Eco-friendly, plenty of Zen

Home even in­cludes space for yoga and med­i­ta­tion

Winnipeg Free Press - Section G - - HOMES - By Todd Lewys

IT was a con­cept that James Buduhan had sim­mer­ing on the back burner of his cre­ative imag­i­na­tion for sev­eral years. Fi­nally — about two years ago — he fi­nally had the op­por­tu­nity to bring that con­cept to light: an in­fill home filled with a host of cut­ting-edge, eco-friendly fea­tures.

To­day that home — at long last — stands in three-di­men­sional re­al­ity on a 25-foot by 100-foot lot at 1108 Inger­soll St.

“It took six months to build, but that was af­ter ne­go­ti­at­ing for two years,” says the owner/project man­ager of Ur­ban Zen De­vel­op­ments. “Ba­si­cally, the own­ers (of the va­cant in­fill lot) found me, then I found the builder, For­tune Homes. Once those things were taken care of, it was a mat­ter of build­ing the home.”

As a lo­cal de­signer who fo­cuses on green build­ing, Buduhan — who is LEED cer­ti­fied as a de­signer (LEED refers to Lead­er­ship in En­ergy & En­vi­ron­men­tal De­sign) — wanted to de­sign a home that while not of­fi­cially LEED cer­ti­fied, would con­tain a sig­nif­i­cant num­ber of LEED-ori­ented fea­tures.

Those fea­tures would then be in­ter­wo­ven into the Zen con­cept.

“Zen refers to a state of bal­ance and ac­tion,” Buduhan ex­plains. “With this home, we wanted to bal­ance the de­sign out in such as way so that it would not only be green, but stylish, in­vig­o­rat­ing and af­ford­able.”

Be­cause the lot was so com­pact both in terms of its width and depth, the ob­vi­ous choice was to build a two-storey home. How­ever, it would be no or­di­nary res­i­den­tial abode.

“Right from the start, the in­tent was to make the de­sign very green — this wasn’t go­ing to be an in­side-the-box de­sign,” he says. “In many as­pects, it’s a LEED home. It’s just not reg­is­tered as one.”

Those LEED fea­tures in­clude pas­sive heat­ing and cool­ing, at­tained by in­stalling con­crete floors; a grey­wa­ter re­cy­cling (Brac Grey­wa­ter) sys­tem that re­cy­cles show wa­ter and wa­ter from the wash­ing ma­chine to be used to flush toi­lets; dual-flush toi­lets, which then fur­ther re­duce wa­ter con­sump­tion; and sev­eral other key LEED el­e­ments.

“The home is de­signed to make the own­ers ac­tive users of the home, so we put in a built-in worm com­post (a sim­ple Rub­ber­maid bin kept un­der the kitchen sink where news­pa­per, cof­fee grounds and food scraps can be placed in to be re­cy­cled) in the kitchen,” says Buduhan.

“And to make use of ma­te­ri­als on hand, we used ex­tra con­crete from mak­ing the floors and stairs to make the counter tops, sinks and shower. We mixed the con­crete our­selves, hauled waste and used as many lo­cally sourced ma­te­ri­als and fin­ishes as pos­si­ble.”

Ev­ery de­sign el­e­ment has a pur­pose, he adds.

“Take the bath­room sinks,” he says. “They’re de­signed to re­duce the amount of wa­ter that’s used. Then there are the con­crete floors — which I in­stalled and stained by hand to match the coun­ters. Con­crete has ther­mal mass prop­er­ties, which means it ab­sorbs heat in the sum­mer to keep the space cool; in the win­ter, it re­leases stored heat for pas­sive heat­ing. There’s even drawer stor­age built in to the stair­case.”

Then, there are the large win­dows that line the walls on all three lev­els of the home.

“On the main level, all the win­dows open to pro­mote cool­ing by cre­at­ing cross breezes — we didn’t put in cen­tral air con­di­tion­ing, be­cause it’s such a big con­trib­u­tor to cre­at­ing a car­bon foot­print. We also used win­dows that were larger than nor­mal to make the in­te­rior nice and bright, so as to re­flect nat­u­ral light.”

Up­stairs, Buduhan in­cluded a ded­i­cated space for yoga and med­i­ta­tion, a big main bath­room and two bed­rooms with large win­dows (to al­low as much nat­u­ral light in­side, a cen­tral LEED tenet). Mean­while, the lower level — which is framed in to in­clude a third bed­room, rec room area (with con­crete floor fin­ished in a medium brown hue cour­tesy of cof­fee grounds sourced from Star­bucks) and me­chan­i­cal area.

“This isn’t a big, brash project — we sim­ply wanted to show­case some in­no­va­tive ideas that have a good chance of catch­ing on with other builders,” he says.

“Af­ter dis­play­ing the home dur­ing the Fall Pa­rade of Homes, we had a lot of peo­ple tell us they were on board with many of the ideas. To build a greener home, you have to think of the house as a sys­tem, where all the dif­fer­ent fea­tures — win­dows, floors, grey­wa­ter sys­tem, etc. — work to­gether to make a more eco-friendly home.”


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