The future of homebuilding is here and it’s an exciting time despite the underlying urgency, as new innovations lead to new opportunities.
The housing industry has seen incredible new technologies emerge year after year and now all government agencies are motivated to change the way we build Canadian homes.
In our experience, it has been difficult to determine what the construction industry was ready to do over the years, but now is the time to make those changes and look for new ways of doing things.
Passive design has always been a cornerstone of architecture and now the performance of our buildings is the goal of net-zero. Luckily, it doesn’t have to stop with building your home.
Net zero can become a lifestyle as you continue to improve your carbon footprint. You can find many traditionally useless consumer products that “leave no trace” and are now more available in the markets.
Achieving net zero in your new custom build starts with the design and planning phase.
Your designer and builder will work with an energy advisor to determine your usage and develop a program of systems to suit your needs. And to reduce the need for unnecessary energy consumption, we can look at design features like orienting the house for optimal wind and sun exposure.
The Okanagan has a reliable breeze that comes down the valley every night when the temperature drops, which is a great time to open the windows and cool off after a hot summer day. South-facing roof systems can be provided to house photovoltaic solar panels, or a southern arrangement of deciduous trees can block the hot summer sun but let dim light into the house (bringing light and warmth ) during summer. short winter days when the leaves have fallen.
There are many other design solutions that have a big impact on your home’s energy consumption, and many more technologies are on the way. Nothing is more important than the performance of your building envelope materials (think siding, vapor and air barriers, drywall, etc.)
The type of products we use and how they are installed are vitally important in building your home.
For example, an emerging product called Hempcrete is proving to be a truly remarkable product that we believe is essential for mitigating climate change because it is a product that captures carbon throughout its lifespan.
Hempcrete is a hemp-lime composite building material composed only of hemp, lime-based binder and water. That’s it. It also replaces all building envelope materials such as insulation, drywall, plywood, vapor barriers, glues, tapes, sealants and exterior siding – even paint.
In addition, hempcrete is a 100% natural fire-retardant, mold and pest resistant thermal mass that naturally regulates temperature and humidity. It is acoustically superior and is a material that solves a world of ethical and comfort issues without skimping on style and function. Moreover, it is economical.
In conclusion, it is very clear that we cannot avoid the climate crisis and must engage in the work necessary to mitigate the evolution of our environment. We need to make some pretty dramatic changes to the way we live, move, and communicate.
It’s also a very exciting time as we see some truly remarkable innovations being implemented across the valley, province, country and beyond.
Jaimie Haywood hopes to encourage the shift to sustainable building technologies alongside her husband, David, a custom building designer in Penticton. Learn more about Haywood Design at