal, they can view all the manuals online as well as having a hard copy. But they can also then log in to get reminders and, and they can also log in to view, oh, how do I change that filter? Where is the shut off valve? Where is this and that? And it’s about trying to make things understandable. Because when we start talking about automation and technology, we could be here for six hours. Yes. and none of us paid for that much parking. But I am very excited because what you guys are doing is putting so many different IP addressable devices on a control home.
[00:47:38] Mike: And with the emergence of, of protocols like matter. We’re not as far off as a lot of people think of having one app to rule them all right? And kind of like Lord of the Rings, but electronic. Um, so it’s really, really exciting and I’m looking at some of the things you guys are doing in there between smart thermostats and things like that. And what’s great is it takes a lot of the guesswork out of it, and that’s the trap challenge, right? Maintaining this home is a bit of a learning curve and leveraging technology shortens the curve, but also removes the human factor. We don’t have to remember to do anything anymore. It tells us you need to do this now. So that’s a runway for greater adoption as well by making it easy and I think hats off to you guys for figuring that out.
[00:48:23] Jonathan: Yeah, there’s, there’s some steps we’ve still got to take and, and we’re. I’m not, we are not the company to, to make it happen yet. But I’ll give an example. These truly efficient homes, uh, heat pumps and a and an h are actually always running in the background. The fans are actually always on, but by nature growing up, we’ve all lived in all homes where you open the window in the, you know, in the summer for fresh air or you know, it’s got too hot inside. You open the window to let the heat out. And this is, I pick on this one. We talked about the leakage thing, and you’re throwing money out the window. Well, you’re throwing money out the window when you do that. If you leave these systems on, what we’re, what we haven’t got to yet is how do we have systems that maybe I’m not tech savvy enough to explain it, but maybe there’s a relay in the window and you open the window, right? The relay switches the systems off. Do you close the window and then they go back on? Because otherwise you may have a warm day outside, but you just want some warm air. But you’ve got a cooling system now running that’s fighting the warm air. Does that make sense?
[00:49:17] Mike: It? Yeah. And that’s where it’s going, where the house actually knows everything that’s happening. Yes. And there is that technology, but like a lot of this technology, the first generation is going to pay more for it to be an early adopter. And it’s not necessarily viable for mass adoption yet. But we’re getting there, and I think once you guys have figured out some of the scaling problems as far as actually making this viable, by the time you’re ready to go onto your next project, a lot of this stuff will be caught up. And that’s the exciting part, is you could figure out how to build the most perfect townhouse. There are so many little things inside that are always evolving, that there’s so much room for evolution between projects, that by the time you guys start planning the next one, there’s going to be so much more cool stuff out there to help facilitate the goals of that healthier, quieter, cleaner, nicer house.
[00:50:02] Jonathan: If there’s an app developer listening, then the perfect scenario would be that once somebody’s bought a home, we logged them into the app and they get a message, and from then on everything comes through that one app and it tells them whether they’ve left a window open or the filter needs replacing, or the water cartridge in the fridge, the water maker needs changing or, you know what I mean? Just to have everything dealt through one thing, or even just warning you that there’s a storm coming, close your windows, or there’s a heat spell coming, shut the blind.
[00:50:30] Mike: You know that technology exists. It’s just very new and it’s not very common yet, but it does exist and that’s going to change a lot of how we manage these homes and conventional homes to help. Achieve our respective energy goals no matter where we live.
[00:50:43] Jonathan: We’re not. Like I say, we’re, we’re, we’re, we’re advancing cautiously on this. There’s a lot of hurdles for us to overcome. So, we’ve, to your point, we’ve developed and are using, sorry, we’re using developed technologies now. Yeah. Maybe the next generation is a fully developed home that’s integrated.
[00:50:58] Mike: I’d like to chat a little about the dollars and cents of this. That’s sort of the elephant in the room. We know that there is a cost for making socially responsible decisions. That’s why electric vehicles cost more than internal combustion engines. So, I mean, you’re taking a lot of risk going with a new type of building. Can you talk a little about how you’re managing that risk, but also let’s talk about what are some of the cost differences? Right? So, someone’s listening and thinking about this as the future. What, what are we talking, are we talking hundreds of thousands of dollars more? Are we talking just a few dollars more? What’s the spread?
