DESIGN

The questions I'm asked most often are about which non-toxic building materials to choose. The best resource is the RED List, produced by the International Living Future Institute. The RED List is accessed from https://living-future.org/declare/declare-about/red-list/ . 

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DRAFTING

Let us help you by transforming your dreams into drawings. 

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RENOVATIONS & RETROFIT

We work with you, through concept and design to build, based on your existing structure to freshen your space or create a brand new space. 

 

Design inspiration

permaculture

Permaculture is a system of agricultural and social design principles centred on simulating or directly utilizing the patterns and features observed in natural ecosystems. The patterns of human flow and design efficiency fascinate me. 

If I had to choose a religion, it would be permaculture. The ethics of Earth Care, People Care and Fair Share form the foundation for permaculture design. From my perspective, Fair Share is more powerful than the triple bottom line concept coined for use in the business world to imply equal regard by corporations for people, planet and profits. If our collective use of the word "profit" was globally replaced with the words "fair share", a peaceful and equitable global community would be more attainable than it is in our current paradigm. This is a view of reality that I'm committed to working toward. 


earthship: six design principles

  • Thermal/Solar Heating & Cooling
  • Solar & Wind Electricity
  • Contained Sewage Treatment

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  • Building with Natural & Recycled Materials
  • Water Harvesting
  • Food Production

475 helps make more durable, resilient, ecological, and energy-efficient buildings that optimize occupant comfort and health. We enable the building improvements required to dramatically reduce our energy demand and address our climate crisis. We are an ecommerce-based catalyst in the transformation of US construction to high-performance, low-energy and Passive House buildings. The name “475” is a reference to the heat demand requirement of the Passive House Standard, 4.75 kilo BTUs per square foot per year.


I advise my clients to include an HRV system in their homes. HRV is heat recovery ventilator, which is sometimes called an energy recovery ventilator system (ERV). Tiny houses need this type of system to maintain optimum building health. Even natural buildings can benefit from a "set of lungs" breathing fresh air into the building in winter. 

LUNOS ventilation systems are the best I have found. They generate clean and hygienic ventilation of all rooms in the home and ensure dry, mold-free walls. The systems also provide considerable savings in heating costs – combined with low acquisition and operating costs. 


Permaculture Zones

living building challenge

The Living Building Challenge is an international green building rating system, that was created by Jason McLennan, CEO of Cascadia Green Building Council, and International Living Building Institute. This system is the greenest rating system internationally, whose focus is to strive to ensure the built environment is regenerative to the ecosystems that we share and live within. This link will take you to the Living Building Challenge website https://ilbi.org/

Passive house 

Passive House is a rigorous and voluntary international building standard for energy efficiency and overall reduction in a buildings' ecological footprint. It results in ultra-low energy buildings that require little energy for space heating or cooling.

Meeting or exceeding passive house standards can be achieved by using natural building materials. I recommend that a heat recovery ventilator (HRV) is installed in all buildings I work on to maintain great air quality. A fantastic company for small systems is LUNOS. The best company I have found which retails small HRV systems and other great building products is 475 High Performance Building Supply https://foursevenfive.com/. Note that I'm not affiliated with either of those companies. I'm just a fan of their products.


Vermiculture - worm biofilter for kitchen waste water.

Vermiculture is the process of using worms to decompose organic food waste which produces nutrient-rich material capable of sustaining plant growth. This method is simple, effective, convenient, and noiseless. It saves water, energy, rebuilds soil and keeps compostable waste out of landfills.

Click here for a design PDF booklet from Gord and Anne Baird, super inspiring friends living in Victoria, British Columbia who blog about their incredible work at Eco-sense.ca


humanureComposting toilet

Complete the human nutrient cycle with intelligent design rather than participating in our current system, which uses drinking water to flush toilets, pumps the waste to treatment plants where it's nuked with toxic chemicals, then dehydrated and dumped into our oceans. WTF?! 

Learn more about humanure here: