The future of housing is here and, despite the underlying urgency, it is an exciting time as new innovations lead to new opportunities.
Some incredible new technology has emerged in the housing industry year after year and now there is motivation from all government agencies to change the way we build Canadian homes.
In our experience, it has been challenging to determine what the construction industry has been willing 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 the cornerstone of architecture, and now the performance of our buildings is the goal of net zero. Luckily, it doesn’t have to stop with your house construction.
Net zero can become a lifestyle if you continue to reduce your carbon footprint. You can find many traditionally wasteful consumer goods that are essentially “leave no trace” and are now more readily available in the markets.
Achieving net zero in your new custom build begins with the design and planning phase.
Your designer and builder will work with an energy consultant to determine your usage and develop a system program that is right for your needs. And to reduce the need for unnecessary energy consumption, we can pay attention to design features such as orienting the house for optimal wind and sun exposure.
The Okanagan has a reliable breeze that blows down the valley each night when the temperature drops, which is an excellent time to open the windows and cool off after a hot summer day. South-facing roof systems can be planned to house photovoltaic solar panels, or a south-facing arrangement of deciduous trees can block the high hot sun in summer but allow the weak light to enter the home (bringing light and warmth). short winter days when the leaves have fallen.
There are many other design solutions that are making a big impact on how much energy your home uses, and much more technology is on the way. Nothing is more important than the performance of your building envelope materials (think siding, vapor and air barriers, drywall, etc.).
The types of products we use and how they are installed are vital to the construction of your home.
For example, an upcoming product called Hempcrete is proving to be a truly remarkable product that we believe is essential to mitigating climate change as it is a product that sequesters carbon throughout its lifetime.
Hempcrete is a hemp-lime composite building material consisting only of hemp shives, lime-based binder and water. That’s it. It also replaces all building envelope materials such as insulation, drywall, plywood, vapor barriers, adhesives, tapes, sealants, and siding—even paint.
Additionally, hempcrete is a fireproof, mildew resistant, pest resistant, 100% natural, thermal mass that naturally regulates both temperature and humidity. Acoustically superior, it’s a material that solves a world of problems in both ethics and comfort without sacrificing style and function. Plus, it’s budget-friendly.
In conclusion, it is very clear that we cannot avoid the climate crisis and must devote ourselves to the work necessary to mitigate our changing environment. We need to make some pretty dramatic changes in 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, along with her husband David, a custom building designer in Penticton, hopes to encourage the shift to sustainable building technologies. Learn more about Haywood Design at