Canada's first down-to-earth prefab EcoNest (reserved)
His family lives in the first clay and straw pre-fab house built in Canada. He unplugged the mandatory heat recovery ventilator required for all new homes because his house allows him to access true fresh air through the windows year round without creating discomfort. Its secret: clay. The walls are a fine balance of insulation and mass (straw and clay) and the floors are full mass, both primarily heated by the infrared radiation from the sun and a soapstone masonry heater. "Our industry is far too focused on insulation and energy efficiency, when water conservation, airtightness, thermal mass, and locally sourced, unadulterated, natural materials far outweigh the environmental impact of a building and the purity of the indoor air quality, comfort, and overall health of the occupants living inside," says architect Bobby Ilg. “Water is my main environmental focus these days. We can live without energy, but we simply cannot survive without fresh, clean water. 50% of the water used inside our home comes from the rainwater collected on the roof, which collects approximately 100,000 litres of rainwater a year. The natural properties of clay and its love of water helps naturally control indoor humidity levels, and is one of the simplest ways to prevent building moisture issues such as mould and decay.” Building related illnesses have also become an important component of their natural building philosophy. “With almost 1 in 30 Canadians suffering from some form of building related illness (MCS / EHS), a natural house is free from harmful chemicals, prevents excess moisture and mould, and provides a safe interior environment from outside man-made electromagnetic frequencies. And a house like ours doesn't necessarily cost more to build than a conventional energy efficient custom home. Our clay and straw walls cost about $60 per square foot, including interior and exterior natural plaster finishes. However, our home is not even in the same conversation as a conventional energy efficient home, when comparing the multiple-century durability of a natural building and its ability to promote true health for Mother Earth and all living beings."
This is the story of a natural home that is making a splash in the National Capital Region.