[00:51:31] Jonathan: Uh, loaded question. So high level, yes. Your analogy with electric cars is a really good analogy because these are costing more. Part of it’s because we’re having to even at the very basic level, paying consultants too because they’re all learning too, to figure it out. And as with anything new, there’s a learning process. So, we’re paying for the learning process. We need to spend slightly more in the home in that these newer systems cost more to purchase and put in. And then again, of course, there’s a cost of training the trades to know how to put them in and commission them properly. But we’re also, we are putting in what I would consider better quality products into the building. And of course, a better-quality product costs more. So, a triple glazed window costs more than a double-glazed window. Going to out insulation costs more than just shoving it between the studs. We’re still going to put it in between the studs, but, well, there’s a variety of different ways. But by adding more insulation, you are adding more cost and that creates more complexities around your rain screen sealing the home to this level. We’re, we’re not at the point yet where everyone just does it naturally. So, there’s more cost, there’s more effort involved. We are still, we, we’ve broken ground on our first five net zero townhouses. We are still figuring out with our trade pricing what all that cost is going to be. As a company, we have deliberately said, okay, we’re going to rise to our corporate challenge. And we’ve put budget aside from within sort of a corporate budget to say, okay, some of this is just our own education learning process, and that won’t be attributed to the home. The biggest challenge for us is we don’t know how much extra a homeowner is prepared to can afford to pay. They are going to cost more. And we aren’t yet sure what that pricing delta will be. We want to make sure that these sell, but we know we’re not going to recover everything on our first one, and that’s okay. But we do want to dial it in and hopefully over time we, let’s say it’s costing $35,000 more per door. Are people going to pay 35? They may not. Because there is a dollars and cents. We have picked a location in Langley where it’s price sensitive. It’s families trying to get into their first home. They don’t want to be bringing kids up in a condo, for example. And that’s deliberate because that’s our, that’s our bread and butter. This, we build townhouses day in, day out, that that’s our primary building type. So, for us, it is about learning at this point, and we are going to absorb some of that cost. But I wish I could tell you. What that do? I don’t know. We, we’ll be launching at the end of the year and we’ll, we’ll have to see how that goes.
[00:54:06] Jennifer-Lee: And when is your, um, because you guys are going to do like a home show mm-hmm. Type thing. Mm-hmm. When is that opening?
[00:54:12] Jonathan: So, there’s two parts to this in working with the township, we’re actually going to be, offering people the chance to come and see this mid-construction. And there’ll be a chance to learn about the mechanical systems and how the blower door test works. And, uh, the township will be launching that, um, some marketing around that late, middle of the year, sort of May, June. But the, the final, the homes will be opening in October.
[00:54:35] Jennifer-Lee: I’m going to call that now, seeing if money seeps out the window test. Yeah. Or out of your home.
[00:54:41] Mike: I have one question that we haven’t talked about yet, and that is this, where you grew up, homes were built to last a lot longer. Like 500 years is almost like, okay, we’re ready to do the renovation. It’s, it’s time to spruce it up a little bit. So, one of the frustrations I’ve always had is we build homes here and 30 years later we tear them down, put them in a landfill and build something newer. In your opinion, do you think this style of building will segue into longer ownership and support the goals as well? Because I mean, it’s not just how it’s built and run, it’s what happens afterwards. So, if we don’t have to tear it down, the idea is it’s just a better value investment. What do you think that looks like building the style of home? Are we truly talking about a longer-term ownership and a longer-term viability, or are we just talking about immediate benefits for 30 years and we’re still going to build something bigger and better at that time?
[00:55:34] Jonathan: That’s a great question. Just to give you perspective, I mean, in Europe the design life criteria minimum is 60 years and, in some countries, they’re pushing it beyond it. And we’re at 30 years, the ironic side product of actually forcing us down this road, because the province was focusing, for example, on more resilient homes, right? You could live within your home and cope with more extremes of cold or heat or both. But in doing that, we have built a better home, which is more resilient and arguably then along with the rain screen systems and everything else may last longer than 30 years. And I’d like to think so. The other part too is it’s just when you’ve spent that much extra on a home, you’d like to think it is going to last longer too. So we, we are being very cautious to ensure it’s built as well as it can be but we have to just get into the bigger discussion. And I think we’re starting to see a shift generally on, on homes where people are trying to keep them longer. The challenge for us on this project, as with anything with density, you get, you get developers come along and offering to buy our strata. And I would hate to see that at 30 years somebody comes along and offers 233, 235 owners in Cascadia the chance to buy out and see these homes taken down when they’ll still be functioning. It may be too big a scale, but we’ve got those let’s be honest, I mean the homes built in the sixties and seventies aren’t exactly the best, and we are seeing townhouses that weren’t well maintained where they’re being bought out and, and condos are going to appear on top. But we do need to talk about that waste and, and that landfill thing. It’s something that doesn’t occur in the UK so much. People, you know, I don’t think I’ve ever lived in a new, or I’ve never lived in a new house in the UK when, you know, growing up they were hundreds of years old because like you say, you could just reuse them.
