Our first net zero house, located on Salt Spring Island, is an energy- and space-efficient design that is sleek and sophisticated, yet modest and relaxed. With its ability to produce as much energy as it consumes, and potentially more, this house has resulted in some exciting takeaways that are likely to factor into future Measured projects.
Our clients, Enova Residential, approached Measured with the ambitious idea to build a net zero modular home, exceeding current building codes, for a lower-than-average cost. Enova chose to work with Measured for our collaborative style, which was valuable in helping us to find innovative solutions to unique challenges, including performance requirements, transportation considerations, and site constraints.
We started by working with the client to find the right collaborators for the task and partnered with Fast & EPP Structural Engineers and Adaptive Homes in Revelstoke. We were inspired by these companies’ dedication to using environmentally conscious materials and methods to build customizable, economical, and sustainable homes.
In addition to performance requirements, functionality and livability, our design needed to include ample structure so the entire building could be transported from Revelstoke to Salt Spring Island. Deeper beams helped to prevent bending when the house was lifted onto a truck and craned into place, protecting preinstalled fixtures and finishes such as porcelain tile and engineered oak hardwood floors.
These structural requirements also allowed us to incorporate a long cantilever where the main bedroom is located, without added expense. The cantilever, along with black metal cladding and large view-facing windows, add a dramatic elegance to the otherwise modest structure. The metal cladding gives the house a simple, modern look, while also being cost-effective, durable, fire resistant and easy to maintain.
The shape of the house was largely driven by site conditions: the site is generally flat, delimited by a three-metre setback in consideration of a watercourse to the north, and a steep drop towards Ganges Harbour, over which the cantilever is suspended.
The key to making a building energy efficient is a well-sealed envelope and careful workmanship. As the primary source of energy loss in any building is air leakage, we sought ways to limit this through our design and materials. We were also careful with the amount and placement of glazing to reduce heat loss. By limiting larger windows to one side of the house, we were able to maximize the view and create a bright living space, while also maintaining privacy from the street.
The house was transported in three modules and assembled on site. Rather than connect the seams with drywall, we used plywood for additional function and style – creating a peg wall in the coat room and an ovalized cut-out behind the fireplace (which allows for a TV to be installed, if desired). We used sustainable materials such as Douglas Fir beams and stone wool insulation (ROCKWOOL), fabricated from basalt rock. A wood-burning fireplace, along with energy-efficient appliances and lighting add to the ambiance while reducing energy consumption.
The light, open space and view-enhancing windows lend to a serene environment where you feel wholly protected from the elements, but never too removed from them.
This welcoming and functional 2,200 sq ft house provides everything you need to live comfortably, with no wasted space and few distractions. The bedroom wing provides separation from the open living area and kitchen, offering both privacy and an ideal space for entertaining.
Designed for year-round liveability, the high-performance envelope means indoor temperatures will remain consistent; in the winter it is warm and cozy, in the summer it stays cool without being drafty. Lounge by the fireplace, gather in the kitchen, or simply sit by the windows or on the expansive deck to enjoy the quiet surroundings. Whether you choose to live on- or off-grid, this home will allow you to live comfortably, simply, and sustainably.