Building Systems 

There are many ways to build high performance, energy efficient buildings. Not all are appropriate for every situation so we need to select what is right for you and your project.
Rubble foundation being built
Rubble foundation being built

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Concrete cap on rubble trench
Concrete cap on rubble trench

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Placing concrete in a Durisol ICF
Placing concrete in a Durisol ICF

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Rubble foundation being built
Rubble foundation being built

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#1

 

Foundations

 

The foundation type will largely be determined by the ground conditions found on the site:

-Is the site flat or does it slope steeply?

-Is there bedrock exposed and if not will you likely expose it during excavation?

-Is there good surface water drainage away from the site?

-Do the soil conditions allow for good sub-surface drainage?

-Is the ground sandy or clay based?

 

Some foundation types are:

-rubble foundation

-pier foundation

-slab on grade with a frost wall

-slab on grade with a thickened edge slab 

-full depth or crawl space basements:

     -Insulated Concrete Forms (ICF)

    - Durisol 

    -poured concrete

    - concrete blocks

TIP:

It's advisable to have a couple of test holes dug prior to foundation type selection so we know exactly what we are dealing with and can avoid costly surprises.

Oak wedged thru tenon & spline
Oak wedged thru tenon & spline

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Froats Loft
Froats Loft

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Round log post & beam boathouse
Round log post & beam boathouse

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Oak wedged thru tenon & spline
Oak wedged thru tenon & spline

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#2

 

Framing System

 

There are two approaches to the structure of the building: hide it within the skin of the walls & roof or expose it for all to see.

 

Stud framed walls keep the framing hidden so that the walls and ceilings can be the freature. Timber frames expose the structure as the feature itself.

 

Both systems can lead to either a traditional look or a more modern style depending on how we approach them.

Straw Bale Wall
Straw Bale Wall

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Straw Bale Wall
Straw Bale Wall

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Ships porthole
Ships porthole

A truth window in Kandi Woods' bale walls.

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Straw Bale Wall
Straw Bale Wall

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#3

 

Wall Systems

 

The choice of wall system has a huge impact on how your home looks, feels and performs. 

 

There are many choices:

-conventional, code minimum

-double stud with high levels of insulation

-straw bales, either hand made or pre-fab

-cordwood 

-Structural Insulated Panels (SIP's)

-Insulated Concrete Forms (ICF)

...and many more choices on how to clad these walls.

 

But the common theme is to make them as energy efficient as possible.

Enviroshake
Enviroshake

Recycled tires and wood fibre, with a 50 year warranty.

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Green roof
Green roof

This over the entry of the new library in Wilberforce.

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Placing a SIP roof panel
Placing a SIP roof panel

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Enviroshake
Enviroshake

Recycled tires and wood fibre, with a 50 year warranty.

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#4

 

Roof Systems

 

A roof can be hand famed with rafters, built with pre-engineered trusses or made with Structural Insulated Panels (SIP's) and craned in place. Whatever system is used, it should have high levels of insulation to keep your precious heat in for the winter and out for the summer.

 

The cladding should be made with a durable and low maintenance material that will stand up to all kinds of weather.

A Rumford fireplace
A Rumford fireplace

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Summer Solstice
Summer Solstice

See the roof's shadow lines on the longest day of the year.

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Ground source heat pumps
Ground source heat pumps

A lake loop in a single pipe configuration

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A Rumford fireplace
A Rumford fireplace

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#5

 

Mechanical, Electrical & Plumbing Systems


The choice of what kind of heat system to use can have a huge effect on the energy cost of the building. Designing to minimize the heat loads and eliminate the need for air conditioning is not only possible, it's the key to keeping the energy bills low and your comfort level high.

Sunset Ranch Entry
Sunset Ranch Entry

Natural Stone fireplace, slate floors, whitewashed pine walls & ceiling, pine timber frame, recycled barn board accent walls.

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Sunset Ranch Dining & Kitchen
Sunset Ranch Dining & Kitchen

Natural Stone fireplace, slate floors, whitewashed pine walls & ceiling, pine timber frame, recycled barn board accent walls.

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Bamboo desk
Bamboo desk

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Sunset Ranch Entry
Sunset Ranch Entry

Natural Stone fireplace, slate floors, whitewashed pine walls & ceiling, pine timber frame, recycled barn board accent walls.

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#6

 

Materials

 

The materials that you choose to set the defining character of your home. These are the surfaces that we interact with on a daily basis and so it's important to choose materials that will make us feel good.

 

Durability and healthfulness are as important to get right as looks.