[00:57:18] Jennifer-Lee: I don’t think it’s necessarily the better home billing thing. I think it’s more of a North American mindset. I think, you know, we really want new stuff and we see things on Instagram and Pinterest and you know, I remember going into a neighborhood in the US and it’s a neighborhood in Florida, and they said, when you buy a home here, you have to crush it because it’s the expectation of the neighbours. And then you build your own stamp on it. And it doesn’t matter if there was a perfectly good house there. It’s just the expectation that you’re not going to live in somebody’s old house. And I think here too, a lot of people, I don’t, I don’t hear, it’s not necessarily building, it’s like, oh, well this house is fine, but it’s like, it doesn’t have the kitchen I want, and it doesn’t have this bedroom that I want. It doesn’t have this, so I want to do it. So, I think it’s like cha switching the mindset of like, okay, you can maybe renovate it to make it look like it, but there’s no need for you to. But I think we’re in that culture of like, no, well, I have to be better.
[00:58:13] Jonathan: Yeah. The consumerism approach in North America is continually evolving. It’s the iPhone, right? The iPhone tens out of whatever it was. X is out of data already. You’ve got to have the 14. And I think that’s appearing in other places too. But I think the underlying thing with homes certainly here is that they are expensive. You know, we’ve got municipal charges and provincial charges. They add up to a significant amount of the door. And I think we’re getting to a point where we will start to see people go, oh, I’m, I’m not going to knock it. I’m just going to renovate it. Because the cost of building a new one again starts to become prohibitive. And maybe that would be the turning point here.
[00:58:53] Mike: Well, I’m just laughing because originally, we were asking about developers and Jen was chatting about preconceived notions and it almost seems counterintuitive to a developer to be creating long-term properties. It seems like it’d be a self-sustaining model that okay, in 30 years we’re to come and redevelop that. So that speaks a huge amount to your corporate responsibility and your social responsibility and the decisions that you guys have made as a company. And I’ll say this, good on you for having the courage to stick your neck out and to create homes where homeowners can also choose to be socially responsible where they live, and to make decisions about where their values lie based on the type of home they build. And that’s commendable and I wish more people are able to embrace that, but at the same time, your leadership in this space will create a viability for other people to embrace this logic as well. So, I just wanted to take a couple seconds to thank you and your team for having that sense of responsibility and leadership.
[00:59:46] Jennifer-Lee: And this has just been a great conversation, Jonathan. Like I never thought I’d be talking about townhouses that are net zero. So, I think it’s amazing that you’re paving the. It’s been really inspiring to hear you talk about Streetside Developments, Foxridge and the Cascadia Net Zero Ready Project. We just appreciate you being with us today on another episode of Measure Twice, Cut Once.
[01:00:08] Mike: Oh, absolutely. This project, this Cascadia project has brought some great conversation and some great ideas to the forefront of what we’re talking about and what we do on this show. I could spend 20 minutes summarizing. All the great things we talked about. Why, I’m going to take a couple minutes to go through some of the bigger, high-level stuff. There are challenges faced by the building community to build multi-family homes to higher energy efficiency levels. And there are a lot of regulations that have to be scaled in order to create this style of home. So, things are adapting and certainly you’re leading the way with that change, we’ve identified a lot of benefits to homeowners recognizing that there are lifestyle changes beyond buying into an energy efficient label that have to be taken into consideration. Your health, your happiness, and how you work within your own community. And as homeowners ourselves, we have certain responsibilities, including the maintenance of our homes, for the protection of our families and our warranties, and to protect our investments and our assets. There is stewardship in adopting a smaller footprint or a greener way of building, and it’s the right thing to do for future generations. And finally, noting, all socially responsible here and building more durable homes to last beyond 50 years is a concept we all, all of us in this industry need to start embracing. So, thank you so much for joining us and thank you so much for taking the time to have this conversation with us. It has been amazing.
[01:01:26] Jennifer-Lee: Yeah. And Jonathan, before we go, I love to ask this question. I know you’ve given us a lot of great advice throughout this episode. What is one more tip though you can give our listeners?
[01:01:37] Jonathan: That’s a great question. I think the biggest thing is yes, these homes may be not overwhelming, but a step beyond where you’re at. But if everyone looks forward and looks to what is coming, and I’m talking climate-wise here, these homes actually take us in the right direction. And I think the thing is, people need to embrace it, but they need to educate themselves as well. It’s no different than when you get the Tesla or you know the electric car, your manual’s online now. It’s not in the glove box. Right? It’s the same thing with these. Let’s make sure everybody learns what they’re getting into because that’s when we’ll get these successful.
[01:02:13] Mike: Thank you very much, Jonathan. It has been a great conversation. It has been inspiring and I think we’ve all learned a lot. Hey, to our listeners, if you enjoyed this podcast as much as we enjoyed this podcast, please like, follow and share with your family and friends. The more followers we have, the more people will find our podcast and the excellent resources our guests like Jonathan are sharing.
[01:02:31] Jennifer-Lee: And for notes and links to everything mentioned on today’s episode, including resources shared by Jonathan, all you have to do is go to HAVAN.ca/measuretwicecutonce. See you next week. Thank you so much for joining us.
[01:02:43] Jonathan: Thank you. Have a great day.