Inside and outside the box.
A sustainable approach to development goes well beyond the physical structure and systems of the home. It encompasses all aspects of the future owner’s life and strives to improve the efficiency of how they lead their day to day lives. It begins long before the first shovel hits the ground, and ends long after the home is sold and occupied. InHaus Development Ltd. specifically selects building sites in thriving communities that are in close proximity to transit, shopping, services, workplaces, schools, parks and outdoor activities. A key feature of all our homes is a particular sensitivity to work/life balance, recognizing that more and more of our future citizens will work from home.
Quality & Lifespan
The single most important (and often overlooked) aspect of creating a sustainable home is the actual lifespan of the dwelling. This is not only how long the home will be actually standing, but also how long it will serve a useful purpose to it’s inhabitants. A well designed home should take into consideration not only the needs of the original owner, but should plan for who may use the building 10, 20, and 50 years in the future. The homes need to be both adaptable & durable, ensuring that they will be valued rather than modified or replaced over the years.
Design & Planning
The best way to sustainably heat your home is not to heat it at all. Passive heating and cooling can significantly reduce the amount of energy needed for heating and cooling a home. Facing your home to the South is the most desirable orientation as it will allow heat to infiltrate through the windows and provide “free” heat during the day. Combined with proper shading techniques, passive cooling can be used all summer long to maintain a comfortable temperature, without the need for energy-hungry air conditioning.
Proper space planning and “right-sizing” is also critical. The vast majority of new homes on the market were designed to maximize the number of square feet allowed on a lot, rather than maximizing the use of each square foot. Our approach is the reverse, we work backwards from the requirements and let the home’s needs dictate the size requirements. Zero wasted space = maximum efficiency.
At InHaus Development Ltd. we are working to integrate efficient & sustainable systems of building into the fundamental design of our projects. All of our homes are run through rigorous computer testing and energy consumption modeling to ensure the proper placement of the windows and confirm the solar orientation of the dwelling. Once built, they are also subjected to rigorous blower testing as part of their energy efficiency certification process.
Although many people might assume, building a sustainable house is not just about using sustainable materials. Instead, a much wider view has to be taken. Materials must be chosen that limit energy, both in their initial production and their requirements for maintenance (ie: replacing, repainting, repairing). Using materials in the construction of your home that require little to no ongoing maintenance will cause less energy usage and greatly extend the natural life of your home.
Occupant Health & Interior Air Quality
The other major impact that materials can have is on the interior air quality of the dwelling. Almost every material used in construction today “off gasses”, slowly releasing chemicals into the surround air, sometimes for years into the future. Something as innocent as the glue used to hold down your hardwood floor can actually be releasing toxic fumes into your indoor air, and without proper ventilation these chemicals become trapped – potentially affecting your health.
Part of our commitment to Green Building is that we insist all suppliers use only environmentally preferable materials, and stick to products with little or no VOC’s (volatile organic compounds). We also use manual air circulation (HRV’s) & air filtration techniques to maintain the highest possible quality indoor air for our buyers.
Alternative Energy Sources
Solar (photovoltaic) panels have been around for a very long time, and are probably the most “well known” alternative energy source. Over the past 10 years they have become increasingly affordable, and much more efficient. Depending on the orientation of your home (as well as the climate), solar panels can be used in conjunction with passive heating and cooling techniques to eliminate your home’s complete reliance on the “grid”.
Construction waste accounts for an enormous percentage of the waste entering our landfills in North America, and can be devastating to the land as well. Proper recycling of construction waste also makes a major impact on the actual carbon footprint of your eventual home, something that many green-building programs overlook. There is also an enormous environmental impact generated by the actual building process. Heavy machinery, travel to & from the site by trades, pollution from supplies & materials – the list goes on. Part of our process at InHaus Development is to monitor and minimize waste generated by our construction process while maintaining clean project sites and protecting the groundwater and environment in the communities we build in.